Things About Planning Ahead

Everyone knows how put together I am: the 37.95-year-old picture of poise, perfection, and polish. I am the epitome of organization. I have mastered the art of efficiency and getting All Of the Things Done.

Case in point:

I did a really really good job packing my bag for an 8 day trip to Washington DC to visit my brothers and sister-in-law. I thought every angle through: weather, comfort, travel, occasional propriety... and I nailed it. I packed the quintessential combination of things that I need and nothing I don't. I even called my mom to brag about my packing skillz. They were THAT legit.

Some important packing tips that I have gleaned in my vast globe trotting experience:

1. Always pack vitals like prescriptions and toothbrushes in your purse or carryon, you know, just in case. Unless you're so organized that you know you can rely on your real bag to be with you at all times.
2. Don't pack anything you really won't wear, no matter how "practical" or "cute" it is. Be realistic - the heels are nice, but seriously? And don't forget the Fire Tactical Underwear Rule of four (FTUR4): front/back/inside/out.
3. Utilize the relatives that you are visiting whenever possible. For instance, don't pack unnecessary items like shampoo, toothpaste, razors, deodorant or sweatpants when you know you can just use theirs.
4. If you've been secretly looking for an excuse to buy something new, conveniently "forget" to pack the old version. This plan doesn't work well on the months that all of your paychecks seem to be taking an awfully long time to get into your empty bank account.
5. Always wear or keep socks on the plane. A) feet get cold B) ew, germs.
6. Never pack a book for long flights, because you might miss an amazing opportunity for networking and conversation with the stranger that you are sharing intimate space with. Like that one time I traveled with the unshowered Berkeley professor/closet distiller to Amsterdam and learned how to make vodka when I was 16.
7. It's ok if your bag is overfull. You will never be bringing extra stuff back with you. Ever.
8. Create an exciting iPod playlist by going to your iTunes library and putting ALL SONGS on shuffle. For me the result was an eclectic delight of Simon & Garfunkel,  Super Adventure Club, Lionel Richie and Steve Green.
9. Make sure your earbuds are as ill-fitting as possible to avoid the temptation to use them constantly to eliminate the joyful sounds of children in the back rows. This is just antisocial and says you're a terrible human being.
10. Bring the heaviest water bottle you can find. This is useful for dropping and rolling maneuvers that MIGHT result in your seat-mate/new BFF asking to be relocated. You can only take someone's face accidentally in your lap so many times before it just gets weird.
11. Remember anything (or everything) you forget can always be mailed to you by whichever sister/friend has not become completely burned out on crisis intervention in your life.
12. Always wear your favorite clothes/shoes (BRA!) while traveling in case you somehow become seperated from your luggage. Hey, it could happen. Don't be stuck with the chafe.

So these are just some of the most important tips I have found in my uber successful travel planning.

I decided to perform an unexpected experiment in ultra-light travel when I left for DC this morning. Ever efficient, I had budgeted my time wisely for maximum sleeping-in time in order to make the airport with just enough time to check in, which is great when you decide to go with out the bag that you carefully packed using the steps aforementioned. I am sure it's getting much more use sitting on my bedroom floor anyway. Due to my excellent timing, going back for the cumbersome (and clearly unnecessary) bag was out of the question, so without questioning my sister's burn-out status, I had her mail the important things, like, oh, you know, prescriptions and bras, and will figure the rest out when I arrive in D.C.

Because who doesn't love an ADVENTURE!!

Authors Note: FYI I do not share deodorant or razors with ANYONE. Toothbrushes are negotiable.

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