Packing for Your Trip: Pre-Vacation Drama

Before every trip, business or pleasure, my friend  Victoria used to empty her entire closet onto her bed, iron everything she owned,  and then sort  each item into “take” and “don’t take” piles. Over  a couple of weeks (!) she’d gradually pare down the “take” pile until she had the right amount of clothes for the trip. Looking back, I think that was “vacation foreplay.” She stretched out the fun with all the pre-trip activities.

Woman sitting on sofa surrounded by clothes.
















Seems a bit extreme, right? Yet trying to decide what to take can be challenging, especially if you’ll be gone quite awhile and if  you’ll be dressing for many types of activities.

The airlines are cracking down on how much you can bring aboard and charging a LOT of money for additional bags and if  you go over weight limits. OVERSEAS PACKING :  If you are used to the US generous luggage allowances on planes beware that on most overseas flights not departing/arriving in the US you are restricted to 44 pounds per a passenger, which is not much.

















***Carry  on board with you: medications, prescriptions for refills, glasses, phone, tablet, camera, laptop and chargers. New regulations require may require you to power up your electronic devices when you go through security. Carry with you your tickets, passport/id, credit cards, money, etc. Plan to have 48 hours worth of clothes/toiletries with you (including your contact lens case and solution) , just in case your luggage is delayed. 














Tropical Vacations:  If you’re  leaving a cold climate and heading  somewhere warm, leave a set of warm clothes in the car  at the airport, or with friends if you are being picked up. For tropical vacations or cruises, lighter colors and  one or two basic dresses will get you through all but the most formal of events. A great swimsuit cover-up can be a lifesaver, and your trip is the perfect time to shop for something fun. A sarong is a fantastic item to bring, as it doubles as a skirt, dress, shawl, beach towel or even top sheet. You can even use it as a bag or table cloth in a pinch. ( Take several rolls of dental floss and a crochet hook and you can whip out a great bikini on the plane!)














For cool-weather vacations,  stick with one basic color scheme. Dark is preferred – one which won’t show marks and wrinkles so much. (Personally, I  wear black only because they don’t make anything darker.) Choose one or two accent colors in scarves, jewelry, etc. You’ll save space and you won’t have to wonder what to wear.

NOTE: If you are going to Alaska you will not regret taking a  warm coat. I don’t care what they tell you– it can be cold in the summer, too! I wore my giant faux fur coat in September and was the envy of the other cruisers. This was after I froze on my previous trip in August.


alaskan-malamute (1)

That fur is there for a reason so take something warm!

















A shirt can layer over a dress in place of a jacket. Take multiple thinner items which can be layered instead of one bulky heavier piece. Silk Thermal underwear is perfect for cooler climates. It’s warm, it’s light, and it won’t make you look like the Abominable Snowman.




Consider local customs: don’t pack shorts, regardless of your sex, if you are traveling to the Middle East or other Muslim countries such as Indonesia Malaysia and Turkey.  You won’t be allowed into key churches in European countries including Italy and Spain dressed in them, either. And ladies, pack a scarf you can pull up over your head if need be. Channel your inner Grace Kelly…












SHOES. Shoes are always difficult…try to wear your heaviest/bulkiest pair while traveling. And you truly do NOT need 8 pairs of shoes for this trip. Seriously consider your activities and keep the shoes to a minimum.

3 pairs of shoes are recommended:

• Comfortable for walking–“test drive” these and break them in well before you leave home. (Ignore  this if you’re heading to a resort and will be flopped by the pool the whole time.)
• Sandals or flip flops
• Dressier pair for evening wear






















• If you bring anything that needs electricity e.g. hairdryer,electric razor, camera battery charger, you will need to bring an adapter 
• Cheap hotels often provide a hair-dryer and iron on request
• There are disposal replacements for razors or batteries
• Baseball caps, big white athletic shoes, and tracksuits scream “American Tourist” – if you want to blend in consider alternatives.

“Comfort has its place, but it seems rude to visit another country 
dressed as if you’ve come to mow its lawns.”– – Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris, 2000 – –

• Clearly mark your luggage with a distinctive tie or other mark so you can retrieve it easily from the luggage carousel• Be familiar with the security restrictions for carry-on items particularly fluids. 3-1-1 for carry-on luggage = bottle of 3.4 ounces (100 mg) or less (per volume); 1 quart transparent plastic bag hermetically sealed; 1 bag per passenger placed in the inspection container. One quart size bag per person limits the total volume of liquid that each passenger can carry. 

TOILETRIES: Consider packing only what you will need for a few days. if you’ll be gone any length of time, you can replenish locally. You may not get the products you’re used to, but chances are you’ll find something that will work.

My tip: if your hair looks horrible, be sure you’re the one behind the camera!



















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1 Comment

  1. My friend actually share this link, when I saw the picture I was laughing out loud! This is so me, I enjoy reading your post though it has a great list and the related topics it is informative!!

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