The Single Life: Packing for Success
- Thursday, June 23, 2011
I have two friends who frequently travel together. One of them makes a list for each trip, even overnight jaunts. She checks off items one by one as she neatly places each carefully-thought-out garment into her suitcase. The other friend? One day she casually mentioned in passing, “I suppose I should go home and pack; I’m leaving for the airport in three hours.” So she was—for a two-week trip to Africa.
What’s your packing style? Are you a planner or a procrastinator? Do you take everything you own “just in case” or stuff a few things into a backpack and call it good? I’ve gone both routes and while each has merit, I find a combination of the two works best. So with summer vacation season upon us, here are a few of the tips and tricks I’ve learned that may help you avoid a packing disaster.
Just Enough but Not Too Much
In a perfect world, every suitcase would hold everything needed for the entire trip and not a single sock more. That standard of perfection is probably unattainable, but a little thought and a list will help you remember necessities like “toothbrush” and “phone charger.” There are basic lists online (from a multitude of sources) you can use as a starting point. Sure, it takes the adventure out of arriving at your destination only to find you’ve forgotten, say, the medication that keeps you breathing, but you’ll find other adventures, I promise.
That being said, a little rational thought will help keep you from overpacking. For example, you may be going to London but what are the odds you’ll be invited to tea with the Queen? (Hint: slim to none.) What are the odds you’ll be walking for hours every day over uneven pavement and ancient floors? (Hint: pretty darn good.) So leave the killer heels at home and take the walking shoes. If Her Majesty should happen to issue an invitation, you’ll no doubt have time for a quick trip to the shops—and if not, feel free to call and tell me I was wrong. (I’d love to hear THAT story!)
Folders, Rollers, Bundlers, and Stuffers
Which one are you? Folding is the traditional method, but it’s not necessarily the best. Folded clothes take up a good bit of space and they’re pretty much guaranteed to wrinkle, if only along the fold. Assuming you want to look well-groomed at your destination and don’t want to spend precious vacation time ironing (do people still iron?) you may want to try another tactic.
Taking a hanging bag? Tuck each outfit into a plastic bag from the dry cleaner. It will reduce friction and thus reduce wrinkles. Plus, if anything spills on your luggage your clothes have an extra layer of protection.
Many swear by the roll, and it has a lot going for it: Fold pants in half, stacking one leg on top of the other, and roll bottom to top. Fold t-shirts into long rectangles, then roll. It’s often a better use of space than folding, though you can certainly go with a combo of the two. I like this method myself, but have also been known to use ...
The bundle. This one’s a little complicated, so stay with me. Open your suitcase all the way, then starting with the largest garment—jackets, then pants or skirts, then shirts—layer each one, flat, centered over the suitcase. Then—leaving everything hanging out for the moment—make a bundle of toiletry items and plop it in the middle. Now fold each item of clothing, one at a time, over the bundle. (You’ll find detailed directions at www.onebag.com/pack) While this seems odd at first, when I tried it my clothes actually did survive the trip relatively wrinkle free.
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