Thursday, October 11, 2012

The packing list

Do you get into making lists when you're packing for a trip, Reader?

I do, and it dates back to the days when I traveled more for work in a previous job, when precious space in my carry-on bag hinged on my calculations of just how many times I could wear a sweater on the same business trip. (Luckily, I rarely saw the same people on multiple days, but if that was in the itinerary, I had to factor that in, too!)

So I planned my outfits, and then I had to plan for comfort, too. Sometimes, during long trips, the little things make all the difference in the world. I'm no super-clever traveler, and this post is not about me recommending something like bringing dental floss along so it can double as thread if you need to sew something. (Terrible example. Bring dental floss along, to floss your teeth.)

Everyone is different, right? Here are a few of my must-haves:

1) An empty water bottle. Bring it through airport security and then fill it up and use it throughout the trip. It's easy to get dehydrated when you're away from home and on the go, and when that happens to me, it's a quick path to feeling really sludgy. I love my water bottle.

2) A few packets of tea (or whatever you find soothing). On nights when I didn't get back to my hotel until late in the evening, I loved grabbing a cup of hot water from the lobby station to use with my favorite herbal tea: mint, lemon, ginger, whatever. I try to tuck a couple of packets into my purse before every trip.

3) A pair of running shoes to make a run or walk possible. You're surprised, aren't you?

4) Something cozy. I love to lounge in sweatpants at the end of the day, but it is so not practical to bring in a carry-on because of how bulky they are, so I often travel with a pair of thinner Underarmour pants that pack perfectly and are about 85 percent as good as sweatpants. Sometimes I've also brought a pair of wool socks that my grandma knitted, or even a pair of slippers once. If you're dressing business-casual all day on the road, maybe it's your softest cotton t-shirt. Maybe you even have a pair of the softest pink flannel pajama pants with squirrels on them that you like to bring along. (Totally hypothetical.) Whatever. Bring 'em.

Your turn! (Can you tell I'm leaving soon for my trip to Montreal and thus making my list?) Tell me: What do you like to pack in your suitcase?


  1. I love your list, and I also love it that I'm not the only one who packs for after-hours comfort! I bring all the above (including the slippers) for business trips. I also include my favorite healthy snacks: dates and walnuts for low blood sugar attacks, apples and carrots for a hit of fresh produce. It's also really nice to bring a familiar lotion - the ones in hotels are often pretty thin and runny, and I like a rich, creamy, delicately-scented one when I'm on the road.

    HAVE SO MUCH FUN! Can't wait to hear about Montreal!

    1. KATIE! Hi!! Thanks for sharing your favorites, which are so timely because I'm buying snacks for the trip today. I also love your point about lotion!