It’s a good news, bad news kind of week.The good, well in fact great, news is that I will be engaging in international travel in just a few days on a church mission trip. The bad news is that I have to pack for it. While I love traveling, I hate packing. I’d rather clean my toilet (my least favorite household chore) than pack. On second thought, I don’t want to do either!
Putting stuff in a suitcase isn’t that big a deal. It’s determining WHAT to put in the suitcase. Since I’m a be prepared kind of gal, I want to be armed with the appropriate clothing and items to deal with any situation which might arise. The weather might be hot. The weather might be cold. There might be a dressy event. There might be a time to exercise. I might feel under the weather. I might get a boo boo. The possibilities are endless as to what i might need while I am away from home.
To face this seemingly monumental task of packing for eight days of travel, I decided to put my brain to use. Why not research packing? Surely that will solve my travel preparation dilemma–or not.
One of the first suggestions I read was to lay out all the items you think you should take with you; then put half the items back. Clearly overpacking is a big issue. Sorry, if I follow this sage advice, that still leaves me with half of my closet and half of the items from my bathroom. My suitcase is not that big, and the airline have a 50 pound limit after all. Still stressing.
Oh, here’s a brilliant suggestion as to what to remove from your suitcase–your pet! I kid you not. This suggestion actually appeared in a serious packing article. Apparently other pet owners have the same issue I do. When the suitcase comes out, the cat goes in. I see a monster to be dealt with; the feline sees a new place to nap. Check. Cat removed. Still dealing with what to put in on top of all the cat hair that is now in my suitcase.
Eventually, I’m sure I will determine what to take with me and what to leave home. Then I am faced with the issue of how to put all this stuff in the suitcase. Yes, there’s an art to it. Shoes take up the most room, so they are packed first and are placed around the inside perimeter of the suitcase. Since I have very small feet (size 5) and not that many shoes to begin with, this step isn’t so difficult for me. Packing experts advise you to wear your heaviest pair while traveling, so I have to plan my travel wardrobe around my sneakers.
Now, to place the clothing in my suitcase. Heavens, I have been doing it wrong all these years. Silly me, I thought you just folded the attire and placed it in the suitcase like you would place the item in a dresser drawer. WRONG! Two methods are available–rolling and the burrito. Rolling clothes allows the traveler to conserve space, reduces wrinkling of the packed clothes, and makes it easier to find the clothes in the suitcase. The burrito method calls for similar clothing to be wrapped together like a burrito. I can’t follow the burrito method of wrapping a newborn in a blanket, so I don’t even want to attempt to wrap my clothes.
All this talk of rolls and burritos has me hungry. Unbelievably, none of the articles I read about packing addressed how to place snacks in one’s suitcase. Just guessing that everyone takes all their snacks on the plane in carry on luggage because you should always keep your valuables with you. And my snacks of choice will be quite valuable to me when I am sick of complimentary peanuts and unfulfilled by the lack of meal service in the economy class cabin where I’ll be sitting. OK, no snacks in the suitcase.
Smart packers use every available space in the suitcase. Thus, it is suggested that small items be stuffed inside your shoes. Hmm! Better make sure that the shoes don’t smell before cramming my unmentionables inside them. Moms always advise that clean underwear be worn, and I’m guessing that “clean” is broadly defined to mean not stinky.
Then there’s layering. No, I don’t mean getting a new hairstyle before saying bon voyage. Apparently some clothes do have to be folded. If that’s the case, then layering is the appropriate method to use. Folded garments should be placed on top of rolled garments to avoid wrinkling. Wrinkles must be avoided at all costs because you don’t want to have to pack a heavy iron. Who wants to iron while traveling? Not me. I don’t even want to iron when I’m at home.
Speaking of appliances, let’s not forget that foreign countries pose the challenge of different electrical capacities. An adaptor is essential if you want to use items such as a hairdryer there. Fortunately, the adaptor is very small and could easily fit inside a packed shoe. And who cares if your adaptor stinks afterwards?
I am going to be a happy camper when my plane takes off Sunday evening. Yes, I am thrilled to be going to a beautiful destination for a meaningful reason, but I will be even happier that the dilemma of packing will be behind me. And if I fail in successfully packing, what’s the worst that can happen? No one in Budapest will know me, so who cares if my clothes are wrinkled, inappropriate for the weather, and stinky?
Just WONDER-ing: What do you dislike the most about traveling? Do you have any helpful packing tips?