Traveling is a way of life. It’s the way to gain knowledge of other cultures. It’s the way of experiencing life outside of your comfort zone. Traveling brings happiness to many people, myself included! But with traveling comes the unavoidable annoyance of packing. Whether it’s packing for a day trip, weekend trip, or an extended period of time, everyone goes through these undeniable stages of packing. It’s the job you love and hate, and if you’re anything like me, you procrastinate until the final day to pack. Many people fall into all or one of these stages of packing:

Stage One: Excitement

You’re excited that in however many days you’ll officially be on vacation! All that’s on your mind is the nice warm sand in between your toes and holding an ice cold drink as your skin soaks up the vitamin D. So get ready to turn your phone off, ignore the work emails, and forget about reality. In your mind, you’re so excited, you’ve already mentally checked into vacation mode!

Stage Two: Procrastinating

So you’ve been living the life of getting excited. But now it’s finally hit you that you still need to pack! Cue the tears! Oh packing, how much stress you bring into my life. You just had to ruin the good mood, didn’t you? Well luckily, I am the master of procrastinating. Might as well call it my specialty. Better yet, consider me a professional when it comes to procrastinating. Packing? Psh, I’ll get it done. For now, I’m going to continue working on last minute details for this trip.

Stage Three: Realization

Okay, now it’s time to cut to the chase. You leave within days, and not a single thing is packed. You realize you have no idea what to pack. Questions are pondering your mind: What tops? Do these shoes go with this outfit? How many shoes are too many? What if it gets cold, do I bring a sweatshirt? Do I need socks?

So many question, so little time! Now is about the time the panic attacks settle in, and I start hating myself for waiting to pack last minute! The best way to approach this is just by laying everything out on your bed! Yup, that's it, now were getting somewhere! Now’s about the time I send out a signal for help, because I feel like I have no idea where to begin. Between my room being a mess with clothes, tears falling down my face, and the frenzy I am in, right this second I need guidance! Not only do i need somene to wipe my tears and tell me i'm overreacting, I just need someone to fill this suitcase.

Stage Four: Making It Fit In The Suitcase

If packing isn’t stressful enough, I now need to worry about packing all of these outfits, plus my extra outfits in the suitcase. Now, if that isn’t stressful enough, I also get to worry about making sure my suitcase doesn’t exceed the maximum weight for airplanes. How does one expect me to practically pack my whole closet and not exceed 50 lbs? That’s just crazy talk! It’s not like I can just get rid of some of my clothes! Well honestly, I definitely overpacked, but I need these clothes for options! So if sitting on my suitcase to try and keep it closed while I zipper it is what has to be done, so be it. At this point, I’m just trying to avoid the extra fee if my suitcase is overweight!

Stage Five: Completion

I did it! The suitcase is packed, zippered, and you’re ready to hit the road to the airport. The last couple days flew by with panic, but now I can get back to the peaceful mind of an adventurous vacation. So I'm going to put all that behind me, because in a few hours I'll be boarding a plane heading to paradise! All this stress will be worth it….until I have to repack to come home. But lets not think about that right now! It’s vacation time!