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.

Holiday in-law help

Ah, the holidays – when you get to spend copious amounts of time with your partner’s family no matter how well you’ve managed to avoid them the rest of the year.  So what’s a girl to do?

  • Realize that it is one day out of your entire life.  Even if it’s more than one day, you have 365 days each year – it’s better than gnawing off your leg to escape.
  • Agree with your partner the arrival and departure time.  Ten minutes before it’s time to go, nudge your partner to start saying their goodbyes.
  • Don’t allow yourself to be baited into reacting.  It takes two to argue.  Ignore and avoid as much as you can but have an emergency let’s-get-out-of-here phrase with your partner, such as, “Oh, suddenly I don’t feel well.”
  • If they’re staying with you, you do get to make the rules but try to be as generous as possible.  Take an active roll in selecting arrival/departure dates (“We’d love to have you longer but our schedule is just crazy before the 22nd.”).  There is nothing that states that you have to spend every moment with your guests, if they refuse your overtures of day trips, don’t hesitate to leave the house if you feel the need.
  • If you’re staying with them, do your best to limit the amount of time you’re there.  Plan day trips.  Make a ritual of going for a drive each night to de-compress.  When you need to, stay in  your room with a headache.
  • Keep your irritation away from your partner (he’ll feel the need to defend), instead, vent to your best friend – just make sure the in-laws aren’t within earshot.

It can be difficult when you don’t see eye-to-eye with your in-laws but they are your partner’s family and they won’t be going away any time soon.