Traveling light, and Thursday thoughts

photo-59I’m on the road again the second half of this week. This photo is of my small carry-on bag, and my purse, which holds what I’ve packed for 4 days in 2 cities. As the weather gets warmer, it becomes much easier to pack light, but I’ve also figured out a few packing hacks over the years.

First, I’ve realized that I don’t need my whole wardrobe. Instead, I try to think through my itinerary, and lay out potential clothes for said itinerary. Then I edit to see if any pieces can do double duty, and I make sure most pieces are in the same color scheme, so I can use the same (neutral) shoes.

Second, we all have simpler outfits and less simple outfits. I try to go for the simpler ones. A wrap dress and a cardigan take up much less space than a suit, so if it’s an option not to wear a suit, I take the option.

And finally, I’ve learned that unless I’m traveling to, say, North Korea, I’m going somewhere inhabited by people who also buy and wear clothes, use toiletries, etc. A million vendors are ready to sell you a T-shirt should you run out of clean clothes. When we flew to Japan for a week (and didn’t have to check luggage!) it turned out that my husband had forgotten his suit jacket. Since he had some meetings — and Japanese people are very formal — this was not going to work. But Tokyo has stores. Where they sell clothes! We found him a new suit (which he needed anyway) and all was fine. There’s an old adage that when you travel, take half the clothes you think you need, and twice the money, and you’ll be about right. I think there’s some wisdom in this, even if these days you don’t have to pack money because everyone takes credit cards.

In other news:

I taped a Yahoo/CNBC “Off the Cuff” segment yesterday (that link goes to old episodes, not mine; I’ll share the link to my interview when I have it). The host asked me a question that totally stumped me: what’s one day I’d like to live over again? The problem is that this is kind of the “favorite day” question — and I don’t really have a “favorite day.” I think I’ve had a lot of good days in my life. But even if I answered something traditional for a favorite day, like “the days my kids were born,” then the second part of this question comes into play: would I want to live that day over again? No. I don’t actually want to relive the days my kids were born. They were kind of painful.

Do you have a day you’d like to live over again?

Fortunately, this interview wasn’t live. I never did come up with a good answer.

Over at MoneySavingMom, Crystal writes about What the Most Successful People Do at Work, highlighting Chalene Johnson’s habit of putting 3 steps toward her big goals on her to-do list every day. Three small steps are doable, but over time, small steps have great power.

At Acculturated, Christine Whelan, a professor whose dissertation is on self-help books, writes of giving her students the exercises in my self-help books.

Oil and Garlic writes that she’s enjoying the first half of What the Most Successful People Do at Work!

Fast Co runs an excerpt from the new ebook on The truth about how much workaholics actually work.


10 thoughts on “Traveling light, and Thursday thoughts

  1. “They have stores where they sell clothes” works if you can wear clothes that they sell in stores. For many years, I could not – and even now that I’m back into “regular” plus sizes, the selection is spotty and unpredictable. If my daughter finds herself without something she needs, we could buy it pretty much anywhere. These days I could probably find a T-shirt and pajamas, but appropriate professional clothes? Or even comfortable underwear in size 2-3X? No guarantees.

    1. Yes! I spent 4 months traveling around Asia and the Pacific. I took only a few shirts- maybe 5? I can’t remember. We did laundry as we went, and the idea was to buy new clothes when the old ones wore out. But once we hit Asia, my ability to buy new shirts got very dodgy. The clothes were cut for a much slenderer build than mine, particularly on top. And of course, the style that garnered the least attention in Malaysia was to wear a loose top. But none of their tops were loose on me… it was funny, but frustrating.

      However, in general, the “buy as you go” method worked well for us. We traveled around with one big backpack and one day pack each and I do not think we could really have managed much more than that.

  2. what about wrinkles.. most hotels have ironing boards… for women the trick is to know when a dress can cover you or when a jacket and pants is just easier — takes up more space but easier to be worky

  3. I often travel short trips with just a big carry-on bag (the Medela bag from my first kid, empty all its milk stuff). Traveling is much easier if you can fit everything under the plane seat in front of you.

  4. Oh, and day I’d live again: I think I’d happily relive my wedding day. We had a great day surrounded by people who loved us and wished us well. It was beautiful.

    1. Me, too! We had exactly the wedding we wanted, and all the people we loved were there. In fact, we gave ourselves a combo anniversary/birthday party three years ago with the express goal of recreating the feel of our wedding weekend (it was the year we turned 50 and celebrated 25 years of marriage). And it was wonderful. If my father had been there, it would have been perfect.

      1. I’m another one who’d love to relive her wedding day again. I remember it as totally perfect. I’m sure there are many, many people who worked to make it so 🙂

  5. We’re light packers here, too. I’m a pro at rolling clothes.

    I’d happily re-live many of my carefree college days over again. Hard to choose just one.

  6. Count me among the light packers. I’m also a fan of truly minimalist bags; many of those that claim to be minimalist (e.g. Baggallini) have 800 million pockets that mean, more fabric (etc.) in the bag, and more weight and more bulk.

    I’m trying to work out how to adapt an Envirosak grocery tote to make it a carry-on :). But until I do, I still keep one in my other bag because they are tiny (when not full) and great if you do acquire stuff you need to cart (even, or maybe especially, temporarily) with you.

  7. “But even if I answered something traditional for a favorite day, like “the days my kids were born,” then the second part of this question comes into play: would I want to live that day over again? No. I don’t actually want to relive the days my kids were born. They were kind of painful.”

    This made me laugh out loud! Very true! It was what I was beginning to think as you mentioned that option. For me, my daughter was born early enough in the morning that it wasn’t the most painful day, I think, but MAN I was tired afterwards! Finally seeing her was amazing, but I’d say we’ve had more amazing days since then. Of course it’ll always have a special place in my heart, but… yeah, not the greatest candidate for a day to live over again. 🙂

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