Pack It Up, Pack It In

Before we left for NYC, Meredith posted an entry on packing, which set off a personal mental-firestorm for me. I'm a recovering over-packer - you know her. She's:
~ the woman known for bringing two bags on an overnight trip,
~ the one who carries toiletries she that doesn't normally use at home, simply because they're cute and travel-sized, and
~ the one trip-mates can rely on to bring that extra shower cap, toothpaste, and the full-size bottle of lotion.
Yeah - that was me. I was on the road to a bad-back or shipping box-loads of stuff back home on every trip.

But, a lifetime of travel (multiple flights yearly, international trips, & countless road trips, etc.) plus the disintegrating quality of the travel-experience has forced me to get better. That's right - I'm no longer in princess-mode when it comes to packing. I pack-light, like Erykah Badu said.

I had a strategy for New York - pack what you can carry, carry what you'll use, use what you bring. It required me to reaffirm my faith in list-making. I wrote down, in detail, what I wanted to wear each day. Then I broke it up into categories and quantities, editing and pruning during the days leading up to the trip. Then, I printed it out and stuck to it when it was time to pack. Not easy, but it saved me from dragging luggage the size of a small refrigerator along the NYC blocks. This was really helpful as we were dropped off a shuttle bus in the middle of a busy intersection and had to walk a little ways to our hotel, full luggage in tow.

During the trip, I wound up carrying large totes, like this one, on the city streets to facilitate my shopping and literature-collecting.

I did wind up packing some toiletries I didn't use and wound up rejecting outfits I'd planned, in favor of the more comfortable, functional pieces I'd brought. My only failing was shoes. I brought too many pairs and wound up relying on my flip-flops too often. The city streets and all the walking beat my poor little tootsies up in those flip-flops. But, even in that failing, I learned something. I'm about to start shopping for cuter, more functional travel shoes for walking. I've noticed that Japanese tourists are good for wearing shoes like that.

By trip's end, I was happy with my packing skills, but it's obvious I've got more growing until I'm as savvy as the chronic business-traveler, who's used to getting everything into one bag, not checking said bag, and who prides themselves on being to carry everything him or herself.

Anyway, I'll be posting my recounts of trip goings-on in the next few days. Mer's first ones got me excited to get crackin' on this project.