Travel “mind map” helps you pack

Have you ever arrived at the airport only to kick yourself for forgetting something? Maybe it was your digital camera battery that you left in the charger or that swimsuit you put next to your bed and then forgot to put in your suitcase. Didn’t that suck? If you’re a geeky, obsessive-compulsive like me, you avoid this hassle by making yourself a packing list. I find that creating a checklist of essential items helps me stay organized much better than if I leave it up scatterbrained chance (and prevents me from descending into a panic).

But as good as it is to have a packing list, it might be even better to have a mind map. What is a mind map, you might ask? It’s a more visual way of organizing information around a central, common theme – in this case “travel.” For example, think about the items you might pack as falling into categories. Perhaps one would be your “beach wear,” including your sunglasses, your swimsuit, your towel and your suntan lotion. In a separate category would be important “travel documents” like your passport, your plane tickets and your baggage claim check.

Writer Paul Foreman has taken this mind map concept to the next level, crafting a packing-themed mind map on display above. You can see the full-sized version on his website. Is it kind of dorky? Yeah, probably. But you know what? Not only is it pretty cool-looking, I think it’s a novel way to organize yourself before that next trip. And besides, maybe next time you won’t forget that swimsuit…