Though I love travel, I hate shopping. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but I’m definitely an in-and-out shopper. I make a list, get what I need, and then poof — I’m gone.
Knowing this about me, Mrs. Lite Adventurer was browsing some magazines laying around her office and sent me a photo of the following blurb from a previous issue of Women’s Health:
Let me blow up the relevant part so it’s easier for you to read:
What the hell people. You have got to be out of your mind if anything even remotely close to this horseshit applies to you. Reading this makes my head hurt. Sigh. Okay — let’s break it down.
Observation #1 — Unless you are going on vacation to a unique destination with climate conditions that are significantly outside the realm of normal, you do not need to buy all new clothes.
Going to Antarctica for a month to chill with some emperor pinguins? Yeah, you’ll probably need to acquire some stuff.
Going to Rome, Italy? I’m gonna take an educated guess that you probably have all the appropriate clothes you need.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s your cash, so do what you want to do. But let’s call it how it really is. If you go on a massive shopping spree every time you travel, it’s because you have a shopping addiction, not because you have a legitimate need to buy all those clothes.
Observation #2 — No wonder so many people find vacations stressful. Look at the earlier photo again. Damn, brother! If I had to drag myself to the mall 3 separate trips every single time I wanted to take a week off to see someplace cool, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be so stoked to go on vacation either! Eight days of prep? My prep takes eight minutes. You put the same few items in the same bag every time and you’re good to go. Done. No stress.
Observation #3 — About those “last minute” items. We do not take those. What you do is make a list of what you need, put the items on that list in your bag, and then you’re finished. After every big trip, you check that list, and if you discover that there are items that never got used a single time, then you adjust your list for the next vacation. Over time, the amount of stuff on the list gets smaller and smaller. No need to spend 12 hours buying up a bunch of things that you will never use.
In the distant past, my own last minute item was usually a book. I deluded myself into thinking I’d read it during down time, and without fail I’d always return home without having read more than a few pages, if anything at all. So on my own personal packing list, I specifically wrote down “No Books!”
In summary, if the thought of going on vacation stresses you out because of your luggage, then you’re doing it wrong. Consider simplifying the process and taking much less than what your instincts may tell you. Do this enough times and it will become second nature and easy. There are many things to stress about when traveling, but packing your bag shouldn’t be one of them.