Life Is a Trip

The transformative magic of travel.

Clues To Your Personality Hidden in a Suitcase

What Your Packing Style Reveals About You

You probably know that your handwriting is a giveaway and reveals much about your character. From your voice, folks can tell if you were ignored, listened to or discounted as a child, or how confident, controlling or intimidated you are. But did you ever think that the way you pack for a trip may be a window into your soul? For more than a decade, as a travel journalist, I have observed people packing and unpacking, and here are a few of the many packing styles I have witnessed, and what they say about the packer.

 1. THE MINIMALIST

You have one carry-on for a two-week trip, and there is still room in your bag for gifts you buy on the road. You manage to look great every day and you change to new shoes and clothes every night.

You are no-nonsense person who is organized, doesn’t like much outside interference and wants to be in control of her own life. You are smart, and not fast to trust or confide in others. You do not like to be caught off guard. Your feelings are as organized as your luggage, but sometimes they refuse to be neatly packed away.

2. THE WORRIER

You are all packed a week before the trip, and you still worry about last-minute details. You do not indulge in too many frills, and you are tightly-wound. You are smart, sensitive, and have been hurt. You are cautious about expressing your true feelings. You want people to love you but may push them away because you are so tense. You have a good heart.

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3. THE LAST-MINUTE PACKER—CHAOTIC STYLE

You suffer from anxiety and postpone packing until the last possible minute. Packing makes you anxious, and the postponing makes you even more anxious, but you can’t help it. Clothes are not important to you, but people are. You attract people easily and like to be the center of attention. On the road, you invariably feel that you have packed the wrong clothes, and you end up wearing only 2/3 of what you packed. You are charming, but deep inside, anxiety rules.

4. THE LAST-MINUTE PACKER—ORGANIZED STYLE

You are the kind of person who decides, plans and acts. You have an illusion of control and are upset when things get out of hand. You sometimes have trouble in relationships because you are more head than heart. Deep inside, you are childlike and whimsical, but this is not the face you present to the world. You are afraid of rejection.

5. THE CONSULTER

Packing is a group effort for you, and it involves asking your significant other, friends or family for advice. Does this shirt look good? What do they think of wearing all black? You need attention and caring and are not sure of yourself. You are a good friend to others. You require a lot of reassurance.

6. I DON’T CARE STYLE

You claim that you don’t care about clothes, or what others think of your clothes. Externals are not important to you. The truth is, you care very much and you want others to think of you as smart and competent. You are progressive and intolerant of others who are less so. You have high self-confidence and low self-esteem.

7. I’LL BUY WHATEVER ELSE I NEED ON THE ROAD

You are free with money, and a little smug. You have an attitude of entitlement and think money can buy you whatever you need. You are smart and creative, and a little on the conservative side. You are uncomfortable talking about deep feelings.

8. IT’S MY BUSINESS

As soon as the market came out with TSA-approved locks, you bought them. You avoid packing bright clothes; actually, your wardrobe is earth tones and neutral colors. Your space was invaded as a child and you are careful about revealing too much of yourself. You are intelligent but cautious, and you trust authority….perhaps too much. Once you make up your mind, you don’t easily change it.

9. TOO TOO MUCH

If you could pack the kitchen sink, you would. You are a creative spirit, and you dislike being told what to do. You present a carefree face to the world, but you think and re-think things, and you are easily hurt or wounded. You distrust authority.

10. JUST IN CASE

You want to be prepared for every eventuality. You try to cover your bases—in case this or that happens on the road. Some of it is reasonable, and some of it is over the top. You take care of others and give away too much of yourself. Although you seem to be open and trusting, you have a deep wariness about others, and try to prevent them from hurting you. You have a big heart.

11. THE ONE PER CENTER

Packing is not something you do. It is something that others do for you. Actually, when you are planning or a trip, you spend zero time packing—because you are going to one of your several houses, and everything you need is already there. You want the best of everything. You don’t like the word “no.” You are generous and controlling. You want others to be impressed by you.

12. TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT

You fuss over every item, pack and re-pack. You put items away, sure you will never need them. Then you take them out, and put them in the luggage. In. Out. You are highly indecisive and you have trouble visualizing things, so you have no clear idea of what you may or may not need. You are envious of others and do not have a strong sense of yourself in the world. You know what you need; you just don’t believe you do.

So, before you pack for your next trip, think that when you close your suitcase, you may be opening a window in your personality and who you really are.

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Judith Fein is an award-winning international travel journalist, speaker and teacher, and the author of the acclaimed book: Life is A Trip: The Transformative Magic of Travel. She also makes videos and teaches travel writing with he photojournalist husband Paul Ross.Her website is www.GlobalAdventure.us

Judith Fein is a travel journalist who lives to leave. She writes for numerous publications (The Los Angeles Times, National Geographic Traveler, and The Boston Globe).

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