I have taken many trips in my lifetime. I have had to pack 12 kids and 3 adults for a month long river trip, done roadtrips up the west coast, weekend trip to the beach, and various other trips. In that time, it has been second nature on how to pack for a trip. Here are my systems for packing for a trip that might work for you.
1. Having certain luggage already packed with basic essential. I have a duffle back and the side pockets always have the standard toiletries I need like a few pairs of contacts, Q-tips, hair brush, deodorant, travel toothbrush, etc.
2. If camping or backpacking, it is VERY helpful to have a bag or tote box already packed with all your standard camping needs. That will help motivate you to take more trips because you will have less work to do on the front end.
3.Not forgetting things: Think sleeping, eating, bathing, safety, environment, and fun. About everything fits in these categories.
4. Don’t overpack. Learn from previous trips. You didn’t need 3 sweatshirts last trip, so odds are you won’t this trip. Traveling lighter is better in my book. I once went from the U.S. to
5. If going on a road trip and staying in a hotel, have a “hotel bag.” This is extremely helpful if traveling with kids. This way you do not have to lug 4 separate bags in. Put the whole family's clothes, toiletries, bathing suits, activities, etc you need for that one night in one bag. (My better-half's idea.) Genius!
6. Laundry: Consider if you want to do laundry on the trip. Even campsites these days have laundry facilities. Do you want to pack 2 weeks of clothes or just launder?
7. Learn how to pack efficiently. It can be annoying living out of a duffle bag. Organize it so that you can get to it easier. Should you put outfits together? Organize all the shirts together?
8. Buying or renting. What can you buy or rent there so that you don’t have to take it. I finally got a canoe, then the thought of driving 3 hours with it on top of my car was not too pleasing. I ended up renting one instead. It was better than a canoe flying down the highway. Even for smaller things, does it make more sense to buy or rent it there. Boogie boards at the beach, bikes, etc might fit in this category.
9. Do not pack right before the trip. Chaos, swearing, frustration and forgetting things come from this. If you can pack the car the night before, great.
10 List. I have a laminated list for trips. That way I am not reinventing the wheel each time I go on a trip.