Wednesday, September 05, 2012

When I Grow Up. . . .

. . . I want to learn how to pack well!   

    With all the traveling I've been doing, especially over the last several years, you would think I'd learned by now! But, each new trip begins the terrible, horrible process once more...

     I've watched demonstrations of what to pack and how to pack it, yet I still don't learn. I've spoken to professional packers (aka former flight attendants) to learn their secrets. I've rolled clothes, flattened them, stuffed them into vacuum bags and pumped the air out - all to no avail.  I've written lists based on each day's planned events and wardrobe needs and then selected clothing and accessories to fill those needs -- and completely forgot certain 'unmentionables'!

    Then, just this past July, when traveling to the RWA conference in Anaheim, I really messed up! I needed to pack partly-sightseeing clothes and partly-business clothes for the split trip.  When I got there and was in the thick of the conference, I realized I'd actually only brought about half the clothes I needed!

 So, as I approach a very special trip this month -- my hubby and I are celebrating our recent 35th wedding anniversary by going to HAWAII! -- my quandary begins anew -- what and how to pack!?

   OH -- the one thing I never have trouble with is what reading material to take along! LOL! The first thing I do (even my kids know this!) is to assemble the collection of romance novels I plan to read. On a 'good' trip, I can average a book a day, but I'm thinking there will be some quality, dedicated beach reading time on this trip! The pile is growing quickly as I contemplate more than a week away with nothing to do....

   I would love some packing suggestions from all of you -- what works for you? BIG suitcase? Stuffing as much in as possible and sitting on it to get it zippered? Planning? Professional packing consultant? What? What secrets can you share or tips can you offer?  BTW -- my one packing talent? I can tell the weight of a packed bag when I lift it! I cannot lift 50 lbs, so if I can lift it, it's under the weight limit.

    I'll choose three commentors and send them each a book I picked up at the RWA conference, along with a copy of one of my books! You have until end of day on Saturday to post before I choose a winner....and you'll have my undying gratitude for your help! 

Terri is head-down on a binge of deadline-mania writing right now, but she's thrilled that her new Harlequin Historical MACLERIE CLAN series begins with The Highlander's Stolen Touch and it's available now! For more info about Terri's books and events, visit her website....



Lory Lee said...

I've watched a show wherein they featured how to pack right. Make a list of all the things that you need (really important things) pack light (clothes that you can mix and match, comfortable shoes that you can also mix and match with your clothes, one flat and one heeled) Usually, people do some shopping when they visit a place, so it's important to pack light, so that you still have some room for the items that you've shopped. :D

Laney4 said...

Ahhhh, you're human, Terri!
I keep a recipe card in my makeup bag at all times. On it are listed all possible things I need to take, whether summer or winter, so I don't forget to take (or bring back!) anything. I don't bring everything on the list, mind you, but the list doesn't change much year to year.
The biggest problem for me would be "what to wear". My skinny daughter has no problem because she can fit a lot more tiny clothes in her bag than I can bigger clothes; it's not fair!
Have you ever watched Betty White being interviewed? She always wears plain black pants and low (comfortable) black heels, but she switches up her top and jewellery every time. I think that's a great tip, as accessories aren't bulky to pack but can change your look.
Have fun and congrats on 35 years! (We just celebrated our 31st, and I can honestly say that, though we've had our bumps through the years, these ARE the best years of our lives.)

girlygirlhoosier52 said...

Jamie Lee Curtis is similar to Betty White -- one color palatte and accessories.. Do check the Hawaii tourism @ for some help. And remember, it's not like they don't have stores!!! But do prep a checklist.. and see what can do double duty.

traveler said...

Pack lightly, Co-ordinate outfits that fit together. Small suitcase. Comfortable shoes are the most important accessory.

Lil said...

One tip that has helped me over the years is to put the piles of items I need on the bed before packing. Also, I ensure that my list starts with clothing nearest the skin to outer layers and going from head to feet. Seeing all of the clothing neatly folded and piled on the bed frequently allows me to rethink how I want to mix and match items and decrease the number of items I think I will need.

little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

Terri Brisbin said...

Some really great suggestions so far!! Keep 'em coming!!

penney said...

For me I always used a big suitcase and a big carry on bag with books in it mostly as I would be flying to England that's a 10 hour most times. I use to take my knitting but now they have a fit it's books now.
Congratulations on your new book love the cover I'm looking forward to reading it.

Pat Cochran said...

Mix and Match! That's my mantra when it
comes to packing! Every item should do
double & triple duty and jewelry should
be used to upgrade items to dressy status.
Carry an extra, foldable bag for any pur-
chases made on the trip. The extra bag and
the items it holds could be mailed home,
so as to bypass extra bag fees. Hope this

Michele L. said...

I have good luck with putting the heaviest items on the bottom of the suitcase and my lighter things on top like clothes. That way they don't get wrinkled. Also, I fold my tops like they do in the store smoothing out the fabric as I go. All my accessories like toothbrush, hair items, shampoo, deoderant, etc. I put in a separate small bag that I carry on. That way my clothes stay put since I put them all on the top of my shoes and heavy stuff.

Also, it is wise to pack at least one set of clothes, underwear, pills, important items, etc. in your carry on bag in case your luggage gets lost. That happened to my hubby and I once. I was lucky and had at least one set of clothes with me to change into the next day.

I am pretty much an organized person and like to make a list of all the items to take with me on the trip about 2 weeks ahead of time. That way the day you start packing you won't forget anything.

Another thing I do is have a large tote bag, trip ready, for those impromptu trips. I put shampoo, underwear, socks, toothbrush, handiwipes,etc. things you normally need, into a large tote and stash it in my closet. So when you have a last minute trip come up, you can just grab and go! It sure comes in handy!

Na said...

I always start off packing with making a list and I think having an idea of your agenda can help too. That way you know roughly how many pair of pants, tops and shoes to bring. I like to bring clothes that don't require an iron, and that I can easily mix and match. I also like to bring a purse that has a long-strap so I can wear it messenger-style. I find with shoulder bag they always slip off especially when both hands are already full. Good luck!


Jane said...

I try to only bring two pairs of shoes, one comfortable for walking and other pair for going out. I always bring a change of clothes in my carry on in case the checked luggage gets lost.

pamerd said...


The one thing I always do is roll all my clothes. Not sure if it is true or not - but I seem to be able to pack more and they seem less wrinkled. Have fun on your trip.

Thanks for the chance

erin said...

Thanks for a fun post and have fun in Hawaii! I would love to go there!

Ummm... I haven't traveled much but maybe bring things that can be worn several times and be dressed up or down. :)


Leah Weller said...

I always pack for comfort then pack one outfit for something dressy. That way you have two pairs of shoes. One for comfort and one pair to go with whatever you pack for an evening out. Nine times out of ten you won't dine out at the same fancy place twice while on vacation so if you wear it twice, who's to know? Like you, my books go in first so whatever I can pack around them is what's taken. :)

I hope your vacation is a very happy and relaxing one with no major issues at the airports.


Linda Henderson said...

I haven't traveled much in years but I used to move a lot and I found that rolling up and stuffing worked well. I would roll underwear, socks and small items and stuff in shoes. And the mix and match works well too. A few good pants with different tops and accessories so it looks different. Also make sure you have a change of clothing in your carry-on in case they loose your luggage.

Jeanne M said...

Terri -

Whenever you are planning to travel remember to always plan your packing with a KISS! (Or as my husband of 42 years would say - "Keep It Simple Stupid"!

The first thing I "Pack" is my Kindle (I used to pack an entire suitcase with books) and next "essential clothing" only!

To me that me one comfy (for traveling), one pretty (for going out on the town), and then one for the (fill in the blank) i.e. beach, road, hiking, biking shopping, etc. Don't forget 2 pairs of shoes (1 comfy, 1 pretty) plus something comfortable to walk in (i.e. sneakers,loafers or even hiking boots - whatever is the most comfortable). Add an umbrella and you should be all set.

Remember when you finally get there the weather will probably be exactly the opposite of what your expecting. Example: Every time we go to Arizona to visit family - it RAINS!. (People actually send donations now to add to our "Arizona fund" so we go more often.

Suitcases are heavy and bulky and can be lost when changing planes. Instead take cash! Buy local and support the communities your visiting instead! Who knows they might even have some great consignment shops in Hawaii!

PS: I hope you get a chance to meet Kim from SOS Aloha while your there!

Cathy P said...

I haven't traveled in a while, but one of the first things you want to do is sit down and make a list of things you want to take. When packing them, pack in as much as you can without wrinkling your clothes. Some people even pack irons so they can iron if they need to. If you need a second suitcase for your needed items, then pack it as well.

Barbara E. said...

The last trip I went on I decided to try something I'd heard about to save space. I rolled all my clothes, and it worked very well. I fit a lot into my suitcase that way. The only bad thing was I couldn't tell what anything was unless I unrolled it or it was an unusual color. Those black shorts, black shirts, black pants, I had no idea until I unrolled them. :D So if you're stuff is different colors, I recommend rolling them, or coming up with a way to tell things apart - maybe putting all shirts in one corner and all pants in another. ;o) By the way, nothing was wrinkled either, the rolling helped with that too.

Barbed1951 at aol dot com

Di said...

I'm never as organized as I want to be & always take more than I use (probably because you never know what the weather will be like), but here's a few things I do:
- I have several clear plastic zipped things that linens like sheet sets come in. I put things like bras, underwear, socks in them to keep them together & easy to find
- I roll clothes - seems to keep them better - the dressier clothes I even put tissue paper in the center before rolling
- I get out all my potential choices (tops & bottoms) & then match them for outfits (at least 3 tops per bottom)
- lots of coordinated solids that can be dressed up with jewelry
- make sure to coordinate shoes (& remember comfort) - make sure shoes go with multiple outfits
- pack a few of your things in your husbands bag (he doesn't need as much fashion & he'll never notice)
Have a wonderful time - breath the fabulous air - relax & enjoy!
sallans d at yahoo dot com

*yadkny* said...

I wish I was one of those people who didn't have to plan when I pack, but I do. In fact I'm so neurotic that I have to plan every outfit that I am going to where including shoes and accessories. I think I pretty good however, at making it all fit into a garmet bag (I put a few hangers worth of outfits and since the bag zips around and is made of good material then I add the shoes at the bottom) and one duffel (with all the other necessities). I like to give myself options, so that's where I have to plan. I am definitely taking note of these other comments because any tips on how simplify it more would be great:)

Jo's Daughter said...

Oh wow Hawaii, that sounds amazing. I rarely get to go on trips. So packing isn't really a skill I learned to master. But if I do go somewhere I take my 2 fav pairs of jeans with me. Which I wear all the time, I do bring several tops to change into but save room with just the jeans. Have a great trip!!! and best of luck with the packing.

marybelle said...

I have to make a list. Usually weeks before & add to it when I remember something. This is the only way I don't forget things. I over-pack, but I figure it's better than not packing something & needing it.

Eli Yanti said...

for packing, usually i will prepare my bag, count how dress/t-shirt/underware i will use based on how many day i go then think the necessary thing first : towel, teeth brush, teeth pasta, cosmetics etc and then gather all those thing in one place so 2 days before i go, i will pack all those thing in the bag but check again if any thing left and then lock my bag and just wait for the day to go :)

host said...

I have nothing useful to add, I just don't know how to pack smart :) I am on a 5-days business trip with clothes enough to last me 10 days, I always pack too much and usually I wear only half of what I brought with me.

Tash M said...

I always take a suitcase that can be extended to make more space so I can bring more stuff back and makes me to consider which stuff I actually need and only pack about 3/4 full so I have plenty of space. Terri that great place for an anniversary you don't need to pack to many warm clothes , you have more room for books

Renee said...

I would pack light and leave space. I love to explore bookstores in other places as well. It's the perfect way to spend time during a rainy hour. I take books with me but never turn down the opportunity to pick up reading there. After all, what's a vacation without a walk through a bookstore!

Terri Brisbin said...

Thanks to those who posted and offered suggestions for packing! LOL - I managed to forget pajamas!

I've notified the winners directly!