Thursday, July 14, 2011

Packing for a Trip

Sorry in advance for posting this late.  I'm an awful blogger.  Anna mentioned in a comment that she thought the baby hungry post would be by me... so I decided that Try Me Tuesday should be something non-baby related.  Looking back at most of my challenges there has been a theme of baby.  Hey, if you are passionate about something though, shouldn't you share that passion?

Well, rather than being passionate about babies today, I am going to share my passion for traveling and being organized.  This month we have a couple of family trips coming up and rather than being like a normal person a throwing a few things in the suitcase last minute, I have been planning exactly what I want to pack since the second week of June.  So... here's my list of suggestions.

1.  When traveling for more than 5 days, only pack enough for 5 days max and plan to do laundry part way through your trip.  This way you only have to pick out your top 5 favorite outfits and more than likely, you can mix and match them. (Jon and I are headed to France for 10 days with the Hamiltons and are trying to pack in one suitcase, with two backpacks as our carry-ons, we are going to follow this rule and make sure to bring our own laundry soap.)

With our luggage enroute to Jamaica last year.  We had a chance to stop in Dallas and see my sister Maggie.
2.  Bring a couple of garbage bags with you in your suitcase so that your clean clothes do not contaminate your dirty clothes if you are going to be packing and unpacking often. (If you don't want to pack these, most hotels have "laundry" bags hanging in the closet that you could use for the same purpose.)
This closet did not have the free laundry bag and I was way bummed.  Their padded hangers were nice though.
3.  If you have to sleep with a fan on or a white noise machine, make sure to pack it.  It's hard enough sleeping in a different bed, having a calming sound that you are used to can make your sleep more restful.  (I picked up one of these gems at Bed Bath and Beyond last week.  Clearance priced $4.99 plus 20% off coupon.)

Room in Antigua where a noise machine would have been helpful.  The birds and bugs were loud all night.
4.  Whether you are going on a day trip to Park City or museum hopping in Paris staying hydrated is extremely important.  When flying they might not let you bring your own water through security, but you can bring your own bottle and fill it up at a drinking fountain.  If you're like me though, you might get sick of just water after a couple days, so bring a few flavor packets.  I love this kind in particular and they are usually on sale at Walmart.

All three of us could have benefited from more hydration that day.  Sentosa Island Singapore.
5.  Worried about having enough space?  Well, I've found a great tool for making extra room.  I know you've probably heard of them before, but did you know that spacebags makes travel bags that just roll to seal?  They do!  Jon and I will be testing them out for the first time this trip, but we've loved the ones that store our items at home and know that it will be helpful for them to shrink our clothing even smaller for that one suitcase.
These boys are lucky to have moms who pack for them and drive them across the country to visit me, in one car with 5 people and luggage for all of them. Photo from North Carolina last summer.
6.  Headed overseas?  Make sure to bring a few of your favorite snacks in your bags.  It may seem silly and I know some of you will say, just sample the cuisine of the country you are visiting, but really, sometimes I just miss American food.  Two years ago when we were in Asia we were really missing a good burger, so we headed down to McDonald's for a burger and spent much more than planned just to get a taste of home.  This time I'll be packing my favorite all fruit roll-ups and a few chewy bars to save some money.
Our drink bags at McDonald's in Thailand.
7.  Make a list and check it twice... or thrice... or however many times you want.  This is what I started way back in June a list of all of the things I need to bring and what they are specifically.  I print out a copy to go in my bag and once I've arrived at the location when I am packing up to come home I use it to make sure that I've got all of my belongings.  This will be extra handy when I am staying with my sisters in Park City.  I'll know for sure if they have taken any of my favorite shirts.  Haha.

Luckily we had matching shirts when we stayed with Beth in Vegas.
8.  Leave some things at home.  I know that organizing your purse does not seem that important when traveling, but going through and taking out all non-essential items from your wallet and purse is always a good practice.  In Jamaica last year I brought only the essentials, license, passport, cash, and one card for emergencies.  That way if my purse did get stolen, I didn't have to worry about cancelling a million cards or restarting memberships.
Really awkward pose, but it's the best shot I have of my tiny travel purse.  That lumpy shrub is supposed to look like an elephant at Ahyutaya in Thailand.
9.  Always charge your camera before you go on a trip and make sure to bring the charger with you just in case.  There are so many trips where I wish I had more photos but I don't because I forgot the charger.  Making your list will also help you remember to pack this and to bring it back home.  Replacing a battery charger can be quite expensive.
Riding in a helicopter over Hoover Dam.  One of the only pictures from the weekend cause I forgot the camera charger...
10.  It never hurts to pack a skirt.  Or long pants for that matter...  You never know when you might need them.
Long skirts were a requirement to visit these temple grounds... I only had shorts.
Long pants were required for men here as well.

So... try packing for a trip... or taking one for that matter.  They are refreshing and wonderful and offer opportunities for embarrassing photos.  I'll probably be absent from bloggerdom for the next two and a  half weeks since my family gets here on Friday and stays until we leave for France on the 23rd of July.  I promise to have awesome updates about trying the Red Banjo Pizza parlor in Park City after my family visits and having really delicious European chocolate when the Hamiltons get back from France.  For now, just have a great couple weeks and tell me about your favorite trip or item to pack.


  1. I am so jealous of you, you have no idea...My concern with travelling is outlets... You always hear that foreign outlets are different than American ones, so is there an adapter? Or is this like an Urban Legend...

  2. The outlets are different, but they do have adapters. I picked one up at Walmart for the trip to France. It's kind of like this one. http://www.amazon.com/All-One-Travel-Power-Adapter/dp/B000YN01X4 But it came with different plugs for each of the continents. All of the hotels in Asia and Jamaica had the same as US outlets though.

  3. This is a great post!! I over-pack like a maniac so I'm going to take your 5 days max advice for sure. Have so much fun!

  4. rachael -- awesome! this will be helpful for me next month (hopefully)...

  5. Thanks for sharing the great packing tips! We look forward to hearing what you think of Space Bag To Go Bags after you use them on your trip. Feel free to visit Space Bag's online community, Space Savers, to share your Space Bag story there or to get a discount on future Space Bag purchases. Thanks again for sharing your packing tips and have fun on your trip! Best wishes, Space Savers correspondent www.SpaceSaversCommunity.com