Jody Victor’s Pre-packing Checklist

How can you best prepare for your next trip? Follow these eight simple steps for hassle-free departures…

We’ve all had to pack for a trip. But have you ever started packing and found your luggage broken? Got settled in the plane and realized you forgot your medication? Got to your destination and wanted to take a picture – but left your camera at home? If you follow these simple steps you’ll takeoff and arrive with no worries.

One week before takeoff:
Air out your bags before you pack. Check handles, straps and hinges for possible repair. And next time you put luggage away, leave some small lavender sachets in each bag to keep it smelling nice.

Stock up on storage bags for small items. Zipper bags work well and come in a variety of sizes. There are many commercial bags online, in magazines and catalogues, and at your local department store, that can help you stay organized, and keep soiled or wet clothing from the rest in your suitcase.

Three days before takeoff:
Get your gadgets in order. Empty memory cards and charge your phone and camera. Consolidate power cords, chargers, and extra batteries in your carry-on (new DOT regulations prohibit putting them in checked luggage).

Refill  necessary prescriptions. Bring  medications with you on the plane; make sure they are properly labeled according to TSA requirements.

Copy important documents. Carry paper duplicates of your passport, visa, and itinerary, and e-mail yourself electronic copies. With a password-protected itinerary on Google Docs, close friends and family can keep track of where you are.

Pare down your travel wallet. Only bring essential documents: driver’s license, medical insurance cards, passport, and credit cards. Alert your bank and credit card  companies before you depart, so that they won’t be alarmed by out-of-town charges and ATM withdrawals.

One day before takeoff:
Record the contents of your suitcase. Take pictures of your clothes, shoes, and jewelry, which will serve as documentaion if your bag is lost or stolen. Download the shots onto your home computer, just in case.