Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Holiday travel:  Is it bringing out the Grinch in you?  I used to love to fly, but shoe removal and liquid restriction (not to mention escalating airfares) are enough to make one wonder if taking the bus would have been a better option after all.  And with baggage allowances dwindling monthly,  advanced preparation is a must.
I used to be an overpacker.  I'd show up at Grandma's local airport with a suitcase that even two people couldn't lift and on top of that, I'd still have a carry-on and a heavy coat.  Half the clothing and shoes that I stuffed into my bigger-than-God suitcase went unworn.  My reasoning was, I didn't know what I'd feel like wearing once I reached my destination.  Better to be prepared.  Well, I'll tell you:  There is nothing like two months of carrying a 60 pound sea bag all over Europe (Ah, the post college graduation Eurail Pass!) to make even a hearty Renaissance Girl mend her ways.
These days, being prepared means having one carry-on bag that you don't have to worry about losing during flight delays and unexpected travel changes.  It means you won't take up too much room where you're staying and that you will actually be able to locate things when you want to wear them!  And let's not underestimate the joys of being able to go directly to security without checking a bag.  Note:  Pack your carry-on WITHOUT unzipping the optional expanding zipper.  Save that for shopping that might accidentally (yeah, right!) take place during your travels.  
But how to START packing?  
I make at least a mental list of what I'll be doing during my stay and what wardrobe requirements there will be.
I start selecting clothes from my closet by deciding on the nicest outfit first (seeing a performance, going out to dinner with family, etc.).
I choose 2 pairs of shoes (okay, with my athletic shoes for working out, three), one of them completing the event outfit, the other, perhaps, a boot that is comfortable and stylish and that I can wear on the plane (leaving room for clothes in my carry-on).  Don't forget, make sure they're easy to remove for security...
I always choose too much at first, knowing I'll be putting at least half of it back in the closet.
Keep it all neutral so it will work with anything you pack.  Don't forget hose or tights for skirts, socks for athletic shoes and boots.
Hey!  I mention this in my advice to On the Verge in the Lady Godiva post!  Well, it works for packing, too.  If the boots you chose are brown, then that would be a fabulous neutral to match a belt to.  Then why not choose more natural and Earth tones?  If they're black, find a black belt and choose brighter colors.   
Depending on the length of your stay, you'll only need one pair of jeans (I know, that's a tough one), one skirt, 2 long sleeved tops, 1 sweater, one jacket, maybe one pair of slacks, and a couple camis and a t-shirt.  Separates are better than one-piece items (dresses) because everything you brought can be mixed and matched (Yay, color scheme!) to create different outfits.
Just bring the earrings, watch, and necklace that you wear all the time.  Much less hassle, maybe plus something for the nice outfit...  A Pashmena scarf can be worn a couple of different ways.
Remember the liquids thing, as it applies to carry-ons.  You can always buy stuff there.
Keep it simple.  It's winter, you'll have a coat.  (Does the coat match your color scheme?)  And reading material for when your flight is inevitably delayed.  
Actually, I'm wondering that for myself about this post, but seriously, that should probably be
your next question.
When the flight finally takes off, I remember how I actually do love to fly.  It's a miracle, if you think about it, being that far above the clouds and seeing the world from a wider perspective.  See how small all of our problems are in this big universe?  
Where are you going this Holiday Season?  Have a great time!


  1. HA HA I remember those days, you did used to pack big, and I have been a subscriber to the ONE CARRY ON ONLY rule for a long time- even business trips.

    I want to add something- I swap out liquids for "wipes" like shout wipes rock. No more stain removing pen in my purse.

    Also I pack fruit- if international flight- eat it before you land!

    Also if your "outfit" is a suit, all you'll need is various tops to go with the slacks which you can wear without the jacket.

    and I like only take one "mary poppins" purse that gets big and small to throw in a crushable wind breaker and teeny umbrella if need be.

    I usually also throw in a little clutch for going out.

    I have stopped packing jewelery and mostly wear everything every day. Too many theft stories, and if I do bring it- it stays IN MY PURSE when I go through security. and I watch my purse. I hear the french airports are the worst.

    Traveling light makes it fun! Also you can send things back to yourself when you're on the road. I like to do that.

  2. Well, I might point out that we've both come a long way, baby!
    Thank you so much for these extra tips. I hadn't heard of the wipes for stains. That could save so much money not having to replace clothing! And thank you for mentioning the suit. Exactly what I'm talking about! Then everything goes with everything on purpose. And a Mary Poppins purse! Where can we find one?
    I'm so glad you reiterate about jewelry. Why take tons of options, things you would be devastated to lose? Best not to tempt fate (and thieves).
    You are a pro traveller!


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