Thursday, February 01, 2007

Travel Packing

This might not technically be a "creative" topic, but I've gotta talk about it. I've done enough traveling to know about packing, but I'm always looking for a better, smaller way to do it. I've got 2 short business trips, 2 vacation trips, and a few romantic long weekends coming up this year and so packing and travel have been on the mind.

I did a search of the internet to see what kind of packing lists I could find and it's interesting to see what people have put together. I've gone ahead and made my own list. I don't get too specific on most things since every trip is different, but there are a few things I consider before pulling out the suitcase.

Have to have on every trip:
A book to read- I find traveling a good time to get reading for pleasure done since everyday life seems to get in the way of it.
My moleskine and/or a travel journal- I need to have someplace to record creative ideas and thoughts as well as recording the memories and experiences of the trip.
2 pairs of shoes- A lot of the lists say to pack only 1 pair of shoes and 2 if you must. I must pack 2. My feet benefit immensely from changing my shoes from day to day and, unlike men, we women are expected to wear something nicer than tennis shoes when we go out to a nice restaurant.

Things I like to take:
A sketch kit- I like to do at least a few sketches when we go places.
A digital camera- I really like being able to take a lot of pictures, to delete the ones I don't like, and then to store them all on a small CD when I get home.
A craft project- I only do this when we're driving (not flying) and it's usually embroidery or crocheting since they travel well.

These are the usual things to take and should be adjusted according to the type and length of the trip as well as the time of year. Longer trips should have days for washing planned to keep from taking too much:
Toiletries- Girls usually have more than boys and some girls a lot more than others.
Under things- Unmentionable but one for every day.
Shirts- Blouses/dress shirts for business and t-shirts or casual shirts for vacation. A different one for every day.
Pants/Skirts- Slacks/skirts for business and jeans/casual pants/shorts/skirts for vacation. These can be worn more than once so you can save space in this category.
Socks- I always take one or two pairs extra. You never know if you might get your feet wet and need a dry pair.
Warmer layers- Dress jackets, sweaters, and undershirts.
Jackets/Coats- Appropriate to the season. Fleece and gortex are always good choices.
Fluff and frills- Jewelry, scarves, ties, hair things. Take something to help you dress up a bit, but don't take anything too valuable.

The key to packing light lies in 2 areas. Pack less and pack thinner. Pack less just means that you only pack what you will wear, not what you might wear. Pack thinner means you take out the bulky aran sweater and put in the basic fine knit one. Or you might pack the silk undershirt instead.

I'm still working on the suitcase. Some people advocate wheels and some are opposed to wheels. I'm definitely a wheels person if I'm traveling by air and a non-wheels person traveling by car. When we went on vacation to England we took the train instead of a taxi as close to our B&B as we could. Then we walked the remaining 5 city blocks. I was very glad of the wheels both in navigating the Underground and walking from the station to the B&B. However, I find wheels get in the way when I'm getting a bag in and out of a car trunk.

How do you like to pack?

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