I set a PB (Personal Best) time, packing for the trip we are on. I wish I could attribute this miracle to a particular thing, but alas for future packing efforts, I cannot. I have not been auditioning outfits in my head for days as I sometimes do. In fact I’ve hardly thought about it. I’d like to say that is the secret, but I doubt it is. This technique has failed me miserably on passed occasions!
The reason for this trip is a special, slightly dressy, occasion; our daughter is being graduated, upon completion of her Master’s Degree (in Adelaide, which is 1000 miles from where we live in Alice). Other than that we will pass the time with her relaxing at the Art Gallery of South Australia, a winery or favourite restaurant or two. But still, it is the ‘big smoke’ for us, so, as Her Majesty might say, ‘One wants to put One’s best foot forward’.
What do you pack for travel? It is a perennial question. I ask it of other travellers, all the time. Of course different climates, occasions and modes of travel, require variations. So here are the contents of my suitcase for three days, plus a day of flying on either end; one dressy function day, two relaxed days, flying, car riding, rain and temperatures that range from about 9C-20C (48F-68F).
There is a critical balance to be achieved packing for a long trip, on which one inevitably gathers ‘things’ to bring home. The scales tip back and forth precariously between having the necessities/appropriate clothing for occasions/weather… and having enough space in the suitcase to accommodate the odd gift or purchase without sending the packing Gods into fits of frenzy. It doesn’t seem to matter how carefully I pack, I nearly always have one thing that doesn’t get worn, and one thing I wish I had taken! (note to self: repair crystal ball)
You will notice I try to coordinate colours so that various things mix and match. But also, I usually take one thing that mixes it up a bit, a pop of colour for the day when I am thoroughly sick of wearing the same few items over and over. I never pack white pants, or even pale gray or light beige. They are dirt magnets. On a longer trip I would not even take this white jacket for the same reason. But I’m going to chance it this time. It was pleading with me for an outing!
When on longer, overseas trips, the only thing that expands on this list is the number of changes of tops and undies, perhaps an extra pair of walking shoes in case one pair gets wet, and a raincoat. For a trip longer than a week I pack an extra pair of reading glasses. Essentially it takes almost as much to travel for a few days as it does for a few weeks, in my experience. I never leave home with more than one suitcase. I have, on occasion, returned with more than one, however. That was when we travelled with our young daughter and everyone wanted to give her something. We don’t do that any more. These days I start out with a bit of space,
in case for when I buy a few things. Often I am taking gifts for family and friends we stay with, and when the gifts come out, a space opens up for items to come home with us. And since Nature abhors space in a suitcase, I fill it as best I can.
In addition to the required clothing and toiletries, I have a couple of medications, a few supplements, a compact magnifying mirror (most hotel mirrors are horribly lighted), some bandaids in case of blisters, a packet of anti-bacterial wipes, and a couple of extra zip loc bags which always come in handy.
We each have one carry-on, which means I don’t carry my tiny handbag on flights. It is packed, so that I only have one bag, and its contents, to keep track of in airports and on flights. In my medium size, purse style carry-on are all the I’s (iPad, iPhone, iPod, ID’s), my Passport, credit card, a small tube of hand cream and either Chapstick or lip gloss, and a few emergency food supplies because I can’t eat a lot of the foods in airports and on planes. Also, I usually carry a cardigan or a scarf as I find airplanes and airports are often cold and draft-y… except when they are boiling hot!!
I have never been a traveller who could casually throw things into a duffle bag and take off. I really don’t want to have to waste precious energy looking for a chemist, or buying a jacket I don’t really want, because the weather is too cold and I didn’t bring one. But I bow to your superior Zen-ness if you are someone who can be at one with the vagaries and discomfort of travel with only a very few basics.
And finally, I always, always take ear plugs… Ear plugs, people! They block out the traffic noise when you get a street side room along the river in Florence (!), barking dogs, clicking ceiling fans, garbage collection at 5am, and all kinds of low-level strange sounds that differ in every location, and they prevent insects from getting into your ear canal. Yes. Move on. I like the silicone type that blocks out all noise except some snoring… and the alarm clock. I won’t say whose snoring I need to block, but if you come across ear plugs that do the job completely, please let me know.