If you don't make a packing list, then don't say we didn't warn you when you wake up in a hotel room on the morning of a crucial business meeting and realize your white dress shirt is at home. In her book "How to Stay Healthy and Fit on the Road," travel guru Joanne V. Lichten advises compiling multiple lists -- one for two-day business trips, another for a weeklong vacation and so on [source: Lichten].
But no matter what type or length of trip you're taking, list-making has another benefit. As you tally what you absolutely need, you'll realize what you don't need. Unless you're meeting with the same client every day on a business trip, for example, you can get away with wearing the same suit or blazer. Travel writer and luggage marketer Rick Steves limits himself to one extra pair of pants, four shirts, several days' worth of underwear and socks, a sweater, and either a light jacket or a warmer coat if the weather's chilly at his destination. Even with his laptop, camera, and toiletries included, his baggage weighs a Spartan 20 pounds (9 kilograms) [source: Steves].