It is time to pack again. After a little break from traveling I find myself dragging just thinking about suitcases, bags, and the practicalities of travel. So what is a quick way to get ready? How can the moment of bliss in one’s own quarters to being in the airport or taxi be minimized.
As a kid I loved to watch reruns of ‘I dream of Jeannie’ dubbed in German and called ‘Bezaubernde Jeannie’. A blink and nod from Jeannie was all it took to perform a miracle. I wish a blink and nod would get me now all packed and ready to roll.
So how can this dreadful time be reduced to a blink and a nod?
Here is some advice collected by trial and error over the years of traveling as a concert pianist:
- Less is better. I have taken carry-on only for years now. Yes, it works. But even taking as little as possible and checking it in is good. And is has turned out to be a saving grace many times. From arrivals in torrential rain storm, where running with luggage is necessary, to tight lay-overs, where transfer of luggage can not be expected even from the most service orientated airline company. If you cannot carry it for quite a stretch, you are taking too much.
- Make a packing list. I keep my packing list on my smart phone, where I can check, if all is in order and ready to go a few days ahead of time. On this list is not only what I will put into my roll-aboard (and rather large handbag), the list begins with ‘water plants’, so it really is a list of what to do once the count down is on. On the list is also a detailed summary of all pieces of clothing and other items I will take from adapter to pearl necklace. It’s all listed quite exactly.
- Consider once figuring out how to pack well. There are many sites about packing, videos or books on how to minimize suitcase space. Check it out once on one of those evenings, when nothing else seems to be going on, and when no travel is in sight.
- Get a very good roll aboard suitcase with at least two, better yet, four wheels.
- Packing for three days is all the packing you’ll ever need to do. I read this very wise statement somewhere years ago, and it is true. Longer trips do not require more luggage. Once you are staying beyond three days, dry cleaners and laundry services are the way to go.
- Once it's time to pack, don’t dilly, don’t get side tracked, just do it. Read the list, and get going. Collect all the items from your list before you pack them. I like a laundry basket for that, because it’s about the size of what my small suitcase can fit. From passport to concert dress it all goes in the basket: the ziplock bag with small cosmetics, and the local currency, and the umbrella, and the book. Not sure, if you’ll need it? Leave it, remember: Less is better.
- Take things you actually use in your daily life, don’t take the outfit you never wear. If you don’t wear it, you won’t wear it at your destination either.
- Sharpen your packing list on the road. Could have used that extra item? Mark it on your very own and very personalized list.
- So you packed by now, and are all ready to go? Check the list once more, to see, if you got everything. And then:
- Relax and enjoy the trip beginning now. Little glitches are par for the course when traveling, and might even make for a funny story to tell once you return.