Using Cognitive Psychology Tricks To Plan Your Vacation

We’re in the throes of preparing for a 9-week spring road trip through America’s south west in our 2019 Toyota Tacoma. Camping for this length of time presents unique challenges, not the least of which is keeping track of all of the tools and gear that we’re bringing on the trip.

In order to make this easy, we not only need a packing list. We need a packing list that helps us plan and remember where we’ve packed our gear. To do this we turn to a cognitive psychology trick called “chunking”, which you can accomplish with Packaroo using multiple pack lists, bundles, and custom collections.

Long Lists vs Chunks

Chunking is the best way to turn large, seemingly incongruent, lists into something that you can wrap your head around.

All packing list apps, including the free version of Packaroo, make it so you can create a list chunked up by the type of items that you intend to pack.

A Different Approach for Packaroo 

Packaroo Pro has three powerful capabilities that take this chunking concept much further than other packing list apps. Instead of creating a long list that is simply grouped by item type, Packaroo Pro gives you tools to break up lists into smaller chunks. It also allows you to establish a named hierarchy that matches how you think about your packing. Here’s how it works…

1. Multiple Pack Lists

One of the first things you will notice is that Packaroo Pro allows you to break long pack lists into multiple lists.

For instance, you can name a pack list after the bag in which items are packed. In this example, we have a suitcase list and a backpack list.

Another way to break long lists down is by creating separate lists for each person on the trip. In this example, we have a pack list for Jack and a separate one for Jill.

2. Bundles

One of the most powerful capabilities that comes with Packaroo Pro is the ability to create bundles of items within a collection. Bundles are helpful for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they allow you to group items into logical sets that match the real world - a toiletry kit, a camera bag, etc. Also, from a usability perspective, they allow you to create even smaller chunks of items within a list. This is important because in order to easily process and remember chunks, they need to be relatively small. 

Here’s an example where we use both bundles and multiple pack lists to organize our lists by the bags in which the items are packed, and the person to whom the items belong. In the red bag (A) you can see both Jack and Jill’s toiletry kits. In the blue bag (B) we can see which clothes are Jack’s and which are Jill’s. 

3. Custom Collections

Finally, there’s a feature in Packaroo Pro that allows you to take chunking to another level. With custom collections you can break away from chunking by item type. Why would you want to do that? Because you’re packing for a long trip in a pickup truck, van, RV, sailboat, or seaplane. For this type of packing, you need a packing list that helps you plan and remember where you’ve packed your gear.

Here’s an example of how we are using Packaroo Pro to plan for the camping trip we’re about to take in our truck. First we created custom collections in the Catalog (A) for large areas of the truck like the Rear Cab, Truck Bed, and Roof Rack. Then we created bundles for containers, etc. within those large areas (Back Wall Net, Attic).

Finally we created some pack lists (B) for our trip named after broad categories of items - Electronics, Paddle, Bike & Hiking Gear, Tools, and Camping Gear.

This approach requires that you think about what you're packing and where you’re packing your items while you are customizing the catalog. That upfront work pays off, however, as you end up with much more useful pack lists. Don’t forget that once you’ve customized your collections this way, you can reapply them to all future trips. You can also duplicate and reuse trips in Packaroo, so from our perspective this investment in customization is well worth the time.

The Difference

If your packing requirements have any level of complexity because of the length of the trip, the number of people traveling, or the type of equipment you are bringing, then you might want to consider using this chunking technique for organizing your pack lists. It’s a capability that is well supported in Packaroo.

The flexibility and power of Packaroo’s multiple pack lists, custom bundles, and custom collections sets it apart from other packing list apps available today. If you’re willing to put in the time for a little customization of the app, you’ll be rewarded with the satisfaction of a custom solution tailored to your exact needs, and better organized pack lists. When you’re planning a big trip into the middle of the desert, better organized pack lists could make all the difference.

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