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How to pack a suitcase

Posted Wednesday, October 6, 2010, at 10:09 AM

It is said that when a man packs for a weekend trip, it doesn't take him long to pack. He just grabs his belt and his shaving kit.

Not so with a woman. She will spend hours coordinating her outfits. First, she must decide what to wear while en route, especially if the weather is changeable. Should she wear a short sleeve or long sleeve blouse, take a sweater or jacket, pack a pair of sandals and dress shoes?

She will need a large suitcase and a small overnight case too.

She must take along a coordinating purse or two, some jewelry, and, of course, her makeup kit. She has to have handy wipes, hand lotion, moisture cream, lipstick, foundation and eye makeup. She'll need toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo and hair spray too.

She'll pack extra long pants in case she spills something on her jeans, and she must remember to take extra lingerie. She might as well throw in some capris in case the weather turns hot and some socks if the weather turns cool. And some hosiery, just in case.

She'll pack her compact umbrella in case of rain and take along her curling brush too. If need be, she'll take along a pill box with vitamins, calcium, blood pressure medicine, Tylenol, etcetera. She'll take a can of Lysol, two books, a camera and all her cologne.

Usually the packing is a helter-skelter undertaking, not an organized operation. To her, more is more, not less.

When I went on a trip last weekend, I took so much stuff I could hardly zip the suitcase. I kept adding items, thinking I might need them. I had clothes to meet every contingency from hot to cold to afternoon teas. Actually what I needed most was a light jacket and a pair of good walking shoes.

This morning I found several good packing tips on the Internet. I thought this might be timely information since many people will be going on weekend trips this fall.

If you think you might need it, leave it at home. If you think you can't survive without it, pack it. If you wish to pack light, choose one neutral color to be the backbone of your suitcase.

Pants, shorts and skirts should be in basic colors, such as khaki or black. Tops should be interchangeable. If tops don't mix and match with everything you are taking, leave them at home. Try for at least one outfit that you can wear basic for very warm temperatures and then layer to accommodate harsher temperatures and wind. Perhaps a light sleeveless dress or shirt and pants, then layer with vest, sweater, blazer or windbreaker. Choose light colors if traveling to outdoor destinations in hot weather.

Quick-dry, wrinkle-free is better. Avoid wrinkles by placing sheets of plastic, like garbage or grocery bags, between layers of clothes.

About shoes. Keep it to two pairs, if possible. It is always a good idea to have at least one pair of comfortable shoes and a backup pair in case of problems. To reduce your packing. take only shoes that will, again, go with everything you pack.

Place all liquids (mouthwash, shampoo, etc.) in small plastic travel containers. Place anything that may leak into individual zip-lock bags. With this done, if anything breaks or a lid comes unscrewed, it won't ruin your trip.

These tips for traveling light can help you pull off a one-suitcase trip.

Just don't forget your toothbrush.......and your charge card.

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From these hills
By Peggy Johnson
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