Ah, the lure of travel….the excitement of getting away….the promise of relaxation and vacation time. It all sounds lovely, until you realize the one dreaded step you must take before venturing out: packing.
There are those who travel so frequently that they have packing and preparation for departure down to a science. Especially if you travel often for work, you may have a suitcase at the ready and partially packed at any moment. You have a quick, efficient system for getting ready to head out at a moment’s notice.
However, for the rest of the population, especially those of us who are preparing to travel for leisure with family members, packing is a different story completely. We must consider how long we will be gone, what the climate will be when we get there, what are the planned activities upon arrival, and of course, what mode of transportation we will be taking. I am relieved any time we plan a road trip and will be taking our family’s large van. Space and storage are not a problem, so the pressure of trying to be a minimalist disappears. However, if flying, then the battle is to take the least amount of “stuff”, and make bags as light as possible. I am always impressed by the women who can throw four outfits into a bag with two pairs of shoes and be set for two weeks. I should be like that. But I’m not. Yes, it is true, I am an over-packer.
We all tackle the packing situation differently. I am a planner by heart, so I will start several days in advance laying out clothing and other needs. If we are embarking on a camping trip, then our garage becomes my staging area for gear. (p.s., camping seems to multiply your packing capacity by about 349%.) I am also the one in our family to do the physical packing of items into bags, and then into the vehicle. I go with the roll method for clothing, and I can pretty efficiently use every inch of available space in the car. Every time I pack the car, I remember being mesmerized by the Avon Lady who would come visit my mother when I was a child. She had a fascinating carrying case with little compartments for each of her samples. Every item had its place and she could fit an amazing array of product in one tote. My goal is to be the Avon Lady of our packed vehicle.
Men generally have an all together different plan for packing. It is generally known as the last minute “grab what is clean and comfortable, throw it in a bag and hope for the best”. OR, they turn to the women in their lives for assistance. My husband is heading out of town for a wedding, and last night we worked together to plan out his outfit for the event. Tonight I may assist him with planning out his other items, and I will most likely be the one to pack his bag for him. He is not incapable of doing it himself. But if I get involved, he has a greater probability of arriving at his destination with the least amount of wrinkles and forgotten items.
Naturally, the more people you have joining in on your adventure, the more potentially stressful and problematic the packing can be. As I type this post, my brother and his family are preparing for a week’s vacation. There will be five of them traveling together, three of them are teenage young men. Part of their vacation will involve camping. Besides the packing, which I imagine to be a bit like herding cats, they also must make arrangements for the pets in their lives to be cared for while they are gone. And did I mention they are making their preparations in high heat and humidity?
Ah, yes…. The lure of the getaway…. and the exhaustion caused by the preparations. Yet once you manage to get packed up, and get at least 30 minutes down the road, you finally reach that point where you can say “if we forgot anything, we’ll just get along without it” and you start to breathe and relax. Just do yourself one favor – don’t even THINK about the unpacking you’ll have to face when you get home.