What To Pack? Home for the Holidays – Part 2

In 1986 my father passed away.  That year, my newly married sister (and my only sister) had just moved to Phoenix.  Her father-in-law called me and personally invited me to spend Christmas with all of them in Arizona.  With that, my tradition of traveling for the holidays began.

After 25 years, I’ve figured a few things out!

Last time we talked about how to not only get a good fare for an airline ticket, but a good seat assignment as well.  Now, let’s talk about your luggage – not what type of luggage (there was a previous blog post on that you can read in the archive) but what to put IN it.

Packing for a trip should start at your desk with your calendar in hand.  How many days are you going to be gone?  What’s the expected weather where you are going?  (See last week’s post to find out) What sort of activities to you anticipate or have planned?

I’ll use an upcoming trip I have as an example so I can write this blog and get ready to pack all at the same time!  Here’s what my notes look like:

Thursday AM:  Travel
Thursday PM:  Gala “Business/Cocktail” attire
Friday (all day): Shop w/Debbie – casual dinner
Saturday AM:  Fundraiser luncheon – chic daytime attire
Saturday PM:  ??
Sunday:  ?? and Travel

I always pack around my shoes.  My policy:  wear one pair (casual, comfortable and slip on for easy security clearance) and pack no more than 2 others.  Shoes take up the most room in your suitcase and add the most weight.  I also try for clothes that can do “double duty”.

The gala and the luncheon can be the same black sheath dress with different jackets.  This is the same principle as men wearing the same suit with 2 different shirt/tie combinations.  The black sheath with a beaded 3/4 length sleeve shrug will both dress up the outfit and provide some warmth in a likely chilly ballroom.  Metallic sandals and a small evening clutch finish the outfit.

For the luncheon, the black sheath dress looks more daytime chic with a short, Chanel type jacket, chunky beaded necklace.  Pink tweed designer slingback heels and a small clutch will let me fit right in with the fashionable ladies at the fundraiser.

That means I have both pink tweed designer slingback heels and trendy metallic sandals with me along with the nice but comfy casual Coach flats I will wear on the plane.  A knee length denim skirt, simple black slacks and a couple of plain tees and I will be ready for anything – shopping, dinner out, whatever those ???  may translate to once I’m there.  Also, with a black or charcoal “base color” I can add pops of color in tees and accessories so I don’t look bland but still not over pack.

I always travel in good quality knit drawstring pants (Calvin Klein Performance Wear or BCBG) but rather than a zip front hoodie to make it look like jogging suit, I’ll wear an open front, flowing cardigan over a solid tank or tee.  A different tee for the way home and I’m good to go even if we visit friends, have lunch or see the sights before heading to the airport.

The knit pants also give me something casual to lounge around the house in sipping tea and catching up with my family.

What do I have all total?  One pair knit pants with open front modern cardigan that I wear rather than pack, black sheath dress, beaded shrug, Chanel style jacket, 1 denim skirt, 1 black slacks, 2 dressy shoes, 2 small clutch bags, 4 tees or tanks(1 that I wear) and the flats I wear on the plane.

I’ll tuck my jewelry into the clutches for packing ease and it all will fit nicely into my carry-on rolling suitcase for another hassle-free travel experience!


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