Packing ahead of time for travel reduces stress

Lori Firsdon
Lori Firsdon

Holiday travel will soon be here. If you find it stressful packing for your travels or you forget things because you’re rushed at the last minute, you can begin packing now to make it easier when it’s time to go.

As soon as I know about a trip, I shop for anything I may need. I don’t wait till the last minute to make these purchases, just in case there is a problem finding my size or I have trouble locating what I need.

I keep my toiletries bag packed at all times. Inside you’ll find products for showering, hairstyling, brushing teeth, feminine products and first-aid items.

By having all these items packed ahead of time, all I have to add is the makeup and medications I use regularly, which I drop into the bag as I use them on the morning of the trip.

This packed bag has also come in handy on a number of occasions.

Years ago, my husband snatched it up when we were heading out the door to the hospital to deliver my babies. Another time, he brought it to me when our son had to go from a pediatrician appointment straight to the hospital. I didn’t have a chance to go home and pack and ended up staying a full week.

When visiting a loved one in the hospital, I take it with me and leave it in the car in case my visit turns into an unexpected overnight stay.

When caring for my elderly mother, I would bring my bag to the nursing home and use products brought from home to bathe her. She loved the fresh scents that would mask the clinical smells of her surroundings.

One year, my husband surprised me with a weekend getaway for our anniversary. I had about a half an hour to pack. Because of my pre-packing, even this was not a challenge.

A few days before my trip, I make sure all the laundry is done and I don’t wear anything I plan to take. If all my laundry is clean and put away, packing the night before is a breeze.

I also have an overnight bag packed with things I usually travel with so all I have to do is add my clothes, shoes and jewelry. In-between trips, I replenish these products so the bag is always ready to go.

These items include my neck pillow for flights or long car rides, and an eye mask so the light in the hotel room doesn’t bother me if others want to stay up late or wake earlier than I do.

I collect a few plastic grocery bags or the bags the newspaper comes in to use as shoes bags. I could buy cloth shoe bags, but recycling the store bags makes more sense.

I keep a clothes pin in my bag to keep hotel curtains closed, and a few kitchen garbage bags to collect dirty laundry.

A pair of reading glasses makes it easier to read in low light when others are sleeping.

Packing what you can ahead of time makes it less likely you’ll forget things, and makes packing less rushed when it’s time to go. You’ll also be more prepared in an emergency.

Lori Firsdon owns Forte Organizers in Centerville. She does onsite organizing and speaking engagements. For more organizing tips, visit

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