questionswhen do you start packing for a trip?


I make a list starting the week before but don't actually put anything into a suitcase until either the morning of or the night before leaving. I like the flexibility of not putting stuff in and I can plan on weather or whatever.


It depends on how long the trip will be for. If it is a short trip then I typically pack the same day. If it is a longer trip then I do it the night prior, especially if I am leaving early. I agree with @zuiquan though, it helps to be flexible for other things that might come up.


When I traveled, I always had a bag prepacked with essentials, and one of the things in the bag was a list so that I could go through, and check off things as I packed. Sometimes my travel was begun with a phone call of "You're on flight 123 on American Airlines, and you leave in four hours." That usually left enough time to make coffee, decide what the weather was on the other end, and how long I'd be there, and to pack accordingly.

Given the choice, I always packed the night before. I'm NOT a morning person, and it was just one less thing to make my morning unpleasant.

I avoid travel now, as much as possible. I spent enough time in the air while I was working to last me a lifetime.


Two or three days before so I have time to make sure that I have all the things I need and if I don't I can replace or find what I need.


Wow, your method would totally maximize my anxiety! In fact, even with my very early packing methods, I tend to have a dream just before a trip that goes something like this:

I'm woken by the doorbell. It's my best friend, in a panic. The plane is leaving in half an hour! Somehow I forgot we were going. I haven't packed anything, I don't have any clean clothes. I haven't made arrangements for the pets or taken time off from work. I wake with a sense of calamity.

My vacation this year will be in September. I already have my pet sitter lined up, a packing list started on my laptop, and a small suitcase at the end of my bed to put things I've bought for the trip. Travel sized toiletries, new toothbrush, comb, earplugs, insect and sunblock wipes, paperbacks, etc. Of course I will be gone for three weeks, staying in three US cities then visiting three foreign countries on a cruise ship, so I need to have a good selection of clothes, personal items and entertainment.


Usually the morning of, or the night before if it's an early flight. Of course, I've traveled enough at this point that it's almost automatic.

And really, as long as I have my passport, credit card, iDevices, kindle and battery backup, I'm good to go.


For real travel where I need to get on a plane I like to start a couple days before. If you wait until the last minute only to find out that something you really wanted to take with you is in the hamper needing to be washed that sucks. For my girlfriend I have started forcing her to pack a day or two early. It may lengthen her anxiety, but it results in fewer forgotten items as she continues to go over what she has packed.

For weekend road trips half an hour before is plenty.


For me, it depends how you look at it. For example, I have a small trip coming up this weekend, heading out Friday. Strictly speaking, I 'started packing' months ago, when the last time I used the suitcase, before putting it up I made sure it was stocked with eyeglass wipes, minor toiletries, usb charging cable for my phone with a wall plug. Those stay in the suitcase. I got it out yesterday to make sure everything is in order and already threw in some clothes. But I'm still not really 'packed', I prefer an electric razor, so that doesn't go in until after I've used it Friday morning. So really, the answer is I start packing months ahead, pack around 95% of it a couple days before, then finish moments before I head out.


Depends on the trip. I'm one of those guys who "got" "Up in the Air" so I pretty much have the whole thing down to how it works for me. Like an overnight to a couple day business trip, I'll do it night before so I can do a last minute check before leaving. Big trips that include lots of stops whether for business or fun or combo, it'll be days before. One thing I've learned is that people usually overpack and end up bringing things they don't need or use. A trick I learned was to pack how you normally would and then reduce it all by half.

And always keep your toiletries stocked and in a convenient spot ready to go. That also includes a set of charging cables for your electronics.


Our bedroom is never really clean because there is always at least one semi-packed bag on the floor at any time. Right now there is one suitcase DH just hauled in from a business trip, plus two duffels we haven't completely unpacked from a weekend on our boat. The packing is always quicker than the UN-packing.

We seem to spend a lot of time on the road. My mother is in poor health and 150+ miles away so I keep a couple of toiletry bags packed and I can just toss them in a duffel with a few bits of clothing and I'm out the door. On the other hand, I attend a few conferences and events each year with complicated schedules. I often start at least a month early looking at the calendar of events, figuring out when I'm a speaker or facilitator, when special outfits are necessary, what the weather will be, etc, and make out a plan of what to wear and when. Sometimes I have to actually BUY something to wear for an event (what a tragedy). More planning requires earlier packing.


It depends on the trip, but usually the night before for a long trip or the day of for a short one.


Sadly, it normally happens minutes before :P


Most of my traveling these days involves road trips to a week in a rented cabin in the mountain boonies of NC, TN, or GA. A week or so before we leave, as I come across stuff I want to take but am also likely to forget to pack, I toss it into a cardboard box. The night before we leave I do all my packing except the last-minute things I'll need in the morning. The Spouse does his packing in about 15 minutes (guys are sooo lucky this way!) and takes care of packing "the vacation box," which includes such items as a couple of extension cords, a spare light bulb, a good frying pan, and my favorite kitchen knife.