There are countless ways to test your relationship: budgeting, zodiac signs (if you’re into that), living together, long car rides, and packing for a trip. Whether it’s your honeymoon or a staycation, something about packing a suitcase brings out a different side of people. And unfortunately, that side usually isn’t so pretty.
That challenge gets a lot harder when you’re working with limited resources and a long trip. We’re up for a good challenge, though, right? Let’s look at some of the ways to plan your packing for fourteen days, two people, and one suitcase.
Talk it Out
Remember that relationship test we were talking about? That starts with your communication. Be open with your partner about your concerns and needs. Everyone packs differently, so you’re not expected to know exactly what’s going on in your partner’s head.
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
This may sound obvious, but some people like to wait until the last minute to pack a suitcase. It’s tempting, but in the long run, this hurts you (and your relationship). Of course, some things need to be packed at the last minute, like toiletries, freshly washed clothes, and food. Otherwise, set up a spot for your suitcase two days ahead of time with all your necessities.
Get on the Same Page
… and make sure it’s the right page! When it comes to your packing patterns, you and your partner may approach it from different angles. That’s okay, but ideally, you’ll be working together—not against each other. You may like to pack pants first whereas your partner may like to pack shirts first. This kind of disagreement is avoidable if you get on the same page from the get-go. Just make sure whatever page you’re getting on is a strategic one—and one that makes the most sense for both of you!
Sharing is Caring
Chances are you’re both already pretty comfortable with sharing. When you’re traveling, sharing will be your best friend. If you can take turns with a hoodie, do it! If you have a face wash that you can split, split it! Anything that reduces the amount of stuff going into your suitcase is a big win.
Think about some of the other challenges you’ve conquered as a couple. It doesn’t matter how small or big they are. Whenever you overcome an obstacle, there’s a method involved and in that method is a set of boundaries. The same applies to your packing duties. Figure out your limits and verbalize these limits to each other.
Do Laundry Together
You may not always team up for your household chores, but when you’re planning a big trip it’s a great idea to work together during the days leading up to your departure date. Start by doing laundry together, and while you’re doing it, you can talk about your respective packing lists. It’s like a warm-up before the big game. Go get ‘em!
Utilize the Personal Item
Come on, you’d be crazy to ignore the complimentary personal item—especially when you’re working with a tight squeeze of a suitcase. Use this to your advantage! Here’s the beauty: That personal item is YOURS. You don’t need to share this with your significant other, so it’s like your break away from the cohabitation situation. With that said, you better be packing it with every ounce of planner that you’ve got. Use your pockets and zippers and all the little things that are meant to help you optimize the space in this personal item. And of course, don’t put any liquids or gels in it! No one wants to get held up by TSA before a big trip.
Jokes and worries aside, there’s one rule that prevails no matter what your situation is: Have fun with it. Sure, you’ll come across some stressful moments, but at the end of the day, you’re going on a vacation with your favorite person. Enjoy the process!
Feeling better about your packing? If you can think of any tips you have, let me know! I’m always looking for new ways to innovate the packing process.