How a Wonderful Secret Agent Packs

Mr. Wonderful and I took two trips together before we learned how to pack. Packing together is a bit like moving in together… it is not as easy as it sounds and usually involves several fights over what is needed.

Streets of Rome

In that backpack is 4 days worth of clothes!

Mr. Wonderful and I have the same type of backpack. Mine is bright blue so he can spot me in a crowd. I am really short so if I cannot see him a bright colored bag will not help me. It is also blue, because Mr. Wonderful refuses to hold a pink bag while I run off to the restroom, run after something sparkly or pretty or find something to eat.

This bag is JanSport’s Wasabi Backpack. It is surprisingly more roomy than it looks. You also have the side pockets for holding water bottles or umbrella’s though I found neither to be a good option for me. I just kept loosing them when I knocked into things. I was able to pack all medicines, travel toiletries and 4 days worth of clothes into that bag. As well as my hexagon quilt that I am still working on, my net book, a bag full of chargers for various things, 2 magazines, and a map. Mr. Wonderful has the same bag in black with 5 days of clothes. The rest of our clothes and non-carry-on friendly pieces (e.g. razors) are held in one rolling suitcase that Mr. Wonderful is in charge of. This particular trip was our Honeymoon to Italy last April.

Packing is easiest when you know what to expect.

I had never been to Italy, focused on the weather patterns of Italy or thought about what people might wear in Italy. Mr. Wonderful wears pretty much the same outfit when he is in vacation mode so he is easy to plan for: khakis and Eddie Bauer T-shirts. I wear jeans almost every day. Some days I might wear a dress with some leggings, but it is usually just jeans and a plain colored shirt… which is great for layering. I do own a few shirts with words or pictures, but I use them mainly for around the house, undershirts or sleep shirts. For me there needed to be a variety of shirt options and an extra pair of jeans. Always pack extras of underclothes and socks… I do not care who you are… just do it. Plan ahead if you can and at least know what the weather is like.

Packing is easiest when you keep things neat.

Rick Steve’s Packing Cube Set makes keeping things organized a little easier. I also employ several small zippered pouches that I have made to keep smaller things organized.

Write down the list of things you know you will need to carry:

  • Underclothes (2 pairs extra per person)
  • Socks (2 pairs extra per person)
  • Shirts – avoid tank tops unless you are going somewhere tropical where they are worn frequently by those other than tourists
  • Sweater/jacket/windbreaker – I travel with a jacket that looks nice, a windbreaker and sometimes a sweater
  • Pants – avoid shorts unless you are going somewhere tropical where they are worn frequently by those other than tourists
  • Dress up outfit – for me it is usually a dress and leggings or a pair of khaki pants and a nicer looking shirt
  • Shoes – make them comfortable only… otherwise do not waste space on them
  • Toiletries (keep them travel sized) – shampoo/conditioner, shower cap, shaving tools, soap, tooth brush, tooth paste

Things I always carry:

  • Emergency medical supplies: tweezers, bandages, antibiotic ointment, Imodium, Pep-to, allergy tablets, charcoal tablets, pain relievers, gum, sudafed, hydro-cortisone cream, inhaler, etc.
  • Basic makeup kit: folding brush, extra hair ties, moisturizer, cover-up and powder… if we are going somewhere fancy I might take eye-liner
  • Craft project of some sort: For me the easiest travel project has been my hexagon quilt. I will work up a basic kit for this and let you know what you need to carry with you if you would like to try it out. It is addicting and it uses up scraps. If you want to crochet you should have no problems if you carry a wood or plastic hook, some TSA agents have had issues with my metal hooks and some have had issues with knitting needles.
  • Snack food: I get super cranky when I am hungry. I try to keep some sort of munchies on me in case that happens, but only carry enough for one day in my carry on and one day in the suitcase for the ride home.
  • My phone and its charger
  • My net-book or tablet and its charger
  • My camera and its charger (Mr. Wonderful’s camera uses the same charger so we share)
  • A magazine… though I need to stop this… I never actually read them
  • Several pens: to write stuff

Things I think about carrying:

  • Umbrella (If going somewhere super rainy)
  • Formal Gown and shoes (Cruise or somewhere else with a formal function)
  • Gifts (If going to see someone)
  • Passports (If going out of the country)
  • Slippers (If it is cold where we’re going)
  • Belt (If I remember I need to keep my pants up)
  • Flip flops and bathing suit (If we are going somewhere with a pool/beach)

Give what you think you need a try…

I always gather everything and put it into the suitcase and backpacks and then take a step back. What don’t I need?

Pack only the essentials and then consider what is left over. Remember to leave room to bring things back.


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