Saturday, 19 May 2012

Packing: where you figure out that most of what you own is superfluous

Traveling can be eye-opening in so many ways, not least of which is when you realize that you really need almost no possessions to get by. However, some worldly goods are nice to have with you away from home, so here are my tips on how to maximize your usefulness:luggage weight ratio.

1. Bring bug repellant, and something that claims to soothe the itching associated with bites you do get. Seriously. Unless you are visiting San Diego, there are going to be bugs and they are going to bite you. I still haven’t learned this, which is probably why I got dengue that first time.

2. Pack some aloe vera. Even though you think you are awesome and aren’t going to get sunburned this time, you will.

3. Skip packing the work stuff. Even though you have big plans to finish reading those journal articles on the plane, crunch some data, or fix up your expense report (or whatever normal people do), really it’s just going to get crumpled and take up space underneath the US weekly you buy at the airport.
   What’s that you say? You are headed on a business trip/field expedition/going to a conference? Fine. You can bring the minimum required work-related accoutrement. But you are not allowed to bring extra stuff to “keep busy,” unless that stuff is a trashy novel that will melt your braincells. 

Try to avoid packing awkwardly shaped items, such as air compressors. It will save your back.

4. You really don’t need that many pairs of shoes. They’re heavy, and will probably just sit in your bag getting mildewy. Just pack flip-flops in your bag (perhaps inside an awesome Lusso shoe bag so they don’t schmutz all your clothes) and wear good walking shoes on the plane.

5. Always bring a swimsuit.

6. Bring your toothbrush, contact lens stuff, and a fresh shirt and underoos in your carryon. When your luggage is lost, you will thank me for this tip.

7. Make a pile of all the clothes you want to bring. Now put half of it back. Then put another half of it back. Pack the remaining pile.

Did you have to purchase an extra seat on the plane for your luggage? You clearly didn't follow tip #7.

8. Don’t bother checking the weather ahead of time. This will mean you have to go straight from the airport shopping for more appropriate clothing. You will thus simultaneously support the local economy you are visiting and potentially score clothes that will help you blend in.

9. Fill any remaining space in your carry-on with chocolate or other delicious sustenance.

If you have a child, disregard all of these tips. Your entire luggage allowance will be used up with their miniature clothes, toys, diapers, car seat, blankets, etc. so you’ll be lucky if you even get to bring a second shirt for yourself. Your martyrly awesomeness will have to sustain you instead.

1 comment:

  1. Man oh man, I need to remember to follow #3. I always bring tons of work (textbooks! Journal articles!) and I only ever use 1% of it. Totally agree with #5, too. You never know where there may be a hot tub.