May 14, 2018
If you’re making a trip with some specific advantages, you can travel very VERY lightly! I was in Florida last week for a quick visit with my mother, and I had ALL of the factors in my favor:
- traveling to a warm-weather destination,
- with no dressy nor business activities planned,
- where I can easily purchase or borrow things that I forgot, and
- where I can do laundry!
Knowing that all of this was working in my favor, and that I had very little time to pack, AND that I had one of those airfares that requires you to pack only what will fit under the seat in front of you, I managed just fine, thank you!
This is what I wore to fly; it was a bit more than I needed when I arrived in Florida, and frankly LESS than I might have wanted to be wearing when I got back to Chicago!
And this was literally ALL that I packed:
It would have been a bit more logical for me to have traveled in a black cardigan; that would have given me a true neutral “Core of 4.” But I was pretty well prepared for most eventualities; I had both “real” shoes and sandals with me, as well as long pants, capris and shorts. All tops can be worn with all 3 of the bottoms, and if I had really needed a black cardigan, I could have probably found one in my mom’s closet…
Additionally, I think I packed three changes of undergarments. I realized that there are only 3 things that I can’t borrow from my mother – undergarments, shoes and prescription medications! Not that her personal style is anything close to mine, but when situations require quick moves, you surrender a certain amount of style in order to get where you’re going and do what needs to be done!
Here’s how it all fit into my bag:
My backpack is wonderful – it was given to me by the guys at Standard Luggage Co. and I love it. It’s sufficiently structured that it doesn’t collapse into a heap of fabric when it’s empty, and it has a clean, elegant design that I like SO MUCH MORE than most backpacks that have lots of straps and rings and bit and pieces hanging everywhere. This bag does have backpack straps that tuck into a nicely secured pocket, but this was so light that I was easily able to carry it with the side or the top handle, depending on where I was trying to maneuver…
The red satin thing is a shoe bag with my sandals inside. The joy of wearing really flat shoes and sandals (except for happy feet, of course) is that they pack easily. I’ve replicated the pack with similar clothes to those that I actually took (which are all in the laundry!). You can see the waistband of my white capris – my shorts are right on top of them. There’s a silver tee shirt in there, and a folded white shirt (glimpsed below the striped tee.) Pajamas are WAY down in there – not that there really is a “way down” in a bag this small.
I think the toiletries are key, don’t you?
As one of my favorite songs says, “il ne faut prendre en ses bagages que ce qui vraiment compta,” or “you don’t have to pack anything except what really matters.” (Je Voudrais Vous Revoir by Jean-Jacques Goldman)
p.s. Effective starting this week, I’m only going to post on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays until… mid-August, maybe? I’ve got SO MUCH travel planned for the next 3 months that I’m going to be in a pickle trying to keep up with things! Saturday I leave for Paris…
Taste of France says
The brilliant part of your backpack is that it unzips all the way. A regular bag or backpack usually doesn’t have a big enough opening to see what’s all the way at the bottom.
I have a short trip coming up–one slightly dressy day–and will use this as a template.
I also love that feature. And the pillbox!
thank you for this beautiful lesson of style. And with Jean-Jaques Goldman for reference (I didn’t know this sonf of him! )
Have a good day.
I hope your mother is much improved !
She is – thanks!
Maria Karapanos says
Beautiful choices! I would love to know why you packed duct tape as an essential. I know it has many practical household uses – but for traveling? I look forward to your wisdom!
When I was 16, I went away to summer school, and when I arrived at my destination, and my suitcase slid down the chute to the baggage claim belt, the suitcase hinge hit something solid and it blew apart. Nothing like meeting all of your summer school classmates when they help you pick up your clothing from all over the baggage claim area…
So now, I carry duct tape. I’ve never needed it, but I’ve given away miles of it. A broken zipper, a torn handle, or a damaged seam? I’m the heroine of luggage!
Maria Karapanos says
We all have a story like that! It’s going in my purse – right now too! Thank you so much!
a bit easier to pack is electrical tape– does quick mends of all sorts…and its black :)
Hope mom is right as rain. What do you pack the tape for?
Busted suitcase hinges, torn zippers, handles that rip off – any kind of suitcase mishap. Since I started carrying it, I’ve never needed it, myself. But I’ve given away MILES of it to panicked travelers. It’s fun to be their heroine for a second!
A ha!! You ARE a smarty pants. Brilliant idea. I had a broken handle on my favorite suitcase which I repaired with picture hanging wire and gaffers tape. It held for 4 years; I just now bit the bullet and bought a replacement suitcase. Sadly, it’s already filthy after just one flight from NY to LA!
I bring electrical tape when I travel and stay in hotels to black out all the little red, green and white lights that remain on in the room…even after turning out the lights! Not conducive to a restful sleep. I will add some gaffers tape to my new suitcase from now on.
Thank you! Hugs right back at you!
Scottie Kersta-Wilson says
I’m going to start carrying duct tape . . . because duct tape . . . we once re-affixed a car fender with it! I also adore that backpack; I think it will be my next “big” purchase – it does have a thingy that slides over the pull-up handle on a roller, right? Glad Mom is better! xoxoxox
Carol Swedlund says
Do you ever use packing cubes? Or roll your clothes?
I use cubes often – a stack of neatly folded tee shirts and shirts STAYS neatly folded if you put them into a tidy sleeve… And it’s handy to keep dainty undergarments all in 1 place, rather than just having them fly about the inside of my bag…
But I’m militantly against rolling; the edge where you start to roll is always really creased and wrinkled when I unpack. If I was 22 and backpacking across the Himalayas, I’d roll my stuff. My I try to keep most of my wrinkles on my face, these days!
Robin Jillson says
Janice — sorry in advance, but you mention white capris, a white folded shirt, and a silver tee in your backpack, but I don’t see them in the other pics. What am I missing??
Well, when I got back from Florida most of the pieces that I show in the original wardrobe – the things that I REALLY took to Florida – were all in laundry. So I replicated the same style of garments to show how easily everything fit into my backpack. The pieces are indeed completely different! It’s kind of reassuring to know that if I have to go back before laundry is finished I still have enough clothes!
How did I miss that you are reading Hannah Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism? My Contemporary Political Theory class read it this semester, and my Politics of Prejudice class will read it in the fall.
(BTW if you are in the Hudson Valley in Oct, there is a Hannah Arendt conference at Bard College(she’s buried there).
Lisa Ham says
Janice, I’m not sure why, but every time I come to your website, this post is at the top of the page. I’m having to click further and further through the posts to reach your most current post. Has anyone else had the same issue? It’s probably a glitch in my browser, but I thought I’d mention it in case anyone else encountered the same problem. Thanks! Love your website!