|Day 208/365: Friday's Unscientific Poll: Packing
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
Yes, I have reduced this to a binary choice. I realise not everyone will feel as passionately about this as I do, and there may even exist some strange folk who are utterly indifferent to packing. But I had to pack today, and am therefore having Strong Feelings about packing.
Do you enjoy packing for journeys?
Yes, I love packing! Making lists, fitting everything into suitcases and bags, decanting stuff into smaller containers, etc.
No. I loathe packing. If I could get away with carrying nothing but a form of ID, phone and cash/credit card for every trip henceforth, I would.
As I've documented before, I despise packing for journeys. I favour traveling lightly so am a one-suitcase-max kind of gal for longer trips. In my heady single/childless days, I used to deal with my hatred of packing via extreme procrastination and would pack drunkenly at 3 AM the night before. This resulted in things like regularly forgetting underwear and going commando for five days. Fun times.
Alas, I have to take more care these days and am therefore obliged to make lists and ensure that everyone has their toothbrushes and an adequate supply of clothing. Camping is even worse (we're going camping this weekend). I would never go camping if I were the one making the decision. I'm fine with it once I get there, but packing for it is the worst.
But yes. When I am an old lady, I shall never pack for a journey. I shall bring my ID, phone, cash/credit card (if indeed we are still using things like that by then) and whatever fits in my small handbag. Everything else I will buy when I get there. Or do without. Like underpants. Yep. Crazy old lady with no underpants, that's totally gonna be me.
I loathe unpacking even more ...
Oh yeah, figuring out where everything goes again. And all that LAUNDRY.
I'm somewhere in between - I would love to just wing it - but I KNOW I would be super stressed. If I don't make lists, I end up forgetting something SUPER IMPORTANT - like the other day when I left my beach chair at home when I was spending the day at the beach :D
But I'm actually now at the point where if my vacation is "going to a sunny place where I'll spend a bunch of time in the water" - my list is pretty much standard and I can pack (and do) the day before I leave and be pretty stress free about just throwing stuff in the suitcase because I sort of know have the same things I take each time.
Lists are good! I like lists. I make lists all the time, for work, for grocery shopping, for planning purposes. But for some reason I have an issue with packing, and go into a panic at the prospect of making a list.
I'm fine with packing just for me for a short trip (due to the weekly trip to London). It's when I have to think about the kids and/or a longer trip that it explodes into a seemingly impossible task in my mind.
Neither: I have neutralized packing, although I can see, if one is “decanting bottles”, how it would be loathsome.
My suitcase has the basic travel-sized stuff in it (the bottles). All the stuff like floss and bandaids and melatonin and tea, that I’m always going to need on every trip, it just lives in the suitcase permanently. All I need to add for a trip is the clothing, devices, project-related items, and reading for the train/plane. Which reminds me...I need to pack for Las Vegas. Two outfits, only. Comfortable shoes.
I do the permanently packed toiletries bag thing, too! It has helped. At least when it's just me going on the trip. Adding everyone else's stuff still throws me off, though I'm sure it will get better with practise. :P
I answered 'love it', but I don't do any of the stuff you cited, because it's already done. If you keep a separate travel toiletries bag stocked and ready to go at all times, then you can just grab it and go when you need to, no decanting necessary. Likewise, like spiffikins I have a few standard travel packing lists (like, actual typed lists) for different situations - one for summer trip packing, one for race trip packing, one for winter trip packing, one for housesitting trip packing, so I just need to get the list out and throw the required stuff in the suitcase a couple of hours before departure and I'm good to go. It's zero stress once you get a system.
I salute your detailed, situation-specific preparations! I have the toiletries bag, due to the weekly trip to London. But that only covers me. Once I add in the kids, or a few more days, panic ensues. :P
I wouldn't say I love packing. What I would say is that it's always better than unpacking. Whether it's going away for a couple of days or moving house, unpacking always takes longer than packing, and you have no idea where anything is. Especially stuff that you actually need at this precise moment!
Yes. And then there's all that laundry! Argh!