As a photographer, a photographer who travels alot, I never know exactly when I will next be hitting the road. Of course some travels are planned well in advance. But others? Not so much. As a result, I find it really helpful to stay prepared for travels. This way I can avoid, or at least minimize, some of the last minute frenzy of organizing and packing.
Travel Planning can be a bit of a challenge. One of the best tools I’ve developed over the years to help me with being prepared and organized for travel is my Master Packing List. What is this? Well, it’s really pretty simple. And I must admit there are those that might say it is a bit obessive. But hey, call me names if you want, but this list is oh so helpful. I’ve created my Master Packing List on my computer as an Excel Spreadsheet. You can see a brief example I’ve created below which includes only one category – “Camera Equipment” and some of the equipment in that category.
Items are arranged according to major categores, like “Luggage”, “Cameras”, “Lenses”, “Accessories”, etc. I’ve also found it useful to go beyond photographic gear and include categories for various electronics and accessories (think iPad, iPhone, plugs, chargers, etc.) as well as clothing categores such as “shirts”, “pants”, “shoes”, etc. and also personal items, toiletries and such. I’ve developed this list over the course of many journeys and it has become quite extensive. It includes everything and anything I have taken on my previous trips. If I acquire something new – I add it to the list. And yes, I really do weigh each individual item. If you have ever found yourself having to book one of those dreaded “internal flights” in some foreign country where there is an absurdly low weight limit – well then you know why it’s good to know you are within weight limits. Avoiding aiport hassles such as weight problems starts with good planning and packing at home.
With the Master List in hand, travel planning gets much easier. I can quickly organize items needed for a new journey. I just go down the list and put a check next to items I feel I will need to take. I also put a check to indicate whether I plan to pack the item in my backpack, my checked luggage, or carry it on my person (in my photo vest). Excel allows me to quickly total the weight of items I’ve assigned to my backpack or checked luggage. Printing out the list makes packing easy, helping me be sure I don’t leave something home. And the printed list serves as a good checklist during my travels as well.
My Master Packing List approach has served me well over the years. Yes, it does take a bit of time to create it. But you only have to do that once. After that, just keep it up to date and you are “good to go!” Let me know if you try this approach, or what works for you. Until next time –
Be Prepared …….. And Enjoy The Adventure!
Dr.B, The PhotoTrekker