Lists are good to help you remember everything... a travel preparation list, grocery lists, honey-do lists. Notice the order we put those in? Might make you think that travel is more important to us than eating... and you might be right! ...But then you would expect that, wouldn't you, since you know how much we love travel.
Our travel preparation list is a little different from our pre-departure checklist. Actually, this one is kind of a combination. There are just some times you want to make a couple of lists and check things twice.... You don't want to be half way around the world and have an anxiety attack because you can't remember if you turned the water off off somewhere.
We actually have our travel preparation list (or should I say our lists) in the computer so we can print it out before each trip and check things off as we've done them or packed them. Even as much as we travel, and as routine as packing is, we want to make sure we don't leave something at home.
I actually don't like packing. It's probably the part of travel I like least.... but my list gives me a starting point. I print it out, and it helps get me motivated. I try to get going a couple of days before we leave. I know some people who say, "I always just throw some things in the night before." If that works for them, fine. I've done that too, but I prefer having a day or two in case I need to do a last load of laundry or pick something up at the store that we'll need for the trip.
You know we love telling stories on ourselves to illustrate our points, so here's another... We were going to Brazil a couple of years ago... to see Rio de Janeiro and Iguazu Falls, but the focus of the trip was the Pantanal. We were going to see birds, and if we were lucky, jaguars. So we packed our "safari clothes", our bug repellant, and our Pepto-Bismol, and off we went to the airport. As we were boarding the plane, we looked at each other and said, "Did you pack the binoculars?"
Neither of us had! Can you believe it? We were on a birdwatching trip without binoculars.
Good thing there was a duty free shop upon entry into Brazil. That saved us some embarrassment.... but the whole incident shows you that anyone can forget something they'll need on a trip. It also proves the point we often make... that if you forget something, you can always get it there.
Now that DOES NOT mean you should pack everything you might need "just in case". We advocate packing light... and that means packing smart. A travel preparation list, a packing list, a documents list, a pre-departure checklist.... any or all of those will help you keep your packing light, and give you peace of mind once you're on the road that you haven't forgotten something.