Why You Shouldn’t Pack at the Last Minute

Fred Perrotta

Procrastinating is easy, but that doesn’t make it the right thing to do.

We all love thinking about our next trip. Some people even enjoy planning it. Hardly anyone likes packing for it.

That’s why we write this blog. To do the research and the dirty work for you. To make your life easier. To save you from (one of) the least fun part of travel.

This post is our attempt to convince you to pack ahead of time. Yes, I know it sounds crazy. You probably pack the night before most trips. I’ve done the same and still do sometimes.

Give it a try on your next trip. If packing early doesn’t help, you can go back to packing at the last minute… as usual.

Remember What You (Almost) Forgot

My memory becomes amazingly sharp on the way to the airport. That’s when I remember all of the stuff that I forgot to pack.

Packing at the last minute leaves you without any time to remember what you forgot to pack.

Packing even one day early gives your mind time to remember that “one last thing.” Give your subconscious time to work. You might remember something crucial when you’re in the shower.

You might even see something you almost forgot sitting around your apartment instead of in your luggage where it belongs.

Give yourself a margin for error.

Buy What You Need

In addition to remembering what you forgot, you can also see if you need to buy anything.

I don’t recommend buying a whole new, trip-specific wardrobe. Don’t waste your money on clothes you’ll only wear on your trip.

By packing early, you might find that you need packing cubes or that your travel-sized toothpaste is empty.

Or, like me, you might find that you left your wet swimsuit growing mold in a plastic bag for months and need to burn it and buy a new one.

Feel Confident, Not Anxious, About Your Luggage

People procrastinate out of fear, not laziness.

We put off packing to avoid the anxiety.

What should I bring? Should I pack less? Should I pack more? What if this happens? What if that happens?

We pack at the last minute, leaving those questions to linger in the back of our minds.

Reduce your mental burden by packing early. You can answer these questions and put your mind at ease by figuring out what you (almost) forgot and buying anything else that you need.

Give yourself enough time to do it right. Put your mind at ease. This is the mental side of the ‘packing light’ ethos.

You have enough to think about when you travel. Take your luggage off that list.

Find More Space in Your Bag

We’ll end with one for the over-packers.

By packing early, you can get 8% more space in your backpack.

After you’ve packed your bag, gravity will condense your clothes down so that they take up less space. Your pack will “settle” just like a house as air takes up less space between your clothes.

You may have noticed that your bag, which was bursting at the seams when you packed it, feels less tight after your flight. That’s the same effect at work.

By packing the night before, you’re paying an 8% “tax” in storage space. Is it worth it?


By packing ahead of time, you will forget fewer things, have a chance to buy anything you need, reduce your mental burden, and save space in your bag.


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