Realizing that no one is traveling these days given the current state of the world due to COVID- 19, I’m sure a lot of you folks out there are doing the same as me and Nan, hunkering down at home and anxiously awaiting the day when it’s safe to get back to fully living life again. Even though we can’t travel right now, it’s a good time to think about traveling! This crisis will end and as antsy as we’ll all be to get back out there, businesses all over this great country will be just as excited to open their doors and enjoy our patronage again. So, while you’re home with not much to do, hit the net and start exploring options for your next trip. We’re planning our next episodes of Authentic America and with that comes the inevitable conversation of packing and we thought we share a few tips from what we’ve learned over the years. So, without further ado!
How many times have you taken a trip and come home with clean clothes that you never wore? Minus socks and underwear, it seems that whenever Nan and I take a trip, I never wear half the stuff I’ve packed and always vow to pack smarter the next time. For me, traveling on two wheels has been an exercise in minimalism, which I’m a fan of anyway, and has helped cut the cargo load to essentials only. But, where I say, “Just take less”, Nan will say, “Use storage bags that you can suck the air out of so you can take more.” I suppose the old saying opposites attract is true in our case…and then there are days when opposites….well, that’s a story for another blog!
So, here are a few tips from both of us and you can decide which packing style suits you your next trip!
- Use storage bags so you can vacuum pack your clothes and get more in the suitcase…this may be why she wanted that new vacuum we bought last summer. As she’s reading this over my shoulder, she adds there are also bags that you can buy that you roll, squeezing the air out. No vacuum required.
- Group all of your different pieces in one storage bag or packing cube-socks in one, shirts in another, etc. That way you’re not digging through your suitcase to find that other sock that’s missing!
- Use rigid-sided suitcases instead of duffle style. This one I agree with-they usually have wheels making them easier to tote around and the hard sides mean that you can see everything pretty easily.
- If you can find a suitcase that has a brighter interior other than black, that will also help in seeing things better. Score another point for Nan’s tips on this one.
- Use disposable hotel shower caps to cover the bottoms of your shoes when packing them, so those dirty soles don’t spread that weird funk from the gas station bathroom to the rest of your…ahem,vacuum-packed clothes. Score yet another point for Nan here because even though I usually take only the shoes I’m wearing, this tip has me rethinking things!
Overall, pretty good tips from Nan, now I say:
- While Nan say use vacuum bags to pack more, I say PACK LESS! When it comes to clothes, tell the truth, you know you’ll wear those jeans and t-shirts at least 3 or 4 times before you wash them. So if it’s the average 1 week trip, maybe two pairs of pants and 3 t-shirts…maybe one pair of nice duds just in case you splurge and hit that high end surf and turf buffet.
- One thing I learned from a tour bus driver years ago, always take a jacket because you never know what the weather will be. This tip has saved me more than once!
- The travel size containers of toothpaste, shaving cream, and shampoo, will be enough, trust me!
- Be like a touring musician and always do one last dummy check of the stage or in this case the hotel room. You don’t want to forget your devices or chargers, both when leaving home and heading back from vacation. They’re too expensive to keep replacing and who needs 5 phone chargers?
- Like the 5 rules of dodge ball – dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge, I take you straight back to tip number 1 and say PACK LESS! You really don’t need anything more than some clothes and toiletries. These days your cell phone can be you tablet, computer, music library, book library and GPS. Remember, it’s always right to travel light!
So, there you have it, packing tips from a pair of two-wheeled travelers. Hopefully we’ve imparted some little tidbits that will help make your next packing a more enjoyable experience…or at least your next vacation less of a back breaker! If you have some tips you want to share with us, reach out at authentic-america.com. Ride safe and keep the rubber side down!