Tuesday, April 08, 2014

A Case for Overpacking

So a couple of weeks ago, very shortly after we got back from Paris, I learned that someone very dear to me was quite ill.  I immediately offered to go help with their care-  I was thinking I would be gone for a day or two...

Normally, I have a pretty well-defined plan for emergency travel, which I outlined in a post here, way back when.  To recap, this is what I recommended for a travel outfit:
emergency cold weather travel outfit

and this is what I suggested one might pack...
what to pack when you don't know what's going to happen

But I was only going to be gone a couple of days, right?  So I traveled in this:

layering a dress with a sweater and tights for cool weather
Dress- French Trotters, turtleneck – Jil Sander,  scarf –String Theory
 tightsWolford, flats – Thierry Rabotin, coat – Thimister

and packed this (not exactly these garments, but these are a fair representation of what I DID pack):

four black garments for travel
Jeans – A.P.C., turtleneck – Stephan Schneider
tee shirt – Hobbs, cardigan – M Missoni

Yes indeed, I did NOT pack pajamas, nor did I remember another pair of shoes.  (I did have some clean lingerie, which is not pictured).

And the upshot of all this?  I was there for TEN DAYS...

My bag was plenty big enough to hold at least one more change of clothes, as well as a couple more tee shirts or sweaters.  Admittedly, I wasn't out and about very much, and what I was wearing was NOT at all important in the grand scheme of things, but a few more options would have been nice.  And I wouldn't have to have done laundry quite so frequently.

Bottom line - don't forget the possibility of a longer-than-expected stay, or a radical change in weather, or a surprise change of plans.  Which is not to say one should overpack, but at a minimum, I should have filled my overnight bag.

Never too late to learn...

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  1. Fickle weather can be dreadful. I recall an August spent shivering rather than sweltering in the Midwest. And family visiting southern France had to frantically go buy sweatshirts during an unseasonably cool summer visit. Being stuck with long sleeves when it's hot is just as uncomfortable.
    If you really want to be minimal, take a top + bottom that you can wear in public but count them as your pajamas. They're there if you need them (and you can sleep in the raw or borrow somebody's old T shirt).
    I hope your relative is better!

  2. Well, at least you got to enjoy your new dress quite a bit. :) My husband is famous for last minute changes of plans, so I've learned to pack/prepare for possibilities as well as certainties. After years of chiding me for bringing too much, we've had several "episodes" where I was quite nicely prepared and he was somewhat uncomfortable.

  3. So, in retrospect, were you happy with the choice of a dress or would things have been easier with a pants/trousers/jeans choice? I will out myself as not being a dress person any more and I just struggle when I see capsules that include a dress just because it sets up limits in my own mind. I am sure it does not limit others, lol! I am glad you are back home and hope your relative is on the mend.

    1. Frankly, I loved the dress. I could wear it with either a tee shirt or turtleneck, and it's extremely comfortable. I'm finding that for me, more and more, dresses make a lot of sense.

  4. Nice practical collection. I could definitely work with something like that.

  5. You get a pass on the emergency.
    I have a general rule:
    1 coat/jacket
    2 cardis/blazer/sweater
    4 tops (1 button down)
    2 pants
    1 dress
    1 walking shoes
    1 dress shoes
    This will take me a very long way.

  6. I definitely try and pack for chilly weather - if nothing else, I tend to get really amazingly cold on long plane journeys (maybe it's the staying still in my seat thing). Generally I'd much rather be hot than cold and light clothing takes up less room so you might as well pack a bit of it. No-one's going to give you medals for an empty bag!

  7. I've been known to sleep in leggings and a tee shirt, and I always travel with leggings and a tee shirt. :-) ...and a long sleeve tee, and shorts, and etcetera...