“Did you print out our European Federation receipts?” “D’oh! We totally forgot them.”
I’ve been traveling to races for over a decade, and it’s still seems chronically inevitable that I forget something every time. But! I’ve gotten hella better, and I do believe I just designed my best system ever. The key features of my new suite of packing lists:
SORTING INTERFACE. This feature is my fave development of our new system. You’ll see the classic Sheets filtering feature at the top of each column, evidenced by the tiny triangle. There are a gajillion to-do apps that could also hosts all my lists, which I might migrate to one of these days, but the key for me is being able to sort by category, so I can only focus on BIKE, for instance, and to sort by YES or NO, to reveal what’s left to pack, which I’ve also separated by HERS and HIS, which could obvi be extrapolated to HERS and HERS, HIS and HIS, traveling buddies, or racer-spectator duos. I’m sure families with kiddos would warrant a whole ‘nother spectrum of list items like nappies, plane games, and legal narcotics. Here’s our Flying to a Race Abroad Packing List:
REDUNDANCIES. I found it impossible to segregate each item into only one category, such as shades and trucker hats. Duh, I need those for traveling, hanging, training, and racing. Since the point of a compressive list is to not forget anything, I err on the side of listing things twice. Here’s our Driving Across the Border Packing List:
MULTIPLE LISTS. You don’t need your foreign docs when you’re driving to a state-side race, but you can pack all the CO2 cartridges you fancy. There are tons of items to remember (or forget) for different types of events, so I maintain several. Flying versus driving is obvi the biggest departure between lists, especially when flying with bikes. I also created a to-list before, one for just going to Camps, bike races, and so on. Here are all the lists we maintain:
I will offer an editorial note that we pretty exclusively travel with the phenomenal Rüster Sports Bags, enabling us to transport our bikes for a mega discount, or even for free on Southwest. The soft bags do necessitate, however, complete disassembly and reassembly, which makes our lists all the more important, because if you ain’t got your pedal wrench or crank tool upon destination, you’re SOL.
A final note is that these lists should be highly individualized. I don’t pack compression, but I do pack a mallet. I don’t pack body glide, but I do pack crafts. I don’t pack multiple helmets, but I do pack multiple books. As races season enters full-swing, I totes suggest you make your own and pick out your Sheets colors or find the perfect app. Amy VT’s special packing extra: bring thank-you cards and maybe even little gifts from your homeland with you to give to homestay families, race directors, or new buddies you meet along the way. And don’t forget the sandwiches you packed in the fridge for the plane (precedent).