How to pack for a trip

Ladies, we have all committed the sin of over-packing for a trip.  There is an easier way to be covered for all circumstances without it resulting in heavy luggage and excess laundry.  Here’s how:

  1. Take a realistic look at where you’re going and the type of trip you’re taking.  You will not pack the same clothes for a business trip as you would for a vacation although some clothing choices will overlap.  Do not pack for activities you can not guarantee you’ll be engaging in (I’m looking at you disco-ball-club-outfit on your job interview weekend).
  2. This is not the time to experiment or wear something new (especially shoes). Wearing what you have may seem boring but hey, no-one at your destination has seen you in it.
  3. Hopefully you have developed your signature style and you’ve built your wardrobe around a neutral color.  Your suitcase will be a mini-version of your wardrobe.
  4. Wardrobe staples (dark jeans, dress pants, crisp white blouses) and solid colors combined with unique accessories (scarves, bangles, necklaces) will allow you to mix-and-match to come up with new combinations.  Keep the shoes and belts simple and to a minimum.  If needed, try on outfits ahead of time and take photos so that you’ll know what to pack and how to combine it at your destination.
  5. Pick clothing that will perform double-duty, like that cute suit jacket that can be paired with jeans for warmth and class on a night out.
  6. Choose fabrics (silk, rayon, etc.) that will dry overnight if you have to wash them in the sink overnight.  Bring two plastic hangars with clips on them to hang on the shower rod.
  7. Lay out and match up your clothes before packing.  Roll your clothes (in tissue paper if you don’t have an environmental objection to it) and pack in cubes (preferably ones that hold their shape rather than being crushed in the suitcase).
  8. Pack in a sensible order, keeping outfits together, and putting what you’ll need first on top.  Unpack when you arrive and iron anything that needs to be ironed immediately.
  9. Always pack anything that can leak in a zippered plastic bag.  In fact, pack several clean, spare bags in your suitcase for anything from new perfume to wet swimsuits.  Check the hotel website to see what amenities they offer (shampoo, conditioner, lotion, hairdryer) so that you know what you don’t need to include in your packing.
  10. If you don’t want to dirty your cubes or the inside of your suitcase, bring plastic bags for packing your dirty laundry and your shoes in.

Do you have any tried-and-true tips for packing?  Please leave them in the comments.

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On the road again

A road trip is a great way to determine long-term compatibility.  The unrelenting close proximity highlights issues in a way few other experiences can.  It also helps a couple sharpen their negotiation skills as everything from music to destination will be up for discussion.

However, if you can’t physically go somewhere, you might try this exercise to help determine compatibility.  Imagine you’re going on a road trip with your partner and ask yourself these questions:

  1. Where are you going?  Is that your choice, his choice or a mutually agreed upon choice?
  2. Whose car are you taking?  Or are you renting a car?  Is the driving shared?
  3. Do you drive straight-thru or do you stop along the way?  What’s your maximum number of hours in a car for one day?
  4. Who is controlling the map or global positioning system?  What happens if you get lost?
  5. What do you pack?  What does he pack?  Will it all fit in the car comfortably?  Who is packing the car?
  6. Are you bringing food?  Did you buy it or make it?  Who made it?  Is it healthy food or junk food?
  7. For beverages are you bringing refillable containers or are you buying disposable ones on the way?
  8. How far in advance do you need to ask for a potty stop?  Do you need to ask more than once?
  9. Who is controlling the music and air conditioning?
  10. Are you splitting the gasoline tab?  Is it 50/50 on each tank or you get this one, I’ll get the next?
  11. How are the accommodations?  Are you in the lap of luxury or are you afraid to put your bare foot on the floor?  What was the deciding factor in where you stay?
  12. Who is paying for what?  Do you feel that it’s a fair and equitable distribution of costs?
  13. How do you negotiate arguments on the road?

If you have successfully gotten to your destination with a minimal amount of discomfort, congratulations.  If not, what issues did the exercise highlight in terms of needing work?