Pack Without Overpacking

Friday, January 30, 2009

Many people fall victim to lugging large, heavy bags throughout the airport or train station when they go on a vacation. This "How-To" is the answer to their prayers.

Research the average climate and weather for your vacation spot during the month you are visiting.
With the weather information you just found in mind, pull the clothes from your closet that are climate appropriate to your destination. Be sure, however, that even if the weather is warm, you still pack a light waterproof jacket in case of rain.
Get the smallest suitcase possible that will hold the clothes you have set aside and a few other small items. The best would be to use a small rollerboard or backpack. Hard suitcases, while being protective, are harder to pack well and tend to be much heavier. You can fit more at less weight in a soft shell bag.
Try to match up just enough outfits for number of days you are going on vacation, if less than a couple of weeks. For a longer trip, be sure to have clothes that mix and match well. Reusing articles of clothing to make new outfits gives you a large variety with a smaller amount of clothing. One way to do this is to have the majority be staple colors such as whites, beige, browns and black. Throw in a few colored or patterned pieces to add variety.
The easiest way to have a lot of options is to pack accessories. Shoes are too bulky to carry a lot of, but be sure to have a casual pair and a slightly dressier pair. Remember, you can buy cheap flip flops just about anywhere, and you can throw them out at the airport before coming back home. Women especially can pack things like scarves, belts, and inexpensive jewelry, which will make any outfit unique.
Pack the clothes into the suitcase by rolling them. For shirts fold lengthwise before rolling, for pants fold in half lengthwise and then half horizontally. This allows you to fit more into a small suitcase. Be sure to keep clothes that wrinkle easily on the top.
Get together your toiletries and tuck them into the corners of the suitcase, or inside shoes. Be sure to wrap all of them in a plastic bag to make sure nothing gets ruined if they spill. Also keep in mind that that most hotels supply shampoo, conditioner and soap, and also most places sell travel size bottles, which help to keep the weight down.
Try not to over stuff, but if you find that you cannot fit everything you wanted, close the suitcase and stand it up overnight. The contents will settle and you will be able to fit more into the top by the next morning.
If all else fails, just pack as usual, then take half away. You probably will not need most of it, and unless you are trekking into rural or uncivilized areas of the world, you will be able to pick up anything you couldn't pack.

Be sure to roll the clothes instead of folding them. The only clothes that may be better folded are collared shirts or stiff pants, which have ironed creases. However, usually those types of clothes are not necessary on a trip, and if they are, it would be much wiser to put them into a garment bag which flight attendants will usually allow you to keep in the cabin closet.
Try to pack shoes that are neutral colors such as black, brown and white. These shoes will match with more outfits, so you will not have to pack as many shoes which will lighten up the load of the suitcase. If possible, pack shoes that can cross between dressy and casual, such as strappy sandals or leather loafers.
Squeeze all the air out of your pack, you'll get a lot more room. Remember, if you stand the bag up for a few hours, or even just close and shake down, you will end up with at least 3-5 extra inches of space in the top. This is a great place for bulky things like make-up cases or shaving kits. has clothing that is reversible and can be washed out in the bathroom sink and will dry overnight. You may also want to invest in a roller backpack. They are the most efficient for trips where you will be going to many locations, you can wheel them or wear them as a backpack.
Be realistic. You might want to bring along, say, 5 different books, but what are the chances you're going to read them all? Plus, unless you are going somewhere special, the fancy clothes and fully matching outfits will not be needed. They will end up being a burden.

While packing for a vacation to a cold climate, it may be hard to pack all in one small suitcase because the clothes are bulkier. A larger suitcase may be necessary.
Remember to make sure that anything liquid or even anything that could melt is wrapped in plastic so that spills will not ruin everything else in your bag.
Be sure to check all zippers before you start packing to make sure that they zip easily, otherwise you will have to unpack everything later and change bags. This also goes for the wheels (if any) or straps.
If you are packing as a couple or as a family, be sure to keep the amounts as even as possible, so that one person will not have more or less changes of clothing than another. Also if you can share items such as t-shirts, keep that in mind while packing, it will help lessen the load.

How to Be Generous

Being generous begins with treating each person as though they have already achieved the potential for greatness that is in every one of us. It is in essence a sincere desire to make others' lives easier or more pleasant.

Remind yourself every day of the generosity you want to not only feel, but show.
When interacting with others, notice the things you could do to make their lives easier or happier. Even if you do not take action, awareness of your power to improve the world around you is key.
Think of specific ways you can be good to the people you know. I.e. if a friend or family member's name appears, list something nice you can do for that person. If it's a co-worker or teacher, think of how you might make his or her job easier--perhaps by helping someone finish a job or working hard, so the teacher can continue with new material.
Extend this thoughtfulness to strangers, even if all you do is smile and say hello, or let them on to the highway in front of you.
Think about how your action impacted them, i.e., they smiled and had a pleasant moment; they were able to get to their destination on time.
As you're consciously generous to others, it will get easier and easier. Soon the time will come when you're automatically generous. The natural progression is that others will be more generous to you. After all, it's true that "what goes around, comes around."
Remember that generosity is not just a decision, its a lifestyle.

* Generosity can also be forgiving a person's shortcomings or mistakes.
* Don't push yourself on being generous; just try to summon it as instinct tells you to.

Try to avoid being generous on cash, as it can cause some issues between you and others. If someone you know really well asks for it, consider the following: Are they going to pay it back? What will the money be used for? If you like the answers, then go on, but remember, don't give out your entire bank account, and try to find something in the deal for you - a return on your investment if you like.

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