Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Packing Tips

This weekend I'm taking a trip to Snowmass Village, Colorado with my girlfriend and her family. I'll be offline until I return next week, but I figured I'd take the opportunity to share some packing tips with you before I hit the road (er, plane...). Honestly, this is my first ski trip, and I'm relatively clueless about what to pack, so I won't be offering any advice there. Instead, it's with that in mind that I revisit some more general tips that will help you out regardless of where your travels take you:

  • Know what you'll be doing: This is probably the biggest, and it's amazing how many people (including myself) will just skip it and try to pack for anything and everything. Instead of being over-prepared for everything, this kind of tactic will really leave you over-prepared only for the things you won't be doing, and under-prepared for the things you will be doing. Instead, take the time to find out what occasions you need to be considering. For example, on my upcoming trip, I know we'll be spending the whole weekend in the ski town of Snowmass Village, rather than any time in Boulder (where Christine's brother lives) or Denver (where her sister lives and we will be flying into). We aren't going out to any fine dining establishments, having any business meetings, or going clubbing. So what does all that mean? It means I can save a ton of space in my bags by leaving my suit, blazers, dress shoes, and dress pants at home. Instead, I can focus on casual, outdoorsy gear that will keep me warm on the slopes and around the town, and comfortable in the lodge or local bars.
  • Opt for versatility: If at any point you are trying to decide between multiple items of clothing, always go for the most versatile option. That way, you'll end up with the maximum number of possible combinations once you arrive at your destination. This makes it way harder for some unexpected circumstance to screw up your entire wardrobe plan for your trip, and instead you'll be more able to adapt and adjust to events on the fly.
  • Don't forget your basic packing tips: These are the ones that everyone learns (or should) at some point, but that we often forget. Things like rolling your jeans and trousers to save space and avoid creases; to stuff your socks (or ties and other accessories) into your shoes - again to save room; to keep your necessities in your carry on in case your checked luggage is lost; the list goes on, but you get the idea. Keeping all of these things in mind will give you more room - and since you know exactly what you are packing for, you'll have more room to over-prepare for those specific occasions.
  • Dress smart for the airport: Again, something that is easy to forget in the whirlwind of packing. Keep your airport check-in simple by making smart wardrobe choices. Among my favorites: wear a jacket with a lot of pockets. Then, keep all of your things in your jacket pockets rather than your pants. Going through security, you just need to remove your coat, rather than digging out your phone, change, wallet, headphones, ID, money clip, etc. etc. right there at the x-ray machines. In the summer (non-coat weather), same idea works with a light blazer. Similarly, save time by wearing slip-on shoes, like loafers. Nothing pisses me off more than seeing someone in front of me in line with lace-up boots on that will probably take him/her ten minutes just to untie. Easy little decisions like this will make things that much smoother and less stressful.
There are zillions of travel tips out there, and I'm not going to try to list every single one I can think of, but these four are the ones that I'll be keeping in mind as I pack for this upcoming excursion. Feel free to share your own in the comments!

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