A week from today, I will be in the air. Next Tuesday will see me getting up long before dawn, arriving at the airport at 4 in the morning, and departing for Los Angeles at 7. This will only be the beginning of a cumulative 22-hour travel day, including a transpacific flight that will take me over the international date line, meaning I will enter Japan on Wednesday afternoon and won’t end up at my hotel in Kyoto until night. I’ve never undertaken travel of this magnitude before, and I admit my overwhelming excitement is tempered by apprehension in the face of my first true long-haul flight…. but just a little!
Today, I’m throwing myself into packing. I’ve already been packing and sorting for a few weeks, but that’s because my parents are planning to move and it might happen before I get home from Japan. While it’s a bit stressful and bizarre to pack for travel while boxing up the contents of my room—after all, I’m essentially moving out!—it’s also been a blessing in disguise. For one, I’ve been filtering out just about everything in my room that’s not going to Japan, meaning my job isn’t quite so daunting as it would be in a room that still contained all my belongings. I’m still sorting and deciding what makes the cut, but the “applicant pool,” so to speak, is pretty small. I’m also not actually living in my room anymore, since much of my furniture is gone or empty, meaning I sleep in the guest room and use my former room as the “disaster zone” while I sort, pack, and rearrange.
Looking around, I can practically hear Mary Poppins’ voice chiding, “It is rather like a bear pit, isn’t it?”
I’m no expert, but I’ve packed my fair share of suitcases and I can personally attest to the utility of gallon and sandwich bags. Small items that will scatter? Bag ’em. Specific outfits you want to keep together? Fold or roll them nice and compact, and bag ’em. Toiletries that can leak? Unscrew the lid, place a piece of plastic wrap over the opening, screw the lid back on, and bag ’em. Don’t want your shoes to get all over your clothes? You get the picture. I love these bags. Sure, you could use fancy packing cubes; they’re apparently life changing. But for a fraction of the cost, you could also grab a box of these bad boys from the grocery store and compartmentalize until your suitcase and your brain are similarly in order.
That’s not my only packing hack, by the way… are y’all interested in hearing more? Do you have some of your own that might surprise me? Let me know!