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Finer Details!

Just like how planning a trip is important, packing for a trip is equally important. I have often seen people carrying loads of luggage when they can actually reduce the necessities to half. There are two kinds of packing - packing essentials and packing luxuries! More often than not, we all end up doing the latter.

Luggage is an integral part of any journey. When you are on a trip, you live out of a suitcase and you need to have everything you need in one square box and it is indeed an ordeal to get that right. The magic mantra of packing your luggage is simple - essential and compact. Now how should you go about it?

Knowing where you are going :
This mantra solves half the ordeal of packing. The place of visit will determine the luggage you will carry. Surely you don't want to carry cottons to Himalayas and cashmere to Arabia. It is also good to know for how you are going. This will help you plan the number of clothes you have to carry. But first, even before you pack there is one important thing to do - watch the weather forecast of the city you plan to visit for at least a week before you pack. This will give you a rough idea of the weather conditions of the city. Also you can log on to the Internet and note the weather conditions during your visit. Never let common sense over take practicality because once in Dubai, I was shocked when in the middle of the desert, I was ridden with cold wind. Who ever said desert is hot - the evening could be quite chilly! Similarly when I travelled to Egypt, I had with me some cotton shirts as the weather in the forecast read b/n 22 and 26 degrees. I was quite surprised when the evening were quite chilly and the days not all that bright.

Clothes to carry :
Everyone wants to carry the best clothes for holidays and vacations. Almost all of us want to carry all our clothes because we don't want to repeat the dresses we wear. This results in a huge bag following us with numerous difficulties. An important travel rule is to travel light. How many times have we not found that we have brought back clothes that we didn't wear during our travel? If this has happened to you more than once than you have a serious over packing disease. This does not in any way mean you carry two pairs of clothes for a week. It means that you should pack essentials.

Firstly, understand if you are visiting people or you intend to see places. If it is the former things are rather simple and if it is the latter, you need to plan. Follow these tips carefully:

  • The Number of clothes you carry should be lesser than the number of days of your visit but this rule does not apply to lingerie!
  • It is a good idea to carry some trousers and many shirts or blouses to go with it.
  • Carry enough pairs of socks.
  • Take your nightclothes.
  • Remember to take a light hat and sunglasses during summer and for winter (especially snowy regions) take a woolen cap and goggles (snow reflects light).
  • Wear shoes and carry light slip on.
  • Carry a local road map
  • A light sweater and an umbrella are always a good idea. Sometimes the weather can surprise even the weatherman.
  • Keep a pen torch handy with extra batteries.
  • Carry you own medicines.
  • Carry you own soap (even if the hotel provides you with one)
  • A light bath towel and hand towel is always preferable.
  • A small multipurpose knife, a matchbox and a candle are handy.
  • Carry a handy toiletry bag.
  • In you purse apart from money carry your personal identification, latest doctor's prescription and some emergency numbers.
  • Lastly, remember to take a packet of biscuits and some peppermint to ease nausea, a small bottle of water, a good amount of tissue and some plastic bags.
If a child is your companion :
Prepare a handbag for the child. A small water bottle, biscuits, a small umbrella and some tissue can go into the bag. Also make sure the child carries the address of the place of your stay and some emergency telephone numbers. Remember to keep the child's handbag light and trendy so that the child can carry on its own.

If your companion is a baby, apart from the usual baby food, towels, nappies, carry a good number of scented baby wipes. Even you could use these baby wipes to keep you fresh. This will keep you off the worry of water being clean. Remember always to take an extra pair of clothes for the baby if you intend to be out all day.

Selecting your travel bag :
It is always a good idea to carry small bags instead of one big one unless your stay is slated for more than a month. Small bags are handy and easy to carry. If you are travelling by flight, carry one/two pairs of clothes and other essentials in the cabin luggage. Do not over load your bags but use all the space (even the ones in the corners) in the bag. Think well before you pack. Firstly spread all the clothes and other accessories you plan to take. Mentally decide on the clothes that you plan to wear each day and then arrange them accordingly. You don't want to rumble in your suitcase to fish out your clothes. This will save both time and pain.

My husband always kids me for the time I take to pack. For him it is putting things in a bag and for me it is arranging them in a bag. I often tell him that packing takes planning. I mean, when you reach a hotel after an exhausted journey, you have to just pick up the nightclothes and sleep and not take it out from the bottom of the suitcase. Now that is what I call planning.

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