How many of you pack your bag 1-2 wks before you leave?

I like to pack my carry-on about 1-2 wks before I leave for Europe, my daughter thinks I'm nut's! I like to see if everything is going to fit and what the bag weighs, etc, just to make sure I'm ready. I have been able to pack everything into my rolling/backpack for 2 weeks of travel with washing clothes every third night or so. Something about packing the bag gets me pumped for the trip! Am I weird like my daughter says or do most of you pack the night before you leave??

Posted by crystald
Seattle
27 posts

Hi Donald -
You're not weird - I've had my bags packed for at least a month now, and we leave in about a week! Some people just leave theirs packed awaiting their next adventure (again probably will be me).

Leaving it all to the last minute will impart much more stress than you need when getting ready to go on vacation, and will inevitability lead to the panic while you're half-way across the Atlantic, with, "Oh, shoot, I forgot (insert important item here)" While yes, Europe, has what we have, there's no fun in scouting out a grocery to pick up floss!

Don't worry about what your daughter says, if getting ready and getting pumped for your trip is done through packing your bag, then go for it!

And if she forgets her floss, then let her scout out a grocery to get some!

Enjoy!
Crystal

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
2427 posts

@ Donald,

you're not weird but i think your smarter than a lot of travelers that wait until the last moment to do so and then forget something.

I do my packing at least 2 weeks ahead and will so to see if what i need to bring along will fit. sometimes i take my riding clothes (helmet, paddock shoes, half chaps and breeches) and then i will have to leave some other stuff.

Also, I've been buying/trying some "travel" clothes and those will usually take up less space but non the less i still have to make sure everything i want to take will fit.

if packing 1~2 weeks in advance gives you that peace of mind, then go for it. Its not like the world is going to stop spinning if you do.

happy trails.

Posted by Edgar
Medford, OR, USA
1173 posts

I start making a list several weeks to a month to go then start gathering my gear a couple of weeks ahead. I don't pack until less than a week for three reasons. First I may be skiing a week before and am still using my gear and clothing. Secondly if I pack too early I end up repacking just to check that I got everything. Lastly, a last minute weather condition and forecast may cause a rethink. Packing light requires a certain amount of selectivity that change in conditions can lead to a rethink.

Posted by Susan
Marin County/San Francisco
3638 posts

I pack a week or two ahead. But then I have this habit of checking and double-checking what I've packed until I leave. I still have forgotten things though, so it doesn't help me there... things I can't pack til the last minute cuz I'm still using them.

Posted by Nicole P
Truro, NS, Canada
1101 posts

We have a couchsurfer coming this weekend, but after that, my suitcase is going to be on the spare bed and I will prob toss things in (other then clothes - well, prob even some clothes!) as they come to mind - and we don't leave for 2 weeks. I do have a packing list, but little things like chargers and cords and adaptors will go in - that way I don't have to go scrounging around looking for them at the last minute (like a few years ago when I couldn't find the plug adaptors before we left, and the day of the flight we had to go buy a new set - if I had packed earlier, I could have looked for them - did find them last year - so now we have 2 sets!).

My husband on the other hand - I'll be on his case about it probably a few days before we leave to start packing stuff - I'll be lucky if he starts packing before travel day...sigh. At least our flight out is almost at midnight, so he'll have most of the day to pack...

Posted by Rosalyn
Berkeley
1352 posts

Hi all you plan-aheaders,
I'll go you one further. We, typically, take one international and one domestic trip each year. Additionally, we do several 1 - 4 night, short distance trips. I keep not one, but two toiletries bags packed at all times, a large one for long and a smaller one for short trips. Each contains travel-size necessities, shampoo, toothpaste, floss, etc., and a supply of common items I might need and wouldn't want to take the time to shop for, tissues, bandaids, ibuprofen, allergy meds, etc. Each bag also has a small sewing kit and nail clipper. Having these bags ready to go saves me the time and energy needed to think about one aspect of packing.

Posted by Leigh
Missouri
400 posts

A couple of month before the trip I start to put my bag and the things I won't need before the trip on my spare room bed. I don't actually pack until a few days before the trip because I am still wearing and using some of the things that need to be packed. Also, once a few years ago I packed really early and had to unpack to double check that I had everything the night before. I am always nervous about forgetting something. I do get excited when the time comes that I start putting out plug adapters, travel vest and the like out on the extra bed.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
9110 posts

If you can't grab your junk, throw it in something, eat a sandwich, and be out the door in ten minutes -- there's something bad wrong with you.

Seek professional help quickly.

Posted by Nancy
Beaverton, Oregon
253 posts

My suitcase is out and pretty much packed and we're three weeks out :-). We had just under six weeks between returning from our last trip and heading out again, so it made little sense to put everything away. I always start packing at least two weeks ahead, so I can do it little by little. When we travel with our kids, they all pack the night before leaving.

Posted by Judy
Rockford, IL
43 posts

Donald,

I have my bag almost packed and I am less than two weeks before I go. I need to do a little more tweaking of items and I will be ready. I am trying get my luggage weight to 18#. Wish me luck!

Posted by Pam
Troy, Idaho, USA
1429 posts

I did a trial pack day before yesterday for my trip coming up next Wednesday. I trial packed in 2 different suitcases, weighed them and am deciding. I have about 4# of guide books which I will chuck out as I go. I then unpacked the clothes ( some may still be auditioning for the team, lol) but left the underwear, socks, pjs, extra shoes and other side stuff packed. I also have a spreadsheet which I checked off, especially when I refilled the toiletries after I returned from the last trip.

I love to do this and yes, it does get me excited for the trip!

Posted by Grier
Carmel, IN
1167 posts

I'm with Ed (well, not literally). I pack the day I leave.

Posted by Christi
Whitsett, TX, United States
808 posts

I'm a last minute packer too. Our bags have most of the travel specific items in them all the time - 3-1-1 bags are re-filled when we get home from a trip. Clothes, meds, electronics & we're out the door. The past few years when we travel domestically (Mexico too) we have our cat so that adds a little to our packing time!

Posted by Colette
Home_Sweet_Home :-)
507 posts

I do not leave until Spring 2015 for Europe. I have made my lists & have begun buying small things I will be carrying for laundry, for personal care & for a custom-made 1st aid kit. These items are being put aside in a clear shallow bin in the linen closet. When I complete my non-clothes list I will pack that particular bag.

BTW, this is the 1st time I have made my lists this far out. Usually it is a month & I still forget something. (Last time it was the camera.)

My husband can join the club w/Ed & Grier. Am not sure how little time he will give himself now that he is a double BKA (below the knee amputee). Last March he packed his suitcase 30 minutes before we left for the airport.
AND he did it w/o a list.

The forum can use humor from time to time. Thx for the thread, Donald, whether you intended humor or not.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
3764 posts

Hi,

How about a month before the actual departure date? If I'm going for ten days to two weeks, 90% is packed a week before, the rest is mop up. If I am going for two months in the summer, that takes more careful packing. Usually I follow a detailed list, still the packing in that roller suitcase has to be less than 30 lbs. even for two months or more, 90% is done ca 3 weeks before leaving.

And, no, you aren't weird, just prepared and thorough.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
20608 posts

Donald,

You might let your daughter read this Thread, as she will see that packing early is fairly common with a lot of people.

I typically pack both my carry-on and main pack about a week before trips to Europe, although this year I'm a bit earlier than usual. There are usually only minor changes in the packing list, so the process is almost the same from one year to the next. It's interesting to note that several others also use the spare bed for organizing the packing.

Posted by Kim
Franklin, NC, USA
28 posts

I'm a spare bed "stacker then packer" too. It really helps to see that clothes go together to mix/match. In fact, to prep for our Oct trip, I just pulled out my "notes to self" from last spring & there it was: DH "bring stuff that matches"!

Posted by Christi
Whitsett, TX, United States
808 posts

I used to be a spare room "stacker then packer" but living in a motor home full time - no more spare room.

Posted by gerri
lexington, il
737 posts

Ok, I must have OCD...Have a master for each season, then stacker packer a month out.
Final pack is 2 weeks from departure. Husband packs as we walk out the door, then blames me if he's missing something!

Posted by Diane
Conway, AR
71 posts

Well, we leave in three weeks and I've been getting my things together since June. I thought this was normal....( it is for me!). I tend to overpack so I need three months to decide... Actually, I've even set aside things in April and May. I read the temps on the GAS tour can be anywhere in 50's and 60's and some low 70,s, except Switzerland. Since my temps in April and May were in this temp range (which was unusually cool for us this time of year) , I thought I may as well set aside what I was wearing at that time. It's hard to think about what to pack when you are coming from 90 degree weather.

Posted by Carol
Atlanta, GA, USA
735 posts

Until recently I traveled weekly for work. I can pack in under 10 minutes (and have had to do that several times for work) . For a leisure trip to Europe without anything special to worry about I pack the day before. Granted I think about what I am taking for quite a while ahead of that.

Posted by Kent
Pacific Northwest
8637 posts

Do you want to take almost as long to pack as your entire trip will last? If you do, have at it, it's a matter of personal preference.
Apparently some people enjoy packing.
But some people don't really savor the packing, so they shorten the time it takes. To each their own.
It's possible that the amount of time to pack is also correlated to gender.

Posted by Jean
Mill Creek, WA, USA
466 posts

We have both types in our family; don't bother trying to change someone else's habits! : )

I place the shirts & dresses that I might want to take on the left side of the closet rack. Then when it's closer to time, I select which 4 outfits I really want to take, depending on weather forecast.

I review my travel checklist a few months ahead; I don't like to feel rushed that last week. After traveling light for several years, I just reprint out the same list. That list keeps me from adding extra "what ifs" last minute in my suitcase just because there's ample room.

I also keep my Ziploc bag & basics zipper case in a drawer ready to go (remove shelf-life items). When I receive travel-size toothpaste from the dentist, etc. I place it in that drawer, too, for replenishing.

Some friends were going to take their first RS tour and worried about attempting to pack light. I invited them over and showed them what I put into my suitcase. They were amazed that I could be packed in 5 minutes, too, using my list.

Posted by Nicole P
Truro, NS, Canada
1101 posts

It's not like we are constantly packing for a month. I'll open my bag and leave it on the spare bed and may not even look at it for 4-5 days, then I'll find some little thing that I'll tuck into it. I don't do the clothes and big stuff generally until a few days before - that gives a chance to weed out clothing that I decide against since we only take a carry on.

When you fly/travel all the time, it's second nature. For a lot of people like me, if you only are able to go on holiday once a year, things can be forgotten...I know, I know, you can buy stuff over there, and we have had to buy lens solution in Milan and microfleece pullovers when London proved to be cooler then we expected...but I don't want to spend time (and money) hunting for something I already own at home that I forgot to pack. I think the gadget cords and chargers are the worst (which is why - if I'm not using them - they go in the bag first)...having worked at a camera shop, more then a few times people had to drop $20-30 bucks on a battery charger or cords for their camera because they forgot to pack it...I'm sure it happens with phones and ebooks and laptops and tablets. My spare camera batteries and SD cards go in the bag first thing as well.

Posted by Lo
Tucson
1233 posts

I was the kid who always got the term paper finished early. I hate being rushed. So I'm an early packer and like Donald, the planning and early packing get me stoked for the adventure.

Gerri -- I think your husband and mine are one in the same. I pack early and light. He packs late and heavy.

Jean -- I'm a closet pre-packer and a last-minute-weather-report checker, too.

My biggest concern is weight. I have a 21.5" spinner that weighs about 6 pounds by itself. I limit the weight of everything that goes in it to 14 pounds. I pre-pack and weigh it about a week out. If the total is over 20 pounds, things are removed until it meets that limit.

Much to my surprise, what I took to the rainy, windy and cold Benelux countries in April 2013, fit in that limit. Even more surprising was that, even though I wore everything several times, I didn't wear some things as much as I expected to. I could have taken less and gotten along just fine thanks to readily accessible washers and dryers, and some well-chose accessories.

Being married to one, I know the guys are probably going to chortle at this, but some of the most fun I have is the coordination and pre-planning of what I will wear. I mostly find what I have online and copy the pictures to a document where I can cut and paste and mix and match the items. Things I own that I can't find online, I photograph and put the picture in with the group. I always have a mix of previously owned garments and new ones I buy just for the trip.

I use a spreadsheet that is adjusted for each trip. I can go ahead and pack the stuff I always take and highlight the cells or rows or items as they are packed.

Even with all the pre-planning and pre-packing, I figure that there are only a few things that I really have to have and I can get the other stuff upon my arrival if needed. All of those must-haves will easily fit in my crossbody tote which is my second carry-on.

Posted by Faith
San Pedro, CA, USA
186 posts

We leave Sept. 29th for Germany. About a month ago I rearranged the closet a bit as I always do before a trip (although if we're staying in the country I probably only start puttering about 2 weeks ahead of time). What I do is start grouping tops with pants and start thinking about what goes with what. I've bought a couple new things and have tried them on with stuff already in the closet. I've already kicked one pair of pants out of the rotation, and rotated one light top out and a more medium weight long sleeved shirt in (being from Southern California we freeze if the temp gets down below 65 degrees!).

We're headed for our last mini-trip here locally in a couple days, and when we come back all the toiletries will be dumped out on the bed so that I can go through item by item, deciding what stays, what goes, and what needs to fit in our two baggies for TSA. Draw back of being organized but having issues with remembering stuff is that I will unpack all the toiletries the week before just to be sure what's there! My husband, who will start to think about his wardrobe two days before the trip and only then because I've become a screaming maniac, poo-poo's all my fussing but will inevitably ask at some point while we're gone "I don't suppose you packed any allergy tablets, did you?" I pull myself up, give him my snootiest look and say "Just who do you think you're talking to, of course I packed the allergy tablets!". Then I point out that I'm not allergic and he's darn lucky he's traveling with a compulsive planner!

When my suitcase actually comes out of the closet about ten days before we leave the three cats vie for space in them. The last thing we always do before leaving home is to use the sticky rollers on the suitcases because otherwise it looks like we are wheeling big balls of fur down the concourse!

Posted by Diane
Conway, AR
71 posts

Having booked my September trip over a year ago, the planning and packing are a HUGE part of the experience to me. I have never been a person that waits till the last minute to plan or pack. My husband travels all the time (not internationally though) and can pack at the last minute. I think everyone has their own way of doing things. But....in saying this.. I am taking a 22" suitcase and it weighs 27#. I will be gone three weeks. I don't know if I can get it down to 20#???? I know I will be able to haul it around. Three years ago I managed it up 100 stairs at our hotel in Cinque Terra. This trip we will be traveling thru a few different temperature ranges and plan on layering clothes if needed. I feel like I'm going to get a slap on the wrist for the 27# load; I'm still trying to tweak my items, but with less than 3 weeks till trip, I'm getting to the point ..as long as I can manage my luggage (and I'm planning on carrying on) I feel set to go.

Posted by christa
alameda, ca, usa
261 posts

I generally take the same things in my carry-on so no point in packing early. As it is, I'm leaving tomorrow for Vienna and Budapest and will be packing today; everything is selected and ready, just need to pack it in.

Posted by ukkrazy
10 posts

I pull up my packing spreadsheet on the computer about 6 weeks in advance and take a look at that list. I choose the list depending on where I am going and what the weather will be. I have one list dedicated for the beach because we go there every year and that pretty much stays the same (with modifications if going by plane or by car). The other packing list is for traveling to other than beach environments. That only varies if I need to pack a jacket and/or rain gear as I try to take layers. Anyway, I work on this list/spreadsheet beginning at 6 or so weeks out. By 4 weeks out, I am laying things out on the bed in the spare room and trying to coordinate items. I keep my toiletries bag packed and my makeup bag packed (mostly, but throw in my current mascara at the last minute as it should be changed every 3 or so months). All of the items that can go in ahead of time, do go in. Clothes go in the week of the trip. With vitamins, medications, charges and electronics going in last. I agree with many posters here who actually enjoying the planning and packing process. That really is half the fun in getting excited about going somewhere new. For those who say that their husbands are last minute packers, mine would be if it was left up to him but since he is married to an organized woman who is a bit OCD, he does not have to and rather enjoys me taking care of that for him.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
12666 posts

OK, I pack the night before, or maybe that morning, but my packing list as been prepared months before - composed, reviewed, edited, etc. When the time comes to pack, I know what I really need to take, and what I might want and leave at home.

Posted by Colette
Home_Sweet_Home :-)
507 posts

Porter in Rome overheard saying, "Why are American bags so heavy?"

Posted by Lo
Tucson
1233 posts

Diane...how much does your 22" suitcase weigh by itself? I've been looking for something lighter than what I have and I have simply not found anything that works any better for me. When I look at the options in stores or online, 99% are heavier than what I already have, even though they say they are lightweight.

Maybe you aren't as bad as you think you are. Maybe the luggage itself is to blame! However, I know I could not handle 27 pounds total myself.

Posted by Ray
Tigard, OR, USA
314 posts

Typically I have a small first aid kit packed and rarely use it. I will check that about 2 weeks before I leave. Also 2 weeks out, I'll check my personal hygiene kit and make sure it is ready. Mostly, I have both of those ready to go at all times, but if I decide I want to vary something, such as taking a sunscreen stick, I'll have time to buy it without making a special trip. About a week out I will prepack most of my electronics (not my phone or Kindle chargers) and a back-up document sack (just a copy of my itinerary or any hotels I have rented.) I will consider which bag to use....wheeled or not and which day bag (I take more camera gear than the average person.) I usually keep my camera bag stocked but again, about a week out I will check it for spare batteries, memory cards, lens wipes etc. About 4 days before I go I will back my cubes with various items such as socks and make sure there is cash inside my money-belt....a few other things like that. That is also the time I will start to pack the luggage I'm going to take. Will make a few decisions about cloths and make sure everything is fitting in well. I do pack slightly differently for a month then I do for a week so a trial packing helps. Then the day I leave it is the final pack.... phone and Kindle charger in the electronics bag and that into the "personal item." By the day before I leave, the main carry on is usually ready to go. Works for me.

Posted by selkie
181 posts

I'm a day before packer. Laundry is done at the last minute so that when I get off the plane feeling all grotty, I can go to the hotel, have a shower, and put on something still smelling of my own laundry detergent. As long as I remember contact lens case, glasses, and computer & camera stuff, I figure everything else can be acquired at the other end. I actually have fun seeing what's in Boots or the local grocery store if I discover I'm out of antiperspirant or don't like the hotel's hair conditioner and have to stop off and buy some.

Posted by Diane
Conway, AR
71 posts

Lo, my suitcase advertised as "lightweight" but I just weighed it and its about 9#...Yikes!!!!.. I took it to Italy for 10 days in 2011 and it worked great! Its very sturdy and it has a nice zippered section in the lid, besides your normal pocket area. Its a great section to put your dirty clothes separate from the clean. It does not have spinner wheels. I've used it quite a bit, but never for a three week trip.

I bought the RS rolling suitcase, and have used it on a smaller trip, but I don't think I could get by with it for three weeks.

Posted by Harvey
Park Ridge, Illinois
3 posts

We are leaving for Europe for a two week trip in the last week of November and my wife has already begun packing.(???) Oh, by the way, we are going to Hawaii in September...as for me my "One Bag" carry-on is strictly based on my checklist. Just as professional pilots do their "routine" checklist prior to take-off each and every flight, I do mine two to three nights before departure each and every time.
My wardrobe is based on the time of year, weather and locale, but the number of clothing articles remain constant. Besides, who else other than your travel mate will know that you have been wearing that same trousers or long sleeve shirt for two weeks. Mix and match well; 'cause the pictures you take of yourself in the various locations/countries will have you in the same attire.

Upon returning, I always reload my toiletries and travel essentials immediately and leave my "One Bag" on the ready for its next trip. The checklist is the bag and also saved in my computer file (just in case). "Ready for go!"

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
3029 posts

Last minute or morning of flight... but that does not mean that I don't have an idea in my head of what I want to wear, or more than likely a few new items... but I agree, when you travel a lot you don't need to spend as much time thinking about it... and frankly I barely have time to do anything. (of course, I would have more if I didn't spend time here)

9# is a lot for a suitcase to weigh... mine is under 4 and makes a world of difference

Posted by Kent
Pacific Northwest
8637 posts

This probably correlates to # of previous trips to Europe.
Also, some people are worriers/planners, others aren't.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
12666 posts

Technically, I pack the night before or that morning. But I have a packing list developed over many previous trips. If I were doing this for the first time, I'd still have a list. I'd trial pack a few days before, just to make sure everything fit, then unpack until just before leaving. A well thought-out list is the only way to make sure you won't just throw in everything you think you might need when packing.

I pack for about three days and wash as I go. Three weeks is no different than one week or ten.

Posted by Judy
Saskatchewan
39 posts

This is the best and possibly the funniest forum. I read every entry and with every one I thought "yes, that's me" and then I would read another entry and would think, "ok, that's me!" So I guess there is absolutely no one best way to pack, we just do what gives us the most pleasure in anticipating what will be a wonderful time. I am a "lay it on the bed and look at it for 4 weeks" person, then move things around for those 4 weeks. I have more fun doing this , it brings the trip closer and more real. For my cats, however, it provides them with a other place to nest, shed and confer over those 2 legged people leaving them again. Oh, we are so lucky to travel, 3-1/2 weeks to go !

Posted by Judy
Saskatchewan
39 posts

This is the best and possibly the funniest forum. I read every entry and with every one I thought "yes, that's me" and then I would read another entry and would think, "ok, that's me!" So I guess there is absolutely no one best way to pack, we just do what gives us the most pleasure in anticipating what will be a wonderful time. I am a "lay it on the bed and look at it for 4 weeks" person, then move things around for those 4 weeks. I have more fun doing this , it brings the trip closer and more real. For my cats, however, it provides them with a other place to nest, shed and confer over those 2 legged people leaving them again. Oh, we are so lucky to travel, 3-1/2 weeks to go !

Posted by Nicole P
Truro, NS, Canada
1101 posts

ok - I FIBBED A LITTLE - WE LEAVE TOMORROW NIGHT AND I've GONE SO FAR AS TO LAY MY CLOTHES OUT A FEW DAYS AGO AND YESTERDAY STARTED GETTING MY CORDS AND TOILETRIES AND WHATNOT TOGETHER - TODAY HAVE TO RUN OUT AND PICK UP A FEW THING S THAT WE'VE RUN OUT OF IN THE MEANTIME - BUT THE CLOTHES WILL BE PACKED BY THIS EVENING :)

Sigh - sorry for the caps - my caps lock button was on and I didn't notice and I don't want to retype it all - I'm not yelling, just not paying attention...lol.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
5160 posts

I have a packing list and start throwing things into the carryon as soon as I have them ready (maps, toiletries, "delicates"), then I start laying out but not packing clothes about a week before. The night before I finish packing clothes, electronics, cords, and zip up the bag. Last in are boarding passes, itineraries, reservations, tickets or vouchers which are arranged by date (love that large front zipper pocket on the RS 22" rolling bag).

Posted by Laura
Virginia, USA
3174 posts

I don't get how people can pack 2 weeks in advance; they must have way more clothes than I have. The stuff I take includes clothes that I wear at home. I'm usually doing laundry the night before so I can pack clean clothes.

Posted by Rebecca
Nashville, TN, USA
990 posts

Lee, you are so right! "A well thought-out list is the only way to make sure you won't just throw in everything you think you might need when packing."

I have a list of every item that should go in the carryon/messenger bag/backpack. The list is on a bed in the spare bedroom. Stacks of clothes are also folded and waiting on the bed. Two days before my trip, everything is put into the luggage I will be taking. Items are checked off the list. I resist the urge at the last minute to throw in "things I might need". Those are the items that would lead to taking too much stuff. Maps and a book are on the list; they are put in the same time as clothes. I avoid that feeling of panic that I won't be ready in time by packing a little ahead of the last minute.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
3764 posts

"...so I can pack clean clothes." Yes, it is so easy to pack two (or more ) weeks in advance. Pants are clean and semi-pressed, folded, the shirts starched, ironed, and folded. I go by a list depending on the length of the trip, be it 2 weeks or two months, which means accordingly more carefully planning and packing.

Posted by Laura
Virginia, USA
3174 posts

So Fred, you pack clothes 2 weeks in advance for your trip and then wear different clothes in the intervening 2 weeks? That is the part that would not work for me.

But if packing weeks in advance works for people, go for it. It would not work for me. I'm used to packing on short notice after years of business travel, so have no desire to start packing earlier than I currently do. I also don't get stressed about forgetting something. I do have a general list of things I take when traveling for more than a couple of days and I check the list to make sure that I have not forgotten something. I also keep certain travel accessories (e.g., electrical adaptors) in a plastic container in a closet so I don't have to hunt for things.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
3764 posts

@ Laura....For a summer trip: Yes, I just set aside those shirts in particular that I want to bring on a trip that have been starched/ironed, then they're folded and packed. . With the 2-3 pants same thing. Underclothes are rolled or folded, then packed away. All this is done 2-3 weeks prior to departure date. I just wear other stuff after that until departure date. This way avoids any last minute rushing, forgetting anything (ie, recharger/convertor/adaptor for the cell phone), etc. on the day before taking off.

Posted by Ginger
TX
210 posts

I try about a week before to start "collecting" things. I toss them into a bag or bags and then about two nights before, actually begin packing. I've found that frantic packing is too stressful, so I will be taking tips from those who begin way ahead of the date. makes sense!

Posted by Jolene
Chicago IL
4 posts

I identify my footwear well in advance and make sure all shoes are properly broken in. I make a list of how much underwear, pjs, socks, etc. and assemble early on, but will make a final count to account for any items used and laundered right before leaving. Then I lay out all my possible clothing options on the guest bed 2-3 weeks in advance and add/subtract as I go. Periodically I test pack my travel bag and usually discover it's way over-subscribed with items. Then it's the purge right on up to day of departure. But laying it all out on the bed helps me visualize combinations of separates to maximize flexibility and balance out tops and bottoms, layering options to control for warmer or cooler weather, making sure I have selected the right sweater for all, etc. My last summer trips were simpler - 3 dresses, 3 tops, 2 bottoms, sweater, scarf and a change of earrings along with 3 pairs of sandals. to cover 2 weeks No regrets lugging a suitcase with room to spare!

Posted by Faith
San Pedro, CA, USA
186 posts

Exactly one week from this typing we will be sitting on an Air Berlin flight ready to pull away from the gate at LAX. The only things not packed are computers and travel documents. This is the first trip in 10 years where we are actually checking luggage -- just decided not to deal with the weight restrictions and smaller carry on and personal item sizes on the European airline (after landing in Dusseldorf we board another plane to get us to Munich and the start of our trip).

I used the extra time while not under last minute stress to distribute our clothing in case a bag or bags go missing. Our usual "personal items" (a small backpack and a "bowling ball" shaped tote) are now our carry-on luggage. Those have all our toiletries, pajamas, slippers, undies and an extra shirt each, and our RS zipper pouched extra bag in case both suitcases go missing and we need to purchase clothing. Each piece of checked luggage (same small roller bags we usually carry on board) has thoughtfully coordinated pants, shirts and sweaters for each of us, so if one bag goes missing the other has complete outfits for both of us. We are bringing USA tea towels for friends we'll be seeing in three cities, and I've even split those up between the bags.

The only thing I lack is a clue to why two people need to carry 68 pounds of crap between them, not counting the coats, computers, guidebooks, and reading material that will probably bring us up to around 80 pounds.