Mom, don’t freak out. I’m not not coming back, I just like to rhyme whenever possible. It’s good for SEO.
I have to pack for a trip to at least four countries over a period of at least 3 months and I’m only bringing one backpack and one laptop bag.
What’s a girl to do with restrictions like that?
Luckily, I don’t have that many clothes to place on the sacrificial altar, so killing my babies shouldn’t be too difficult (except those gorgeous DSW boots…I just bought those, damn it.)
Here are my travel packing tips after having to consolidate everything I own into 2 bags.
I hauled out everything I owned and began placing it all into piles on the bed – a “no” pile, a “maybe” pile, and a “yes” pile, based on weather, the mosquito factor, and the likelihood of having to look cute.
By the time I finished, I’d narrowed everything down to two of everything:
- 2 long sleeve shirts
- 2 t-shirts
- 2 sweaters
- 2 jackets (leather and heavy winter)
- 2 dresses (one sun, one that I could wear should I be invited to a fancy dinner. Or a Nepalese Cinderella ball.)
- 2 sports bras
- 2 real bras
- 2 pairs of pants
- 2 pairs of sweatpants/workout pants
- 2 pairs of underwear
Kidding. I allowed myself room for a smattering of socks and underwear, enough to last me for at least a week without doing laundry.
The garments marched two by two into my lone, cavernous bag, which had suddenly become a veritable Noah’s Ark of international travel.
Make sure to roll – not fold – your clothing when packing. Keep the stuff you must get at quickly (hand sanitizer! clean underwear!) in an easily accessible pocket.
Matt recommends getting tiny little Elf locks (like a padlock, not long flowing hair) to secure your bag. I am not doing this. I hope I don’t regret it.
In addition to my Noah’s Ark wardrobe, I am bringing
- A bunch of girly toiletries
- Some makeup
- Prescription medications (anti-malaria, anti-diarrhea, etc)
- My laptop
- My iPhone 5
- Chargers for said electronics
- Noise-cancelling headphones
- Batteries for said headphones
I dumped all of the medications out of their bottles, put it into plastic baggies, and labeled them with a Sharpie to save more room.
I also got an iPhone case that doubles as a battery, so when my phone is about to die on the plane, my phone won’t die on the plane!
This was about $50 on GroupOn and is already making my battery life longer than my boyfriend’s face after I made a joke about getting laid in Nepal. (Ohhh, so you don’t want me, but nobody else can have me either. Got it.)
And the piece de resistance of what I’m bringing to Nepal – VALIUM.
I have never taken Valium before, and I’m not quite sure why I hadn’t considered it earlier because I loathe flying. Absolutely hate it. Everyone always seem to be chewing gum in my ear or snoring loudly or shoving their elbows into me or trying to talk to me when I want to sleep.
I can’t sleep on planes to save my life, but I need to sleep on this flight. If I don’t, I may be awake for over 48 hours straight, and I think that will be really bad for my skin.
My itinerary is as follows:
11:30am Friday – Fly from LAX to Shanghai Pudong, 14 hours (last year’s flight was only 12 hours – is the difference because of daylight savings time?)
4:30pm Saturday – Land in Shanghai and enjoy a four hour layover after my 14 hour flight.
9:00pm Saturday – If you’re keeping track, I’ve now been traveling for 18 hours, and have probably been awake for over 24. The solution? Get on another 3-hour flight to Kungming, China.
12:20am Sunday – Land in Kungming, China. Endure a cruel 14 hour layover.
2:30pm Sunday – Fly from Kungming to Kathmandu, another 3-4 hours. With the time change I should arrive in Nepal around 4:30pm on Sunday.
The two biggest problems about this itinerary are as follows:
1. I CAN’T SLEEP ON PLANES.
2. I don’t know if I’ll be allowed to leave the airport in Kunming, which means I may have to spend 14 hours in the airport.
Last year when I flew into Shanghai, I had a similar lay over and was allowed to leave the airport with a visa that was only good for 24 hours. But this time I’ll be in the country longer – first Shanghai, then Kunming.
The airport in Kunming is new and the information available online is confusing. One website talks about lounges, and even showers, right in the airport. Travel forums are filled with people asking the same question as me – can I leave the airport and get a hotel? If not, are there really showers in the airport?
I still don’t know. I guess I’ll find out when I get there (Yikes! I need a plan! A plan, I say!)
In the mean time, my Valium is tucked inside my Noah’s Ark menagerie, and as my sweetie helps me try on my packed pack for the first time, smiling at me tenderly before kissing my forehead, I wonder if I’m making a huge, huge mistake.
What’s your weirdest travel packing tip?
photo credit: diytrade.com
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1. Roll up each individual item of clothing to save space.
2. Take exactly 2 of everything (except underwear - take a bunch of that)
3. Dump medications out of their bottles and put them in labeled plastic baggies to save space.
4. Get a battery-powered charger for your Smartphone (try GroupOn - they should be around $50)
5. You miiiiight want some Valium for the plane.
6. Just when you think you've eliminated all extraneous items from your bag(s), get rid of more. When you're running to catch a train in 100-degree heat, you'll thank me.
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