Sunday, January 3, 2010

Confessions of an Overpacker (Caitlin's experience packing)

So people keep asking me lots of questions regarding packing. Are you packed yet? What are you going to bring? How do you pack for almost 3 months? Well constant bombardment with these questions has only helped to fuel my procrastination.

To answer the first question. Yes, as of 8pm this evening I am packed- at least until I find a reason to rummage through the backpack and pull random things out. Many people were surprised I waited this long to pack, but really does anyone enjoy packing?? Don't we all wait till the last minute??

Now for the second question- what to bring? This is a hard one! For those of you who have had the pleasure of traveling with me you know I over pack. For a simple weekend trip I've been known to bring 5 different outfits with 7 pairs of shoes. I'm a girl who likes options. I like being able to to change 5 times before I leave the house. This however is not conducive to the life of a backpacker. When you have to carry everything you bring on your back, you begin to hesitate a bit more before packing that third pair of black sandals.

Deciding what to pack for a trip is always difficult. How do I know what I'm going to want to wear ahead of time? How do I pack when I'm not sure what I will be doing? Well coming from a girl who wore capris and ballet flats when climbing a glacier and flip flops and a jean skirt when hiking, I have learned a thing or 2 about essential travel items. For this trip I have given up on trying to be fashionable and am instead trying to be practical. Yes, my coach sandals would look terrific at a full moon party on the beach in Thailand, but they aren't going to help me much when elephant trekking in Laos. This trip is about bare essentials.

Finally, how do you pack for almost 3 months? You bring quick drying clothes that you are prepared to ruin. I am not going to be awarded best dressed traveler, but I will be comfortable. For a 10 week jaunt I am bringing one pair of sneakers, 2 pairs of flip-flops, 3 pairs of yoga capris, 1 pair of pants. 1 pair of shorts and about 10 tops. Yes that along with a rain jacket and a few bathing suits, is going to last me 70 days.

With the bare essentials in my pack, it weighs in at just about 38 pounds. Those 38 lbs will be with me as trek all over town looking for a hostel, they will be hoisted up over my head on trains and planes and will pretty much be my best friend on this trip..besides Kate of course! Thinking about that makes it a lot easier to leave that cute jean skirt behind!

Now I don't want you to think we are COMPLETELY roughing it- we will have our straightening iron, eyelash curlers and tooth whitening kit! I mean a girl has to draw the line somewhere!!

(bear with me on the pictures...Im still trying to get the hang of this new camera)


  1. Thank god you had room to pack your eye lash curler!

  2. Haha there are some things a girl needs in life!!

  3. Kate aren't you proud I made it in.
    Have a great time... Love you AP