I figured that since I wrote about our trip last week and I still had packing on the brain that I would jot down a few packing tips while I still remembered them.
1. Bring Your Own Water Bottle/Food – bring a water bottle whether it is metal, glass, BPA free, whatever; but make sure to bring one. With the dry air on planes, you will get dehydrated. One of the best ways to travel safely and stay healthy is to stay hydrated. Bring a water bottle with you and fill it up after you go through security. Otherwise you will have to dump out the liquid to keep the bottle. If you don’t bring a water bottle, be prepared to buy bottled water once you clear security. Also, don’t rely on airlines to feed you, or more specifically, don’t rely on airlines to feed you anything healthy. I always bring almonds, cheese sticks, and energy bars in my briefcase because everything on the in-flight menu seems to be carb heavy. Airports seemed to be closed when I arrive from the west coast.
2. Roll Your Own – Clothes, that is. Clothes fit in your bag and can be more flexible when they are rolled up. Rolled clothes also fit into shoes and tiny spaces. I tend to travel with clothes that can be rolled and unrolled with a minimum of wear and wrinkling (because I hate to iron things). Over the years, I have assembled a few sets of designated travel clothes – all of which are very comfortable and travel friendly. More importantly they can be rolled and unrolled and still look good .
3. Pack What You Can Carry (or Roll) – Sometimes, if I have packed for a trip that involves a lot of files, I end up with too much paper in my bag and then it is too heavy to carry easily. Even with my briefcase sitting atop, my carry-on can be front-heavy. This means that one arm and shoulder will carry most of the weight burden and be two inches longer by the time I find a cab. This unwieldiness usually results in a sore shoulder and a visit to the chiropractor when I return. More likely, it will require a massage that I won’t have time for, which is a huge bummer! Nothing is worse than not being able to handle your bags or being exhausted from walking 50 yards with them through security. So, pack only what you can carry (or roll) easily. Note: Most new bags have 4 wheels and can be scooted along rather than tilted and dragged. This makes a positive difference for your body, but those bags with 4 wheels are hard to fit in the overhead bins.
4. Pack What’s Important to You – journals, reading material, teddy bear, inflatable neck pillow, noise canceling headphones, etc. Do what works for you, and for your comfort…but, be prepared to have to check a bag if it’s too much, too big, etc. If I have to check my bag (which sometimes they make me do on small regional jets, even though it fits under the seat in front of me), I take out my journal(s), knitting, and computer – everything else is replaceable. (Some would say the computer is replaceable, and it is, technically; but it is a HUGE pain in the butt to replace a a computer and restore a back up, if you even have it backed up AND my computer usually has my presentations on it). This “important” packing tip also includes meds. Don’t forget to pack meds that are important to you. I can go a few days without my thyroid meds, but I am sure there are other meds out there that I wouldn’t want to be without! Don’t forget to pack the meds you need for your trip, plus a couple of extra just in case.
5. Be Electronically Prepared – Nothing is worse than a dead phone containing your hotel reservation (and you have no print out of it.) Bring a charger, wall plug, USB charger, whatever you will be able to use on your trip. I bring both a wall charger and a USB plug to charge my computer, iPhone and iPad. I have chargers that live at home, at my desk, and in my travel bag. Yes, I have three sets – it’s that important… I once had to find an Apple store in Phoenix because I had forgotten to put the Computer power supply that lives in my travel bag, back in my travel bag (see the picture of it living peacefully in my pre-packed travel bag). Thankfully, I had enough time that evening and there was a mall not too far away, AND a local colleague with a car could give me a ride to purchase a new power supply. Unless you are into exploring malls late at night – don’t forget to be electronically prepared for your trip!
If you have any packing tips, please share them!