To Pack or Not to Pack.
By Erica and Karen
How do you pack for a one week trip?
We pack differently. Erica would sooner die than check luggage. Karen would sooner die than not have the right colors. So we have different strategies.
Erica packs light. She has it down to a science. First, if she can't carry it over her shoulder or wheel it on, it doesn't come. That's non-negotiable. Second, if the trip is longer than overnight, she starts days before pulling clothes and putting them in a pile. Then she goes through each day she will be away, one by one, deciding how many times she will need to change and what she will wear for each event. She starts with a ton of stuff and then whittles it down to fit the carry on. Yes, these shoes can go with those outfits--if she changes that sweater for another that will go with everything. Generally, she ends up with a lot of black and white, gray and beige--and at least one colorful thing too.
Erica thinks lots of clothes are transformative--exercise and sleep can be combined with cotton camisoles. And sparkly shoes (heels and flats) are fabulous for travel--they make daytime into night time and make monochromatic much more fun. Everything is rolled in plastic cleaner bags--saves lots of wrinkles and space. Of course, it doesn't end up that she wears what she planned exactly as she planned it--that would be weird. But she has learned after criss-crossing the globe that less is more and that she is never short--always happier to have fewer things to lug around and spend time choosing. For her, packing right makes trips better. It is a lesson she has passed on to her daughter, and it ranks right up there with other big ideas her daughter needed to know.
Karen also believes in carrying on, but she usually can't execute. Especially when she travels for fun. For work she can manage with a few monochromatic items. But when travelling for fun, Karen wants color. She cannot go for a week without a lot of color. She recently went on a long vacation where she was required to take only one carry on bag and only mud colored clothes. That was torture. But it sure made carry on easy.
Knowing her proclivities, Karen's process is the opposite of Erica's. She makes a pile of a few items that go together--black in winter and white in summer. (Never gray or beige.) But then she decides she needs this and that. One at a time. A pair of shoes for hard walking. Another for fancy stuff. (And yes, sparkly shoes do multiple duty.) A selection of jackets and shirts in various hues. Coordinating pants. Bags to go with the colors. Necklaces to match the bags. Nightwear. Underwear. Workout wear. (Combining workout and sleepwear? Really? She must ask Erica about that.) Electronics. Chargers. Soon the pile is a mountain.
Even so, Karen can limit herself to a carry on if she must. But she often travels with family members who think carrying luggage around the airport and on the plane is demented. So she goes with the flow--no reason not to check her luggage too. But she will feel like an idiot if hers is the bag that is lost. Yes, it has happened.
Karen knows Erica is right. So one of her New Year's resolutions is to emulate Erica, and travel light, every time. (The resolution does not extend to monochromatic colors). How's that going to go? We'll see.
What about you?