"What should I pack? What will fit in my bag? How much will I need?” Delight at her imminent vacation forgotten, the strain of this holiday horror dragged the lines of her face into a weary pucker.
After months of anticipation, my parents and I treated ourselves to 6 days of early summer retreat at a thermal village. We secured the same accommodation we enjoyed on a previous year, so I knew what to expect in the way of facilities, activities, and weather.
Since that holiday, I’ve invested time and energy in wardrobe improvements. This, and knowing what to expect, allowed me to streamline my packing experience.
For the road trip, I wore a dress I termed my ‘travelling outfit’, an aqua polyester check that was comfortable, temperature-adaptable, and made me feel pretty for the public part of my journey.
ESSENTIAL DRESSES TO PACK
In my pack, I stowed two sturdy sleeveless dresses (one blue denim, one melon cotton sateen) and enough button-up shirts for a fresh one each day (aqua, blue, rose, and peachy printed voile). The shirts could be worn under or over the dresses. These dresses allowed me to pack the lightest I ever have for a week’s holiday. They’ve been well tested and I knew they would serve.
In fact, they served even better than anticipated. I wore the denim dress four days and one of the shirts for two (cooler) days, leaving the other sleeveless dress fresh and available for the homeward journey.
The result was I didn’t have to launder my ‘travelling dress’ ready for the return trip! It would have been a simple task given the easy-care fabric*, but this was the first holiday of this length which didn’t require me to do laundry (other than draping out swimwear and towels to dry) and I liked it.
*Washing would have been done by hand in the kitchen sink, squeezed dry, placed on a coathanger, and hung on a porch line I set up or from the shower curtain rail in the bathroom.
OTHER CLOTHING ESSENTIALS
Other wardrobe pieces included:
two zipped fleece jackets (one thick aqua, one thinner melon red) which could be worn layered on cool, wet days and cold nights;
a light cotton cardigan;
a waterproof skirt (Boutique Narelle design) and jacket (Kathmandu);
closed-toe walking shoes, sturdy sandals for the hot days, warm slippers, jandals (thongs/flip-flips) and swimsuit (custom-made from Simply Modest Swimwear), and a satin kimono for transitions from bathhouse to changing room.
And finally, my little extravagance, a collection of hats, for sun protection and turning any of my garment combinations into an outfit worthy of a stylish lady on a visit to town. I took three and wore two, the bone baker boy cap for travelling, the wide-brimmed aqua cotton for outdoor adventures and playtime with the children and excursions to town.
That week’s weather, and I being familiar with the environs, meant the felt Akubra, whose stiff shape requires it to travel independent of my pack, wasn’t needed on this occasion. I like a stiff hat on windy days (which are very common in New Zealand), because wide-brimmed cotton hats, even starched ones, engage in perpetual argument with the air currents, to the detriment of the wearer’s vision and composure.
On the two days when rain bucketed down without ceasing, I went walking clad in sandals (quicker to dry than shoes) and hooded rain gear, minus spectacles. I may have seen less detail of my surroundings, but it meant I didn’t need a hat visor to keep my external eyes dry. Nevertheless, I’m glad I had the Akubra available in case of need.
I took photos of what I packed for the last trip to this spot, and comparing them with this trip, I see that I made progress in shrugging off the holiday horrors that accompany the challenge of what to put in that suitcase.
So how can you streamline your packing experience? Try these two things that make a difference for me:
- Find out what to expect.
- Invest time and energy preparing for it.
What tricks have you learned that make packing and travelling easier for you? Share with us in the comments box below.
|Sisters Sarah, Narelle, and Katrina enjoy a rare day together.|
|Narelle's favourite holiday activity: spending time with her nephews and nieces.|
|The Elizabeth Club play a matching game with "children around the world" cards.|