Tuesday, June 7, 2011

how to pack

As I may or may not have mentioned, I travel a lot. On top of that, I relocate a lot, which requires an entirely different packing mindset. I consider myself a bit of a pro.
So, without further hesitation, here is what I have to offer.

1. Make a list.
This is at least half the battle. This might be three quarters of the battle. It's also the easy part, because it's the part where you get to sit in your armchair and imagine all of the wonderful clothes you're going to wear on vacation.
I'm going to Bologna in a couple days for a six-week study abroad program. I looked up the standard summer weather in Bologna and it looks like it should be in the eighties most of the time. Luckily, it doesn't appear that Italians have any cultural conflicts with wearing shorts. My point is, doing your research is a good thing to do.

That's only a fraction of my packing list. If you want the whole thing, shoot me a comment, but here are the basics:
  • Pack classic pieces. In my "nighttime" section, I've listed a little black dress and a little white dress. I can turn these two pieces into different versatile looks with accessories and such.
  • Figure out how many days you think you'll go without doing laundry, and then add four. That's how much underwear you probably need (or maybe I'm just a lazy slug who can't get her laundry done in a timely manner).
  • Shoes are great. Pack a bunch of them because they are great.
  • Accessories are great too, because they can make your outfits look different when really you're wearing the same white shirt and jeans that you wore last wednesday. Today, you have a scarf! Also, they're generally pretty small and easy to pack. Don't bring your great grandmother's earrings that she wore at her wedding on vacation with you. Come on, guys. 
Once you have a list, you really just need to find the items that you plan on packing and put them in a bag!

2a. Plan what you're wearing when you travel.
Look up the weather both at departure and at arrival. Try to wear shoes that would take up a lot of space. And, of course, comfort is something to absolutely consider. I'll be taking a six hour train voyage, with two transfers, so I definitely need comfortable shoes.

2. Put the items in a bag.
This is the other little bit of the battle. This is the point at which I like to put loud music on and dance around. I also tend to make a mess and try things on and generally have a ball.
This wouldn't be much of a guide though if I just told you to "have a ball." There are, in fact, some tips that I have to share.

Start with shoes. This is generally the point at which I think, "Oh crap, I will be wearing only shoes for the next six weeks because there is basically no more room in my bag. What is this nonsense."
Don't fret! There's another step!
Put your clothes in the bag! Roll them up first -- it prevents wrinkles and creases and such. It also makes things smaller. Honestly, everything I pack always ends up wrinkled anyway but I rationalize this by saying "bah! I am travelling! I have no time to consider trifles like unwrinkled apparel!"
I also speak to myself in a british accent. That seems to help a lot.

3. Also pack other stuff.
I always wait to pack my toiletries until the morning I leave. Prescription medications are something you probably want to have, and even things like Advil can be good to pack if you're going abroad. You never know what the pharmacy of a new country will look like.

That's basically it! Make a list, have a ball, and put stuff in a bag! Bon voyage!

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