The last time we came home for the holidays, I remember coming through the door and announcing “We’re here!” My mom took one look at the amount of luggage we had brought and asked “For how long?”
Now yes, we have kids, and packing everyone for an adventure can be a daunting task, but when the back of your mini-van is dragging the ground and you look more like you just got evicted as opposed to taking a leisurely trip, something is decidedly wrong.
No doubt many of us will be traveling this holiday season, so here are a few tips to pack light (well, lighter anyway) and make that trip more enjoyable and much less chaotic.
Before you pack, check the weather for the area you will be visiting. If the forecast calls for sunny and temps in the 70’s, perhaps you can leave the parka and mittens at home. http://www.weather.com should be on anybody’s favorites list.
Know your itinerary. I’m not saying you have to have every movement planned, but having an idea of some of your planned or desired activities will tell you what to pack. Will you be going to church while you’re gone? Playing golf? Swimming? Will you be eating out? Visiting with folks or just hanging out? You’ll want to pack the appropriate wardrobe for various events.
Pick a color scheme. I’m not saying be monochromatic, but choosing colors that can be successfully interchanged will help you get the most mileage out of the least number of clothing items.
Opt for road friendly clothing choices. Some fabrics travel more easily than others. Linen, silk, and cotton aren’t particularly agreeable traveling companions, requiring special care and much ironing. Unless you plan on bringing an ironing board along or having access to one, then you should probably restrict your choices to knits or denim or other fabrics that travel well.
Don’t do your Imelda Marcos impression. Leave most of your shoes at home. A casual pair and a dressier pair should see you through most any scenario you might encounter while on vacation. Make sure what you pick matches the aforementioned color scheme and you’re in business.
Make a list and check it twice. Write down everything you’ll need to pack and check it off as it goes in the bag. Do the same in reverse when preparing for your return trip. This will really help make sure everything that goes comes back.
Account for “acquirements”. We all buy stuff on vacation, so take time to accommodate whatever you may be bringing back, wither through space in your bags, or in your vehicle, or in the case of my wife, preferably both.
Make room for the must haves. Items such as contact lens cases, medications, or expensive items such as jewelry or electronics should always be kept close….keep them in your carry on if flying and close to yourself when traveling by car or bus. These items are not easily or quickly or cheaply replaced.
Finally, allow plenty of time for packing. I spent ten years on the road, and despite being very comfortable in my role as the experienced traveler, to this day I find that a rushed packing job means you leave something important behind. Remember the list I mentioned earlier. Learn it, know it, live it.
Now go home for the holidays with some organization and peace of mind.