Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Packing for an Extended Trip (more than 3 days)

I find packing for long trips just as easy or easier to pack for than short trips. Short trips often are car trips and I can just throw things in the car until it is time to drive off. This manner of packing means I frequently have more than I need and not what I really need. The extended trip packing agenda has been honed to a fine science over the years. Here is a list of my rules and rituals that have evolved into a sensible plan that will take me to just about any corner of the earth. Doing the same ritual for each trip is my key to success.

Always do carry-on. There are many reasons for this. No lost luggage - well I suppose you could loose your luggage, but you would have to work at it. A carry on forces you to consolidate and only pack what is necessary. Your luggage will last longer. No need to wait in the baggage section of a crowded, noisy airport, when all you want is a nice warm bed after that grueling long flight.

Pack the same hair products that you use at home.  Skip this section if you have thick luxurious hair that can be tied cutely in a pony tail and looks good no matter what you do. I, on the other hand have fine, thin hair that requires painstaking processes to make each and every hair do it's job. Hats make my head sweat and I am not the type to wear exotic turbans in the evening. Knowing I have the same brushes, combs, picks, dryers and hair spray off sets the bad mirrors, cramped vanities I know I will encounter.

Have a bag, drawer, box with all the items that are must haves on any trip.  Items in my must have drawer are luggage straps, pouches to pack small items in, toiletries, spoon and fork, cup for tea, tea bags, nail clippers, shoe bags, plastic bags, alarm clock, heat coil for heating water, blow up neck pillow, etc. When I am ready to pack I just dump this mess on the bed and pick what I will need. I don't have to look in many places for items that will make my trip enjoyable and rarely ever find myself without an essential item.

Carry the same purse as you do at home or carry one that is much smaller with only really essential items, money, credit card, passport, etc. Keeping to the same routine means less chance of loosing anything. I like a smaller purse because I can tuck it in my second carry on when going though check points.

* Pack only 3 pieces of underwear - one that is being worn, one that is dirty, and one that is being washed. This applies to socks also.

* Ratio for tops to bottoms. Two T's for each pair of pants/jeans and one over blouse for layering. Wear each T twice and each pair of pants and over blouse 4 x's. If you pack three sets like this it gives you 12 days of outfits. I stack the sets together and when I am done with the set it goes in the big plastic bag for laundry, either along the way or when I get home. For an evening of dress up I pack one pair of knit black pants and a "dressy" T. No matter what the season I wear my coat on the airplane. This saves space and can double as a blanket or pillow on long flights. Stuff shoes with socks, panties, jewelry, scarves - anything small. What doesn't go in shoes can be stuffed in the corners of the suitcase. It is surprising how many small items can be tucked it the corners. I am not a fan of packing cubes - just take up space and a good layering system works just fine. On the out bound flight everything is folded and layered. On the home bound trip I roll everything as tight as possible which frees up room for packable souvenirs. One last ritual is to wear the same outfit coming and going. I am not sure why this works but some how it is reassuring that I know what I will be wearing home. I don't have to worry about will I have an outfit left to wear home.

* Always carry your money, passport, and airline ticket on your body except when you are sleeping. I rarely use hotel safes because it is too easy to forget things and if there is no safe it wrecks havoc with following an established routine, which is a key to never forgetting anything.

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