Saturday, September 13, 2008

Packing: A Comprehensive Guide (Or at least what I did.)

(Contents: 3 rubbermaid totes, 3 rolling suitcases, 3 rolling carry ons, one backpack/laptop bag, one diaper bag/purse. Not pictured: Abigail's back pack.)

Here is my packing list. This list was developed over several months and utilized several sources. I will continue to update this list with some feedback post-trip (ie- things I found useful, things I could have passed on, etc.) But for now, you can get an idea of what we packed.

Armed with my list, I attacked the job of packing. Here are some thoughts:

  • Once all of our clothing was laid out, I separated it into 3 piles. Each pile contained a few outfits for each traveler, as well as socks and underwear for each traveler. These piles were carefully folded and loaded into space bags. One space bag went into each suitcase. The thought is that if one or two suitcases don't make it, at least there will be clothing in each of the suitcases for each person! I also put snacks into each bag, but most of our snacks are in one of our rolling carry on bags.
  • If I had to do it all over again, I would pack in rolling duffel bags. 2 of my 3 suitcases were initially over the 50 lb. limit, but with some re-arranging, they are all below 50 lbs. I think using the rolling duffels might have saved several lbs.
  • I might also consider packing in all rubbermaid totes. They weigh next to nothing and hold so much! Plus, totes are cheaper than duffel bags!
  • I would use all "medium" sized space bags. They are easier to pack around, and offer more freedom and flexibility in determining how you want to pack into each bag.
  • I borrowed John's shipping scale to weigh my bags. It was easy and non-stressful to rearrange a few items so that my bags were under weight. If I had to do this at the ticket counter, I would probably have cried. Use a scale at home. It helps.
  • I packed all of the "essential" medications into my rolling carry on. I am taking lots of meds (most nurses are "a walking pharmacy") but if a bag is lost, I know that I have the most essential stuff with me (ie- diarrhea scripts, a bit of Tylenol and decongestant if we get sick, etc.) I also packed Airborne packets that you mix with water in my carry on. We will drink those at the airport before we get on the plane.
  • I spread out the shopping for this trip over many months. I didn't have to make a mad dash to the store and drop $300 in one trip because I slowly added items to my pile over the course of many weeks.
  • Nothing is in the original package: tissues were removed from the box and packed in ziplocks, as were wipes. Pill bottles were removed from the box before packing. Poptarts and granola bars were removed from their box. DVDs for Abigail's portable DVD player were put into a small CD holder. You get the idea. It definitely saved lots of room!

Lily in Anna's carseat: Can I go too?


Jen said...

Wow. While my friends would think that I am organized. You make me look, scattered. I will absolutely be asking you for advice when it our turn. Have a safe, healthy, and amazing journey. We will be praying for you!

Nnenne said...

Forget the advice. Next time I travel, I'm flying you out to pack for me!

Blessings to you and can't wait for your return.

God with you and your family on your travels.

Brad and Fran Hoagland said...

Wow! This is all very very helpful and I appreciate every bit of this info. We are waiting for our referral (3 months 1/2 months now) and was secretly having anxiety about when we have to start the packing what all I would do and bring. And the space bags are an excellent idea. Do you suppose you will be able to use them on the way home, needing a vacume cleaner to suck the air out? Let me know. I feel like that is a dumb question.