Packing an Adventure - row of suitcases

Packing – an Adventure onto Itself

Picture this: a room that is set aside for packing. Yes, we have taken over most of a little-used bedroom in our home. It contains a clothes rack for hanging washed and pressed clothing to neatly and conveniently await our next trip. And has space for luggage. It has an area to set out shoes, etc. to await the day. A bureau drawer is designated for sorted and bagged toiletries and over the counter meds.  Picture also our cats, sleeping on our luggage and using our clothes for scratching posts. “See, o people who serve us, if we can’t go with you at least you can take half our fur with you.”

So, one would tend to think that with all that, packing would be breeze in our house. Nope, not even close.

Our Ultimate Moment in Luggage Packing

Our finest packing moment – and it happened only once – was on a last minute trip to Ireland. The Kow (the grandkids name for hubby) and I had one piece of carry on each, we used or wore everything packed, and we sailed smugly through airports with nary a sideways glance at the arrows directing arriving passengers to the luggage claim area. And we even had room enough to take home souvenirs and gifts (not little ones either – a bodhran drum is not pocket size)! This could be why Kow has such fond memories of Ireland.  Unfortunately mine includes many instances of complete-set-of-gel-nails-destroying anxiety moments, most linked to the Kow and his proficiency with Irish roads, but I digress.


A bodhran drum which travelled in carry-on. The puppet souvenir is from Mexico.

What Makes the Cut

How do you decide what to take and what to leave behind? My best laid plan of colour-coordinating pieces of clothing and accessories to achieve the  maximum number of possible outfit combos gets hijacked by:

  • key pieces having slipped by my laundry eye and presenting a noticeable front and center stain,
  • by pounds gained or lost since last worn,
  • and the occasional piece yelling “Pick me! Pick me!” and I am a sucker  to desperate pleas and can’t say no.

So many times I am over-prepared but still kicking myself for having considered and rejected a top or pair of slacks waiting at home. With the cats, of course.

Packing-an-Adventure-the two cats

We are innocent Mom!

My Packing Tips

As complicated as my own packing becomes, there is always the Kow who packs for himself. Bravo you say! But then the cry comes from the hotel bathroom “Did you pack a toothbrush for me?” or “I don’t have shoelaces!”,and  then you realize Cha Cha (my nickname from the grandkids) must be a mind reader and packer to boot.

Here is my paltry list of tips related to packing picked up over the years:

1)      Bring an extra pair of glasses if you are useless without them.

2)      Band aids ! For the blisters caused by wearing those new shoes one did not break in before your trip and for the hustle from one end of the airport to the other end for your connecting flight.

3)      Resealable bags, lots of them, for oozing and breakable lotions in checked luggage, to compartmentalise make-up and medications, for storing worn socks and undies, and so on.

4)      Crocheted brightly coloured covers for all handles on your luggage: a. Neat (no ends like ribbons etc to be snags waiting to happen on conveyor belts and the like); b. noticeable ( we can see ours across a crowded airport baggage claim); c. indestructible ( our much-travelled luggage is 12 years old, needs replacing, but my handiwork is still going strong); and d. comfy ( if heaven forbid one has to carry a bag as opposing to wheeling it).

5)      No-wrinkle packing can be achieved by taking all your large garments such as tops, shirts, pants or dresses and layering them, extended flat with what does not fit hanging out over the side of the bag, in a continuous circle around the 4 sides. With everything in, comes the same process now with what was left hanging outside the bag, alternating around the sides so all your pieces becomes interconnectedly ” woven” together. This prevents sharp creases and works much better than the old ways of rolling or neatly folding garments. Gaps then get filled with items which can be rolled like socks and undies,etc. Very difficult to describe but really works. Here’s a great video (an oldie but goodie.) Except remember to pack the first needed items near or at the top of the stack!

If you can suggest ways to make packing less of a chore or have funny stories to relate on the subject, or any related tips, please comment. It would be greatly appreciated and just might add years to my (travelling) life.

More packing advice here, and for river cruises here. Watch this video on packing for an Alaska cruise

Travel blog photos courtesy of the author and Pixabay.