Given we seem to be having a Covid break and people want to do some traveling, it’s time to think about what and how to pack. If you are going away for a day or two or going camping, then you know what few things you need. You can stow them in a backpack or a duffle bag and you’re good to go. However, if you are going away on a cruise, or for several weeks, to a major metropolitan area, or a special event, then the requirements are quite different. As a veteran traveler of thirteen cruises and a guest at distant weddings, I have worked out a system that lets me get everything together quickly and efficiently. Let me show you some practices that I employ in order to pack like a pro and be ready for the weather, the event, and activities.


  • The Weather:  Is it going to be hot, cold, or rainy and will I need to prepare for all of these. Honestly, I never travel without a rollup poncho and small, lightweight umbrella. It doesn’t matter what your destination or time of year, rain can happen any time and any place. Dressing in layers will work from hot to cold. 
  • The Event:  Will I need to dress up for some occasions? Think through every item that you will need to pull it together. If you’re on a cruise, you won’t want to wear the same thing for dinner every night, but a woman can use lightweight accessories and jewelry to change a look and a man can recombine his shirts and pants. 
  • The Activities:  What sports equipment will I need? Sports shoes, a racket, protective eyewear,??? Make sure you account for proper shoes and socks, swimsuit, snorkel mask, whatever you might be doing.  


Create a pack list that you can check off as you pull together what you will need. The list organizes your packing plus if your luggage is lost, you know what you had with you for replacement value. I carry that with me when I travel. You can make copies of the blank list and use it every time you travel. How will this help you? You have a checklist and it will help you for every future trip you take. When you get home, you restock the toiletries section with items that were used up or have aged out, like aspirin. That part of packing is always ready in advance to grab and go. 

My own starts with everything I am going to wear traveling and all the documentation I must have on me. Then it is divided into categories. Your needs will be different from mine, but the categories will be about the same:

  • Underwear
  • Casual Clothes (including shoes)
  • Dress Clothes (including shoes)
  • Toiletries (including RXs, deodorant, lip balm, sun screen, toothbrush, etc.)
  • Miscellaneous (including batteries, cables, chargers, adapter plugs, glasses prescription, and more)


There is a world of things available to make packing a lot easier. Here are some of the ones you could use and why. 

  • A collapsible rolling rack. A week before your departure set this up where you have room. Decide what your basic color will be for daytime and nightwear. Your best bets are navy blue, black, or khaki. Pull the clothes you have planned for your trip and hang them on it by what goes together. You’ll have the time to launder or dry clean anything that needs it before packing. 

* Tip:  Now, remove some of them. You’ve already put too many clothes out there, haven’t you? How many times have you had a rather heavy suitcase and you’ve brought home a lot of your clothing unworn?

  • Folders for pants, dresses or skirts, and folders for shirts. Clothes stay unwrinkled and if TSA decides to search your luggage, these folders get pulled and returned easily without your garments in a heap. 
  • Pouches for underwear and toiletries. If you can get clear pouches or mesh pouches, it is easier to see what’s inside. Otherwise, you can label them. 
  • Identify your suitcase. Probably 90% of the suitcases on the terminal carousel are black. They all look alike. Identify your suitcase with a wraparound band or a large, colorful luggage tag.

Hopefully, these ideas will take the stress out of packing and you’ll arrive at your destination(s) with all the right stuff because you learned how to Pack Like A Pro.