Saturday, May 7, 2016

List person

A fellow blogger (not naming any names ;) and I are hoping to blog a bit more often and explore some newer, fresher ways of writing.  I know what you're thinking - it's about time!

Said friend suggested we take a page from the bullet journaling method.  I'm actually interested in tweaking this journaling method and using it to keep my work notebooks a bit neater.  I can't use all the ideas in the blog but I have been inspired to make a bullet blog post of my own.  Or maybe a whole series: My Life in Lists. Coming from a long line of list people this sounds like something I can manage.

So, list number 1, because I am constantly amazed by the huge disconnect between people who travel a lot (say, diplomats) and people who travel occasionally (i.e. friends and family back home) when it comes to trip prep skills.  As an example, back in my college days whenever I came home for the holidays certain family members would begin asking me if I had packed for my trip back to school yet - the day after my arrival! While I don't recommend saving the packing to the hour before your trip - in case something is missing, needs washed, whatever - it certainly shouldn't need to be a multi week endeavor! Having a list helps too - so in that moment when you are standing at the door asking "Are you sure we didn't forget anything?" there will be some way to reassure yourself that you didn't.

Almost Any Trip Packing List

In your purse/briefcase/backpack
  • Tablet (at least one book should be on there and two for big readers)
  • Phone (duh)
  • Cords for the above and plug adaptors (for destination and all transit countries)
  • Money! Both cards and cash, you never know
  • ID - passport and or driver's license, work ID for work trips
  • Pen x 2 and notebook
  • Evidence of all your travel arrangements - hotel and flight confirmation numbers, itineraries, etc
  • Snack
  • Simple toiletries (comb, chapstick, lotion, hair ties and make up) 
  • Overnight toiletries if you happen to be traveling for several hours or more (toothbrush, travel sized toothpaste, and deodorant) - for quick flights keep these in the big bag
  • Scarf - seriously not optional - my big scarf goes everywhere with me, even in summer amd it is always useful
In your shoulder bag/roller bag/etc
  • Even more toiletries! (razor, perfume/cologne, Q-tips if, like me, you are addicted to them)
  • Shoes - It really depends on the trip but I hate to bring more than 1-2 pairs in addition to whatever I wear on the plane. Work trips are the hardest, particularly if you plan to go running or need boots or casual shoes for the downtime, but doing your best to bring outfits within the same color family can help you trim this a bit.
  • Outfits for x days - again this depends so much on the weather, trip purpose, etc that I can't give a clear rule*, but generally I pack one pair of underwear and socks for every day, shirts for each day plus one extra (accidents happen!), one sweater, and a max of two pairs of pants, no matter the trip length.  For more than a week you would be well served to just have some shirts laundered halfway through, rather than hauling around a huge bag to accomodate too many clothes. There are also tons of good guides on capsule wardrobes you can check out for ideas.

*Just for reference on a recent overnight trip to Assisi I packed two shirts, underclothes, cardigan and pajamas. Then I just mixed those up with the jeans, shoes, and jacket that I wore on the train.

Depending on the trip
  • Swimming suit
  • Camera - if your phone takes crap pictures or you are a photography enthusiast
  • Business cards
  • Coat, gloves and boots


  1. My "last minute out the door" checklist is wallet, keys, phone, and (if needed) passport. Realistically, in most non-camping environments, a replacement for any other thing can be procured during the trip if you happen to accidentally leave it behind. It won't necessarily be cheap, depending on what it is, but it's probably doable.

    Also, when flying with checked luggage I always, always, ALWAYS, toss an extra t-shirt and underwear in my carry-on. I've had way too many surprise layovers and delayed bags not to value having an extra day's worth of clean clothes ready to hand.

    1. Amen with the surprise layover! Happened to me in Naples not very long ago at all.