Aka How to Pack a Suitcase
Humiliation. Not good. My innermost beings were strewn across the tile floor of the airport lobby. The check-in agent had declared my bag overweight. With her czarina-type declaration, the purging commenced. I was hot and unhappy amidst my slinging, flinging, shoving, and stuffing . Other passengers tried to step around me offering their various bits of advice. Some were sarcastic, some were sympathetic; none were helpful. I was in a race against the clock. I muttered under my breath, “If I ever get out of this alive, it will NEVER happen again.”
The disastrous day is a distant memory, but I still find myself thinking a suitcase is a tool of the devil. The iconic symbol of travel threatens like nothing else to bring out the grrrr in me.
So, can anything be done to rise above this onslaught of decision-making that precedes getting out the door on a trip? Yes, peaceful packing can become a practice. After more than 45 years of international travel, I have gleaned a few tips to help eliminate the paralyzing “what if” of packing, and send you sailing with a jolly “Bon Voyage.” Here they are:
1. Pray. Take charge. Don’t over-think; be decisive.
2. Start 2 days ahead. Place your suitcase in a separate room other than your bedroom. Do your laundry first.
3. Place hanging clothes on a door rack to view your choices.
4. Pack in daylight, not at night. Begin by counting out underwear.
5. Use Eagle Creek packing cubes for categories.
6. Think simple, think solids.
7. Minimize shoes. Always take a dress.
8. Remove at least 2 items. Be realistic, but not ruthless. You do need clothes and supplies where you are going.
9. Place a versatile windbreaker and a small empty duffle in the outside pocket of your suitcase.
10. Know your enemy. Weigh bags at home.
11. [OK, this is a bonus tip. Always, always leave one clean pair of underwear in your drawer at home. Why? In the event your suitcase is lost or delayed upon returning, you will at least have one clean pair of undies waiting.
Note: When I shared this with my 8-year-old granddaughter, she very quickly asked, “Gammy, did you learn this the hard way?!”]
Once the suitcase is zipped, and you are ready to go, you can pull up to the airport curb without a knot in your stomach. As the ticket agent smiles at you and says, “Place your bag here on the scale,” you can confidently look her in the eye, knowing that you made the cut. Victory. Bye-bye bag.
Question: What is your best packing tip?