Sunday, January 04, 2015

My New Year’s Travel Resolution

What would the New Year be without those well-intentioned resolutions we sincerely vow to maintain? I, like many, had several slated for 2014. However, since I doubt there is much interest in the failed diet and exercise promises I made myself, as well as my oath of personal growth and self-enrichment, I’ll instead share one related to cruising that worked out fairly well…my resolution to revise my packing style!

My old adage of “be prepared for anything so pack everything” was no longer working for me. It had reached the point where I was adding an extra $200 to my travel budget to cover the airline’s excess baggage fees! In addition, as I started taking long European “girlfriend cruises” (the nature of such a trip required that hubby, chief luggage manager, not come along), it became necessary for me to be able to manage my own luggage through airports, cruise terminals, and cobblestone streets. I was determined to make a change!

I began by retiring my fifteen year-old 31”suitcase for a bright red 25” light weight spinner. First of all, that change immediately saved me six pounds! If it’s been a while since you purchased new luggage, I strongly recommend looking at the bags on the market today. Innovations in fabric and design have resulted in great looking pieces that weigh a lot less and are much easier to maneuver! Secondly, I believe that it is a law of nature (or is it the law of a fashion conscious woman?) that compels one to pack whatever size bag they have in front of them to the point of explosion. My new smaller bag requires I pack smarter.

The next items I purchased were coordinating compression packing cubes. Any TSA agent that opens my bag is sure to be impressed by my organization and sense of style! After several trips using packing cubes, I have to wonder why I waited so long to try them! Roll, pack and squeeze out the air and you’ll be shocked at what a space saver they are! I would not use this method for cotton or linen due to excess wrinkling but another change I’ve made is to pack only wrinkle-free synthetic fabrics. I don’t use the cubes for everything but they’re perfect for lingerie, socks, t-shirts, shorts, sweaters, bathing suits, toiletries, chargers and cables.

Early last year I sat down at my computer and typed out a packing list. Actually, I have several, each one geared to a specific type of vacation (cruising, road trip, etc.). There are plenty online to use as a guide.   Just add and delete items to personalize it, save it and print out a copy before each trip. Print out your list at least a week before departure so you can look it over and see if you need to purchase anything. I keep my list handy until I’m ready to walk out the door, then I tuck it in the side zipper of my luggage so I have it handy when I’m re-packing to return home. Referring to a packing list and checking it twice ensures you’ll never walk out the door without something important (like a passport!).

As to the items I choose to pack, this gets tricky! I’ve taken the advice of the experts and try to stick to a specific color palette when selecting my clothes. Black and white has become the backbone of my travel wardrobe accessorized with colorful scarves, t-shirts and costume jewelry. I can make many more outfits but pack less items altogether. Also, before I pack any item I stop and ask myself if it is versatile and necessary. I no longer pack for the worst case scenario.

As I re-read what I just wrote, I must say that I’m pretty pleased with the way my 2014 resolution to revise my packing style worked out. In 2014 I did not pay a dollar in excess luggage fees, yet traveled to Europe for 14 days with everything I needed in my new 25” bag…plus the matching boarding bag that was filled with 10 pairs of shoes! My 2015 resolution is a bit more challenging…cut back on the shoes!!!

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