Organization is my middle name. And when it comes to packing I don’t like to leave things for the last minute. (You’ve probably figured that out since I’ve had my toiletries bag packed for over a month now.)
We are each bringing two bags with us; One big backpack for all our clothes and stuff, (which we’ll check-on the plane) and one small backpack for all the small stuff like books and journals (which we’ll carry-on the plane). Figuring out what to bring has been tricky, but I’ve learned a few lessons on the way.
(Just so you know, this isn’t a packing list and if you are looking for one, I would suggest googling it. The way I see it is everyone has different needs and habits so it is best if you make your own packing list and don’t rely on other peoples.)
Leave your House and Make a List
That’s right, I said leave your house. Get away from your closet, your shoes, and your books and find a quiet spot to make a list. This gets you away from what you actually have and makes you think solely of what you need. You’ll find out how helpful this is when you begin to pack and find out that while you love four of your sweaters your packing list says to bring only three. If you look in your closet at what you actually have without the list, your tendency will be to bring too much of it. Make a list and stick to it.
Where are you Going and What are you Going to do?
I’m a big advocate of the less is more theory, especially when you are carrying everything you own on your back. When Ryan and I traveled around the world a few years ago we brought little more than a few sweaters, t-shirts and pants. But this time we aren’t just traveling. We are going to work, something we have to keep in mind when packing.
Luckily our job teaching allows us to dress casually but we can’t wear stained jeans and ratty t-shirts. So, we went versatile, bringing polo shirts and a new pair of black jeans. All of those items can look nice while working and will still be comfortable and casual enough for when we travel.
Can’t Live Withouts
There are a few things that I think you should stock up on before your go; namely medicines and specialty items that are necessary (such as an extra pair of glasses). Health is one thing you don’t want to mess with and if you are on a certain medicine, or need a special item, why tempt fate? Bring it with you. Also research the area you are going to. I know, from reading different message boards, that finding shoes big enough to fit our western feet in China will be hard. So we’re planning ahead and bringing new pairs with us.
Unless you’re going hiking in the uncharted regions of the world (in which case you need an entirely different set of packing rules) don’t worry about forgetting something. You can always get stuff wherever you are. It might not be the brand you like, but deal with it. (And if you absolutely must have something from home, you can always beg a friend or family member to send it to you.)