He wouldn’t have been saved by any packing list in the world, but his story highlights the fact that advance planning—and early packing can sometimes save us from folly.
As the holidays approach, travel sites are full of advice on how to pack. Almost universally, they include depressingly detailed lists. (Tweezers, dental floss, moisturizer? Really?) I use a listless method myself. Long before I began traveling as much as I do today, I bought a toiletries bag that I packed once and haven’t unpacked since. It holds make-up, hair stuff, dental stuff, eyeglass cleaner, hand sanitizer—in other words all the things I’ll need, no matter where I’m going. When I return from a trip, I replenish whatever I’ve used and put the bag on the travel shelf ‘til I’m ready to go again. No list necessary.
Sitting on the shelf beside the toiletry bag is a banker’s box holding medication containers, a jewelry case, and small zippered packs for cords, chargers, batteries and plug adapters—stuff that can be easily packed in advance, with a minimum of decision-making required. Again, no need for a list. The containers serve as reminders. Also in the box are an umbrella, sunscreen, insect spray, and other items I need on some trips but not on others. Again, their presence in the box are my reminders.
Having all that stuff on the travel shelf means I’m half-packed before I start. The hard part, deciding what clothes to take, is a little less formidable with the detail stuff done.
One more tip: Do your liquids sometimes leak during flight? I used to seal bottles of mouthwash or hair spray or other necessary fluids in zip-type plastic bags and hope for the best—which usually meant a damp messy bag when I unpacked later. There’s a better way. After screwing on the cap, wrap scotch tape tightly around the joint where cap meets bottle—and take the tape with you so you can do the same thing for the trip home. Okay … I still put the container in a plastic bag (extra insurance, so to speak), but so far I’ve had no more wet bags to contend with.