Does packing stress you out?

It’s not just me???

I have an Excel spreadsheet on my laptop for packing, but I still stress out. I do a lot of recommended things (roll clothes, stick to a color palette, etc.) but I still hate not being able to take everything I own!


My strategies is taking my favorite items, “layering” items and also considering a color palatte. My biggest issue is limiting shoes.


I went to Mark and Spencer and bought a nice sweater because I didn’t pack one, I had to go North of England like North Yorkshire to visit my husband’s friends in the Fall, it cost me £15, at that cost it’s not worth worrying about it.

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OK, y’all, my friend is at the airport, and now I get it. I told her that I posted here and that it seemed to be pretty evenly split, and she said that she still doesn’t get how this is not stressful for people. As we texted, it became clear … she’s a perfectionist and packing is the one thing she can control in what, for many, is a stressful situation where lots of things can go wrong. Now I get it!

Those of you who stress out at packing … Do you think that’s the thing for you? She and I used to work together in the same kind of jobs where perfectionism is encouraged and kind of an occupational hazard. My perfectionism manifests in other ways, I’m sure.


Thank Goodness I don’t have that problem. I’m the lazy type, I admit it. No perfection necessary in my household.

I get stressed out about things like people getting sick, cars breaking down, messed up flights, weather, etc. Packing, not so much. I used to stress about having all tickets & required information for everything. It’s much easier now that everything is online. But I also confess that with big trips (not weekend getaways), I have a master 1 page document that lists the important information for every flight, car rental, hotel, excursion, etc. It’s listed out by day that we’ll encounter it, and it’s color coded! I carry a hard copy in my backpack, and send it to all of our email addresses.

But it has come in handy when flights ARE cancelled, and you have to call the rental company, hotel, etc. Everything you need is there, and I also have the date of the confirmation email, so I can find it quickly on my phone, since I usually book everything many months in advance.


I use TripIt for that purpose. It saves so much work. All you have to do is to forward all confirmation emails to TripIt. Everything will be neatly organized nearly instantaneously. You can share the TripIt itinerary with anyone on your list (there’s also an option to allow any of them to add to or modify the itinerary).


I’m the definition of a high-strung, type A perfectionist, and I don’t stress about packing – because I perfected it (for me) long ago. I created a method that works for me and have stuck with it. Then again, almost all the clothes and shoes I own would fit in a couple of roller bags…


I have a “Hawaii bag” and a “SJC/SFO bag.” These are pre-packed with things we only use at those destinations. The other items are added as needed the night before departure.


I have a series of packing lists as word documents on my computer. I can usually slightly revamp an old list for a new vacation. I do all the packing - including for my husband.

For me, it’s the clothes that are stressful. I don’t like choosing outfits for ANY event, and having to figure out what to take for a week or two is so painful!


This has been a time saver for all of us. Now, I noticed that each of my children do the exact same thing.

When I come back home, I keep the toiletry bag out so that I can see what needs to be refilled.

I also have a “kit” that I put together, years ago, specifically for my medications, that fits inside those lunch bags sold at Costco.
costco lunch bag
(They always run about $14 in the fall.)
That little container stays in the fridge because my meds have to be refrigerated so I just put the kit in the insulated Costco bag.

I prep everything during the week such that all of the laundry is done, the kitchen is clean, and all prescriptions are picked up for everyone.

It makes it less stressful for me and it just feels like my regular chores.

It takes me about 15 minutes to pack.

Husband unpacks in the hotel. I live out of the suitcase and most of my things go into the bathroom. Reason: We’ve stayed in some places where people have used “other things” to
clean the dressers/drawers. My husband must have gotten some chemical on his clothing that gave him a rash. We had to go to an Urgent Care. I didn’t get it.

(The reason I also clean the kitchen is because I have neighbors who have returned to massive ants, pests, floods, etc. I don’t want anything that can tempt any animal or pest to come into the house. And, I will never know when a flood or an object may fall or break, but I will know that it was clean before we left. )

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I don’t even have a list. I just used and make sure the itenary has no empty dates.
Such a lazy bum I am, lol.

I find packing stressful and tend to overpack. For me, footwear is a big challenge. I have bad feet and so the shoes I need to walk in on a trail are not the same as those in the city or for a dressy event. We also often go to the west coast, traveling from areas with 90 degree plus to the mountains with very cold nights.

I was able to pack for a week in London with just a carryon and a backpack. Easier because there were no events and the weather was consistently cool and damp.

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What makes SFO/SJC special to warrant its own bag, except that you need to pack LOADS of extra cash? :rofl:

Mr.’s and my business shoes, hotel slippers, and Wine Skins (to bring back the loot from the side trek to Sonoma). :rofl:

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I really don’t stress about packing. Last year I went on vacation and one suitcase didn’t arrive for half the trip, so I just went out and bought new swimsuits and other needed things, compliments of SW airline.

But for some reasons, my anxiety dreams are all about packing and getting to the airport and not having a passport. This has never happened, so I don’t know why I dream about even when I don’t even have plans to go anywhere. Currently, my passport is ‘out for renewal’ so I couldn’t go anywhere even if I wanted to, but I still had a dream recently about a friend and I at lunch and she says “We should leave for the airport soon” and I scream “I have to go home and pack.” This friend is NEVER on time. I would NEVER leave her in charge of the timetable for a trip (or even lunch), but yet here was my dream of her being in charge.

My anxiety is my credit cards do not work overseas, sure enough that did happen to all of them, I had 4 with me. Luckily my debit card did work at a hotel and they were able to charge it. I did call the credit card companies before my trip too. This happened at a high end American hotel like Hyatt. But the card worked for a taxi before the hotel, and immediately after the incident it worked at other places. Very strange, because they did get our credit card number before we booked, but they didn’t charge them.

Packing USED to stress me out. But not anymore because I do this:

  • I write out a packing list by hand. The physical act of doing this calms me down. I totally could do a packing list on Excel or Word, but I find it relaxing to write it out the old fashioned way.
  • When I start to get anxious about what to pack, I go back and review the list.
  • A few days before the trip, I set aside a pile of stuff that I’m going to pack. These are usually items which I won’t need in regular every day life before the trip.
  • Also a few days before the trip, I take EVERYTHING on the list and lay it out on my bed. Why? So I can look at it and then ask myself, “Do you REALLY need to bring ___ or can you make do without it?”
  • Laying all the stuff out on the bed sometimes makes me realize, “Oh barnacles, I need a ___. I need to go buy one this week before we leave on the trip.” This prevents last minute panicking late the night before we are to leave.
  • Whenever possible, I try to stick to carry on luggage only. This helps me a great deal in reducing my travel stress because I know that I’ll have all of my clothes and other odds & ends with me. Therefore, the whole game of “What if our flight is delayed?” or “What if they lose my luggage?” totally disappears. My DH, on the other hand, over packs every single time.
  • Laying it all out on the bed in front of me helps me remind myself, “You’re not traveling to outer Mongolia. So if you run out of deoderant or need to buy more sunscreen, it’s going to be just fine.” It also helps me to NOT pack the bag full of a bunch of “just in case” items that never get used.

As I said above, packing stresses me out.

And I am so NOT a perfectionist! I just want to have clothes that work together, shoes that work , etc.