Packing is stressful at the best of times. I’m not here to pretend that it’s easy.
I am notorious for leaving my packing to last minute, stressing out, going way over weight and generally forgetting a lot of important stuff. It’s not great, and something that I need to get better at. However, packing for a multi location trip adds on a whole other set of factors.
This was particularly bad when I was travelling last year. I was going to Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. All similar climates right? Wrong. Australia alone was several different climates (thanks Melbourne), it was a lot cooler in Vietnam than Cambodia, Thailand was humid AF, and Dubai was cooler than expected…. How in the world do you pack for this situation?!
I have a similar but slightly less dramatic version of this multi trip now. I am going to Vegas for a hen party, flying to Santa Monica, hopefully going to Yosemite (wildfire dependant), and then finishing up in San Francisco. Vegas is a hen party, so there will be party clothes and pool party outfits, and as I type, it’s looking like it will be 41 degrees (107 Farenheit) when we’re there. Santa Monica will be a bit of beach time, so more relaxed clothing wise, and a more reasonable 27 degrees (80 Farenheit). Yosemite is a whole other story right now with the current wildfires. Ideally, if we do get to go there, there will be hiking and activities in cooler 23 degrees (74 Farenheit). And then we have San Francisco. Notorious for having it’s own micro-climate, I’ve been warned by my cousins wife (a native San Franciscan) that it will be colder than expected (20ish degrees or 66 Farenheit), with mist, and to bring a jumper to avoid being one of those tourists that has to buy a novelty San Fran hoodie.
So. That’s what I’m trying to arrange right now. Pray for me.
What I’ve tried to do the last few years, is to make outfits and then see what I can mix and match. I don’t want to bring a million and one different items away with me, although half the time I do end up doing that. For travelling, I literally created a Google Sheet spreadsheet (I know, I know, bear with me), and had the list of core items I was bringing – black denim shorts, grey midi dress, white t-shirt, etc, and from that, I build out outfits using those core items as many times as possible. So the white t-shirt with the black denim shorts was one outfit. The white t-shirt layered under the grey midi dress was another outfit, and so on and so forth, yadda yadda yadda. From about 20 core pieces, I made over 70 outfits. And I had them all saved to my Google Sheets app, where I could check them out while away to remind me. It’s probably the smartest thing I’ve ever done to be honest.
This trip, I won’t need 70 outfits, although….. No seriously I won’t. I decided to approach packing in a similar way, make outfits that I know I need, and try to use things more than once if possible. Hen party outfits excluded for the reason that I don’t think I’ll need a black lace dress again while hiking Yosemite. That was my intention anyway. But the process went a little something like this:
- Denial – I have loooooads of time. It’s totally fine. I’m a really easy going packer anyway, so I’ll just toss a few things in and everything will be fine. I’ll look exactly like a nonchalant French woman on holidays, with the perfect effortless wardrobe. I don’t even need to buy anything new. I know I have exactly everything I need in my wardrobe and definitely didn’t donate those key items that are my go-tos for holiday shopping. It’s all good. Now is the perfect time for me to get totally absorbed in a new Netflix series.
- Anger – Where the hell is that dress that I haven’t worn in 7 years but I’ve decided is now integral to my whole holiday wardrobe?! Why are the shops selling coats in August, don’t they know people still go on holidays then and desperately need to find a kaftan to cover up?! I swear, if I have to do one more load of washing and ironing, I am going to lose my reason. If one more person texts into the holiday group to say they’re all packed and marinating in tan, I will throw my phone out the window for an articulated truck to run over it.
- Bargaining – If someone comes over and does my washing for me, I will be eternally grateful. If you pack for me, I’ll rear your children free of charge for life. Just please, don’t make me have to pack this shitty bag myself. Who needs their bathroom cleaned? I make really nice brownies. You want a batch of brownies?? I’ll drive over with them and a glass of ice cold milk right now. Please help me.
- Depression – How in the hell did it get to be midnight? I’m supposed to be up at 4am to go to the airport. Why do I do this to myself. I’m the worst. Holidays are supposed to be fun and relaxing and here I am sitting in a pile of clothes that I just washed and ironed, and now they look like crap. I need to simplify my life. Maybe I should get a self help book, like ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying’. It worked for Emily in the Gilmore Girls revival. God I miss that show.
- Acceptance – You know what, it’s fine. I’ll just throw these bits in the bag and buy things when I get there. Who even cares anymore. Now, where’s the wine?
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