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There’s an app for that

If you haven’t travelled for some time, turn to the pros – which in this case means apps that help you pack. One to try is Packr, which generates a detailed list once you provide information such as your gender (male or female), whether the trip is for business or leisure, what activities you will be participating in (such as hiking, photography or formal dinner) and accommodation type (including cruise).

DIY list

Of course, we all have particular tastes and needs, so investing the time to create your own list might be worth it. If you’re a hard copy sort of person, create a multiuse grid-type version with items in the first column, followed by multiple columns for your “done" checkmarks. This style works particularly well in bullet journals.

Never unpack

Not completely, at least. If you have duplicates of certain items, simply keep them in your suitcase (after you’ve laundered them, if applicable) so they’re always ready to go. Some suggestions: an old bathing suit, a spare phone charger, basic toiletries, an umbrella, ear plugs and an empty water bottle. (This is an excellent use of all that free branded stuff you get at conferences and trade shows.)

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Visual cues

For things you can’t spare to keep stowed away, create visual cues. An eyeglass case reminds contact-lens wearers to pack a backup pair. A shoe bag makes sure you don’t forget heels. Other ideas include a jewellery roll, labelled packing cubes (underwear, shirts, etc) and your camera instruction manual (assuming you’re not using it regularly).

Learn from doing

Inevitably on some trip you will wish you had brought some item it had never occurred to you to pack before. Nail clippers, for instance, or perhaps a clothespin (great for keeping curtains closed). When that happens update your packing list straight away if possible, or set a reminder task to do so when you return home. Even better, toss one in before the bag goes back in the closest so it’s there for next time.

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