I feel like most of what I do for my job is packing. You know those Russian nesting dolls, the Matryoskas? the pretty painted dolls that fit neatly into one another? Well, after years of travelling back and forth across the Pacific that is essentially what the inside of my suitcase looks like, one bag fitting into another bag with little trinkets tucked away inside of other bags.
TSA opens my suitcase and sees a perfect Tetris puzzle of squares and rectangles and L-shaped Ziplocs fit together with no dead space gone to waste. Fluffy room socks wrapped around voice recorders and a bag of XLR cables between layers of long-sleeve business shirts and fitted tank tops.
There's a lot I could say about packing, in particular for those transporting delicate equipment but I've narrowed my suggestions down to five go tos that effectively guide (or least keep from derailing) my packing process.
In no particular order here they are.
1. The On the Go-Emergency Grab Bag of all trades
Does anyone else always linger over the travel size section of goods at the drug store? Or save the free samples from the make-up counter? I love a mini/travel size anything and my mini grab bag for toiletries is a collector's hobby born out of necessity. It is constantly changing as items come and go but it is the perfect stranded at the airport/lost my luggage/suddenly called on assignment go-to that will get you through two days (or two weeks!) still smelling and looking fresh (sorta).
In particular I cannot leave home without my Japanese oil paper that lets me touch up my make-up without starting from scratch or the mini-deodorant that can double as a air freshener if you get stuck in a smelly situation.
And just an FYI : I DO pack a proper toiletry kit for trips over two nights, three days. I just can't live without moisturiser and lots of it.
2. Color Coordinate Your Wardrobe
I know that there are loads and loads and loads of articles that point out how great it is for your routine to wear the same thing every day. Here are a few of those articles here and here and here too.
I have tried it but I have realised that I enjoy (most of the time) the process of packing outfits for a trip or special occasions too much.
However, with limited suitcase space for a wardrobe and camera equipment a packing hack is a must. My compromise/fashion challenge is fitting all the pieces (including accessories) to a four color palette. I usually choose one or two primary colors (red, green, blue), black or white and an accent color like gold or silver or pink. Sounds a bit weird to apply color theory to packing but generally speaking this keeps me from clashing and turning into a fashion disaster.
3. Read, Watch, Listen
4. Planning by Pinterest
I LOVE PINTEREST!
If Pinterest were a place it would be that coffee shop with the witty barista and super comfy chair near the bookshelf with all the fancy travel magazines.
I began pinteresting before every trip about two months ago and I have found that it not only begins to familiarize me to the area but gets me excited looking at all the beautiful images. I am also an avid Tweeter and love the lists function to help me organize my sources. Before flying to Austin I began following @Austin360 , @EaterAustin and @VisitAustinTX
Researching the area also helps to sort out what sort of clothes and/or extras (swimsuit, beach towel, snowboard) would be a good idea to pack.
5. The Container Store in Your Suitcase
I know that I mentioned it earlier but I cannot overemphasise how important it is to self-contain everything within your suitcase.
By that I mean invest in some great packing cubes and shoe bags for easy unpacking and packing, especially if you're LIVING out of your suitcase and not unpacking at every stop along your travels. Using packing blocks also has the added bonus of making those TSA inspections a faster re-packing processing after they've torn apart your suitcase to investigate some baby powder or SDI cable. Or if you have gone over the weight limit for a check-in you can easily remove a section quickly without spreading your suitcase contents around the crowded space of an airport departures lobby.
Any travel tips for packing? If anyone is a video journalist or has an occupation that requires devoting the majority of their suitcase to their equipment I'd love to hear your travel hacks.