A Procrastinator’s Guide to Packing

last minute packing tips
“Vintage Suitcases,” © 2014 Patrick Metzdorf, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

We’ve all been there. It’s the week before your trip and you’re laughing about how you haven’t even thought about packing yet. It’s a few days before and you know you still have plenty of time. And suddenly, it’s the night before and you’re scrambling to find a 24-hour drugstore that sells travel containers and throwing everything you own in a suitcase.

Never fear, though. There are ways that even the worst procrastinator can avoid this pre-trip panic. Using a few of our helpful tips and tricks, you can prepare a successful suitcase for any trip – yes, even your honeymoon.

last minute packing tips
“DSC_3639,” © 2010 Andrea Rose, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

No. 1: Stock up on travel sized items. You don’t want to be draining your favorite shampoo in a three-ounce bottle at midnight when you have to be up at four in the morning. Keeping a supply of things like mini-shampoos, toothpastes, etcetera will get you through TSA and save you the hassle of transferring things into travel sized containers when you’re already low on time.

No. 2: Even better? Keep a toiletry bag packed at all times with the essentials: shampoo/conditioner, face wash, moisturizer, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste and any medications you need to take. Yes, it’ll cost a few extra dollars to have double the toiletries around, but it’ll be worth it in the time you can save by just grabbing your pre-packed kit and throwing it in your suitcase.

Related: Our Disney World Packing Guide

No. 3: Jot down a packing list if you have time. If not, think about your trip in your head and pack day by day, visualizing yourself head-to-toe on each day. For example, you know your first day will be lying on the beach and having a casual dinner, so throw in a bathing suit, flip-flops and sundress. Day two involves a hike? Grab your shorts and hiking boots. Day three you’re eating somewhere dressy? Make sure you bring a nice dress and shoes. Once you’ve gone through each day make sure you’ve got the rest of your basics (underwear, pajamas, socks, etc.).

No. 4: If you’re packing any clothing items you’ve haven’t worn in a few months, take the time to try them on before tossing them in your bag. Yes, it’s a little extra effort but it’s so much better to discover that your shorts are too tight or your t-shirt has a hole in it before you leave.

Related: 6 Tips for Traveling With Your Wedding Dress

No. 5: When you’re done packing, place any necessary items that aren’t going into your suitcase (like your passport and phone while it’s charging) right on top of your bag before you go to bed, to make sure you won’t forget them in the morning.

No. 6: If worst comes to worse, just focus on the things you can’t buy at your location, such as prescriptions or travel documents. You may not pack perfectly, but at least you’ll be partially taken care of and whatever you forget you can pick up once there (and hey, it’s an excuse to shop!).

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