Saturday, July 27, 2013

some thoughts on packing

^^ a phone snap from my road trip to hay this weekend, excuse the bird poo on the windscreen :)

I've learnt a bit about packing these last few years, well I've learnt a few things in the last few months
and the rest of the time, I've been winging it with inappropriate luggage and minor travel incidents involving extreme hunger and sunburn.

since we moved to wagga, we've been driving to canberra and melbourne for a few short city breaks as well as back to sydney to visit family and friends. last year we even went on our first aeroplane holiday in a very long time and with work, there's the occasional overnight driving trip and sometimes a week or two in the city.

after many a packing incident/disaster, I'm slowly starting to feel like I know how to pack. here is what I know:

  • always pack snacks. once our car kind of blew up on the highway (the head gasket exploded, our steering went a little, there was smoke and tony yelling 'run!' after he managed to pull the car over) and we were stranded for about 3 hours, waiting to get towed to the next town.  we hadn't packed any food but thankfully a family who stopped to help us insisted on giving us their snacks. they were hilariously kid-like, and included a bottle of mountain dew, a small bag of tiny teddies and a lunchbox sized packet of pizza shapes.
  • nuts, fruit and a big bottle of water will stop you eating fries and lollies on the road. I love fries and lollies but they always make me feel pretty tired and gross while I'm still in the car and even worse when we get to our destination.
  • homemade cake, slice and cookies are good though!
  • pack gum. just in case it's a long time between chances to brush your teeth. yuck.
  • pack nice tea for after work/travel. most motels have black tea but it's so nice to have a cup of your favourite tea at the end of the day.

  • luggage is expensive, so I've done a lot of trips with lots of little zip up and calico bags or with my giant suitcase that I bought in uni to go overseas. both were pretty impractical so I finally invested in a good bag (and by invest I mean I went to a factory outlet, waited for a super sale and returned when the bag was discounted even further...)
  • I bought a light weight backpack/shoulder bag/carry bag like this one, only mine cost $60. it's big enough for a few days away, has a separate compartment for shoes/toiletries and is not as bulky as a suitcase. it also limits how much I can pack :) 
  • but if money wasn't an issue, I'd love a wheely/carry bag like this one because I'm not very strong and usually take a train rather than a taxi if I travel to a city. and if I flew a lot or had a baby, one of these cute bags would be good too! 
  • I pack fold up bags with zippers that fold up into little squares in case I bring anything home. 
  • I also try to leave a spare phone charger in my bag so I don't have to remember to pack it every time.

bathroom & beauty
  • I really love miniature bathroom products but they're probably not that good for the environment, despite their cuteness. I also rarely find the products I like in mini size either. I've tried lugging full sized shampoo etc around but that's just silly.
  • so I bought a bunch of mini refillable plastic bottles from daiso, filled them up with my usual products and now my toiletries bag is a quarter of the size and weight that it used to be. phew!
  • I always have sunscreen for my face and a few make up basics like a nice lip gloss, foundation compact and blush. a mini beauty kit with nail clippers, tweezers etc is helpful too and stops me from buying tweezers on every trip.

clothes & shoes
  • I usually pack a pair of cons and one other pair of shoes. I've stopped packing shoes that hurt to walk in after 6 or so hours. 
  • comfy home/hotel shoes are good too. one of my friend's packs ugg boots in winter (!) but I'm lazy so I pack those thick socks with funny gummy/traction bits on the bottom or thongs in summer.
  • I'm really bad at packing clothes, I usually forget to pack something super warm and get caught out. I always try to take my parker because it has a hood and is lightweight and black and have learnt that you should always pack a few tshirts, no matter what the weather forecast is. 

  • I used to travel with lots of books but now I try to bring one book, one magazine and my iPad. I preload my iPad with a movie or two if I'm organised.
  • podcasts are the best for long driving trips and I usually like to save up episodes of this american life (their app is awesome, you can save shows to listen to when you have wifi or stream on the road), finetooth radio for music, 360 documentaries, conversations with richard fidler and anything else my lovely work friends recommend. I have one of those radio/charger iPhone things that plugs into the cigarette lighter of the car, so it charges as it plays music - yay!

and I try to have a home cooked meal in the freezer for when I get home, because it's hard to cook when you're sleepy and chances are I would've eaten lots of fancy city food/bad roadside food during my trip.

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