Packing Your Bags

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Packing for Trips/Cruises/Overseas Journeys/Local Trips

Magazines routinely run articles on how to pack. I’ve read quite a few of them and each time I encounter one I wonder if the writer has actually traveled, or just excerpted all the previous articles.  Here are my packing tips.  Whether you are going overseas or vacationing in the next state is irrelevant other than the airline weight restrictions.

  1. How you pack is dependent on how you travel. For instance, if you are going from home to one destination (whether on land or a cruise ship) it makes no difference how you pack as long as you can zip your suitcase. If you will be making a series of stops  I advise arranging your suitcase so that you need disturb the minimum number of layers. Repacking everyday is a nuisance best avoided, even if it means washing out your unmentionables nightly.
  2. The great divide: to lay flat or roll.  Contrary to the experts, I have found it makes little difference, things pretty much take up the same amount of room. Rolling wrinkles them worse, so I pack flat.  It’s up to you.
  3. Many articles will advise packing your clothes in tissue paper to prevent wrinkles.  I just use other clothes to pad those which wrinkle badly.  Works fine and takes no additional space. Besides, after a couple weeks that tissue is a wreck.#3. Packing for Overseas travel versus US travel.  Having done a great deal of both, I see no difference in the process. You may have stricter weight restrictions on overseas flights, but you are still packing clothes and other assorted items into a case. Whether the clothes include ball gowns or wet suits isn’t really the issue.
  4. As you pack the bag, fill in all the air spaces (suitcase corners, insides of shoes, space between stacks of clothes) with smaller items which either don’t wrinkle or you don’t care about: underwear, bathing suits, PJs.
  5. The articles always seem to assume that you will only be carrying clothes.  I have lived out of suitcases for years on end and can attest that I carry more than clothes.  I pack those things which will make me comfortable while living in a hotel and those items can be weighty, bulky and eat up space. (See Travel checklists)
  6. I consider packing light the most crucial element if I have to handle my luggage repeatedly.  Better to do laundry more often, wear the same clothes…whatever it takes to reduce the load. Twenty years ago I took a large 28” suitcase for a multi-month trip. I just returned from a two month voyage on which I took a 24” bag. The next one will be carry on size. You need fewer things than you think you do.  Always.