I wish I could say I’m a packing pro, but I’m not. My conferences and meetings do not happen in boardrooms or ballrooms. I don’t possess a navy or black suit with three contrasting silk shells. I’m more of a skirt and sweater girl, but even that can be pushing it depending on the meeting I’m attending. I saw more cargo shorts and polo shirts at my last meeting than business casual attire.
These days I’m doing more leisure travel which can be even more vexing in terms of packing. I’m not confident I’ve picked the right mix of clothing types. Will I sweat through every t-shirt I bring and what happens if I get a blister and need to swap out shoes? What if I get cold or too hot?
The great thing is most of the places like I go are in the first world and thanks to globalization – I’m likely to be within spitting distance of a GAP, so I can replenish my wardrobe if necessary. Better yet, I can subscribe to the weather alerts for the places I’m visiting to get a better idea of what to expect on the ground.
So, here are my rules to pack efficiently for a trip to the first world. It takes time and a few iterations to get it right, just like product/market fit. My objective when it comes to packing is to make sure that everything I bring get used during the trip.
Before starting to pack ask yourself these questions:
What is your packing goal for this trip?
Are you checking luggage?
How are you traveling? Will you be moving around or staying in one place long enough to dry your smalls over night?
Are you participating in an activity that requires event-specific apparel and shoe wear?
Are you the kind of person that can eat a ripe peach wearing a white t-shirt and have it remain white?
Are you averse to washing out smalls in sinks if necessary?
Are you okay wearing the same shirt or pants two days in a row?
Are you comfortable relying on hotel bathroom amenities and leaving your own stuff at home?
Are you planning or willing to buy new clothes on your trip?
How much electronic/craft equipment will you be bringing along with you?
Once you answer those questions – you can start thinking of the most efficient way to pack for your trip so that you can feel confident in your choices and not get cranky when you find you packed five pairs of socks and no smalls.