Wednesday, September 25, 2013

how to pack for long trips (part 2)

I’ve been thinking awhile about it and thought back to my first trip ever outside the US (I choose to ignore my Tijuana day trip), to Europe in 2010, and I really wish I had known what to pack.

I wasn’t blogging then…didn’t even know the word “blogging”, so I had no one to reference (let me rephrase: I had no woman to reference) to be sure what I should pack and what I should leave at home.

It was a 2 1/2 week trip, spanning 3 countries in the DEAD OF WINTER. Please anyone, talk us out of that next time. It was completely romanticized, going for Christmas and New Years to Rome, Paris and England, but then Paris had the worst winter they’d seen in over 100 years and our friend’s house in Northern England had radiators dispersed in a room here and a hall there that they didn’t like using (as often as we wished) so us poor {sick} Americans were fully clothed with jackets and blankets on almost the entire time.

But packing for that winter was hard!

I digress.

Since that trip, I’ve traveled quite a bit more. I’ve made several trips to Hawaii, and while that’s not international, it’s still a big trip that was generally no less than 10 days, at most 3 months at a time…the shortest, 2 1/2 days…(which I'll never forget). Then I’ve been to Mexico and Japan twice.

Even though they’re completely different in the way of climates, I became methodical with the clothes I brought to maximize space, reduce the over-packing and still have outfits to wear. It hit me with all my trips to Hawaii, that I tended to wear the same t-shirts all.the.time, so my packing became non existent over time, though I’d still bring 1 nice top or maxi.

This last trip to Japan, I knew it would be blazing hot and incredibly humid. So light was key, but again, I definitely wanted variety and as much as I tote the I’m a ‘light packer’ bit, it’s really not true. So to help fit everything in, I read up on the supposed ‘flight attendant’s way to pack’…and I’m a believer!

And what’s their way? Rolling. Friends, let me tell you this is the most space saving way I’ve ever packed.
You can see that all of my clothes are on the bottom, nice and neatly rolled. I definitely didn’t leave anything behind. I made sure I had plenty to get me through the 3 weeks I’d be in Japan and I have to say I wore every single article of clothing too, except one top…and that wasn’t for lack of trying either. Darn pants didn’t match. But everything was utilized.
As I continued packing, I put all my bigger items on top. of course I had to bring Dunkin..
I still had a ridiculous amount of room left over for my makeup bag and final bathroom essentials I’d put in there the morning of the flight.
There’s a lot of things that I have to take on the plane when I fly. I mentioned the essentials yesterday, but beyond those, I have to carry on my laptop (can’t risk another broken screen!), my camera, 2 lenses, my iPad, phone, wallet, sweater, socks, and headphones (with it’s horribly bulky case).

It’s A LOT!! So I put everything into my new favorite travel tote that I got at Kohl’s. It’s not all cutsie and it doesn’t scream I’m into fashion. It’s practical with 3 compartments, its big and sturdy and it works wonders. Just how I like ‘em.
With all that inside, it becomes incredibly heavy. (I blame that silly laptop), but having to carry everything on the plane really helps free up more room in the checked bag. And it works as my one personal item, so I ditch the purse (you can see I packed it in the checked bag), and use the tote the entire flight.

After my 3 weeks was up, and I gave G-man all his little goodies, I discovered that I had a lot less stuff. So I challenged myself to fit it all into a carry on bag and I couldn’t believe it, but I did it!

I’ll admit that I left my moccasins, my big jewelry travel case (the teal thing in the above pictures) and my hair towel behind but everything else I rolled up and fit in the carry on and all the tote items went right back into their proper places. It was a tight squeeze, but I was thrilled I succeeded in packing 3 weeks worth of stuff into the carry on.

by the way, the yellow thing is the bag with my shoes in them…in case you’re curious.Rolling. It’s the greatest thing to do when packing for long trips. I highly recommend it. If anything, it allows you to pack more..I mean..who am I kidding, I mean pack more!

How do you pack?

Have you ever done the rolling method?

Or are you such a light packer, it doesn’t matter how you pack, you’re a carry on person regardless?

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sandi said...

yep, i roll things when we go on long trips that require lots of clothes (family of five = much stuff). each child has a small rolling bag that they put their things in, just to make them responsible for something. I think the worst trip was when our oldest two were both under two... double stroller, two car seats (they did not rent them at the car place) diaper bag etc! the only good thing about that trip was a direct flight and kids flying free!

the best trips are lake trips! for three weeks to the lake, I can pack everything in one laundry basket. one outfit to wear in the car there and one outfit to wear home. the in between time is spent in bathing suits and pajamas. luckily we keep toothbrushes and those things down there. that is one trip that i allow the children to pack their own things!

angie on maui said...

Dude, I can't get past the fact that you were able to fit all that clothing and FIVE PAIR OF SHOES in that bag! You rock!

I like to think I am a light packer, but I still usually wind up with more outfits than I actually need (because you know, I like to change my clothes according to my mood). :)


angie on maui said...

P.S. I like your carry-on's functional and you managed to tote around all your techie equipment! Heavy as sin, I'm sure, but you made it work and that's all that matters! BTW, which lenses did you bring? said...

When we went to florida as a family of 3 we took 3 suitcases as well as 3 carry on but 2 were empty for souvenirs so they were in the suitcases plus i had my apnea machine (as it is medical it is separate) and i had my purse as well.

I am not an over packer and not usually high maintenance but when we go away i have to have lots of make up, different shoes for different outfits and all my favorites. Sometimes we dont use things but lots of times we use most of it.

The Heart Of A Woman said...

I always over pack! I am not good at packing at all! I need to try rolling the next time we take a trip! Thank you for these tips!


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