Of all the challenges that a traveler must face, packing might be the most burdensome. Pack light—and you’ll regret having no heavy coat. Pack heavy—and you’ll schlep countless things you won’t need. In an attempt to avoid last-minute meltdowns, here’s the short list of beasts I’m wrestling with today…
11 Packing Quandaries
Food. This one’s all about the kids. If they ain’t well-fed, they ain’t happy—and then nobody’s happy. Cram in about 555 granola bars and dried fruit bags. Visit overpriced snack stands often.
Musical playthings. Beaches, bonfires, BreakAways: There’s no better time and place to play the guitar. And the mini Martin makes sweet sound and straps on your back. Still, are we crazy? And what about harmonicas, djembes, and pianos.
Sport. The young man needs to keep his arm in shape for more baseball when we get home. 2 gloves and 2 balls? But he also plans to play basketball in Copenhagen—and she needs a soccer ball and I need a frisbee. Duluth pack, anyone?
Luggage limitations. Even the airlines can’t agree—no surprise there. So we face different rules and regs, while still have unrepaired damage from the last time the airline orangatuns got hold of our baggage.
Ponchos. The last one wore out. Yep, it just started leaking like cotton amid the nonstop storm that hit during last summer’s U2 concert. Can’t find a worthy replacement yet. And a poncho gets used for warmth, picnics, and more.
Weather variations. Sunny Italy and then northern Denmark (by the sea) in June? Yes. Possibly 95 and scorching and then 45 with wet nor’easters? Yes. Bring layers, I guess. Prepare to shop. Sweat. And shiver.
Tech wreck. Just about every dang one of us needs a computer, phone, iPod, and (in a few cases) game device. Each comes with its own baggage, chargers, and risks. Welcome to the electronic age.
Shoes. Ever since the heel shatter + surgery, my left foot must live on an orthotic insert—and in New Balance tennies. But what about those stylish Italians all around? That ravishing ristorante? The night at the opera, and the day at the beach?
Cameras. The SLR with the uber-large lens is a must. So might be the little Lumix with the widescreen video recorder. The 4GS takes okay shots, but not always. Each of these requires chargers, batteries, cards. And that’s just my gear!
Backpack(s). The small daypack for sightseeing has holes and rust. The larger carry-on option remains elusive. You could go nuts trying to find the perfect solution.
Pillows. Just kidding, but sheesh—those 9-hour plane rides and unpredictable hotel beds make a guy miss his pillow already.
Oh well, you CAN go home again. And home looks pretty good right about now.
There’s no time to enjoy it, though—too much packing to do!