ready to go!

As promised in my last blog, here are some of my tips and tricks of packing for that upcoming trip, whether it is a long weekend away or a multi-week international adventure. Many of these tips you may already know. Some may sound silly, but this is what I have learned works for me.  I am going to use my upcoming trip to Norway as an example, since I’ll need to bring a variety of clothing for questionable weather conditions. (And because Norway is notoriously expensive, and I DO NOT want to have to purchase anything that I already own).

First and foremost, get everything into a carry-on sized piece of luggage or backpack.  With all of the airlines charging new fees for checking bags (and some even charging for carry-ons), you’ll be doing yourself a big favor to keep your belongings with you.

I use a medium-sized compression sack for my bulky items. For this trip, I have my Gortex rain parka, breathable lightweight sporting jacket (for cooler temps), and wool socks compressed into a neat 7″ x 3″ package.  Since I won’t be wearing those items immediately, they are crammed into the bottom of my daypack.

My 3 pairs of pants are tightly rolled. I have one pair of zip-offs, 1 pair of long hiking pants and 1 pair of comfy lightweight cargos. 2  wick-dri shirts and a cute lightweight button-down, plus a silk turtleneck are the tops I’ve rolled up, and in the empty spaces I have crammed my undies and a pair of LL Bean Mary Janes that are great light-hikers/street shoes.  I will wear my bulkier hiking boots on the plane, then change out of them and put them in overhead once we’re in the air.

compression sack, booze, shoes, Willy. Unfortunately, the dog can't go

I bought a tiny travel umbrellla at Target (my favorite store) on sale for $3.00 in prep for the rain I expect. I also have a waterproof sun hat, along with a cute little cap for bad-hair days. A large scarf that can double as a blanket on the plane will protect me from the cooties on the plane-issued blankets,  plus the fact that some airlines are now charging for them. An inflatable neck pillow will come in handy on the plane as well as long bus trips. An now that TSA only allows a quart-sized baggie to hold all your liquids (in no larger than 3-oz bottles), I went to the package store and purchased 2 little bottles of vodka, thus saving another $7.00 a pop. I’ll put those in w/ my little shampoo and Castile soap, which doubles as body wash and laundry soap.

Last but certainly not least, I have packed Willy and the Boyz, my trusted travel mascot that we purchased from an artisan shop in New Zealand about 15 years ago. Willy has traveled with us on every trip we have taken, and I consider him my ambassador of good will. (He is featured in an anthology that will be coming out later this year!)

Willy & the Boyz in the Alps

All of that , plus a few extra’s  (gum, coughdrops, book, trail mix…)  fits neatly in my daypack, adhering to the USAir size limitations of 14″ x 9″ x 22″. Pretty good, if I may say so myself!

So pack light, pack smart, and Happy Travels, everybody! I’ll report back on my Norway trip upon my return.