When it comes to packing for a trip, waiting until the last minute is never wise. It might not seem to matter much when the trip is still a week away, but it certainly will come the morning of your departure.

So you need to be prepared in advance. As much as your weekend getaway is all about fun and relaxation, getting everything in order so you can leave on your vacation knowing you’ve covered all your bases can be stressful. It doesn’t need to be, of course, and the best way to make sure it isn’t is to have all your packing together ahead of time.

You just never know what the cards may have in store for you come the day of your scheduled departure. Some unforeseen incident could occur that might steal your attention away from all that packing you saved for the last minute. You could end up oversleeping because your alarm didn’t go off.

girl walk woods, Seurasaari Open-Air Museum, Helsinki, FinlandWho knows? Specific items you need may have been misplaced and you could end up wasting fifteen minutes searching for them. Your mind might be frazzled with nerves and/or excitement as you’re getting ready to leave. You just can’t be sure how hectic the morning of your departure will turn out to be.

Most importantly, you don’t want to find yourself rushing around at the last minute, in a panic throwing whatever (hopefully) clean clothes you can find into your travel bag. The same travel bag whose wheels you’d forgotten were broken and rendered useless on your last weekend excursion,

The last thing you want to happen once arriving at your destination is to realize you left something important behind. You wouldn’t be very happy about wearing tennis shoes the whole time because you forgot to pack your sandals, right?

Read: Best Hardside Carry On Luggage Ever Invented!

Pick The Right Packing Bag

Matador Transit30 Packable Duffle Waterproof 30L Capacity For Outdoor Gym Hiking Camping Beach TravelWhen you’re only going on a short weekend trip you obviously don’t need a multi-piece luggage set. This is especially true if you’re carpooling to the destination and/or sharing a vacation rental or room. Everyone else will need space too, you know, and no one appreciates a luggage hog taking up more than their fair share of room.

So keep it to one bag that’s no bigger than an airplane carry-on or travel weekender bag. If you’re flying to your destination, a carry-on has the added advantage of avoiding checking a bag, which can consume a huge amount of time at the beginning and end of your flight when waiting for your checked bags at the luggage belt, not to mention the additional expense involved.

Have A Packing Game Plan

laptop map flatlay travel help careerSince your bag will be on the smaller side, it’s important to make sure every item you choose to pack has its purpose.

Write out a list that starts with how long you’ll be gone, the type of destination, and the specific activities you’ll be doing. It sounds simple, but keeping yourself focused on these three basic components will help you avoid overpacking and adding useless items to your bag.

The only items to be packed at the last minute should be the things you’ll need the morning of your departure, such as your toothbrush. Just make sure to pack them as soon as you’re finished using them so they don’t accidentally get forgotten.

Research Your Destination

Before you begin the packing process, research your final destination to learn more about the current climate and events that are occurring during your planned travel dates.

Spend time learning about the area, its culture, and people of your final destination. The more you know about the destination you’re travelling to, the easier it is to pack the proper clothing, accessories, and any other belongings you may need while you’re away from home.

Be prepared for unexpected weather

Extreme weather conditionsThe type of clothes to pack should depend on what the weather is like at your destination. If you’re going somewhere hot, you’ll be packing tank tops, shorts, sandals, etc. Here’s a sample packing list on what to pack for a beach vacation.

If you’re going somewhere cold, you’ll be packing a winter coat and warm pants. This list covers everything about winter packing. But it’s still always smart to pack a pair of jeans, tennis shoes and a jacket so you’ll be prepared for any unexpected weather.

Even if the weather forecast says it will be hot and sunny, that’s still just an estimated guess and is never 100% guaranteed. One of those sunny days could turn into a cloudy, cold one. You’ll be glad you decided to pack a jacket and pants if you wake up to 10ºC weather one morning.

breast hill hiking girl, new zealand

Hiking in New Zealand

Even packing for an outdoor, hiking trip requires a whole new set of considerations and items.

An added trick to refining your clothing selection is to pull out all your potential outfits and lay them out on your bed to try and find mix and match pieces that can be worn with multiple outfits.

A good example is to pick a pair of jeans that can be dressed up or dressed down. Doing so can get you through an entire day without having to bring a whole other outfit.

Pack light, but right

The length of time you plan on being away will determine the volume of clothes you should pack. If you’re just going away for the weekend, three outfits should be enough to last you until you’re back home.

If you’re going away for a week or two, pack enough outfits for at least one week.

Maybe the place you’re staying will have a place to do laundry. One week should be enough time for you to figure out your laundry options.

When going away on a trip, keeping your packing organized will save you stress and hassle. Keep track of everything you plan on taking to make sure it gets packed. Try to save as little packing as possible for the last minute.

As much as you think you’ll remember a few last minute things, you could end up scrambling around trying to find a lost shoe and be late or even miss your flight. Better to search for that shoe the night before rather than fifteen minutes before it’s time to leave, or worse, only realize you forgot it once you’ve arrived at your vacation spot!

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Isabel Leong

Isabel Leong

An explorer at heart, the world is Isabel's playground. She enjoys seizing every moment exploring every hideout and doing the unimaginable, like bungee jumping in Phuket and couchsurfing in Europe. If she had wings, she’d definitely be soaring right now. Also a fitness trainer, if she’s not at the gym, you can find her doing yoga or rock climbing! Read more about her on belaroundtheworld.com/about.