Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pack as Little as Possible

After I Tweeted that a TSA screener said I was a "Smart Traveller," I got a couple of inquiries as to what my secrets were.

As I have mentioned here and here, my incentive is to pass through the checkpoint as quickly and painlessly as possible.  Which means my mantra has been to "pack as little as possible."

Here are a few things I consider when packing for a business trip.

Fluids contain water and water is heavy - long before the ban and then limitations of fluids for carry-on luggage, I've been bringing smaller amounts in re-usable plastic bottles.  Today, most of my bottles are two-ounce oval bottles rather than the three ounces that are allowed.  The oval bottles pack together more tightly than round bottles, so there is less wasted space.  I've realized recently that in some cases I use less than half of the product I've been bringing, so I have moved some of the product to one-ounce bottles.

Shoes take up a lot of space - Shoes are bulky.  They take up a lot of space.  If you really need more than one pair, you can roll up underware and socks and stuff inside the shoe to save some space.  I plan my clothes so I can wear the shoes I will need for the entire week.  I do go back and forth regarding running shoes.  Now that the weather is nicer and I'm not bringing bulky sweaters, I may start bringing the running shoes again.

Ensure all of the clothes can be worn together - If I plan my clothes well, they will all match the shoes I wore on the plane and each other.  Then if there's a mishap with one outfit, I can mix things up and don't have to go shopping or pay emergency laundry fees.

No Laces - since most of us have to remove and replace our shoes when passing through the security checkpoint, I wear shoes than can be slipped on and off easily.  There is little more awkward than trying to remove cowboy boots or put on laced shoes in a moving line with few places to sit.

I'm not a Fashionista - I don't think I'm a dolt when it comes to fashion, but I'm certainly no fashionista.  My style is simple.  Black, white and taupe with very few other colors or patterns.  My hand bag is simple and durable.  My jewelry is simple and almost always the same.  My hair is worn down.  This works for me because it's easy and eliminates the need to pack additional accessories or worry about the safety of jewelry in my hotel room.

Electrons weigh less than paper - I keep as much of the information required to do my job as I can on my computer.  This is definitely a work in progress for me since I like to write things out by hand.  As a youngster I learned journaling as a way to organize my thoughts.  So for me there is something more direct and satisfying about using a pen and paper than a keyboard and computer screen.

Travelling Clothes - Along with my slip on shoes, I wear a pull-over sweater and comfortable but not loose pants. The TSA screeners will ask that cardigans, metal watches and belts be removed. I also make sure my pockets are emptied into my hand bag.

Leave some space - If you leave a little space in your bag, then it will be available when you find something you want or need to bring home with you.

Bring some fun - I do bring a magazine or book and knitting with me.  Magazines are heavy for their size and books are bulky, but they give me something to do during take off and landing and usually I learn something when reading them.  Knitting is my little bit of home.  I usually knit a little each night because when I feel the texture of the yarn between my fingers I feel more connected to my farm at home.

These are just a few that come to mind.  Do you have any tricks that work for you?  Please share them.  I'm always trying to pack more efficiently.


Tamara said...

We just traveled to Bolivia/Chile with our kids. Each family member had only 1 back pack so no check ins! We always wear our heavy clothes on the plane and then pack the lighter items. I roll all the clothes in a tube shape. I also pick a color blue or purple and have mix match clothes. Only 1 pr of earrings. I usually wear my hiking boots and pack a semi dress shoe that can be worn for walking too. Of course it is easier to pack in the summer than winter. And bought a Nook. We took turns reading out loud Pride/Prejudice. Nice post! Thanks for the tips.

Kathryn Ray said...

One back pack each? I am sufficiently impressed.

I love the idea of reading a book to each other. I've never read Pride & Prejudice but understand it is very good.

Thanks for the inspiration!