Long Flight Comfort
January 2, 2010

Tomorrow I leave for Manila. It takes 26 hours of travel time just to get there. So I leave Sunday morning and land (because of the time difference) on Monday night. Wow! That is a long, long time in the air.  I will be honest, I have never been on a plane or in transit this long.  Luckily I got upgraded to Business Class during the longest flight, from DFW to Tokyo, which is fourteen hours. However that still leaves me with a five hour flight from Tokyo to Manila in coach, so I want to be as comfortable as possible.

Because of this long flight, I am trying several new things to facilitate my comfort. Here is a quick rundown of what and why, and I will come back (hopefully throughout the week, assuming my internet connection is solid) and give updates on how everything worked.

Kindle—I am very excited about this! Instead of packing 10 books for the combined 52 hours of flying, I am just bringing the Kindle. So much easier!

Eye mask and earplugs—hopefully this will help me sleep

Seat organizer—I am iffy about this, but if it makes things easier I am willing to try it. Basically it hangs on the back of the seatback tray in front of you and has room for glasses, a water bottle, books, a newspaper, etc.

Seat cushion—I know it’s probably silly, but five hours sitting sounds so long! I want to be as comfy as possible.

Travel blanket—I know in coach travel blankets are scarce (and sometimes scary). This one folds us into its own fairly small case.

Compression socks—trying to keep my feet from swelling! My mom swears by these. We shall see.

Slippers—so I don’t have to wear shoes all the time but can still get up and move if I need to

Toiletries—I’m also taking a little bag with chapstick, moisturizer, facial mist, and lotion so I don’t get dried up

For the actual trip in Manila, I am bringing a couple of new things.

Clothespins—Because I will be working at night and sleeping during the day, a friend recommended I bring these to keep the curtains closed

Emergen-C—because I will surely be somewhat sleep deprived. Got to keep the energy up!

Tune in throughout the week so I can (hopefully) update you on how everything worked out!!

Quick Packing Tip
December 20, 2009

Last week I met a nice woman on the flight home from Nashville. It was her first business trip, and she was telling me about her day.  It had not gone as smoothly as one might hope, and she ended it with, “And I only got five hours of sleep  because the flight last night was delayed, and this morning I had to get up and iron my pants!”

This may be a no brainer for a lot of us, but, friends, when you are traveling, please do not pack anything that needs to be ironed. I am not a big fan of clothes that need to be ironed anyway, but especially during traveling.  By the time you get to your hotel, you just want to check your email and go to bed! You don’t want to stay up (or get up early) to iron. There are so many professional, cute, non-wrinkly clothes that you can take! There are even button downs now that you don’t have to iron.

My go-to outfit for travel during the winter is a pair of no-wrinkle black slacks, like these from TravelSmith, a sweater like this one from Banana Republic, a jacket, scarf, and cute (professional yet comfy) flats like these. When you get to your hotel, pull your clothes out of your suitcase and hang them up, and in the morning you will be good to go. Without ironing.

What to pack for a fun trip
November 15, 2009

Why is packing for a personal trip so hard? For a business trip I can literally pack in twenty minutes, from outfits to toiletries to boarding pass. For most casual trips I agonize for days over what to pack, making list after list, crossing items out, figuring what I still need to buy…For the Alaska cruise I took with my family in the summer of 2008 my packing list was three columns, and took up three pages! Literally. Now, that was not all clothes of course. I had to figure out what I was taking, then I had to figure out all the different outfits these clothes would make. Then I had to decide on accessories and shoes. And of course there was a page devoted to what I was going to take on the plane (seven hour flight!). Now I may be admitting to a little bit of OCD here. In fact, my mother might say this is the only area of my life where I am OCD at all.  I am very laid back about most things, but packing for a personal trip is not one of them.

I have a few theories about this.  First of all, there are many more situations on a personal trip than on a business trip. For work, I know that I will either be on an airplane, in meetings or trainings, at dinner, or in the hotel the entire time I am gone.  I can basically wear the same thing to all of those places. Once I am in the hotel I change into my yoga pants and I am set. The one crazy thing that *might* happen is that I will go down to the pool, so sometimes I bring a swimsuit.  For a personal trip though, there could be all kinds of activities. In Vegas, I could go to restaurants, go gambling, go to the pool, go shopping, walk around the Strip, go to a show….the possibilities were endless. In Alaska this was compounded by not completely knowing what kind of weather we would have. Plus, what exactly should one wear while whale watching?  (Layers, in case you were wondering.) In Maui, we had the addition of a formal dinner.

I have started getting better at packing lighter, but I still have to make all of those lists. A few weeks ago Home Warrior and I went to Napa for wine tasting, which I followed up with a short trip to Salt Lake City for work. It was definitely tricky combining clothes for a fun trip and a work trip, and still be able to carry on my suitcase. One of my big weaknesses is shoes. I want to bring a different pair for shoes for every outfit. In fact, on my initial Napa list were seven pairs of shoes.  For a six day trip. Sigh.

Although I am evolving it all the time, this is basically what I pack for a fun trip. Obviously add or subtract as needed, and vary as necessary for weather, but start with this list and you will be in good shape.

  • One pair of pants/shorts for every two days (for my 6 day Napa trip I took three pairs of pants), including one pair of jeans
  • A shirt for every day (ideally each shirt will match more than one pair of pants)
  • One or two nice tops/outfits
  • Two pairs of shoes, one pair of flip flops, one pair of tennis shoes**
  • Jacket appropriate for weather
  • Clothes for exercising
  • Clothes for sleeping
  • Swimsuit and cover-up
  • Make-up and toiletries
  • Undergarments

**All of the packing lists I have read say take three pairs of shoes, including the pair on your feet. I think this is a good rule of thumb. I also don’t think flip flops should be included in the shoe count. They are small, don’t take up a lot of room, and are good to have around the hotel regardless of whether you wear them out.

What to pack for a business trip
July 21, 2009

There are many schools of thought about how to pack for a business trip. Some people like to have options. I think options are great! Except for that whole carrying everything you take thing.

My first business trip (four days) I took four separate outfits, a couple of “option” shirts, a large toiletry kit, four pairs of shoes…….and I could not lift my suitcase. By the time I got to San Jose I was so ready to go to my hotel and get some food. But instead I waited for my bag at baggage claim. And waited. And waited. Literally twenty minutes after the first bag came onto the carousel (and fifty minutes after I got off the plane) my bag came. I then had to drag it to the rental car bus. And those of you who have been to San Jose know that the rental cars are not close or convenient to the terminals. (This was also the first time I rented a car, but that is a whole other story.) I finally got to my hotel an hour and a half after my flight landed. To add insult to injury: I wore less than half of the clothes I brought.

Three years later, I have learned my lesson!! Don’t pack “outfits”. If you really feel like you need options, pack tops that go with all of your bottoms. That way, for example, you have a possible eight outfits with two bottoms and four tops.

My current packing list for a four day trip:
1 pair of black pants (wear on plane)
1 pair of Capri pants or a skirt
1 pair of jeans or casual pants
4 cute tops (that match with all bottoms)
Yoga pants and tank top for sleeping
Enough undergarments for every day plus one extra
Carry-on toiletries
Makeup
Curling iron
Comfy travel shoes (wear on plane)
Comfy nice shoes for work
Pashmina
Book
Knitting
Laptop

All easily carried in one small carry-on suitcase and one large purse. Lesson learned!!

Oh Pashmina, How I Love Thee
June 29, 2009

I think the pashmina may be the most useful, versatile item you can pack when traveling.  It has so many uses! Blanket on cold planes, scarf to jazz up an outfit, sarong for over a swimsuit….I could go on.  They are available in a range of prices, materials, and colors.  If you forget yours, you can probably buy one for $10 at your airport.  So convenient!  I found the one below at www.thepashminastore.com and I feel cozier just looking at it.  Probably has something to do with security blankets during childhood.pashmina