I pack my suitcase at least two weeks in advance just to check it four more times. Trust myself? Absolutely not. I can only imagine waking up on race day sporting mixed matched sneakers - both of which are my left foot - and praying to someone's Jesus that jeans and a crop top are suitable for a marathon.
The countdown is in full effect for my trip to the UTMB in Chamonix, France -- and I'm not running it. Although I will be a media correspondent courtesy of HOKA One One (pronounced Hok-Ah O-Nay O-Nay), I will be taking advantage of the views, inclines and hiking before work. When returning back to the states, I will unload my suitcase for a day simply to do it over again close to seven or eight times over the next several months. The remainder of my out of state travels are dedicated to marathons, ultra marathons, obstacle course races and of course, an Ironman 70.3 thrown in the mix. Although it sounds glamorous, it can be taxing to remember the simplest of things. The last thing that I desire is to make it to another state and freak out about buying new shoes and wardrobe for race day because it's sitting back in NYC -- assuming that I can actually afford it.
Things to Do Before You Pack
Despite my hard earned 100 wpm typing abilities and the advancement of smartphones, I prefer to write out a long list of items that I need for each trip. There's a refreshing feeling looking and holding onto a tangible item that I can safely place a checkmark or draw a line over versus worrying about a crashing app or guessing what I need. When it comes to packing, I'm a bit obsessive. My entire suitcase can be done in one shot but I honestly don't trust my mom brain to remember each item. On the rare occasions that my family travel with me, I do not rely on them to help me fill in those gaps. My men are only focused on a few things: Technology, clean underwear and their bodies.
Before you write out a list, you should check for a handful or two things:
Choosing Your Luggage
Regardless of where you're venturing to, inspect your luggage. Check out your existing bags and travel equipment for wears, tears or complete damage at least two weeks before your trip -- this is safely assuming that this isn't a sporadic trip. Damaged zippers or a broken wheel are common culprits; baggage size for carry on luggage is a tricky but common thing.
After inspection, ask yourself what's your ideal bag. Is it something that's lightweight but durable? Are you the type who needs to match your accessories -- and I genuinely pass no judgment if you are that type of person. Thanks to fitness, I travel a lot more than I ever did and I'm constantly learning about different types of bags to purchase. If you are on a fickle budget, know that luggage can be as cheap as 30 bucks for a flimsy suitcase to the thousands.
Here's a rundown of my personal recommendations for each scenario:
When in Doubt, Write It Out: