By Jan Jackson
Need your fluffy robe and slippers on your holiday? Then don’t listen to the always-pack-light gurus. Take them with you.
I learned how important it is to some travelers to travel with their comfort things after I gave a “How to Pack Smart” presentation to a businesswomen’s group. Here is what happened.
Prior to my speech, I asked a smart travel-savvy member of the group to help me by packing for a three-day trip as poorly as she could. If there had been a prize for her performance, she would have won it. We placed her suitcase on a demonstration table and began to go through it item by item. Among them were:
- The biggest and fluffiest bathrobe and matching slippers I ever saw.
- A fleece jogging suit and running shoes
- Family-size bottles of shampoo and conditioner
- A full-size steam iron
- A collection of outfits for any occasion.
The presentation couldn’t have gone off better. We all laughed at her choices. Once I imparted my how-to-pack-smart-wisdom, I asked her to return showing that she could meet her needs for the trip with only a few items that fit neatly in one over-the-shoulder bag.
Bingo. Perfect presentation. The pack-light system clear as a bell and entertaining to boot. Except, afterwards, a friend came up to me and said, “Jan, I didn’t see anything wrong with the first way she packed.” Bingo again! Not everyone is happy being without their fluffy robe and slippers. My advice? Even if it causes you to take a larger or additional suitcase, take them with you.
There are hundreds of articles on the web to tell you how to pack light. They call it “Packing like a Pro.” There are hundreds more telling you “How not to Overpack.” I haven’t found any however, that tell you how to successfully overpack. So, here are a few tips from me:
- Sit down and decide what it is that is important for you to have with you. It could be your fluffy robe and slippers, the only pillow in the world that helps you sleep or any number of comfort items.
- Make certain your luggage is big enough to handle what you want to bring and don’t try cramming it all in a carryon so you don’t have to pay to check it at the airport.
- If you have more luggage than you can gracefully manage, rent one of those carts or secure the services of a skycap and tip him well.
You can always do as my Hollywood star friend did when she traveled to the National Tour Association Conventions. Because she needed to look perfect for every public occasion yet feel at home in the privacy of her hotel suite, she traveled with so many suitcases she always took the train.
The moral of the story? Know what kind of traveler you are so you can make your vacation work for you. Need the fluffy robe? Take it.
Jan Jackson is a retired tour operator who is currently writing a book about Traveling Right; How to Make Your Vacation Work for You (see About).