David Abolafia

Don’t Be a Packrat; Be a Packing Professional

David Abolafia

Just packing the last of my things

A vacation is supposed to be a trip away from the everyday, a chance to get away from hearth and home and experience the world anew. So why is it, when we leave the homestead behind, that we insist on bringing so many of its creature comforts with us?

Often it’s a matter of keeping the familiar close at hand – a means of rooting yourself despite your vagabond ways. Other times, it’s the upshot of playing the “What if…” game. As in, “What if we have to attend a formal dinner…?” Still others, it’s factoring for the time crunch. Your days on holiday are precious few and far between. You don’t want to waste them doing laundry or shopping for extra underwear.

These mindsets make for overstuffed suitcases and rather than making things more convenient, often have the opposite effect. Be it airline fees for too many or too-heavy bags, limited room in your ship cabin or not enough closet space in your hotel, when you adopt a pack-for-every-conceivable-scenario attitude, you’re bound to come up short.

Here are some tips to lighten your load, so that you have room for what’s important:

• Before you pack your suitcase, make a pile of everything you plan on taking, then go through items one by one, asking yourself if you really need it.
• When it comes to underwear and socks, invest in high-tech fabrics that can be washed in the sink and will be dry the next morning. Choose wisely and you can get away with two pairs of each for your entire trip.
• Pack a light backpack, which will make it easier to journey between locations while on your trip.
• Unless you’re going somewhere particularly remote, you can buy toiletries at your destination. Many hotels will even provide essentials like soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, etc.
• If you have your itinerary mapped out, you don’t need to bring the whole guidebook. Photocopy the relevant pages and bring them instead. Or simply download PDFs of those pages to your smartphone.
• Leave your electronic gadgets at home. If you have a smartphone, that should be everything you need – Internet connection, camera, phone, etc.
• If you’re planning on spending your time relaxing and reading (actual books, rather than a tablet or reader), just bring one book. If you finish it, find a book exchange or used bookstore and swap it out for another title.

For the trip home, no matter how efficiently you pack, souvenirs can cause a problem. Sure, you can bring an extra bag or suitcase, but that sort of negates the purpose of packing light. Here are a couple of suggestions to make sure you return with the same amount of luggage that you started with:

• Pack clothing you were planning on donating (or tossing) in the first place. Give those garments one final wear, then dispose of them during your trip (ask around for a donation center or drop box). That leaves room in the suitcase for more knickknacks – for you, your friends and family.
• Mail souvenirs back home after you buy them. Not only does this prevent your purchases from adding volume (and weight) to your baggage, but for international travelers it means fewer items you have to declare at customs.

Remember, your vacation should be about the journey, the destination and the adventures you have along the way – not what you did or didn’t bring with you. You should be the one to determine what kind of trip you have, not your luggage.

For questions or to book your next trip with Coast to Coast Grand Getaways, give us a call at (888) 269-0182.

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