Paddington Bear was a refugee with a label – ‘Please look after this bear. Thank you’, and he had a little suitcase.Michael Bond
One thing I have never been good at until now is packing for a trip. My first 50 trips involved a large purse to carry on the plane and a suitcase that was the size of me…literally.
Back in the 90’s or so on a business trip to Texas my suitcase cost me an additional $75 due to it weighing 97 pounds…yep, 97 pounds. Most of the weight was because I really really wanted to take home my 20 pack of Corona-ita’s from Mexico…and it cost me. It almost didn’t make the plane. The lady who checked in my luggage said that if it weighed 3 more pounds it would have had to have been shipped on a freight plane…oops.
Of course this is not a family packing blog post….kids need a lot of shit…just saying.
So, let’s get down to the nitty gritty!
First tip: What I have found is that the size of your suitcase predicts the amount of the items you can pack…I know, Duh. But that being said, please be sure to buy a suitcase small enough to be a carry on or a checked bag. I recently bought a suitcase that can be a carry on, and then you unzip and it exposes a larger suitcase…costco.
Second tip: where are you going? Sunny, Snowy, Windy, ??? Decide what you need. When I went to New Orleans and Florida this past January I thought it was going to be warm…but then the cold weather took over. I made sure that I wore cold weather clothes from Seattle, but then also packed for the sunshine. This way I was covered either way.
Third tip: bathroom stuff. How much makeup and hair products do you really need? seriously…how much? I have some crazy natural curly hair so I for sure need some styling mousse, but do I need a huge can of it to travel with? Probably not. If I’m going to be gone long enough to need a huge can of mousse then I’ll buy it when I get to where I’m going. But if I’m only traveling for a week or less, they have travel size that I can buy…say it again…travel size. Travel sized toothpaste, mousse, hairspray, , toothbrush, shaver, etc. Most places you are traveling to are going to have shampoo and conditioner. Maybe even a shower cap and a bar of soap…essentials. My suggestion is to set out all of the bathroom items you think you will need a week before your trip and see what you ‘really’ use. Also, if you are traveling with a pack of girls, then share the burden and have one of you take the hairspray, one of you take the curling iron and one of you take the toothpaste. That way you don’t end up arriving at your destination and you have 20 curling irons…and not enough plug ins.
Fourth tip: clothes. I have been the ultimate clothes horse…but I’m getting better. Slowly. In the past I have always packed every pair of shoes that I thought I would need, every dress and every pair of pants I thought I would need and wear. Reality…I only wore three to four outfits the whole time I was on my trip…that includes pajamas. And if you want to do some laundry while on vacay but don’t think you will be seeing a washer or dryer on your trip…there is a such a thing as a detergent that comes in a small package that you can add to a sink full of hot water and then add your dirty clothes. Plus, it is a small enough item that it won’t take up any room in your suitcase.
Fifth tip: You truly don’t need that much…really. Even now, before a trip I lay out everything I ‘think’ I need, and then I look at all that stuff piled on my bed and then I go cut throat. For example, do I need 7 pairs of shoes for a three day trip? Do I? The answer is no…seriously, NO!
Sixth tip: your purse. For all of those that know me, I’m very paranoid, don’t really trust people. So to keep my paranoia in check I make sure that I take a travel purse that zips or has a snap and that can be worn like a sling. Also I make sure to have cash and a credit or debit card, chapstick, medication (aka Excedrine), sunglasses, gum and now that I’m nearing 50…some readers. You don’t need to take your everyday purse. If you are flying it could result in having something in your purse that is not acceptable. My grandma did some traveling when she was in her 80’s and she took her regular every day purse on the plane. When she came back from her trip she realized her jack knife was at the bottom of her purse. (I won’t get into how the airlines never found it either time she got on the plane) But if they did find it then she would be out a good jack knife, and possibly she would have been in trouble. Lesson here…have a travel purse.
Hopefully this post will help you pack lighter for your next trip whether it be a 14 day trip through Europe or a long weekend in Wenatchee! Or, if you have the luxury of a big SUV on a road trip, don’t listen to a word I wrote…pack away.