Now that I have my new carry on bag, I wanted to get a head start in packing for my Caribbean trip. My method for packing is typically madness. I wait until the last minute, think of everything I could possibly want to bring with me, and then shove it willy-nilly into the bag.
It never works out well.
My mom had a better method, but only slightly better. She would think of anything we might possibly need on a vacation, and then neatly and carefully fold and roll it into the suitcases until it all fit. I don’t know how she did it – the clothes seemed to take up twice as much volume as the suitcase itself, yet she managed to fit it all! We were always prepared, but I remember the suitcases were so heavy that as a kid, I couldn’t even lift them!
So now that I’m within the 2 week countdown threshold, and I know how much space I have for packing, why not get started?
First step: pull out everything I might possibly want to wear while I’m down there. That includes beachwear, hiking/sightseeing gear, nicer outfits for dinner, comfortable outfits for flights, workout gear in case I feel like doing yoga on the tropical beach, sportswear in case I play golf on the fantastically beautiful golf course… you name it and I thought of it! Well, except for incredibly rainy weather, which I’m purposely ignoring in the hopes that I have sunshine all week, and also because I can borrow a rain jacket from the friend I’m visiting if necessary. If I can’t decide on a color, I just pulled out all the colors of that item for later elimination.
I pulled out all of the clothes I might want to take, and laid them out on our futon. It was a mess!
There is NO way on earth that all of those clothes are going to fit in my carry on! In fact, I have so many clothes there I could live for a month and not even repeat an outfit! I’ll only be gone 10 days, so some major pruning is in order. Here’s how I went about narrowing it down:
*scroll past the list if you want to see the picture of the final results*
Keepers: First things first, I know I need two bathing suits – those can stay. I also need one pair of pants for golf and/or yoga – those can stay. A single sweater? That can also stay.
Possible keepers: I really think I need a couple tank tops, to go with the skirts/pants/shorts and for layering for warmth as needed. They don’t take up much space, so they can stay – for now.
Easy elimination: I don’t really need 2 pairs of shorts – one will do. The other can go. I also don’t need 6 scarves – I’ll take two (they can do triple duty as a beach cover up, shawl, and actual scarf). There goes another 4 items.
Now it’s getting harder: The “light shirts” are actually collared button down shirts, that are sheer or very light weight. I probably don’t need both… so the decision comes down to fabric. The blue one is 100% polyester, and the red one is 100% cotton.
Rolling right along: Only a few items left for elimination! The skirts are a bit much. They really don’t take up much space, but I also don’t need to take four of them. I’ll definitely go with the basic black skirt, but I’m having trouble deciding about the lace vs the stripes vs polka dots.
Uh oh, slowing down now: Now on to the dresses. I really don’t need 5. One of them is actually more of a beach cover up than a dress, so since I’m using a scarf as a coverup, I can leave that one behind. Down to 4. I plan on wearing the navy dress on the plane – it is stretchy and comfortable and still looks classy. Down to 3. I definitely want the white dress as my ‘fancier’ dress while I’m down there. It is an A-line dress with thin navy pinstripes. The turquoise dress is hands down the most comfortable thing I own, so that’s definitely getting packed. The only one left for consideration is the black dress – it has pockets! We’ll see how much room I have…
Last but not least: The jacket and nice blouse… Yeah, after knocking out all those other items, I just don’t see the point in taking the jacket. It would be great if I were going somewhere cooler, or if I had to do anything business-related. But it’s just more effort than it is worth at this point. And I think the blouse will just get wrinkled, so I should leave that too.
*Phew!* That was exhausting! (No really – studies have shown you can get ‘decision fatigue’ after making difficult choices – even if they are only difficult because you make them that way!)
I still need to pack my makeup case, which will primarily be my ziploc bag of liquids. I plan on wearing whatever jewelry I am taking – a couple rings, a bracelet or two, and some earrings. I will buy sunscreen and shampoo as needed when I’m there, so I don’t have to take extra liquids through security.
I’ll have to throw in a few electronics, including my camera, US cell phone, International cell phone, and ipod (and of course the charger for each). Don’t forget identification and boarding passes too! And last but not least, in exchange for letting me stay with her for a whole week, my wonderful friend only asked for an autumn-scented Yankee Candle. Of course I can bring her one!
All of these things will probably go in whatever bag I use as my ‘personal item’. I know many carriers in Europe only allow one bag in total, so this isn’t perfect practice for a trip to Europe, but I’m easing into those restrictions! I can’t part with everything all at once!
Here’s what I’m left with after the first reduction as described above:
And here’s what I’m left with when I realize that just because it “fits” in the bag (and it surprisingly did all fit) doesn’t mean I have to take it all: