Packing Lists 101: Take the stress out of travel by getting organized

  • March 5, 2012
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By Courtney E. Lewis

So you’re going on a trip. A list is a great way to make sure you’re ready for anything that comes your way. Unless it’s a TSA agent getting to second base with you because – double whammy – you forgot to take off the chunky necklace and left that ID in your back pocket. Oops! And guzzle your Starbucks because you’re not getting it past security. I’ve tried. The excuse “…but it’s 6 A.M.!!” doesn’t work. Major fail.

Packing Lists 101: Take the stress out of travel by getting organized
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Building your packing list is easy.  Personally, I go room by room through my house. Starting with the bathroom, I make a list of all my necessary toiletries. For product … er, worshipers… like my sister, take out another piece of paper. We have more things to list. Since my bottles of perfume are not travel size I group them with other liquids in my toiletries list. You will also want to include any hair appliances, ties, and extras here as well so you’re not left in cold weather without a hairdryer!

The bedroom is next, where I take a day by day approach to planning my list. It helps to think of the major event of the day – big dinner, visiting the niece, seeing potential clients – and plan out your clothing, footwear and undergarments. Pieces that layer and pack easily always make it to the top of my list. To easily go from day to night, I make sure to dress up or dress down my outfits with a list of accessories. Speaking of night, don’t forget your pajamas!

Do we have everything? Not yet. There’s always the list of entertainment items we will need, most of which go in my carry-on. I list out my technologically advanced items – HTC 4G smartphone, Vaio laptop (What? I’m not a Mac/Apple girl. So put a “kick me” sign on my back!), chargers, headphones – and then list my not so technologically advanced items like books and magazines. Yes, you can list your iPad. I promise not to be jealous.

Now, if you’re uber forgetful, get detailed with your bad self. Write down the ‘duh!’s like ID, wallet, purse, keys, and Ryan Reynolds pocket-size shrine. As a reminder put a + sign next to what gets added to your purse, or carry-on, and a – sign next to items that must be removed like that full-sized bottle of hand cream!

Making a packing list may seem geeky, but it definitely helps take some stress out of travel. And if that doesn’t work, leave room to see your massage therapist before you take flight.

What are your packing tips? If you have travel tips and tricks to share with the community, write us at

This is a guest post by Courtney E. Lewis, a customer. Courtney lives in Chicago and is a licensed massage therapist, small business owner, and Board Member for the Illinois Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). Her private practice is The Rub Chicago. You can find her on twitter @therubchicago.

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