Mt Pleasant News
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 7, 2016

Need help packing for that trip? Call the expert packer

By Trisha Phelps

By TRISHA PHELPS

Mt. Pleasant News

I am an expert packer. Or at least I think I am.

Over the years, mostly through things going wrong, I have gotten the art of packing a suitcase down to a science.

I have gone to summer camp, slumber parties, Girls’ State, Washington D.C. trip with my high school class, toured Europe with the college choir and visited friends and relatives in far away places. You name it, if it is some sort of traveling adventure, I have probably packed for it.

One of the most educational packing experiences occurred at summer camp. The one thing every child (I think) fears happened, my toothpaste exploded all over the inside of my suitcase. It was a mess. Ever since that experience, my toothpaste, toothbrush, floss and any other oral hygiene item goes in a securely sealable plastic baggie in my suitcase.

Of course I didn’t learn my lesson too well the first time, as I remember my shampoo bottle breaking and getting all over everything the very next summer.

Now, anything that has the potential to leak, spill, ooze or get anything wet goes in its own sealable, waterproof plastic baggie before it goes in my suitcase. Also, depending on the length of the trip, I have also been known to have a “dry bag” for clothes and other dry materials, and a “wet bag” for items with leaking and oozing potential. And yes, they still are packed in baggies, even in the wet bag. I might be a little overly cautious about that.

I have also learned to edit my packing list for content.

In the mornings at camp it would be nearly freezing, while the afternoons were nice and warm. Instead of packing an individual sweatshirt for each morning, I learned that packing one neutral colored zip-up hoodie would suffice quite well. Everywhere I go, my trusty gray hoodie finds its way into my suitcase now.

My choir director in college taught us that a fleece pull-over and a water-proof jacket can be incredibly useful in packing for unexpected weather. They can keep you pretty warm, and yet not take up much space in a suitcase.

Equally important to clothing to stay warm in case of cold weather is making sure that if temps suddenly rise you are prepared, clothing wise, for that, too. Luckily for me I am rarely ever too warm. I usually pack a t-shirt just in case.

I even wear shoes that I can just slip on when I am going to fly somewhere to cut down on time during that awkward security check-point when they make people remove footwear.

With all of these helpful tips in my head, packing a suitcase for an upcoming trip should be a breeze, right? Wrong. I am about to take a trip to a place I have never been, and I have absolutely no idea what I am actually going to pack.