I love planning for trips. Blame Burning Man. For years I made lists and packed tote boxes preparing for multiple contingencies in the desert. I’d pack Pepto in case of a bad stomach, cold medicine, all the hand sanitizer in the world and baby wipes. I still carry all of those things when I travel.
My travel prep is much more specific now. I’m a Mariner Chef and will be going to sea for four months at a time. I have boat bags, which are packed for on-board life and ideally only opened when shipboard. In addition to day to day essentials like soap, pain relievers and sharpies, I also pack things like a bath mat and shower cady, collapsible bins, magnetic clips and flashlights, bedding and my shiatsu massage pad.
Half of one bag is dedicated to knives and kitchen tools. Clothing takes the least amount of space, but I do take two sets of kitchen shoes.
Because I prefer driving to my embarcadero, next I have general road trip supplies. The idea is to survive comfortably when on the road. On more than one occasion I was able to go camping at a moments notice with the things I carry. I keep enough food to last at least 3 days, water, a tent, a cold weather sleeping bag, tools, a butane stove, very basic kitchen supplies and safety gear. Add to that a folding chair and small table. With all this, I can stop at a grocery store, pick up a steak, find a rest stop and make a nice roadside meal, then get in the back of the truck and rest for the night.
My back up supplies, the things I carry but don’t take on the boat, include extra clothes, books and other personal supplies. Those live in their own tote.
And now, I’ve added the overnight bag that contains everything I need if I decide to forgo the traveling hooch (back of the truck) and spring for a hotel room. For this, I use my carry on roller, containing two sets of clothes, travel sized toiletries, bath balms and epson salt, snacks, soda or washing machine money and a multi-plug/usb charger. Having this bag packed saves me digging through other bags to look for essentials.
I know it sounds like a lot of stuff, and it is, but with careful planning and lists, all of this can be consolidated. It’s a method that is continually honed and refined, always evolving, but never perfected.* I’m ok with that.
*Not a bad method for life too.