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The Zen of Travel Packing: 5 Tips on Filling Your Duffel Sans Losing Your Mind

Categories: Adventure, Animals, Buddhist Practice, Conscious Living, Meditation, Mindfulness, New Age, Pets, Self-Improvement, Spiritual, Travel - Tags: , , , ,

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy……”Summertime”–Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong…  iframe>   but then sometimes, as we’re getting ready to take of into the great beyond for that long dreamed of summer vacation, it can be pretty nerve-wracking.  There’s so much to remember, plan for, think of.  It can leave us, as my world-traveling cousin likes to say, “Sometimes I feel I’m spinning like a hamster on a wheel with my hair on fire.”  Not even close to a zen image. Andale! Turbo Hamster


We Need All the Help We Can Get Packing for Our Trip!


OK, so how about approaching this task of packing from a different energy bank?  In our three year sabbatical of traveling around the world, my husband Jim and I have packed and unpacked so many duffels I couldn’t begin to count them.  And, I am happy to say, I have learned a LOT about how NOT to do it, and how to do it so it doesn’t make you crazy.  I’m happy to share some tips with you.


  1. First, don’t leave your packing to the last minute.  Last minute packing is inevitably harried and fraught with anxiety.  Consider that packing can actually be an enjoyable entre into your vacation.
  2. Second, make a list of what you’ll need.  I love and rely on my lists.  I have a generic shopping list on my computer with my usual haunts for groceries (Trader Joe’s, Costco, Shopper’s Corner etc) and categories to remind me of things I might forget—butter, eggs, yogurt, etc.  I have also created a checklist on my computer for travel packing.  It includes dop kit, cosmetics, underwear, socks, shoes, daytime outfits, evening wear, rain gear, umbrella, jacket/coats, jewelry, reading material, laptop, medicines, special gear (skiis, hiking poles, bike clothes, etc) plus reminders to change my outgoing office message, emergency contact info, etc

If you are going on an organized adventure travel trip, you will probably be given some packing tips.  Pay attention to them.  They know what they’re doing.

  1. Weed out everything non-essential. Whenever possible, take the lightest most easily packable and washable version of what you need.  Remember, you’ll be travelling, keep it simple. When you are schlepping your bag in and out of airports, buses, trains, etc. you will be so grateful that you didn’t bring that bulky coat, or those heavy shoes or that extra outfit.
  2. Take an extra, empty, folded up lightweight carrying bag if you think you might be “collecting” treasures to bring home.  Also, consider, if you are going to a third world country where people may need things you could donate, that you might even lighten up as you go along.
  3. Finally, allow time AFTER your bag is packed and before you get into the car, or the cab or whatever conveyance will take you on your dream vacation.  SIT DOWN and BREATHE.  If you do, your departure will be infinitely calmer and more enjoyable, and if indeed there IS something you forgot (say, the airline tickets) you have time to calmly retrieve them and still keep your smile and your equanimity.

And on the subject of leaving plenty of time, DO leave plenty of time with that mindfully packed duffel if you are taking public transport, to get to the airport, deal with traffic delays, go through security, etc.  Breathe…….Smile…….Enjoy…..

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