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Packpourri: Travel with Babies | Toiletries | Put It All Together | Security


Putting It All Together

. . . ..._T_ _R_ _A_ _V_ _E_ _L_... . . .

Even by paring down your things to a pack-light minimum, the key to traveling light is to be organized with your stuff. And now that you've had a chance to gather all of your things for your travels, this section tells you how to put it all together in your pack.

Have you ever needed to get into your pack and had difficulty finding things because your bag was stuffed full, your hand shuffling around blindly feeling for some document or bottle of sunblock? Have you ever opened your travelpack and had small things fall out all over the place? The secret is to compartmentalize all of your goodies by category, puttings things into sacks, bags, envelopes and packs. This will allow you to easily get to the item you are looking for. When you open up your pack the most that will happen is that some smaller sacks will tumble out, ready for you to grasp. Use the following mnemonic to help you remember how.

T is for TOILETRIES. Put your toiletries in a bag, preferably one that is waterproof. If you do not want to spend money on a toiletry bag, a ziploc bag will do. You might wish to use two bags (one in another) to prevent spills. If you are a woman who wears cosmetics, you can include your make-up in your toiletry bag. You might want to consider a small transparent cosmetics case, or something like Eagle Creek's see-through waterproof Pack-It bag.


R is for READING MATERIALS, and includes things like your travel books, maps, postcards and paperback books. You should keep all of these together in a flat envelope that you can slide in against the side of your bag. Do not include any important documents in this envelope. If you know you will be accumulating a lot of reading materials you wish to keep, take some extra envelopes with you and mail the materials home as you travel. For your main envelope in your bag however, I recommend using a flat-rate envelope from the US Postal Service for three reasons: When you're all done, you can mail it home if you're in the US; the envelope is stiff so you are less likely to have to face wrinkling or bending; the opening is on the top and makes it easier for you to access various documents, than with the side opening of a manila envelope. If you use one of these stiff envelopes, tuck the flap in to discourage tearing, and write your name and business address on the front. If on the slim chance you lose this envelope, a good samaritan may actually mail the envelope back to you. If you do not plan on mailing the envelope back at all, feel free to use a used stiff envelope from the US postal service or from FedEx, etc. Never had time to do the Sunday crosswords? Clip them out and slide them into your READING MATERIALS envelope for that long flight. Don't forget the answer puzzle, though!


A is for your "AID" PACK, which includes your first aid, Band-Aid, aspirin and other supplies. Unless you are hiking the Everest, or are an EMT on a working vacation, take only a small bit of first aid supplies. A few band-aids, blister pads or moleskins, a pair of tweezers. Travel stores often carry prepacked kits, but you can put a small one together and put the items in a ziploc bag. You can put it with your toiletries should your toiletry bag have enough room.


V is for VITAL DOCUMENTS. This should include your passport, a photocopy of your passport identification page, a set of two passport photos, your unused plane tickets, your itinerary. You should not stash money in this because that should be kept next to your skin in a secret money holder. You can use a regular envelope for this, or a slightly larger booklet-sized envelope that can hold some bulk. Many passport photos come in pop-up holders. No need to carry your photos in them -- instead, place them in the glassine envelopes given out at your post office (keep the two photos apart with an extra sheet of glassine).


E is for ELECTRICALS/ELECTRONICS/ETC. Should you decide to take anything electricity-related (hair dryer, voltage adapter), stash these in a sack so your wires and cables aren't twisting and snaking around inside your bag. A twist tie helps keeps cables together as well. If you don't have a bag for this, stick it in a clean sock. "ETC" could be anything particular to your needs, such as spare batteries, film, travel games and other knick knacks.


L is for LAUNDRY, and it includes both your clean and soiled clothes. As discussed in the Clothing Tips section of the FAQ, you could use a number of various packs to store your clothes. Most people will want to separate their clean clothes from their soiled ones; if you do, use a small zippered laundry bag.


For some of these above packs (like your toiletry and first aid packs), you might consider having them already prepacked and stashed away for the time you need to travel. Something I do and that has worked very well is to have my travelpack filled and practically ready to go. The only items I need to add are a few articles of clothing, reading materials, and vital documents. For this reason I can pick up and go on a trip at almost a moment's notice.

...and now, you can too!


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