Packing may salve a little packing panic

Spoiler alert! Packing may seem a little superfluous for some travelers. Who needs software to keep track of a list? But for those people who love to organize, and would really love one more app to help them do it, Packing may be ideal.

Sorry for the late blog but my index finger was infected while trying to medicate a sick cat for Siamese Rescue. Normally it’s not a problem, but this time the infection actually took and my index finger is so swollen it’s been difficult to type.

Add to that the panic of trying to pack for Christmas, and well…

Christmas arrives on Saturday and if your family is anything like mine, you’re in a panic. You knew you were driving to your mother’s house, or sister’s house, or your disapproving mother-in-law’s house this week, but no one actually nailed down the plans. That would involve communication, and communication takes the fun out of being family.

There would be no misunderstandings at all if families communicated. Which is why my family doesn’t, because misunderstandings make families far more fun. Too much peace, love and joy at Christmas would make it a boring holiday indeed. But it also means the travel plans aren’t finalized until the evening before we leave.

There are always reasons. Good reasons. Beth decided to fly in a day early and her daughters decided to come with her. So there won’t be a bedroom available if we don’t get there first. Or mother decided to fly out to see Beth on Christmas Eve so we need to arrive two days early if we want to see her. Or Aimee bought everyone tickets to an ice sculpture exhibit but everything was sold out for the days after Wednesday so if we didn’t want her to waste good money on the tickets she already bought, we might want to drive up two days early.

Or I just never got off my ass because I’m testing iPad Christmas games to review, and Carol had to take care of everything I was supposed to do. We end up going a day late, and for some reason she really doesn’t want to communicate. At least for a day or two. At least not with me.

So suddenly you have to pack, and, unless you’re like me, you need to make your packing list.

This is the point at which the luddite in me emerges and says, “grab a pen and paper.” I was in a teaching conference on technology back in the early 90s, and the moderator discussed how children could open the calculator on their computers to solve basic math problems. My response was, don’t we want them to learn to do it in their heads.

Evidently not. People love to use technology for things they’re perfectly capable of doing themselves. It’s not enough to read a self-help book on organizing your time, you need an app to do all the things you learned from the book for you, including organize the time to read the book. It’s kind of cool, when you think of it.

Or very, very sad.

My packing strategy consists of one bag, socks for each night we plan to stay plus one, as well as the underwear and shirts for the same number of nights. That’s it. I wear my jacket to the car and carry my iPad in my free hand. If it isn’t packed, I probably don’t need it and if I do need it it will be too late anyway. I can survive for four days.

Carol doesn’t live life so simply. Her list includes dog food, cat food, cat kennels, litter box, litter, meds,1 toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap, hair brush, books, laptop, iPad, iPhone, flip flops, walking shoes, good shoes, jeans, home blouses, good blouse to wear with jeans to church (which is better than she dresses around me so they better just accept the effort she did make to dress up), books, more books, books she borrowed from Aimee during the last visit, and books to loan Aimee this time. Did I get it all?

Wait. Half-and-half because nobody drinks coffee at Gary and Aimee’s and they remember to get coffee but never half-and-half. Decongestants, nose drops, spare pillow, spare pillowcase in case one of the cats freaks out because it’s in a new house and pees on the pillowcase, a list of which cats can’t possibly survive for four days without our personal attention, her presents to family and the presents she bought to give the family from me because I kept procrastinating. Wallet, car keys, house keys, lip balm, lip gloss. Am I forgetting anything?

Fortunately, I don’t have to keep track of that list because it’s Carol’s list. And she would probably appreciate having the app Packing on her iPad.

I take that back. She would rather I took care of the packing, or anything for that matter because I don’t really need another mother and she sure as hell doesn’t need a fifty-year-old son.

But if she did want an app to keep track of her packing list, Packing would do the trick. It helps you generate just about any sort of list you can imagine and check off each item as you add it.

There are two versions available, the standard version for a dollar, and the the pro version for a couple dollars more. I’m reviewing the standard version, mainly because I didn’t want to spend the money but also because I wasn’t convinced the pro features added that much value to the app.

You should also be aware that there is a packing game with an almost identical name and app icon, called Packing Panic. Even more confusing, both Lite and Pro versions of Packing Panic exist as well.

Don’t confuse Packing with Packing Panic. They look almost exactly alike, but one’s a game.

Click image to see full size

Packing comes with a set of standardized packing lists you can modify to fit your traveling agenda. But it’s also well suited for designing lists from scratch. You can begin with predefined categories such as clothes, or accessories and even create your own.

You can work from pre-defined templates or create your own lists.

Click image to see full size

For instance, if you have a long list of accessories for your laptop you could create a category laptop and manually add every item you need, especially the items that could shut down your entire operation should you forget (such as the power adapter, or spare battery or wireless card.)

Packing allows you to create entire custom categories and items for your trip.

Click image to see full size

The interface may seem intimidating at first, especially if organization rubs against your grain as much as it rubs mine. But the app is pretty easy to figure out, even without the included instructions. I skipped the information files entirely and was creating custom lists in minutes.

I looked at everyone of the template lists and for the life of me they all looked almost exactly the same. The only significant difference I could find between the male and female list was the inclusion of bra and panties.

The light packing list included almost a hundred items. The super light list included slightly fewer than a hundred items. So did the male and female lists. Basically the template lists are the same lists with a couple of changes and four different names.

Once you complete your personal packing list you can save it as a template for future lists. Then you can check off items as you pack, and quickly glance at the list to see what remains to be packed.

The real utility of Packing is that running through the lists could help you plan for longer trips, and international trips if you aren’t already used to them. The lists included a number of items I would have never considered.

I would like to say I have Carol for that, but she would turn around from where she is proofreading and throw her iPad at me. No, she would leave her iPad alone and throw mine at me.

Jenny Manytoes rates Packing

Jenny Manytoes would take a nap next to Packing. It’s pretty useful, especially if you need help organizing your trip. But I just can’t help but think that you would really only want to buy the app because you really wanted to buy an app to organize your list for you.

1Oh, shit, I forgot meds. I need to add meds to the previous paragraph. Fortunately, Carol will remind me because she knows my system has its wrinkles.back

The Jenny Manytoes Rating System

Jenny Manytoes, our polydactyl cat
  • When Jenny makes biscuits on a product she thinks she’s in heaven.
  • When Jenny purrs over a product she’s very happy.
  • When Jenny naps next to a product it’s okay with her.
  • When Jenny bunches her tail she can live with a product, but she has higher expectations.
  • When Jenny leaves it in the litter box….I don’t think I need to explain this one.

Contact me at Email iPad Envy, or
Email The Hidden Grimoire.


About Phillip T Stephens

Phillip T. Stephens disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle twenty years before he was born, creating a time travel paradox so confusing it remains unspoken between physicists and sci-fi writers to this day. Follow @stephens_pt
This entry was posted in 3 Stars - nap, Seasonal and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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