Never doubt it: There’s a reason why your luggage should always have an inventory. Whether you’re a first-time traveler or you’ve been hopping, skipping, and jumping from locale to locale across the planet, having a complete inventory of everything in your bags can be the difference between a great adventure and a total disaster.
In this article, we’re going to go over some of the fundamentals. You’ll find out why you should list the medications and toiletries you need to have with you, how to remember which clothes to include (so that you’re prepared for all kinds of weather), the best travel tech, and what type of bag you should choose. Read on to get the lowdown on some luggage inventory hacks that will help prepare you for an incredible travel experience!
Unless you have the world’s best memory, making an inventory of everything you plan to pack is essential. Doing so can help ensure that you haven’t forgotten anything critical.
Seriously, faulty memories are a thing.
For example, you might think to yourself that you need to go out and purchase a few tubes of travel-sized toothpaste, that you want to take that sweater that’s hanging in your closet, or that you need to pick up that suit at the dry cleaners. Maybe you remember all of that!
However, maybe your spouse asked you to bring along some lotion, a pair of running shoes, and lip balm … and every single one of these items slipped your mind. Having a less-than-stellar memory is an excellent reason to make a baggage inventory (also known as a packing list). The following reasons are even better justifications for writing everything down before you begin to pack up:
- Stress reduction: Remember that much stress is caused by worry over things we cannot control. For instance, consider the push and pull of crowds, traffic jams on the way to the airport, delays caused by security, terrible food, and more. However, you fully control your luggage and what goes in it. Instead of a mad dash to throw everything you think you need in your bags, create an inventory so you have peace of mind knowing exactly what you’ve chosen to take on your trip.
- Save time: By creating an inventory before you even start packing, you can plan on what to take along. When it comes time to start packing, checking in your bag, or avoiding the baggage claim, you won’t be plagued by a bad memory or by having to waffle back and forth over a decision.
- Remember everything: We already mentioned this above, but it bears repeating. By creating a packing list, an inventory of everything you’re putting in your luggage, you won’t reach your destination only to discover you forgot essential items that belong on your journey.
- Travel documents
- Travel tech (cameras, cellphones, headphones, laptop, etc.)
Under each category, start listing the items you know you’ll need (or think you’ll need). For instance, a trip to the Swiss mountains might include a “passport” under travel documents and a “sweater” and “hiking boots” under clothing.
Don’t try to make a list entirely from memory. Instead, go into each relevant room. For example, go into the bathroom when writing out your toiletries list, into your bedroom when listing out the clothes you want to take, etc. Being in the rooms where these items typically have their home can prompt you to remember things you might otherwise forget.
If you are traveling with someone, ask that individual (or individuals) to make their own luggage inventory as well. Not only will this help them not to forget items they want to take, but reading their list could jog your memory and help prevent you from forgetting something you want to take as well. And if you are going to travel with your pet, you need to make a list of necessary items you’ll need for its care. Knowing precisely what you’ve taken for your pet can also help provide some peace of mind.
Right up there with making your luggage inventory is ensuring you have a quality bag (or set of bags) you’re going to carry your list of items in. No matter where you’re planning a trip to, you’re going to need luggage that’s lightweight, sturdy, versatile, and large enough to hold everything you plan to take.
You’ve got your list, you know what you’re taking, and everything is packed. Once you’ve arrived at your destination, don’t be tempted to think that you no longer need your luggage inventory. Instead, hold on to it. You can optimize that very same list. Remove the stuff you took with you but never used. Add things you should have taken but didn’t. The next time you’re on a trip, you’ll find that your luggage inventory has become a highly personalized, must-have document that does double duty by saving time and reducing overall stress!
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