The art of packing as you age

We were gone for 48 hours. A weekend. Not a big deal. However…

It was as if we would be gone for a week or two months. Maybe a year-long cruise.

First the prep before leaving. My four cats get fed at different places that change from year to year. Their food also changes and the amount so there is always an epic to write for the cat sitter. In number of pages, it rivals War and Peace. I’m the most neurotic cat owner around.

The place we go to is a long way from stores. I want to be sure to have everything I need. That influences my packing and my neurotic need to have everything handy.

Now for the pharmaceuticals. I get cranky when I have a headache, acid reflux, allergies, itchiness, dry eye, lactose intolerance or a dozen other things that happen to old people. I pack stuff for every contingency including a zombie apocalypse. Pharmaceuticals has its own suitcase!

Remember back in the day when you had a toothbrush and toothpaste? No, me neither. I love my electric toothbrush and I have all sorts of gizmos to keep my teeth clean and good smelling.

My hair needs a blow dryer. I am not an au natural girl. Now we are talking shampoo, conditioner, styling stuff, brushes and big freaking blow dryer that sticks out of your luggage.

Clothing next. The place we go to has crazy weather. It’s very humid but will swing from very hot and humid to cold and damp. It can change in ten minutes but it’s mostly cold and damp. I pack for an arctic trip and a tropical rain forest excursion. I take a fleece throw and socks for sleeping. Just in case. Everything but snow boots. You don’t want me cranky!

Shoes are something that take a lot of space. I have learned to do with less. For the 48 hour trip I only took two pair – sneakers and dock shoes. I probably could have done with one pair but I needed the sneakers for hiking.

When it comes to food, I get obsessed. We are not big eaters but I pack enough food for an Olympic team. Will I want salty or sweet? (Take both!) Do I have enough carbs? How about fruit. There isn’t enough time to eat everything I bring and the cabin owner stocks for the Sixth Fleet. We could stay for a month without a grocery store run.

I wasn’t always like this. When we go to the beach, we can easily pick up anything we need. As we get older our survival instincts kick in. I don’t want to be hungry, cold, or itchy. I had my Kindle along in case I ran out of books. All was good. We didn’t run out of anything!

A good time was had by all and that was the goal!

60 thoughts on “The art of packing as you age

  1. I so relate to your packing habits! My dear husband tries so hard to get me to pare down, and I do try. But I have my comforts and I travel with less anxiety if I am prepared for anything! I can’t help myself, seemingly, and apparently neither can you! We can never travel together, Kate. There just wouldn’t be room for our combined “stuff.” 🙂

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    • 🙂 So true! Over the years I’ve had enough bad traveling experiences to know that it’s best to plan for any contingency. One of my favs was when I flew out of Philadelphia at 6 a.m. at the start of Desert Storm. They eliminated outdoor luggage check and the lines were out the door. There were 200 people standing in 20 degree temps with their shorts and sandals on for their Florida trip!

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  2. My goodness, I pack for the apocalypse too 😀 I do have acid reflux, and migraines. So yeah, not leaving home without the Prevacid, and Tyleonol! 😀 Oh, and the hand lotion! Never go anywhere without that, and my asthma inhalers. Heck no! My cats must think I’m a walking pharmacy!

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  3. I always say – you need as much for a weekend as you need for a week…travelling light is expensive and frustrating to my mind.. I want what I want, not a substitute !!!
    And if horrors of horrors I forget to put some earrings on, even if i’m only out for the day, I go and buy a pair at the first opportunity… vanity thy name is women…

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    • I went to the shore when I was much younger and forgot all my makeup. We were meeting up with friends so I had to go to the drugstore and buy some. I got just enough so I wasn’t bland.

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  4. I’m trying to pack for a trip to New England and I feel the same way — I need cold night/ hot day items! And i have to get them on a plane. Along with 6 pounds of See’s Candies for the family. (Yes, 6. Anything less and they riot.)

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  5. Hilarious! Sounds like me except I pack it all and then start minimizing. That involves total unpacking and when I’m down to essentials I pack again. Finally I have no idea what is forgotten and I leave worrying about unplanned starvation and itchiness. Hope you thought of everything for the 48 hour adventure. 😄

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  6. I’ve gotten to be a pretty good packer (mostly because my husband insists that I have to lug what I pack). But it really helps if the destination has a single – and warm – climate. Last summer when I had to pack for both hot, hot (at the time) Washington and an Alaskan cruise, I didn’t do so well. My hair is usually a disaster on trips… but I normally hide it under a hat.

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  7. Hubby is King of the Lists, and it is a War and Peace job should we be going anywhere. Even Maggie has her own space in the car! Top of the list is always meds. Then everything else in order of washing, wearing, food. I loved it on the boat. Top up on water and fuel, untie and we’re off. No packing, no list. Bliss.

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  8. Sounds like me when I pack to go to Boulder Creek for the golf tournament each year. All my husband is concerned about are his golf clubs and clothes for golf. I have to make sure I have things to eat and the right clothes.

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  9. Ha! I used to be like that until I had to schlep everything on and off a train through Europe. That kind of broke my desire to pack the world in multiple suitcases. Then again I sort of moved everything to a day backpack (I never use a purse). When I used to work everyone came to me for OTC meds, bandaids, eye glass repair kit with multi-sized screwdrivers-you name it. And thank gawd for pockets. I’d be dead in the water without pockets. Glad you had a good time without any suffering. 😊

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  10. I feel you, especially because of my food restrictions. What if I can’t find food at the destination that is gluten-, dairy-, and egg-free? Oh, and then there are the supplements….

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  11. I find that if I’m going to feel comfortable where I’m going, then I need to bring a lot of what makes me comfortable with me. Of course, car travel lends itself to this philosophy much more easily than flying. But even then, I’m good for taking too much stuff with me. A woman has to know her ways, and stick with them.

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    • You hit it on the nail. If I want to be happy, I have to have the things that make me happy! I have not always done that and ended up paying a fortunate for a hair care product or a heavy moisturizer in a desert area.

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