packing for travel – why am I so bad at it? – and a new methodology

I’ve been travelling all my life. From literally a few weeks old. I guess my parents did my packing at first. But for decades I’ve been doing my own. And I am still rubbish, that is to say, inefficient at it. I don’t like doing it, and I dither and take hours, even though I have a detailed list.

At one stage many years ago I had a Kombi van – and I had most of my gear for camping in plastic rubbish bins permanently stored in the van. Friday night after I got home it was just a matter of grabbing some food and heading off into the country for the weekend. That worked OK.

Usually I start packing a couple of days before the trip, just in case I find there is something I have to buy, or foreign currency I should change. A problem is that there are some things that I only have one of, and those I am using right up until I leave – electric razor, phone charger etc.

So I am trying something new. I have modified my packing list so that I have a three sections: A prepacked section of things I will always take – which requires buying some duplicates such as an extra toothbrush and so on; a packing section of what I must pack for this trip – and this would vary depending on the weather etc.; and a last minute section which I will pack 15 minutes before I leave, as I cannot have duplicate phone chargers etc.

This is my list for the trip to Sri Lanka – reclassified with my new system.  I used everything I took, and wasn’t lacking anything.

pre-packed items

pre-packed items


Toileteries 4 electronics Clothes Toileteries
socks razor
toothbrush UK triple adapter upants mossie repellant
toothpaste adapter plugs shirts
shampoo earphones hat Documents
hairbrush tripod uniqlo jkt
hair gel USB-micro USB cord shoes driving licence
deo usb sd card reader t-shirts money -USD
soap SD-micro-SD adapter belt debit card
tissues USB mob charge cord day pack credit card
nail clippers MY plastic 2 prong trousers glasses
CS passport
floss wallet
wet razor Documents
laundry line
pegs pen
4 electronics
sink plug OR paper
plastic bag for wash travel insurance card directions mobile charger
laundry detergent passport copy plane/train tkt mobile
toilet paper passport photo maps tablet
spoon etc. money pouch light book tab charger
ziplock bags umbrella itinerary print eBooks
piri kari powder sunglasses music
bandaids torch
cotton buds bag weigher cam charger
ear plugs camera
cam batteries
swim cost
towel Replace or top up any prepack items
eye mask Return all pre pack items to their container

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