Having blogged in praise of checking luggage, now it’s time to crack open my bags and let y’all take a look around.
Here’s my formula for packing for a two-week trip. It works for plane trips, train trips, bus trips, and car trips. I’ve never taken a two-week boat trip, but I’d trust my method there too.The Carry-On1. Medication (and medical devices)
Enough meds for 3 weeks in their original, labeled prescription bottles. Plus all the meds I need for the full day of the flight in one bottle that slips into my purse or my pocket.
Yes, I carry an extra week’s worth of pills. You never know when a volcano’s going to erupt in Iceland and disrupt air travel all across Europe, or some other catastrophe will delay transit home. I want enough extra meds so that I’ll have time to get in contact with my doctor and get the prescriptions refilled, even if there’s both a weekend and communication problems. 2. File folder filled with papers
A list of phone numbers of folks like my doctors, medical insurance carrier, car insurance carrier (if I’m driving), regular pharmacy, cat sitter, and hotels. Plus printouts of plane reservations, hotel reservations, car rental reservations, and any activity reservations. If I’m going abroad, a color copy of the name page of my passport.3. Money, credit cards, ID
Self-explanatory, for the most part. I do tend to carry both my driver’s license and my passport on all my trips, whether international or not. I figure I paid for the passport, so I might as well carry it.4. Food
I don’t eat airplane food if there’s any way I can avoid it, so I pack my own meal at home and bring it aboard with me. I’ve never had security try to take it away from me.5. Entertainment: books, iPod, laptop, camera, etc.
I’m partial to paperback novels and guidebooks (oh, how I long for a Kindle!). If I’m on a work trip, of course I’ve got a laptop and my camera. Any other electronics also go in the carry-on, because electronics don’t fare well in baggage holds.
The Checked Bag 1. Clothes
Enough undies and socks for a week. (On two-week trips, I expect to do laundry at least once.) One dress for dinners out. One swimsuit or ski bib or other outfit needed for special activities. A pair of jeans, a pair of cargo pants, a pair of yoga pants. Two tank tops, two button-down shirts, two t-shirts, maybe a couple of other blouses. A nightshirt. A hat (brimmed for sunny destinations, warm for cold-weather climes). A sweater and a sweatshirt if it’s going to be cold. A blazer/jacket if it’s going to be businessy. A skirt if I’m in the mood. If I’ve got room, sometimes more clothes. For Hawaii and other tropical places, no pants at all. (Not like that!) Shorts, sundresses, and sarongs instead. For winter trips to cold places, fewer clothes fit in the bag.A small purse, if I’m not carrying one in addition to my carry-on tote bag. Hauling around the big tote bag for a whole trip is a pain.2. Shoes
The smallest number of comfortable, practical shoes you can possibly get away with. Minus the pair I wear onto the plane, which is invariably the bulkiest pair of shoes I’ll need on the trip. For two weeks: three pairs of shoes total, maximum. One of these must be suitable for a fancy dinner, but is usually flat ’cause I rarely wear heels even at home. They exacerbate my pain condition. Yeah, that’s it.3. Toiletries
Little bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, and shower gel. I always seem to have a surfeit of freebies from hotels, so I snag some of those. A little bottle lasts about a week, so I take two of each. A razor, mini shave gel, full-sized hair brush, toothbrush, mini toothpaste, little box of q-tips, a little lip gloss and mascara. A few hair ties and clips (back when I had long hair anyhow). Several pairs of earplugs. Female items.A small first-aid kit.3. Cords and chargers
To lighten up my carry-on, I pack all the cords and chargers for my electronics into my checked bag. It’s taking a chance, but I almost never travel to places where such things can’t be replaced if necessary.4. More paperback books
I often go through a novel every 2-3 days, which means that I pack extras into my checked bag for when I finish my carry-on books. (Did I mention that I want a Kindle?)5. Backup documents
Only if I’m going abroad, I make copies of all the docs from #2 in my carry-on and pack them into my checked bag. Just in case one bag goes missing, I’ve got my papers in the other. That’s about all I can think of. Have I forgotten anything?