If you know me, or read this blog, you likely have come to understand that I believe myself to have some mad packing skills. Honestly, I’m probably in the 95th percentile when it comes to packing! (Everybody has something!) I mean, not to blow my own horn or anything, but if you consider factors such as wear of items (not overpacking; creating multiple outfits by combining the least amount of pieces) plus appropriateness (packing the right things for the occasion, climate, etc), I would challenge you to find someone with better packing abilities. I’m usually a humble person but really, I am that good!
I actually play a game with myself to see just how little I can pack. It’s like a challenging puzzle that I know I can outsmart. It’s usually best to begin with shoes, because they take up the most real estate in a suitcase. For example, on a recent girls’ 5-day tourist and beach trip I packed 4 pairs of shoes: running (we’re an active crew), stylish sneakers (tourist activities), casual flat sandals (can be worn around town or to the beach), and heeled sandals (night-out appropriate). I then think of the foundation pieces such as jeans and outerwear. Which piece(s) can I get the most mileage out of? For example, one pair of jeans should be plenty for a 4-5 day summer trip, as you rotate tops and likely don’t wear pants everyday. As a general rule of thumb, I pack only pieces that can be worn at least twice, in multiple ways. For example, a striped off-the-shoulder top can be worn with wide leg cropped pants and a linen skirt. Said wide-leg cropped pants can also be paired with silk floral top and strappy sandals for a dressed up look. Silk floral top can also be worn with linen skirt and flat sandals for a more casual outfit. See? It can go on and on.
Given my packing prowess, imagine my surprise when the weather gods outsmarted me on my recent trip to the U.K. I have been humbled and I’m here to share my experience with you. Of course, when you are a packing wizard like myself, you begin checking the weather channel several days in advance of your trip. Keeping an eye on London weather, I began to assume that the low-mid 70’s, partly cloudy days at the end of July would be similar to Seattle’s temperate summer weather. As such, I began my usual packing plans: first shoes (a pair of sneakers, a pair of comfortable sandals, and a heeled sandal for dressing-up), outerwear (denim jacket…check!), two pairs of pants (one black and one white pair of culottes), and then several mix and match tops with a skirt and dress thrown in for good measure. And, it goes without saying, everything could be worn multiple ways for maximum efficiency. Seriously, I packed less than my husband. I could have fit it in a carry-on but brought a larger bag for all of the goodies I was sure to be bringing home with me!
Well, weather being what it is in London, our partly cloudy skies quickly disintegrated into very grey, windy, and sporadic rain showers. Need-less-to-say, I wore previously stated denim jacket and black jeans nearly every day! I even bought a sweater to add a layer of warmth! And that scarf I threw in to make sure I was cozy on the plane? Well, I’m ready to burn it! Lessons learned:
- Pack an extra light-weight jacket (even the hubs tired of my tried-and-true denim topper!)
- If required, stop in at a local grocer and purchase detergent to launder in a bathroom sink
- If the weather looks spotty, plan accordingly for the “worst case scenario.” (Perhaps an extra pair of jeans or another pair of closed-toe shoes would have been a good idea given London’s reputation for grey skies).
- Be humble. Just when you think you are at the top of your game, you’re likely to be taken down a few notches!
Have you experienced a packing fail? Have a packing tip to share? As always, all comments and questions welcome. Thanks for reading! ~Jenn