Packing tip: bring some older clothes

One of the tricks that I use when packing for a trip is I always plan on bringing some beat up clothes.

These are the items that are destined for the rag pile (or trash): older socks, boxers, t-shirts are prime but so are shirts I’m no longer crazy about or that might have a little stain.

It’s kind of funny to me to think of folks who go out and purchase new items for an upcoming trip.  I essentially am doing the exact opposite.

The reason for bringing these older items along is that they only make a 1-way trip.

As the trip proceeds, I simply throw these clothes out once they’ve been worn.  My bag gets lighter (or more accurately, gets more space for items I might purchase along the way) and I know I’m putting to good use items which otherwise would have just hit the trash a little earlier.

I do bring with me some stained items that I would no longer feel comfortable wearing to work, etc., but it’s a fine line to draw not to bring anything that would be obviously gross or flawed.

And of course I bring along enough clean, newer items to cover all of the necessary outings.

But I also find that part of the enjoyment of a trip can be picking up clothing along the way – to cover for when you might not have exactly what you need.  It not only creates an event that’s not just sightseeing, it allows you to interact a little more like a local and it gives you something to remember the trip by.

And of course, I’ve got plenty of room in my bag to store those items for the trip home.

packing for the trip

Whenever I get ready to embark on the next trip, deciding what to bring always floats around the back of my mind during the weeks leading up to the departure.

Yes, that’s right – weeks.

I’ve got this iterative process that I go through where I think about what I’m going to be doing, what I’ll need and then what I can leave behind to make my bag lighter.  That process repeats and repeats at first in my head, and then in piles of stuff on the floor, until it eventually comes time to pack and leave.

There are a few items that I’ll always bring on any trip – belt, hat, toothbrush, etc., and there are others that are pretty trip-specific – hiking boots, down jacket, tent, zoom lens, etc.,  These are the easy things.  Over the years I’ve taken enough trips to know what I want to bring and what I want to leave behind.  The difficulty is always in the middle – the big pile of junk that I thought I might like to have along, just in case… And usually, this is the stuff that I’ve just learned to leave at home.

So in reality, I usually have a good idea of what 90% of what I’ll bring with me is.  And all I have to figure out is the other 10%.  But I’ll still go through the exercise of thinking through all of the options, weighing their value (and valuing their weight).

For this upcoming trip, as with many, where I’ll spend a good amount of time is thinking through which photo equipment I’ll bring with me.  Will I haul the tripod?  Which lenses?  A second camera body?  And in reality, the computer goes in the ‘photo equipment’ category, since the primary reason I’d bring a laptop would be to backup and review photos.

Ultimately, all of this, the whole thought process, the exercise of thinking about what to pack, building and tearing down piles – it’s a form of getting excited for the upcoming adventure and extending the enjoyment of the trip to well before I’ll depart (and processing the photos and posting them after the fact is a way to extend the enjoyment after returning).

The anatomy of a trip planning

It starts: It’s time to go someplace.

What’s driving the decision: The time of year? The location? The amount of time? The cost?

In this case, the timing is known: late October, about 2 weeks.

Where to go that time of year? What is the weather like around the globe? Raining in the South East, Hot along the West coast, Dry to the South, Cold in the far South..

What do we want to do?  Should this be adventurous? relaxing?

And so the research begins.  The flight searches: can we use miles? are there cheap flights anywhere?

A trip to Get Lost. Browsing options: itineraries, hotels, cities, countries, regions

This is the fun part.

But it’s also frustrating.  Too many choices, not enough known.

But then things coalesce.

And the fun continues