This is by no means a comprehensive list, but these are some of the things I keep in mind when traveling, be it for a weekend or a month. I’m going to skip some that I consider obvious, like bring at least one book.
- If you can’t carry it, you shouldn’t have brought it.
- If you brought it, you alone are responsible for carrying it.
- The weather channel/websites will lie to you. Unfortunately, it’s hard to predict in which way they’ll lie. But expect to need either the sun lotion or the umbrella, and remember layers are your friend for this reason.
- Pack as if you will spill an entire pot of spaghetti sauce on at least one full set of clothing.
- Bring extra underwear. Far better to have too much than too little.
- Your clothes will be wadded up. Don’t pack wrinkly fabric.
- One set of clothing should be able to be dressed up or down as needed.
- I usually have both close-toed sneaker-y shoes and dressier sandals with me. What if I’m in heels at a business event and then everyone spontaneously decides to hike a mountain? You think I’m overthinking this, but JUST WAIT.
- Hiking a mountain in heels isn’t so much a problem for me as for the shoes. However, this brings up a corollary rule, which is, “If they’re not comfortable enough to walk in all day and sprint in, you shouldn’t be wearing them,” and you certainly shouldn’t be traveling in them.
- If possible, only pack things that can fit into overhead compartments. It’s far easier to keep track of things if you aren’t checking them, and if you have a layover or a flight change, you can make sure the luggage is still with you.
- Food and water. It’s best not to assume the airport will have anything edible, or open, at the times you’re inside of it.
- Any time I have not brought scissors, nail clippers, or bathing suits with me, I have needed them. Because I bring them all, I won’t need them. This is how logic works.