It’s the same story every time. You have to catch a 5am shuttle to the airport for your 7am flight, and the night before, it’s impossible to fall asleep. While I can’t help you with things like meditating or taking a sleeping pill (just don’t sleep through your alarm!), I can help you take some things off your mind so you can stop swimming in thoughts. While these may seem like something only an overplanner would do, I argue that there are certain things worth overplanning if they mean you won’t forget something crucial to the enjoyment of your trip.
Packing Tip: Morning-Of Packing List
The night before a trip, my suitcase is packed and ready to go, and anything that can’t be packed yet such as electronics that are charging, toiletries I’ll use in the morning, or a travel lunch in the fridge, gets written down so I don’t forget it in the morning. Simply writing things down makes it so much easier to fall asleep because I know that I won’t have to remember things in my groggy state. I also write down tasks to complete, like locking the doors and windows, setting up house alarms, setting the water heater and AC to away, and closing the pet door so my cat Brisket can’t get outside while I’m gone.
Here’s a sample list, usually scrawled on a Post-It, but you can be more professional if you’d like:
- Electronics and chargers (Phone, Laptop, Kindle)
- Watch/Fitbit and charger
- What bags I’m bringing (Rollaboard, backpack, purse)
- Lunch and snacks
- Identification and boarding pass
- Important toiletries and medications
- Water bottle from bedside table
- Secure doors and windows
- Close pet door
- Arm security system
Packing Tip: Set Out Clothes the Night Before
Before I go to bed, I set out the exact clothes I’m going to wear the next morning, including shoes, undergarments, and a jacket for the plane. The less I have to think, the fewer things to realize I’ve forgotten when I actually wake up and am already halfway through security.
Packing Tip: Bag Numbering System
I always know how many bags I have at any one time. Ever since I left my backpack in the Paris airport after a double redeye flight (luckily someone from my tour group grabbed it!), I use this system to make sure everything is with me at all times.
I usually travel with a rollaboard suitcase, a backpack, and my small purse. The purse fits into my backpack for boarding with the 2-item limit, but I keep it out the rest of the time since it’s easier to access than my backpack. This brings me to 3 bags. Leaving the house? Count the bags, one-two-three. Getting out of the shuttle? Count the bags. Through security? Count the bags. Anytime I stand up and move during travel, I count the bags. It becomes second nature and makes me feel much more secure when traveling in a questionable state of mind.
What are your tips for falling asleep or preparing the night before a trip?