Travel hack! 5 reasons to pack at the last minute

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know I’m a lifelong, not-at-all-ashamed over-packer. I have no real desire to change my ways, but even I have to admit that my decidedly un-Kondo-like tendencies sometimes come back to haunt me. An overstuffed bag can be a real pain to haul around. And a bag that’s bursting at the seams doesn’t leave room for holiday shopping. So maybe I should try to cut down… I mean, just a bit.

The problem might be when I pack. ‘Cause not only am I an over-packer, I’m an early packer. I pack for my trips up to a week in advance. Maybe I’d be a more efficient if I packed at the lastminute?

In the interests of (holiday) science, I’ve got to find out. Here are five reasons why, for my next trip, packing will be the last thing I do.

1. Unpacking and repacking SUCKS!

You know the drill. You’ve perfectly packed your bag, ready for your trip, with everything in its place. Then you need your hair straightener. Or your best pair of shoes. And now your gorgeous work of suitcase origami has to be torn apart. Gah!

The earlier you pack, the greater the chances you’ll pack something you’ll end up needing to use again before you leave – which means you’ll have unpack, then repack. And probably more than once. Dammit! But when packing is the last thing you do before you go on your trip, you are DONE! No unpacking and repacking for you. Pack lastminute and you’ll only pack once.

Less time packing means more time daydreaming about your amazing holiday

2. Your essentials will come out on top

I don’t know about you, but to me there’s nothing more exciting than first arriving in a place I’ve never been before. It doesn’t matter if I’ve been flying for 24 hours hours, awake for 48 hours, and haven’t showered in… uh, never mind. All I want to do is dump my bag at my hotel and get out and start exploring! I just need to quickly freshen up first…

Except if I’ve packed too early, I can’t. At least, not quickly. When I pack early, I do all sorts of “clever” things like hide small items inside shoes and side pockets to maximise space. Which sounds great until you’re digging through your entire holiday wardrobe just to find your toothpaste. But packing lastminute leaves less time for complicated suitcase strategies. And packing as you get ready to leave means the items you used last (i.e.: essentials like toothpaste, deodorant, and your go-to toiletries) also get packed last, so they naturally end up on top. Woohoo!

3. You won’t overthink it

Overthinking and overpacking go together like a horse and some sort of absurd horse outfit. ‘Cause, yeah, they go together, but the combo isn’t really doing anyone any favours…

It’s not just that overthinking leads to bizarre suitcase strategies. It’s that overthinking gets you imagining all sorts of random, never-going-to-happen scenarios that you then start packing “just in case” items for. “What if I go on a hike? I’d better bring a walking pole. Or what if I go sailing? I’m gonna need this navy-and-white striped shirt. Or a gala opening? I’ll definitely need this ball gown…” Meanwhile, you’re actually going to Canberra. For one night. For work.

Overthinking is not your friend. Not in packing and not in life. Pack lastminute and only pack the things you need.

Unless you’re planning a photo shoot in your hotel room, you do NOT need to pack this outfit

4. You’ll leave fewer things behind

I can feel your skepticism from here, but hear me out. With all the unpacking and repacking that goes on when you pack too early, it’s reeeally easy to leave stuff at home. Important stuff. Stuff that you’ve had to unpack because you needed to use it, then completely forgot to repack because all you remember is packing it the first time.

There’s no surefire way to remember to pack everything you need for every trip. In fact, I’m pretty sure I manage to forget at least one (usually not very important) thing every time I go away. But the less unpacking and repacking you do, the easier it is to keep track of your stuff.

5. But if you *do* leave things behind, it’s not the end of the world

Fear of Missing Stuff (FOMS) is the main reason I pack too early and pack too much. But, seriously, what am I worrying about? My lastminute packing experiment might be a total disaster. I might arrive at my next destination with nothing but an odd pair of shoes, a jumbo bag of Cheetos and a bottle of expired sunscreen. But isn’t that just an excuse for even more holiday shopping? 🏖️ 🛍️ 😎

Plan your lastminute getaway

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