I am a habitual over packer. I’m usually always that girl who has two of everything, “just incase” I may need it. I’m the coworker who has an extra pen and two bottles of water. Also am sometimes a habitual over-sharer- I just want everyone to always have all the details! I’m an information hoarder, channelling my early Brownie Girl Scout days mantra of “always be prepared”. It doesn’t help that I’m slightly type-A and like to always have a plan, even when flying by the seat of my pants on random vacations. My fellow travel companions usually have varying reactions to my ability to lug around more than I need airport to airport, train station to tube stop… But I learned something this week when for the first time in my life, I under packed. I told myself to “pack light, it’s just a weekend trip” and for once I actually listened. Well, life has a funny way of teaching you lessons. And I so wish I wouldn’t have tried to stifle my inner pack rat this weekend. Turns out it’s February and this winter doesn’t like to play nice with the travel industry (google “Boston snow” if you live under a rock). But it was almost 80 degrees and sunny this Saturday in Houston, Texas (love you, Beyoncé). We had a gorgeous, heated pool to lounge in at the Omni Hotel. But I didn’t bring a flipping swimsuit. Because I’m also addicted to Vitamin D and it feels like it’s been 6 months since I’ve felt the sun on my face, I didn’t want to waste anytime fighting Galleria traffic to find a bikini (the hotel gift shop was sold out and it was Valentine’s Day, apparently the mall is a big Houston date spot), so I wore the only semi-appropriate item I had for poolside sitting: a lightweight cocktail dress. I was able to stick my feet in, but it killed me not being able to enjoy the beautiful water. Right now I’m currently sitting at Houston Hobby Airport en route to Memphis by way of Tampa, Florida, crossing my fingers that this third flight change is the charm. (See: winter 2k15 not playing well with others.) I’ve already had to add an extra nights stay to my trip, but had drinks on the beach in Galveston, so I’m not complaining. Memphis is in the middle of an ice storm, which in Memphis-speak means the apocalypse is upon us and the airport isn’t open. The probability of my already delayed flight to Tampa actually continuing onto Memphis is slim. So I will soon be in Florida. Without a swimsuit. This is where overpacking comes in handy. I only packed for two nights in Houston, where a majority of my suitcase was dedicated to the white tie wedding festivities we attended Friday and Saturday. Turns out those clothes don’t translate well to travel essentials. So, if you’ve managed to stay with me through this long, over detailed explanation of why I will never feel bad about overpacking again, here is a handy list of the things to always put in your suitcase. Because you just never know, and I’m the type of girl that likes to be ready for any adventure. Yolo.
1. A swimsuit. I think I’ve covered this one. No matter your destination spot, you don’t want to miss out on a great pool party, hot tub gathering, or bikini night ski. It’s for those good times where your birthday suit just isn’t quite acceptable.
2. A hat. Benefits you in the sun, cold, or when you wake up in a much more humid climate than your hair is used to. Makes getting ready before early morning flights much easier.
3. Flats AND heels. Preferably those pairs you have that can go with anything. You weren’t planning on going to the Black Swan night club at midnight after just getting off your delayed flight, but that’s where you’re headed and you’re really glad you brought heels. Trust me. Because Russians are tall.
4. Backup medicine. Even if you don’t take something every day, extra Advil, NyQuil, vitamins, and Imodium can save you. Especially in the winter when a 48 hour trip can turn into 72. Thank you, strangely named winter storms and Mexican restaurants.
5. Perfume. This is one thing I tend to forget because I don’t have very many FTA travel approved sized bottles. But when you’re camping out in the airport, running through terminals for last minute gate changes, are in and out of public transportation and traveling to various climates, it’s hard to stay powder fresh. Along these same lines: dry shampoo. Lifesavers.
Update: I made it home after a day of traveling to a city buried under inches of hard ice. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to take a Florida day. Next time.