Sunday, 24 June 2012

Packing... It's not as simple as it sounds!

During our Europe trip Jade and I quickly realised how annoying, time consuming and painful it was to pack, unpack and repack your suitcase. Nothing ever fits in the same way and you always have more stuff than last time. During that trip we were traveling during the painful winter months, this meant that we had to lug around heavy jackets and bulky knits to keep from freezing to death. By comparison summer should be much easier right?

The problem with this logic is that it tends to mean that because we think our summer stuff is smaller an d lighter, we over pack because we have more space. My favourite strategy is the old rule of thirds... Pack everything you want/need/think you need... Then cut out at least a third. This way you don't end up taking that red number that you thought might look good if you ended up being invited to a semi formal, 50's themed party on a warm night with a slight north easterly breeze...

Handy Shanwah hint: no matter what type of accommodation you are staying in, pack something to keep your dirty laundry in and something to take your laundry to the laundromat (preferably the same "something" to save space). In Europe Jade and I found ourselves confusing our clean and dirty laundry (resulting in the uncomfortable sniff test) and arriving at the laundromat with an odd assortment of awkwardly sized bags to the bemusement of locals. While I'm on the subject, it is a great idea to locate the closest laundromat to your accommodation BEFORE you arrive because you can waste entire days trying to find one.

Once you have cut out the useless and unnecessary, then comes the packing... Everyone has their own style and preference when it comes to packing... rolling, folding, stuffing, layering, space bags, pack cells, suitcase dividers and the age old second suitcase technique (employed by Jade after she purchased too many handbags to fit in her already full suitcase). Use the way that works for you because even though that travel blog said you should roll everything in tight little balls, it is you who has to pack your suitcase and then repack it over and over again... Trust me, even If you start out with a brilliant strategy, it eventually gets to the point where you just cram everything in anywhere it will fit.

A brief photoessay on the crap that I managed to take with me...

One final thing to remember... It's not just your suitcase you need to stuff! It is just as important to pack your MP3 player full of tunes. A well stocked iPod will serve you well on your cross country train trips (you tend to run out of conversation topics a few hours in) I have three songs that I never fail to remind me of riding the train through sunny Italian countryside. This time I have spent a good 3hrs sorting through my iPod to ensure I have all the music I will need... Some chill out tunes for afternoons spent lying in Hyde Park, a range of up beat pop tracks for keeping the long train rides eventful, some classic rock and funked up indie for use while you wait for the laundry and a couple of urban beats for playing in the hotel bathroom before a big night out. I can't stress how important this is... I mean think about it, these songs will inevitably becomes the soundtrack to your holiday.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Shanman!! Yay! You have a blog. And not just any blog. A travel blog. The most wonderful of all blogs!

    I had to laugh at the concept of packing a dress that you want in case you're "invited to a semi formal, 50's themed party on a warm night with a slight north easterly breeze..." I've totally been there. Well - except for the warm night thing. I've only ever visited places with cold climates. Why do I keep doing that?!

    Oh, and I'm with you there on loading up the Ipod with some 'killer beats' (as you young kids say). I think it's called 'mind anchoring'. You hear a song and it instantly transports you to a time and place. Lykke Li's 'Little Bit' was definitely the anthem to my trip to Europe with John. Then last year's solo trip has taken Soley's entire album under it's wing.