I love going on adventures but I really, really, really hate packing. I don’t know why I hate it so much; it must be my Achilles heal, or athlete’s foot. I find myself doing absolutely ANYTHING else but pack in the lead up to any impending departure. I do housework, I write poems, I start paintings, my runs get longer. I think I’m at my most creative when I’m supposed to be counting out pairs of pants to put in a bag.
With my trip coming up in three days, my procrastination level has crept up to unprecedented levels (hence this blog, which I’m writing after work, in the precious few hours I should have set aside to do important packing-related things before dinner). The closer we get to Saturday, the less I seem to achieve. If anything my clothes are more scattered, my devices less retrievable, and god knows where my passport’s scurried off to.
So this list I’ve made, instead of packing, is for those who also struggle to get round to important things for some inexplicable reason.
1. Make sure you leave everything until the very last possible minute
Don’t drag out the unpleasantness of packing by starting days or (lol) weeks in advance of your departure date. It’s amazing how much you can squeeze into a few hours when a few hours is all you have to get travel insurance, exchange currency, buy tiny bottles of shampoo and conditioner, plan outfits, find the camera you haven’t seen since your holiday a year ago, charge your Kindle, shave your entire body and somehow make your toenails look less hideous in preparation for sandals.
Think of all the time you’ll save by doing all of that in a blind panic the night before your early morning flight.
2. Write a list of all the things you have to do so you don’t have to think about them anymore
Lists are really good for dissipating holiday-related anxiety. It means you’ve transferred all of those pesky floating thoughts onto a nice, solid piece of paper and you don’t have to worry about them any more. Lists are 98% of packing anyway. As long as you have a list somewhere, you can forget about it until some vague point in the future like the night before you leave. It’s fine, it’s all written down. You’ve got it.
3. Maintain unfounded belief in your backpack’s ability to contain a month’s worth of stuff
HOW MUCH for hold luggage? No thanks. You’re going to have to squeeze a month’s worth of clothes, course books, tech gadgets, contact lenses, make-up, swimming things, toiletries and a towel into quite a small backpack so it can come with you for free in the plane’s cabin.
Packing lots of things into a small space is all about self-belief. What are shorts but a bunch of atoms, anyway? If you roll them up tightly enough you might even create some kind of black hole, making room for all your other shorts.
4. Avoid the inconvenience of having to decide what to wear by buying 7 of the same thing
There’s only one thing more boring than packing, and that’s shopping. Yes you probably want to look nice on holiday. That’s why all you have to do is find one nice thing, and buy 7 or more of them (depending on length of trip). This will cut down your shopping time considerably, and make it much quicker to get dressed in the mornings, leaving more time for holiday activities.
5. Remember that all you really need is your passport, ticket and some money
Packing is pointless, really. To get to your desired destination all you really need is your ticket, passport and some money. Remember that, so if you forget anything, or your luggage gets put on the wrong flight, you don’t need to have a meltdown when you turn up at your destination empty-handed. Just keep these 3 important things in a little pouch (say, a trendy bumbag) and forget about everything else. It’s all superfluous, materialistic, a burden if anything.
So there we have it. Five excellent packing tips for your next holiday! Of course, my next blog will be all about how I stuffed my rucksack so much that it exceeded the cabin baggage limitations and I had to pay for hold luggage, and my rucksack got put on the wrong flight and I turned up in Costa Rica with my passport, ticket and money and no pants whatsoever.