Sunday, October 7, 2012

How do you pack for a trip

Hello Darklings,

Doyle and I are making our arrangements for our weekend trips that are coming up and I’ve had several of you ask “how does one pack for a trip?”

The reason behind this question is that lots of time it’s a last minute washing of clothes and hurried packing for most people, fully understandable if it’s a last minute un-expected trip.

Whereas some of you have said that I seemed to not have that problem. Darklings trust me I do, but I plan for it.

One thing that helps me is that I am only packing for myself; I do not have to make sure a husband has packed his shaving kit or a toothbrush, extra socks or underwear or that the children have enough changes of clothing and all their medicines that might be needed for scratches, ear aches and other sundry aliments that children develop. For me as a single person that is not my worry, but it is a worry for all you “married” Goths, which I understand and fully sympathize with.

But Darklings, I do not have that burden of responsibility. And Doyle is a “big boy” all grown up so he’s on his own.

Another thing is that I rarely take the airplane; I prefer to drive or take the train, and because of that preference I do not have to worry about my shampoo, toothpaste or nail scissors being confiscated. And train travel is so much more relaxing and glamorous, besides I can get by without washing my hair for 3 days, but I always book a room on the train because I cannot do without washing my body.

Except for the recent accident train travel is relatively safe, not like traveling by car.

Now keeping in mind that I am packing for either train, and auto and not airplane I can tell you how I pack for my trips.

Let us say you are packing for yourself, you are either driving or taking the train or a more mundane type of travel taking the Greyhound bus (how plebian but sometimes necessary). With the Bus you should limit yourself to one large bag and a good size tote.

Since I have plenty of room in my home and I know I’m not going to be having any party plans, I set up my suitcases in my dinning room---the major suit cases are open on the table with a heavy duty bath sheet (oversize bath towel) covering the table to prevent scratches from the suitcase hardware. Smaller cases are opened and set upon the chairs.

With all of the cases open it would be easy to see what is going where. And depending on the type of travel will also limit the number of suitcases as well. Remember Bus travel is fine but you also have bag limitations.

Next take a look at where you are going, what do you plan to do, what might you be doing as well as the weather conditions.

Now I was planning on a couple of glamorous things like the Moonlight Dinner Wine Train and I wanted an evening gown for that, so that went into my vintage Samsonite suitcase which is set up with folding racks to hold it almost crease free, I knew what shoes and under garments to go with it so that went into the same bag, I pack the shoes in a cloth drawstring bag to prevent the soles from soiling anything else, I also pushed my nylons that were in baggies to prevent snagging, into the toes to keep their shape, as a matter of fact if you look at how shoes come packaged at the shoe store packing tissue into the toes are a good way to keep your shoes in shape when you have them on a rack in your closet.

I also packed another evening gown for any other event along with its attendant undergarments, the same shoes worked for both gowns.

Next I factored the number of days I would be out of town, taking into account the day I would leave and the day I would be returning, so that would tell me how many under garments (bras, panties etc) I would need, I also factored one extra set in case of an emergency. I was not planning on doing any laundry while I was on vacation, and I did not know if the places I would be staying at had laundry facilities, if you are planning to be on the road for a while and want to pack light, then knowing if a place has a laundry is very important. But I’d still pack at least 8 changes of underwear for a one week trip.

Then I looked at the weather conditions, so combining the weather conditions, the types of things I would be doing, I was able to figure out what clothing I would need to pack and types of shoes.

Going with a neutral palate mostly black with gray in the clothing, it was easy to accessorize with gold, silver and red. I had a lovely red scarf that was very versatile and my wide brim straw black hat for day use. The jewelry I wore was costume which looked simple and classic and easy to replace, never take your good expensive jewelry, keep that locked in your safety deposit box at the bank while you’re gone and if you are doing something rugged do not wear any jewelry at all.

Another neutral palate is tan and brown with cream or white in clothing.

So a good pair of walking shoes for street walking, sturdy comfortable tennis shoes for rough adventures (my river cruise was one of them), my bedroom slippers (low heeled mules they’re called), for evening wear but not in an evening gown, a pair of black low heeled shoes, slip on shoes for pool wear (I found a darling pair at Wal-mart) several pairs of socks for tennis shoes, and the walking shoes, several pairs of inexpensive nylons (this is hosiery not panty house, you need a good garter belt for this) for the evening gowns and skirts, knee high socks to wear under the better slacks, bras, underpants, garter belt (I never wear panty hose); nightgown and robe, 3 pairs of slacks, 1 calf length skirt, 1 jeans (in black), 1 red shawl (light wool); 5 blouses in black (wash and wear always helps, two of them long sleeve for dressier evenings), 8 t-shirts in black with long sleeves, one gray sweater casual and one black sweater slightly formal, one bathing suit and cap (so hard to find), and a terry robe to wear over the wet suit to soak up water and a towel if you are at a place that does not offer pool towels. I used the terry robe mostly when I was in the outdoor Jacuzzi. I also had a set of lounge pajamas if I felt just laying around in my bedroom reading or watching television during the early evening.

All my night things for bed and lounging as well as my regular undergarments I put into one bag, my slacks, blouses, t-shirts and jeans and the two sweaters and shawl and scarf I put into another.

The items for my evening gowns I put into the same bag as the gowns plus my skirt.

My swim suit and robe, beach towel and pool shoes I put into another, you can include a simple drawstring bag to hold your glasses, sunscreen, and a book for the pool. If you can find a drawstring bag with a waterproof inner lining that helps for when you have to leave and your swimsuit is not dry, you can pack it in that bag and keep the dampness away, then when you arrive at your next destination or home take the damp things out to air dry or toss the bag with the damp swimsuit and towel into the trunk of the car, this will keep the interior of your suitcase dry.

My other shoes I put into another bag and each pair of shoes had their own draw string cloth bags to prevent them from rubbing against each other. You can roll up socks and stuff them into the shoes to help with their shape; nylons should be put into zip lock baggies to prevent them from snagging.

My cosmetics and such I put into another bag including my hot curlers and medicines for upset stomach, scratches, cuts, eye drops etc. I have a small jewelry bag that I put into the suit case that carried my evening gowns.

I also had three purses, one for my formal evening gown, one for evening but simple in style and one for day when I was shopping, wine tasting, seeing the sights or on the road. The two dressier purses were put into cloth draw string bags to protect them from damage and were placed in the Samsonite bag with the evening gowns.

Now if where I was going was experiencing cold weather and/or rain I would include a raincoat or trench coat, as well as a very warm coat and shoes for rain and an umbrella or rain hat although the rain hat is more versatile.

Now some people would say that is far too much but I was gone for almost two weeks on my first part of the trip and then a week for the second part. On the second part I didn’t need an evening gown and I could pair things down quite a bit.

But it was so nice to use my Granny’s Samsonite and my Diane Von Furstenberg luggage. Granny’s also included a cosmetic case which I put my curling iron into. Of course while in Lodi I did not take the Samsonite, but because I had purchased so many things I did buy a Jennifer Lopez weekender bag to hold all those things in one area, as a matter of fact it is wise to buy a collapsible duffel bag like at Wal-Mart to hold your purchases and souvenirs that way nothing gets lost, or use collapsible crates but I had them filled with larger purchases.

For used laundry I had a large mesh laundry bag which held everything except the nylons, the used ones I put into a labeled baggie then into the mesh laundry bag, the evening gowns of course were put back into their suitcase for careful dry cleaning.

A number of places offer irons and ironing boards, but some places don’t. I would call or check on line to see if they offer that and laundry services as well. But if you are driving and going some place that does not have that amenity, I recommend buying a small portable ironing board that can be set on a table and a light weight iron, not those travel irons, they are next to useless.

I have to say that it is nice to be able to stay in one place and from there go forth and look at all the sights there are to see, which, if I could have done that I would have, but I had to decide on the length of time of things and my finances.

But next time I will plan to stay at one place and settle in nicely there.

Since Doyle and I are going on several weekend trips, leaving Friday and coming back Sunday I will use only one bag and that will be the Jennifer Lopez weekender.

Packing for a weekend is different, again a bag for laundry, and again looking at what will you be doing and what is being offered at where you’re staying. Since the weather will be cool I’ll be packing one pair of jeans for day and one pair of black slacks for any fancy dinning, if we do that. However Doyle has suggested that I pack a 2nd pair of Jeans for just in case.

Simple fold up slippers and flannel pajama’s and a flannel robe, after all we are staying in a rough and tumble location, my walking shoes will double for dinning out when I wear my slacks, nothing overly fancy, warm long sleeve sweater tops, and a couple of tee shirt tops, a warm jacket for the ghost walk, and a heavy sweater for day. And 4 changes of underwear, and 4 pairs of socks. A warm scarf and a “boonie hat” for day to keep the sun out of my eyes. The boonie hat folds up and packs nicely, and sunglasses for daylight, always a plus to save one’s eyesight.

This selection may change if the weather remains very warm during the day although I do know in the hills it tends to get very cool.

But for any weekend you need to plan again on the events that you will be doing and the weather, your choices maybe different or similar.

If you are packing to get as much as possible into a small bag for a plane trip then rolling your clothing neatly is the best way to conserve space, stuffing socks and/or ties, or scarves into shoes help, but putting cosmetics into baggies help prevent spillage, some people suggest packing things such as underwear and shoes into large clear baggies, that way if you have to take things out of your bag at an airport things can be clearly seen, and things are not messy and minimum delay at the security check points. Some people have also suggested that if possible buy your hair shampoo, deodorant, nail clippers and toothpaste at your destination.

No matter what you do, you have to decide what you cannot live without when you travel, for some people it is a sleep mask or neck pillow. Because my skin is sensitive I have to have a fresh bar of Dove Soap for Sensitive skin and hypoallergenic hair shampoo, the same with deodorant, and a bottle of Aveno cream for my hands and feet. And gloves for day and night, for warmth and to protect my hands, I wear cheap cotton gloves, such as those used by photographers or archivists, at night after I put on my hand cream in the evening.

Gloves my Darklings are so important, to protect one’s delicate hands, I use them for gardening, cleaning, washing dishes, that way they never become dry and chapped.

For packing for a business trip will be completely different and I’ll cover that in another post.

The website Travellerspoint at offers an excellent series of ideas on packing for any length of trip.

Doyle would love for us to stay at either the Yosemite Lodge, the Wawona or the Ahwanee when we plan to go to Yosemite, but that won’t be for a couple of years, I think the Ahwanee would be very lovely to stay in while we take in the sights of the Valley. Dinner at the Ahwanee I would have to have either my better dresses or evening gowns, it depends on how I feel and what events we’ll be seeing.

But we’ll have to see how the Hanta virus is going to unfold. And unfortunately they do not allow dogs in the rooms but they do have kennels near the stables, but I would prefer to have Belladonna stay with my sitter or a very good boarding kennel.

For the Avenue of the Giants and Trees of Mystery, I’d have to find a nice place to stay while we tour all of that, as well. Plans to be thought of, places to consider, research to do.

Later Darklings.

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