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EASY PACKING & TRAVEL LIGHT

I thought it might be nice to do an article pertaining to travel which might help limit some of the stress that goes along with it. Most travel takes place around the Holidays, and this seemed an appropriate time. Also, as a frequent traveler myself, I'm always surprised by how many people DON'T enjoy the preparations. I love every phase of the trip...I love the planning...I love making charts, sorting and packing. I love making arrangements I just love to travel! And, over the years, I;ve become quite good at it. So...I want to share some of the things I've learned that can make it ....well, if not fun, then at least easier.

PHASE I: Planning
A.) Make a chart on paper. Divide the chart into as many squares as the number of days you'll be gone. Date the squares, along with the day of the week (Mon., Tue., etc). In each square make a notation of what you think that day's activity might be...(Mon/Jan 1: lay on the beach or Tue/Jan 2: visit museum a.m. - Gourmet dinner p.m.).
B.) Now---decide what you, and your companion, will need to wear each day for each of these activities. Be specific ("red dress" or "shorts and top").
C.) When your chart is complete, look at it and see if you have written similar items for more than one day or activity ? Decide of just one of these items can be worn for more than one activity ? You may have to change the chart a few times to get things to work out correctly. Sometimes changing the itinerary helps. For example: Wearing a skirt or pants with a lovely top or jacket to dinner one evening and then scheduling a daytime activity for later in the week so that you can wear that same skirt or pants with a casual top.

Having a versatile set is an excellent idea. I have a sage green, 2 piece silk skirt and top. It's of great quality, suede feeling silk, which is fully lined and hangs beautifully. It's plain---no collar and no trim. I take this set everywhere! On one trip I wore it three times and I don't believe anyone noticed. I wore it to a dinner meeting with a black linen jacket...I wore it to a luncheon with a print scarf tied loosely...and then, I wore it one evening with a gold chain belt, gold jewelry, gold pumps and matching bag. I felt good in this outfit and that's halfway to looking good. Besides, it takes up almost no room and weighs nothing!

If your trip is going to be more casual, the same rules apply. Wear an outfit first to the more important function---wear it again casually during the day the second time.

PHASE II: Preparation
A.) With chart in hand, go through your wardrobe and make note on your chart of everything that you have. Make a list of the items you need to purchase. Seperate out the clothes that need to be cleaned, laundered or pressed. Do all of this tomorrow. Don't wait until the last minute.
As soon as everything is clean and pressed, make note on your chart that it's ready.
B.) Cosmetics, toiletries and medications are just as important to your travel plans as your clothes. Don't forget anything. If you don't have a cosmetic case to go with your luggage, invest in one.
1.) Mentally walk through your daily hygeine schedule and make a list of all the items you will use. Make an X next to the items you have enough of and purchase everything else you will need...Here's an example of the things I carry on every trip:
Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, eye drops, shampoo, razor, face moisturizer, hair mousse, comb, brush, band aids, ointments, Q-tips, nail clippers, tweezers, scissors, tiny sewing kit, deoderant, body powder, electric curling rod, hair dryer, aspirin, cough drops, make up, nail polish, polish remover, emory board, tissues, cotton balls, men's shaving foam, after shave, sun tan lotion, feminine products, baby wipes (great for removing make up), 1 bar soap, 1 face cloth, 1 hand towel, shower cap....
2.) Don't forget to have your prescription medicines refilled. DO NOT pack these in the cosmetic case where liquids may leak and contaminate the drugs. In the suitcase with clothes are safest.
3.) Place liquid toiletries in zip lock baggies before packing. Place non breakable items between any glass items to prevent breakage.

PHASE III: Packing
I have found that two people can do quite well with just 4 bags...a cosmetic case, a garment bag, 2 suitcases.
A.) GARMENT BAG
1.) Use a sturdy, folding garment bag, at least 3 inches; thick. Hang dress clothes, blazers, suits etc.
2.) Place the shoes and accessories to these outfits right in the bottom of the bag. Before packing shoes, stuff them with socks, underwear, hankies, belts, cuff links and accessories.
3.) Pack lingerie, hosiery and sleep wear in the mesh compartments. Put in the bag a piece of paper with your name, address, name of hotel and the hotel phone number.
4.) Secure the sippers together with a small padlock---remember to take the key.
5.) Place name tag on the handle. Do NOT put your home address. Use your office address or that of a friend or relative.
B.) COSMETIC CASE
---After packing this case, fill any empty spaces with socks and/or underwear.
C.) SUITCASES #1 and #2
1.) There are two ways to plan the packing of more than one suitcase.
a.) His and Her cases with a mark on the outside to identify which one it is.
or
b.) One for the first half of a trip and one for the remainder of the trip. If closet space is limited, or if you're frequently on the move, this eliminates the need to open and close ALL the cases every day.
2.) Beginning with pants, slacks and jeans---place first pair flat in the case lengthwise, letting the legs hang out over the edge. Place the 2nd pair in the same way, but in the opposite direction, letting the legs hang out over the edge. Continue doing this until all of the pants that you want in this case are packed.
3.) Fold skirts in thirds, lengthwise. If it will fit into the case, lay it in flat. It it's too long, then fold down from the waist band just enough to fit.
4.) Fold shorts, tank tops, tee shirts and pullovers. Lay on top of the skirts. This is also a good time to pack your prescription drugs, hair dryer and curling iron (placing these in the middle of clothes will prevent them from breaking).
5.) If you have silk or other lightweight tops, fold lengthwise in thirds. Beginning at one end, roll up and place along edges of the case.
6.) Neatly fold blouses and shirts and place on top of the stack.
7.) Now, fold the legs of the pants up and over all the rest of the garments you have packed.
8.) Spread a large garbage bag over the top of everything. This will keep the clothes clean and can be used for dirty laudry while travelling. Secure everything in place using the straps attached inside the case.
9.) Roll up underwear, socks, hose, night clothes and fill in the empty space along the inside edge of the case. Some of these items can be packed inside of shoes.
10.) Place shoes inside shoe bags, or small grocery bags, or even pillow cases. Lay shoes evenly spread across top. Place a paper inside suitcase with your name, address, name and phone number of your hotel and also a name and phone number in case of an emergency.
11.) Close and lock suitcase #1.
12.) Do exactly the same packing for suitcase #2.
13.) Place I.D. tags on handles.

PHASE IV: At the Airport
A.) LOSS PREVENTION
1.) DO NOT use curb side check-in. Although convenient, this is where most mistakes are made and luggage doesn't always end up on the same plane you are on.
2.) Check your baggage ticket to make sure the destination code is the same as on your ticket. For that matter, make sure the destination code on your ticket is for the place you want to go.If I hadn't noticed the DAY one airline employee put on my bags I would have been in Daytona Beach, Florida (DAB) and my clothes would have all been in Dayton, Ohio.
3.) Check everything in at the counter. There's no need to carry anything with you. It holds up the lines at security and annoys everyone behind you getting on and off the plane to have to wait while you fumble with the overhead. Plus, if you've got to change planes you don't really want to be lugging or dragging something around.
4.) DO NOT put your home address on your luggage tags. It has been known for a few unscrupulous airport baggage handlers ( not the majority...but there are some) to be part of a little business that monitors the destinations on expensive or good looking luggage. If the destination is somewhere expensive, then they contact some friends in the vacinity of your home and notify them that you are away.
5.) Just in case your luggage is one of the rare one's that gets delayed or re-routed (I've never had this happen), try to remember something specific inside each case because that will be a question you'll be asked...such as "it has my husband's favorite purple sweater with a button missing, a torn elbow and YALE printed on the back".

B.) HEALTH AND COMFORT
1.) The inside of an airplane has 100+ people inside a small space. Each person is the potential carrier of a bacterior or virus that may affect the people around them. People are bumping, rubbing, talking, sneezing and coughing. Upon take-off, the cabin pressure changes. If you have been exposed to any virus or bacterior, the pressure change can drive these from the nose and mouth into the inner ear and sinus cavity. According to a medical report I read a few years ago, the active ingredient found in the AFRIN nasal spray can act as a barrier, preventing this pesky little bugs from reaching the ear or the sinuses.
---Before EACH takeoff, spray 2 squirts of AFRIN in each nostril....I have been doing this for about 5 years and have virtually eliminated the flu and bronchitis I always used to experience after a long trip. It works!
2.) Chewing gun during takeoff really does HELP to prevent air bubbles forming in the ear. But then so do ear plugs or even placing your index fingers in each ear and gently applying pressure during take off.
3.) Bringing along your own little travel pillow is certainly got to be healthier than resting your face on those airline pillows that who knows who the last passenger was that sneezed on it.
4.) Drink plenty of water before boarding to prevent dehydration and painfully dry lips & skin.
5.) Drinking alchohol before and during a flight will make your skin dry and ankles swell. Instead, why not save the cocktail until you arrive. For a tasty drink ask the attendant for a fruit juice topped off with ginger ale.
6.) Wear flat, comfortable shoes. Worry about fashion later. It's really not very pretty if you're hobbling out of the skyway with feet swollen tight inside spike heels. Also, if there were an emergency during the flight, the attendants would confiscate high heels shoes....they do not want these potential weapons flying through the air during an emergency landing. And, what about after that landing ? The floor will be hot, you will be barefoot, and everyone with sensible shoes on will be climbing over you to get off the plane.

C.) SAFETY
1.) Do not try to carry anything in your pocket or purse that can be considered a potential weapon. NO nail files, clippers, scissors, box cutters, jackknives, pen knives, pins, or sharp and pointed objects.
2.) Do not carry anything aerosol.
3.) Do not combine medications into one bottle or use those handy little daily pill dispensers. If drugs are not in their original prescription bottles they will be confiscated.
4.) Get to the airport 1-1/2 to 2 hours before take off.
5.) Please...don't make a scene about these new safety procedures. These new rules are for YOUR safety as well as the other passengers and the flight crew.

D.) HAVE LOTS AND LOTS OF FUN!

 
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