Not to brag or anything, but after living out of a suitcase for three months, I’m pretty much an expert on packing. OK, I’m sure there are other people who have lived this lifestyle for way longer, but I don’t know them and this is my blog and just shut up already. Living out of your car and hotels means space matters and having your routine down can save you time and frustration — and make your OCD happy. Here are some tips I’ve learned since living the glamour homeless lifestyle.
1. Suitcases/bags/packing containers matter.
When B first started traveling for work (when we still had an apartment), he didn’t have a suitcase. I let him use mine, but since I’m usually the carryon bag type, I didn’t realize how destroyed my suitcase would get from B checking my bag all the time. Because of this, my bag got totally destroyed and the front pocket that my underwear usually goes in has a busted zipper (see photo above). B got a new suitcase and I kept using my old one because I’m cheap. So every time we check into a hotel, I get super self-conscious that my underwear or swimsuit is poking through the pocket. Anyway, I just bought a new suitcase (woohoo!) and I can’t believe how big of a difference it makes. My DOP kit fits in the bag and even some sandals. Plus, I don’t have to worry about my underwear falling out…
2. Don’t over pack. Think about what you really NEED.
I know that tips seems obvious, but I’m a hoarder and my hoarder tendencies became very obvious during our three-month homeless adventure. I may or may not have pulled a Rolling Stones record out of the dumpster that someone threw away and have been carrying around for weeks on the off chance it works. Or I’m going to turn it into a clock, despite the fact that I’m more into digital clocks. Try to pack what you really need and don’t buy (or pull out of a dumpster) something that you want, but don’t need.
3. Bring the items that make you comfortable, even if it seems like a pain to bring them.
I realize I just told you to bring only what you need, but if you have a hard time sleeping and need your pillows (guilty) or want to have slippers in your hotel room (apparently there are people that do this? Impressed and curious by this concept), then bring them. There are some hotels that apparently have the belief that when it comes to pillows it’s “bigger is better” and I am of the total opposite belief. I’m so glad I brought my comfortable pillow, even though it was sometimes annoying to lug around. Worth it though.
4. The better packed you are/less stuff you have, the less likely you are to forget stuff.
When you have 10 different bags to load onto a luggage cart, it’s easy to forget stuff. We left a $60 bag of dog food in one hotel room because the luggage cart was so full we didn’t think there was room for anything else and didn’t notice the bag sitting in the bathroom. Of course, if we hadn’t been stressed about how much stuff we had and had remembered to do the all important last-minute room sweep, we would’ve noticed.
5. Pay attention to how much clean underwear you have left.
For the most part, B and I have been pretty good about doing laundry when we stay with friends who have a washer and dryer (thanks, friends!). But the other day we were being lazy and didn’t do laundry and I didn’t realize until it was too late that I was out of clean underwear. Washing underwear in the sink and drying it with a blow dryer works in a pinch, but it’s really not the same as clean underwear.
6. Keep organized and re-pack when necessary.
There are some days when I just want to throw everything in my suitcase and go, but taking everything out and re-packing it really does make a big difference. Especially when I have a bag with the important documents and need to get to them and can’t find them because I shoved them in between all the magazines because I was being lazy. Taking everything out and reorganizing stuff so our storage unit info, doctor’s notes and other important documents are all together (or so I can keep track of clean underwear) is crucial.
What packing tips/road trip organization tips do you have? Did I leave anything off?