Tickets are reserved, your trip is planned and there is a very short time left before you leave, maybe just one day. It's time to get ready. And this is the time when most of the people would sigh sadly. Believe me, I know perfectly what you mean. I also don't like to pack and unpack, it takes a lot of time and effort. In general, I must say, packing is very tiring. Now, imagine you have to do it every five-six days. That’s exactly how it happens in professional tennis player's life. Many would not even take the things out of the bag because they know that very possibly the day after tomorrow they will have to put it all back again. But on the other hand after all these years of practicing I got inevitable experience and if there was a competition among the best packing specialists in the world, I could be quite confident to get good ranking. You would not guess what can be done to make things fit in. For example, one of my friends was rolling the socks to fill the free space in the bag. I am not going to convince you to do it but I will be happy to give you couple of simple advices that could help if you are going to travel.
To start I will tell you one very simple but very useful thing. To pack you need just as much time as you actually have. Once you understand what I mean by saying that, your life will become much easier. When you have only one hour to make your bag, your every move will become precise and direct. You can spend a lot of time thinking about what you want to take with you to the trip, but my advise is: don’t leave yourself more then one and a half hour for packing your bag. And by the way, when this process takes too long, you have more chances to forget something. I don’t know exactly why does it happen, probably our brain gets tired of doing the same thing for a long period of time, but it’s the fact.
I would suggest to have a list of the things you need to put in the bag. In the beginning I write down what is the most important. For example, when I am going to the tournament, documents, rackets, strings and tennis shoes are on the first place. The rest is secondary. Then I think about the other things I would need and once I get something on my mind, I add it to my list. In this case the order does not matter any more. But this is my way, you can do it completely differently. The main thing is to have something to check yourself at the end.
We live in the XXI century so make sure you make the most of it and look up the weather forecast in the internet. I believe everybody knows where to check it, so we won’t go into the details. I am just going to say that this obvious habit helps a lot when you want to take many things but the bag is not big enough. At the same time you can have a look at the dress code at the place where you are planning to travel. If you stay in your country of origin, then everything is easy and you know what to wear. But in case you are going abroad, especially to some exotic country, it’s better to have at least an idea about the customs and religious habits of the majority of population. This will help you to avoid problems and feel comfortable whenever you go.
Don’t forget to check the free baggage allowance in your ticket. For different companies these rules may vary, but most of them allow to take one bag not heavier then 23kg for free. It’s not as much as it seems because the suitcase itself weighs between three to five kilograms. That’s why it’s important to choose what you want to take with you.
Let’s move on to packing process. I am sure that every person has his own way to put things to the bag the way he or she likes it. I will just give you couple of general tips, that I think to be quite important. If you are taking some new clothes with you think of taking off the labels and price tickets. This is a spare weight that you don’t need. In case you are not sure what exactly to take because you would like to take this and this and that, try the method I am using for many years. In the beginning I put everything I would like to take into the bag. Then I give myself some time to think about it and start taking out of the bag those things that don’t seem to be that important any more. Normally I find out that for the next couple of weeks I can easily live without many of those things that I though to be absolute must-have for this trip.
In case you are taking a plane, make sure that you don’t have any liquids bigger then 100ml or any sharp objects in your carry-on bag. Women’s nail file and tweezers are considered as the latter. Better to put it to the baggage otherwise at the airport you will have to through it away to the special bin at the security control. Plus some airports would not allow you to take tennis rackets on board. It’s better to find out before your flight how strict are the rules at your airport of origin, and in case they are, to think about the alternative ways of packing in advance. That way there are no bad surprises during the check in. I would also suggest to take some kind of pullover, hoodie or at least a scarf to the carry-on bag. Usually AC is pretty strong on board and you don’t want to take the risk. One more thing you may need is a package of the wet tissues because during the trip you don’t usually have a chance to wash your hands.
That's pretty much it, the bag is ready. Leave yourself five minutes to sit down and check your list once again. Close your eyes think of the main things you need to have with you. Documents, money, tickets… and, of course, rackets, strings, shoes and good mood! Have a safe trip!