I personally enjoy the planning and anticipation phase of the trips as much as the trips themselves. And the importance of planning can’t be downplayed. The trip is infinitely more enjoyable if you have thought of all the right things to bring to prevent having to run out in strange lands to buy items you should have remembered.
And most times you have months to think about the trip. We all tend to get caught up in the mindless drifting as we envision these beautiful places we will be going, but a sanity check is extremely important.
So lets start with some basics. For those of us who do a bit more travelling, having a toilet kit or makeup bag mostly already packed and ready to go is a huge time saver. Maybe there are a few items you can’t afford or do not want to have two of, but most stuff frankly is not that expensive and is easy to keep in a bag ready to go. For those things you need to throw in, simply make a note and keep it in the bag or kit with the items you need to remember to add written on it.
This one step alone can save you lots of hours of frustration. In addition to a list of unpacked toiletries, a general list of things you think of in the weeks before the trip is critical. You will necessarily think of a whole bunch of things you absolutely must have, some of which you will necessarily forget if you do not write them down. I have even gone so far as to have an item written, but forgot it anyway as a consequence of focusing on all the other items. Be sure to check each one off as you pack it to insure you have them all. If you went to the trouble of writing the item down it is inexcusable to forget it anyway.
Extra batteries for anything you are bringing that takes batteries is a huge time saver. Particularly if you are bringing a camera. It is a nightmare to see a great shot only to discover a dead camera battery.
Travel insurance and copies of all your important documents is a necessary step. If you lost a document or it gets stolen, the copy is the only proof you have that you ever owned it. DO NOT GET LAZY and ignore this step or forget to store the copies in a safe place.
Even if you are taking a short domestic trip, be sure to pack enough toiletries to get you by one night in the event your luggage takes a different flight than you do. It is rare the airlines can;t get you your stuff within a day but having to go out and buy all the necessary things when you get in can be a huge inconvenience.
Planning can be a big challenge, depending on the length of time you will be gone. It turns our there are a lot of apps (surprise surprise) that you can use to help you remember things and think of some of the more obscure items you might need depending on where you are going. If you want to peruse a list of some of the better apps, check out this site.