Packing it In

I hate packing for a trip.  Hate, hate, hate it.  Any kind of trip – doesn’t matter the destination or length of travel.  Doesn’t matter the weather where I’m headed.  Doesn’t matter if I’m looking forward to going.  I just don’t like the process.  And it stresses me out every time.

Once upon a time I used to think this was mostly weight related.  That I hated trip planning because I didn’t have anything that fit or that I felt fat in what I did have or some other reason along those lines.  But during my yo-yo years, I have packed for enough trips during my thinner days that I can unequivocally state it is not just about the size of my clothes (and body).

The irony here is that I am planner.  Before a trip I have lists for what to pack, lists for what to do before I leave home, lists of restaurants to try (and probably even a reservation or two).  I often have itineraries in hard copy and online.  I have printed directions for everywhere I need to go, just in case the GPS fails.  Not that every moment is preplanned, but …. hmm… a lot is.  But even with a packing list, I don’t have the specifics.  It might say “shirts” and “outfits for dinner.”  So then the drama begins.

Before a trip I stand in my closet.  It is not pretty.  Yes, there are clothes.  But why are there never the right ones?!  Could it be that I should add recreational shopping to my exercise regime?  Is it because I am a candidate for “What not to Wear”?  Might it be due to the fact that I usually wear the same worn out things over and over and that won’t work on my travels?

I hate having to decide ahead of time what I will wear every day.  What if the weather changes?  Or my plans (as well thought out as they are) change?  Sometimes even an over-planner like me appreciates a little flexibility!  I hate trying to decide which things, if any, can be worn more than once, and what I will do if I spill something on the outfit the first time out.  I hate trying to coordinate everything to go with only one pair of shoes.  And coordination of outfits to mix and match is really stretching the limits of my patience and wardrobe.  I hate trying to pack just the right number of clothes.  Except underwear – I am a firm believer in always packing extra undies and prescription medicine because you just never know.

And then the second guessing begins.  Everything is in the suitcase.  Maybe it fit perfectly.  Maybe I had to edit down my selections to get everything into the bag.  Regardless, there is always something that I wonder about.  Should I bring that sweater?  Or the umbrella?  Can I leave the exercise clothes behind because I’m probably not going to use them despite my good intentions?  Do I need an extra swimsuit?  Is there room left for souvenirs that I might buy?  Did I forget something important?  Aaaarrrgggghhhhh!

Later this week I am going on vacation.  (Yes, again.  More on that tomorrow.)  I have already decided that I will not be able to fit everything for one long weekend into a carry on bag.  This trip requires multiple shoes and multiple outfits for multiple activities and more.  But the good news is that if I have to pay extra to check a bag I might as well take a big one!  So one less worry… how to cram it all into a carry on.  Instead I can fixate on what should go with me on the plane in case my checked luggage doesn’t make it to my destination:(

Packing is a necessary evil if I want to take this, or any, trip.  So I will live with the pre-vacation stress for a few days.  And today I will go shopping… because it is very clear to me that I just absolutely need one more thing before I sit on suitcase to zip the lid shut.



Filed under clothing, vacation

38 responses to “Packing it In

  1. Shoes are my biggest downfall when packing. I bring shoes I never wear at home, why would I wear them on vacation? Duh?

    And I’m a last minute packer – stress big time.
    .-= Debora Dennis´s last blog ..Come Fly With Me =-.

    • Karen

      I don’t have that problem because I have bad feet and that means few shoes. But I often go shopping before a trip hoping to find a pair of new ones that are comfy enough for sightseeing and walking but not as ugly as my workout shoes. I have never found any:(

  2. Genie

    The packing is the worst part of the trip! (And trying to find stuff in the bloated suitcase once I get to the hotel.)

    It’s not just the clothes for me, it’s all the dang “products”, and I don’t even think I use as many as most other women.

    And the shoes. The darn shoes. Especially on vacation, why would I care?

  3. UG that gave me a headache lol 😉

    Personally I never liked packing- I always forget something and half the time I end up not liking stuff I brought to wear lol.
    .-= beerab´s last blog ..202.5 =-.

  4. I agree with everyone! Packing is the worst part of the trip! For me, I always want to look good and so together when on vacation. Being fluffy as I am makes finding good “vacation” clothes a rather bleak process.

    One of the things I will look forward to going down sizes is a wider clothing selection!

    Have fun shopping! Have a safe and fun trip! 🙂

    .-= The Chubby Girl Diaries´s last blog ..Jumping all the way in — what a concept. =-.

    • Karen

      When I walked with my neighbor today she couldn’t understand why I cared what I looked like on vacation. And I am such a slob around home. But somehow a trip calls for looking a bit better than slob. Sigh.

  5. Karen, I laughed through this entire post … only because I can relate so well, down to making tons of lists but feeling entirely helpless when it comes to picking out clothes!

    But hey, it’s a good excuse to go shopping! 😉
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..Recipe Tuesday – Chicken Taco Cups =-.

    • Karen

      And let me tell you Anna, I shopped all over town! I just wanted to find a new shirt to take. Was that really asking so much? I guess so, because I came home empty handed. So now maybe I will shop on my vacation:)

  6. I used to always over pack, but I’ve developed a little system where everything matches so everything coordinates. I also bring a lot of accessories that way I can wear the same pair of black pants of black dress and make it look like a new outfit.

    Hope wherever you are going you have a great time-and I hope they don’t lose your luggage after all that!
    .-= karen@fitnessjourney´s last blog ..Interview At Finding Life’s Secret Sauce =-.

    • Karen

      My mom is great at that too! Honestly, my goal is usually to have packed the exact number of things I need, not to little, not too much.

  7. Shoes……….the nightmare. Especially if it somewhere cold and you need boots. I hate having to take them off at the security check. And my running shoes take up so much damn space. But, not sure if it is always practical, but being practical is not my strongpoint……..I buy new clothes for just about every trip, that way I know they will fit and it gives me something to look forward to wearing…but I always do carry on…even on over a week trips. Two skirts, one jeans, running clothes, and one wrap, six shirts and 2 belts. I have my luggage lost too many times and even once as a carryon they lost it. Good luck with the packing!

    • Karen

      So we went to DC in December and they were predicting snow but boots just did not fit in our luggage and we needed nice shoes to wear on a White House tour. So instead… we brought a shoe dryer!

  8. LOL, you sound a lot like me. I don’t hate packing for trips, I just hate the extra laundry that is usually involved in order to have any clean clothes to take with me. I’m also a planner, or at least I love to make lists and pretend like I’m organized.
    .-= Christy´s last blog ..act like a two-year-old. =-.

  9. I recently got jealous of a certain type of people that never has to check anything. Even if they’re going somewhere for a week. So, I’ve been learning some of their tips. Like karen@fitnessjourney
    .-= JourneyBeyondSurvival´s last blog ..If I Have to Pick =-.

    • Karen

      Maybe if I traveled more and did not go up and down with my darn weight I would invest in some great pieces that squish without wrinkles and mix and match. Maybe someday.

  10. I agree, the worst part IS packing. I have not trying to plan out what to wear ahead of time too. I feel ya, lady. Just remember how fun that vacay is going to be. Good luck!


  11. This is me exactly – standing in my closet drawing a complete blank about what to pack (or what to wear on a daily basis, but that’s a different issue, right?).

    Weather concerns, event-appropriate clothes, work-out clothes, shoes to match all. No wonder we hardly ever take trips. And what drives me nuts is that it’s kind of just as hard for me to pack for a one-day trip as for a week-long trip. The essentials never change. If I leave home without my asthma spray, for example, I may as well turn around and come back home!
    .-= Linda at Bar Mitzvahzilla´s last blog ..Roommates of Doom =-.

    • Karen

      This trip: day casual clothes, evening nicer restaurant clothes, morning workout clothes, swimsuits, and shoes for them all. Sigh.

  12. I am like that, too. I am lucky that my husband packs “heavy” so he never complains about my stuff!
    .-= Brightside Susan´s last blog ..JUNIOR PROM =-.

    • Karen

      My husband hates packing too. His stress makes me even crazier! But I think shoes for men are much easier. And they can get by with less. Less clothes, less products, less shoes.

  13. I can’t tell you how long it took me to plan what to pack on a trip to California, and of course! I packed all the wrong things…and ended up wearing one outfit over & over..
    my husband can get away with ONE pair of shoes! thanks for stopping by my blog SITSta!
    .-= elizabeth´s last blog ..Count Your Blessings =-.

    • Karen

      And then when I wear the outfit more than once it is funny to see it keep showing up in pictures… if I concede to having my picture taken.

  14. Oh…I don’t enjoy packing at all, but unpacking is AWFUL!!!

    Lists…ooh…I love them 🙂

    • Karen

      I hate unpacking too but it goes faster and is less stressful for me. I just have to get it done when I get home, no matter how late that is.

  15. I always overpack. Now that I have to factor in fitness on vacations, it’s even worse. More shoes, more clothes, etc. Fortunately, I almost always travel by car and can take as much luggage as it will hold. 🙂
    .-= Cammy@TippyToeDiet´s last blog ..Can You See Your Own Glory? =-.

    • Karen

      I know! I brought my workout clothes and hope I can get a walk in each day. But the shoes are so big and bulky and heavy! When we took our last trip to Colorado we drove and took full advantage of being able to pack as much as we wanted.

  16. When I went to NY I thought it was just for one quick night so I just packed one extra outfit. And my suitcase was a TINY carry-on. Well, I got stranded there for 3 extra days because of snow. I’ll never underpack again!
    .-= Diane Fit to the Finish´s last blog ..One Common Maintenance Question =-.

  17. I used to get really stressed about it. Then I chaperoned a trip to France and we could only take one small suitcase – for a two week trip, and did I mention, there were going to be limited laundry options…that meant brown black and beige – anything the shade of mocha would do just fine.

    Suddenly instead of wanting to buy new cute outfits, I looked at my closet to figure out what things could I leave behind. Instead of worrying about getting in a wreck wearing holey underwear, I thought, “wooo hooo, that’s one more thing I could toss giving me a little more room for return souvenirs.”

    Besides, no matter what you pack, you will open up your suitcase and wish you had something else. RELAX and enjoy!
    .-= Melissa Fast´s last blog ..Get Another Whippin’ Post =-.

    • Karen

      My mom does that! She saves stuff that she doesn’t want anymore just to take on trips and dump as she goes. And I get the color thing – black sandals this trip so all outfits go with those. If I brought two, the other would indeed be brown.

  18. I used to be so stressed about this too, but have learned to do it quicker since I travel so often…But I have to settle and leave certain shoes and clothes behind b/c they won’t fit…And I have learned to pack lighter and more versatile clothes that don’t weight as much! =)
    .-= Katherine´s last blog ..I am Back!!! =-.

    • Karen

      I don’t travel very often, usually. If I did, I am sure I would have to develop an easy wardrobe. Hmmm… maybe I need to plan more trips:)

  19. wow, we have a lot in common, karen. must be that compulsive, controlling side of ourselves.

    i too am a big travel list maker that i keep on spreadsheets in my computer. trips with the kids, trips w/out the kids, what i need to get done before leaving (stopping mail and newspaper delivery) having an itinerary. you take it even one step further with reservations and printed directions! you are my idol! 🙂

    seriously, it is all very stressful, even with the lists. it’s hard, but we need to realize that we are on vacation and just need to be comfortable, i don’t think our clothes and shoes have to be amazing, just practical. in the big scheme of things, you are there to enjoy and it’s really not about what you are wearing.

  20. I honestly can relate so much…thankfully, I have a wise husband who says, “whatever you forgot, we can always find a place to buy it there” and for most things, he is 100% right. so the tiny voice in my head that tells me I have forgotten something, is replaced by his telling me not to sweat it. It works…lol So I just make sure I pack extra undies and meds…lol
    .-= losingmore´s last blog ..New Kitchen Gadget =-.

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