Friday, July 13, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Back in the day just a bit...
(arriving in Hawaii in December 1998)
Sunday night we got home from a two-week vacation visiting family on the East Coast. I'm especially happy to be living out of my closet again, rather than a suitcase, as I finally figured out how to pack pretty much appropriately for a long trip.

In preparation for our trip, I spent a lot of time on Pinterest and Google trying to figure out how to pack most efficiently.  We spent one week in Hilton Head with my family, where the dress was primarily swimsuits, with a couple of very casual outfits for meals and biking on the beach, and three rather nicer occasions when we went out in couples, took my parents out to dinner, and had a "Ladies' Day" with my mom and sisters-in-law.  The second week, spent with my husband's family, was a little bit less casual -- I wore at least a little bit of makeup every day -- but also more consistent in terms of wardrobe requirements.

Typically when I pack for this annual trip I am edging past 48 pounds on my suitcase (for the outbound).  I pack ten outfits and 4+ pairs of shoes, not including sneakers & flipflops, way too many toiletries and quite a lot of acessories.  Add in shopping on the trip and I usually spend the night before departure frantically reallocating weight among the family's suitcases to get the four of them to weigh in under 50 pounds.

Oh, and to spare any of you the pain I have felt when checking in a bag only to find -- after the other three have been sent down the conveyor -- that my bag is 52 pounds, I recommend a luggage scale.  (I have this one and have had no problems with it, but I don't want to recommend something with such poor reviews).

If you have ever tried to use Pinterest to get pointers on how to pack for a vacation, you've most likely come across this picture, which has been spammed from here to eternity:

I'm pleased to share the actual source of this image:

I love the concept, but I didn't feel like this method was going to work for me on this particular trip.  For one thing, my activities from one day to the next were going to be fairly uniform, and the wardrobe laid out here was actually too varied for my purposes.  For another, I am addicted to lots of color, and two weeks of neutrals leavened by only one color... well, I can think of no quicker route to shopping mayhem than to restrict myself to one color, even if it is a favorite.  And finally, I'm sorry, but there is NO WAY I'm wearing a scarf of any kind in South Carolina in July.

Since my thighs are no longer worthy of short shorts, I decided on a wardrobe of 4 daytime dresses, 2 pairs of very casual shorts plus a couple of t-shirts, one pair of white jeans (which I wore on the plane with a cardigan and a tank top) and two tops to alternate with the jeans, and two very old t-shirt dresses which doubled as swim cover ups.  For shoes, I wore a pair of very comfy slip-on sandals with a two inch wedge and brought my favorite wedge sandals (seen here) a pair of Privo! sneakers similar to these, except mine are awesome orange and about six years old, and a pair of black flip flops.

Lands End Ponte
Doesn't this look fun?
My trip wasn't quite so glamorous.
Lands End Linen V-Neck Dress
mine was navy
Lands End Cotton Dress
mine was the toffee dot
Lands End Linen Caftan

So how did it work out?  Great!  With the caveat that I did have to do laundry near the end of each week. Which was fine because when I used to overpack I was doing laundry for the kids anyway, and I always had unused things at the bottom of my suitcase that didn't seem to quite work.  I could have used one extra pair of skinny jeans to bridge the gap between dress and shorts for the second week of our trip, but not so much that it would have been worth making the purchase.  (BTW, I have just about decided that the skinny jean trend needs to die almost as badly as the platform wedge, but since I still have hopes of regaining my youthful figure I'm not all the way there... yet.)

Toiletries and accessories are another area where I usually run into trouble, but this year I managed to keep the toiletries to a reasonable quantity, all things considered.  Accessories I reduced to very near nothing at all; I could have brought nothing but two pairs of earrings and I would have been just fine.  

For the kids:  this year I let my daughter pack for herself, and only looked back through her bag to approve her choices.  She overpacked.  Perhaps someday she'll read my blog and learn from my mistakes. (!!)  For my boys I did pack too many shirts, although considering how difficult it has been to civilize my sweet older son it's not unreasonable to think he might go through 3 shirts a day.  I had almost enough shorts for each of them, but since they are overlapping a little in sizes and my husband never could tell whose were whose, they ended up wearing one another's clothes interchangeably and it worked out.  In fairness, the boys don't seem to know whose clothes are whose either, so I might be a little nit-picky in that regard.

I can't describe what a win it feels like to have finally packed a successful suitcase. I felt as light as when we got the gigantic donation picked up from our driveway and I knew I wouldn't have to worry about caring for all that stuff any more. Each year that we travel I feel slightly less like a sherpa.

And one more time, THANK YOU to all our fantastic family for putting us up and feeding us and giving us such wonderful memories.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you about crosswords. I am just trying to arouse some interest so people will give them a go
    Have a great week!