One bag to China

3 Feb

one bag to chinaSo I’m a notoriously bad packer. I’m actually a notorious over-packer. When my friend Brad and I went to London (my only other time traveling internationally) we returned with no fewer than eight bags. Seriously. Eight bags for two people. Of course, that wouldn’t ever happen today. We’d spend more than our tickets cost in baggage fees.

Since then, I’ve become a bit better at packing. I’ve learned to roll my clothes tightly to maximize space. I’ve learned not to take silly things that I probably won’t wear. And last year, I went to New York for four days with just one small rolling bag, and just a couple of pairs of shoes. This, my friends, is shocking.

I ordered myself a medium-sized LL Bean Adventure Duffle in black. I have a plan to pack everything I need for ten days in China in just this one bag that I can carry on the plane, stuff in the overhead compartment and not have to worry about if my clothes make it halfway around the world.

My husband doesn’t really think I’m going to be able to do it. But I’m pretty determined.

Any international travelers out there have some packing tips they’d like to share? I might need your help.

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5 Responses to “One bag to China”

  1. Gini February 3, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    Eric and I backpack out of the country as often as we can, and we’ve gotten our backpacks (one apiece) down to a science– at least for our preferences!

    We really like to use Space Bags, those plastic bags with a nozzle entrance for you vacuum out all the air (or sit on the bag to expel the air, once you’re away from home) and suction the bag really small. They are awesome and I highly recommend them; just make sure you practice with them once or twice so you’ll know how much space in your bag they take up.

    This may go without saying, but try not to bring any distinctively one-outfit items. Pack separates that coordinate interchangeably so if you spill on one piece, whatever else you’re wearing will still look good with something else. I also try to limit myself to two pairs of shoes: one for walking, one for cuteness. Or TWO that walk well and bring the cute! Even better.

    Get a flat fanny pack that sits flush against your skin underneath clothes for passports and extra money. We split our daily allotted money between us and keep them in our pockets. If you don’t want to keep money in there you can just make withdrawals every day, but be aware of where they might not be ATMs and plan ahead. Carrying your passport is a controversial subject amongst travelers, but my thing is, where else am I going to put it? Unless there’s a lockbox at my accommodations, I generally carry it on my person instead of in my bag. I also make two copies of our passports, one for each backpack, so I don’t have to pull it out of my fanny pack for anyone but government officials. For all other purposes, the copies should work.

    And finally, I love Stridex pads because they don’t spill face cleanser all over my clothes and bleach them. Not that that’s ever happened before. :)

    Feel free to email me if you want, I love to talk travel and relish the planning phase– packing included!

  2. Gini February 3, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

    Also, since you’ll be gone for ten days, consider bringing clothes enough for only five or six– you can always go to a laundromat and experience another, seemingly mundane aspect of daily life.

  3. Jennipher February 3, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    You can do it! I’ve done lengthy vacations in both Europe and Hawaii with just a carry-on. In my mind, the trick is start with the shoes – wear one pair, and then pack no more than 2. Then everything you pack MUST go with one of the pairs of shoes. For me, that usually means I wear ballet flats and pack running shoes and heels for evening. It is such a load off my mind to know exactly where my bag is at all times that it is worth it to compromise on what I can bring.

  4. shardsofchina February 4, 2012 at 1:58 am #

    For China? My tip would be simple – don’t take anything except cosmetics, and cleaning products (for you – not the room :-) ) – then working on the basis that women’s clothing is cheap as chips here – buy a couple of day’s stuff here – recycle it through the laundry in the hotel, and then throw it away when you’re done – no packing required.

  5. Mike Liljedahl February 7, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    Good luck with your endeavor Sarah…..I think that Gini had some good advice….I have seen a catalog before that had a lot of travel clothes for men and women… I think that it was called Travel Smith. I am looking forward to you and or Matthew blogging about your trip. My wife Barb traveled to China with her basketball team in the early 70’s and found it fascinating…

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