The Single Most Important Thing to Do Before Travelling

I'm aware that this is a bit of a no-brainer, but I'm a firm believer that the single most important thing you can do before a trip is make a packing list. But not just any packing list. Perhaps it's the former executive assistant in me, but I'd consider myself a very detail-oriented trip planner, which manifests itself in my all-important packing list. Sure, you can always buy something you forgot when you arrive at your destination, but I'd prefer to not deal with the hassle of locating something I need in a strange city. I'll also do anything I can to cut down on the time that it takes to actually pack. 

Therefore, I developed a packing list strategy many years ago that I use for every single trip I take—even if it's just one night long. To fill you in so that you too can make the dreaded process of packing a little easier, I've laid out my method below, which includes a sample packing list template that I follow every time. Feel free to print it out or copy it down the next time you have an impending trip!

Keep scrolling to find out how to construct a perfect packing list, and don't forget to shop our travel essentials at the end.

The best jumping-off point when making your packing list is to refer to old lists from similar trips you've taken. I save every packing list for this purpose.

You'll be so glad when it comes down to actually putting things in your suitcase if your list is as thorough as possible. For example, instead of saying "top and skirt" for one of your outfits, list exactly which top and skirt, along with the shoes and accessories you'll pair with it. The same goes for non-clothing items. This will help you to avoid over- or underpacking. Check items off as you go.

Look up your destination's weather forecast for the days that you'll be visiting and write it on the list. That way, you can easily choose exactly what to wear each day based on the climate.

There are certain items that you're going to need to pack at the very last minute (i.e. your toothbrush and phone charger). Mark those items with an asterisk or any other symbol or letter that will catch your eye, or try highlighting them. This will be a lifesaver when you're scrambling to get out the door to catch a flight.

Last but least, don't forget to pack your packing list so that you can refer back to it each day of the trip to see which outfit you planned out.

Do you have any packing list strategies of your own? Share them with us in the comments below!

Opening Image: Phill Taylor