"" Writer's Wanderings: Travel Prep - Oh, Those To-Pack Lists!

Monday, September 02, 2013

Travel Prep - Oh, Those To-Pack Lists!

Several years ago Bob and I were standing in line behind another couple about our age who were obviously about to go on a cruise. Their luggage had cruise tags on them for the cruise line that would take them from baggage claim to the ship. Each had a suitcase that was medium sized, probably 25 inchers. Bob and I looked at each other and the three suitcases we were toting. We were proud that we'd gotten our cruise stuff into three suitcases instead of four.

Finally Bob could stand it no longer and he asked, "How did you manage to get all your stuff for a cruise into two suitcases?"

"It took a while," the gentleman answered. "We've done quite a few cruises and finally took to putting a safety pin on each item that we packed. Each time we wore something we took the pin off. Anything we took home with a safety pin still on it we knew to leave at home the next time."

It made sense! While we never tried the safety pin method, we have learned that we can survive with a lot less--even on an extended travel itinerary. Believe it or not there are plenty of places to do laundry and/or get it done. Considering the cost of extra bags charged by the airlines, it works out to be a lot cheaper to take less and spend a little time doing laundry. Check out my post from when we were planning our Australia trip.

To stream line our packing which usually gets done a day before we leave, I have several different lists for the different types of trips we take. One list is for cruising. Another for warm weather travel and another for colder climates. Cruising calls for some nicer outfits for dinner but for other trips, we can get by with one smart casual outfit for those occasions where we may find ourselves wanting to catch dinner at a nicer restaurant.

If you'd like your own list, Independent Traveler has a great place to start with an interactive packing list you can customize it to your own needs. There is a lot more on their list than you may need but as you consider your preferences, you can pare it down to something a bit more workable. Remember that many of the places you stay will provide toiletries and some of those gadgets that you just think you absolutely can't get along without will
be extra baggage. After all, this is time to enjoy the destination the video games can wait until you get home.

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