Of all the inane things to be wasting my time googling in preparation for our upcoming holiday to the UK, I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of travel and fashion bloggers’ packing tips. Somebody. Kill me.
I’m a practical person, and I’ll willingly admit I sometimes verge on the edge of OCD with habits like needing the volume on the TV to be on an even number and grouping my washing into categories when I hang it out on the line. I’ll also admit I’ve already written multiple packing lists for my trip – clothes, toiletries, other items. It passes the time during boring meetings at work and I’ve always found that planning for a holiday is at least 30 per cent of the fun.
I’d like to say I’m a ‘sensible packer’. My travel partner and I will give each other smug looks at the baggage carousel as we casually convert our carry-on bags into backpacks and walk past people balancing suitcases that could carry three children on trolleys they’ll have to give back as soon as they get to the exit. We also trot nimbly up and down stairs in train stations and roll our eyes impatiently as people struggle to haul their bags on and off of public transport.
That’s not to say I’ve never got it wrong. I once spent a week in Tokyo at the beginning of spring with only a light cotton coat. It snowed. I froze. Knowing I had a very nice warm winter coat at home I was too stingy to buy another one. I sucked it up and bought a beanie as consolation. Here’s a free tip, beanies do not a winter coat make.
Perhaps with this experience in mind and too much time on my hands until departure, I’ve become obsessed with unlocking the secret of what will make one month’s worth of winter-weight clothing fit into a carry on. After reading something like 30 posts making this very claim, I have to admit, I’m none the wiser. In fact, both gratifyingly and disappointingly, I’ve discovered I already pack less than even the most savvy packers.
So, what’s the secret I hear you ask? Well, the only way I can sum it up is this: pack like a 70s feminist.* No make-up bag that even after being brutally culled still takes up the same space as a small dog. No hair products or tools. No high heels. That’s it. You may feel a twinge of disappointment at how flat your hair is every time you look back at your photos, but you will travel light.
* By way of explanation: As an Arts undergrad studying women’s writing I read Germaine Greer’s ‘The Whole Woman’. Her calculation of the amount of time/money/headspace women spend on beauty products compared with men, not to mention her explanation that high heels are a patriarchal ploy to keep women unstable and vulnerable (much like gazelles waiting to be taken by a lion) ruined these things for me, therefore I rarely use them. I understand that 70s feminists also frequently burned their bras. For the record, I don’t consider this a valid tip for travelling light. The analogy has its limitations.