Recently I was on a trip with a good friend and shared a few of my packing tips with her—things I have learned on my various adventures.
While they didn’t seem all that original, she marveled and said, “Why do you post your tips on your blog? I think these ideas area great.” I mulled it over and decided, why not?
So here goes. These are practices I have developed especially for longer trips—10 days to two weeks or more. I aspire to make my way down the jetway with only a carry on bag. I know it is possible. We have friends who travel around the world, buying and discarding stuff as they go so they don’t need to check a bag. I”m not there yet. Too much stuff. But this is what I do to make my life on the road easier.
1. I limit the color palette of the clothes I take. For example, I select only black and white with accents of red. I take a jacket that can be dressed up or down in the accent color and then pack only things that go with that color scheme. It makes it easy to pack and then every thing goes with everything along the way.
2. I rarely take jewelry or many scarves or accessories—maybe two pairs of earrings—one gold, one silver and a watch. Then along the way I enjoy shopping from street vendors, markets, cute little shops. When I buy something I wear it immediately. No delayed gratification for me. I feel good supporting the local economy and it is fun to have the trinkets when I get home.
3. I only check one bag but I always have a nylon bag suitable for checking that folds flat tucked into a side pocket. That way, if I buy something fabulous (like a great coat, a hand-woven throw or something special for my grand daughter) I can pull out the extra bag, fill it with stuff (often the dirty clothes because it make sorting easier when I get home) and simply check a second bag on the return.
4. I carry on computer, camera, Kindle, Ipod, IPhone and chargers along with a great flat purse from a company called Baggallini. I love their stuff. I think they understand traveling needs.
5. I often travel with a smallish nylon backpack that doubles as a purse. It has theft proof straps and will hold my camera—a Nikon that is too big to stick in a pocket. One of the things I like about using this as a purse is that occasionally my husband will shoulder the load and he doesn’t feel silly with some girlie type bag slung over his shoulder.
6. I often take a large black knit shawl with me, throw it over whatever coat I have for extra warmth, use as an evening wrap if a coat isn’t needed and appreciate having it as an extra blanket if hotel or airline seat is cold. I’ve had it for years. Goes everywhere.
7. I always have a notebook for notes and glued in copies of my of passport and all relevant itinerates, phone numbers, address, health information. My husband carries his own set of travel documents. The notebook fits in my purse/backpack. On really long trips to distant places I make a second set of copies and stash in my suitcase.
8. I do have some clothes I wear just for travel—those puffy jackets that never wrinkle and can be dressed up and down. I find mine at our local luggage store. I have a couple that are reversible. Chico’s carries a line of clothing call Travel Clothes—the stuff is indestructible and rolls up like rubber. A pair of black pants and black t shirt with a change of scarves, shawls and jewelry (purchased along the way) can get me to a wide range of events and multiple dinners. I also like the non-wrinkling shirts available in camping stores. They layer and work well in all kinds of climates.
9. Shoes are the biggest problem because I have some health issues with my feet. I wear light weight leather hiking boots on the plane and take a comfortable dressy flat for evening and one other pair. Takes a lot of space but necessary. I never take athletic shoes because they immediately brand you as a tourist.
I recently came across a web site chock-a-block full of packing tips, including a handy printable packing checklist. www.onebag.com
Don’t be shy. Please add your packing tips to the comment section.