Tomorrow is my Memaw's birthday. While she is no longer with us, her lessons about life are often in the front of my mind. She loved to travel and we took many wonderful excursions together. My Memaw had this huge red hardsided suitcase with a smaller matching suitcase and an even smaller cube makeup case. I remember lugging these into the hotel on one of our famous summer excursions. At each place, she would unpack the various outfits, shoes, and accessories.
I asked her, “Do you really need all of this stuff?”
She simply said, “Yes.”
Most things Memaw said are gospel to me (“Pretty is as pretty does” or “At the end of these two years, what do you want show for it? Just go to grad school.”), but her packing advice I gloriously ignore. She really taught me what NOT to pack!
I have learned to travel on extended trips with only a carry-on bag and a personal bag. My reasons are about money and comfort. Carry-on luggage saves money when booking airfare. When traveling via train, the smaller the luggage, the better. Rental cars around the world are much smaller and have less trunk space. Finally, you don’t need all that stuff. Really, you do not.
There are several sites concerning what to pack and what not to pack. I used a few of these to get started. I have created a basic list to help me keep my packing under control. I roll everything tightly. My carry-on is a 22” rolling backpack. I am in the market for a new one, but my old one has been great.
I wear another pair of pants (sometimes comfy jeans), another t-shirt, and whatever cardigan I am taking on the plane. I have a great cold weather cardigan and a lovely warm weather one. I can dress things up with a cardigan and a scarf. I also wear compression socks on the plane with my tennis shoes.
5 bottoms X 5 tops X 2 accessories = 50 combinations
I have one similar to this
I use this:
There are other items depending on where we are going. Do not take hardback travel books, you can download those or buy them there.
What we do not take: shampoo, large toothpaste, soap, etc… Unless you are going to a barren wasteland, you can pick those things up. Why lug around a few extra pounds for soap? Also, by renting AirBnBs throughout the trip, we can wash. Hotels often have laundry, also. My brother-in-law brought travel detergent sheets last year and it was easy. However, you can get detergent there if needed. Check with your host concerning these things.
I wish I could model my packing for my Memaw. I suspect we could have made many more miles, if we would not have had the crimson suitcase trio to haul behind us. She would have really enjoyed all of our adventures. Happy birthday, miss you much!
I am a teacher, which in a single word, sums up my passions and my belief in the future.