Monday, June 21, 2010

Packing Light for Travel

First I must just say "VIVA CHILE MIERDA, GANAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

So before a trip:
-Definitely check the weather for where you will be traveling.
-Plan day by day outfits, if necessary, like especially if you'll need formal wear with jewelry, nice shoes, etc.

Here's a packing list from Travel Light Guru Rick Steves:
-packing list

Now, my own tips:

If you have a tendency to overpack, when packing don't ask yourself "what will I need?", but "what can I live without?" - e.g. Perhaps your yoga pants can double as long underwear, pijama pants, and sweat pants. And maybe you don't really need that kitchen sink. Or the laptop. Or three pairs of jeans, maybe not even two.

- Now this is just a general packing tip, to make it easier. A week or two before I leave for somewhere, I often find an empty corner of my apartment and open the suitcase I plan on taking and let it sit there. As I think of things I'm going to bring on my trip, I throw them in, so I'm not stressing out last minute about all the things I might be forgetting. Ojo: this can lead to overpacking. So do this for a week or two before traveling, and then when you are actually packing your bag, start filtering out things that aren't necessary. This is a comprehensive way of packing a bag, and probably isn't for everyone.

- keep a rubbermaid with all your little travel gear in it, like TSA locks, fanny packs :), luggage tags, cosmetic bag, packing cubes if you use them, etc.

- when I travel to other countries, I tend to accumulate some money in other currencies. Before leaving said country, I try to get rid of all the coins, unless I have a reason to hold on to them. For example, the new Chilean 100 pesos is very similar to the Euro coin, so I've heard they work for buying cigarettes from vending machines in Italy. Or they used to. You get a great exchange rate that way. Unheard of. But I digress... So, I actually usually arrive home with foreign bills if I think I will be traveling there again. Not a ton, maybe 20 dollars worth. Then I divide them in little ziploc bags by country, and next time I travel to say, Argentina, I've got 20 bucks worth of pesos just in case. And I keep the money with my passport, so I know where it is. That way it's also travel-handy, and I feel like a spy from a movie, :P hahahha. Except I guess I'd need a couple more passports to really feel like Matt Damon's Jason Bourne.

Here are a few things that are almost always on my packing list:

- a fold-up, eco-friendly grocery bag, e.g. These I find AWESOME for travel. Especially in the airport. I carry it in my purse, and often I have lots of warm clothes like a thick sweatshirt and maybe a coat that I want to carry on the plane. In the airport, I can throw my coat, sweatshirt and extras in this sack for going through security and also if I'm too warm I can just carry it around in the bag. These bags are seriously the wave of the future! ha!

-I find a pair of long yoga pants very useful when I travel, because you can use them as lounge pants, pijama pants, long underwear, and casualwear.

-I'm all about having a beige, gold or bronze pair of dress shoes or sandals to wear with formal wear or anything really. Since they match my skin, I don't need to match every dress, skirt, and shorts; they also go well with jeans.

- bikini: a personal must have. I think I wouldn't leave it behind even if going to Antartica. I have a fear of not being able to swim in a pool, at a beach, etc. because I didn't bring my swimsuit.

- another good item: bolero mangas. I can't remember this word in English if I ever knew it, but one of those sweatshirts or sweaters that is basically just sleeves and goes over short sleeves, like this. It's a great piece of clothing, because it's small and light, packs easily and often when V and I would go to Vina for the weekend, I'd just bring that and two different short-sleeved t-shirts or tanks. That way I could convert my short-sleeved shirts into long sleeves. And I could still put a sweatshirt over the mangas. This cuts down on the need to pack so many long-sleeved t-shirts and short-sleeved. It's great for Vina weather where it can be hot in the day but it is usually cool at night.

- I also travel sometimes with a little "Travel Pro" duffle. Rolled up, it was the size of those eco-friendly grocery bags, and it fits about the same amount, but it has a zipper, so I don't have to worry about stuff falling out of it while I'm in transit.

- Another item that can be useful is a quart-sized see-through cosmetic bag. They sell them at Wal-Mart now, and probably on the internet. That way you can use the same quart-sized bag every time you carry liquids onto the plane. Yoopee!

-Rick Steves travel tips

Anyway, here are a few videos I found useful for packing light. They contain excellent information!!! And lots of it!

-I must say, I pertain more to the "rolling your clothes" way than the layering-folding style. Or the shove-them-in-the-bag style too. It's efficient and effective. haha

Last of all, if you're stressing out before a trip, just make sure you have your travel partners, a passport and perhaps a credit card. Everything else can be figured out upon arrival. Boa viagem!