Numbers intimidate me. That’s why I write. Ask me what “pernicious” means (I imagine you’ll find it in the dictionary next to a calculus problem), and I can tell you. But when I hear that my suitcase can’t exceed 23 kilograms (about 50 pounds, according to Google), my eyes glaze over, and I immediately find myself shoving more items into my bag, completely disregarding how much a week’s worth of bras and shampoo weighs.
I’m a chronic overpacker. On my last trip — a nine-day, half-land, half-cruise jaunt around Amsterdam — I was proud of myself for packing “light,” which by my definition means I only schlepped eight pairs of shoes (flip-flops don’t count, right?) instead of the two pairs per day I normally convince myself I’ll wear.
So just how bad is my overpacking problem? If the above doesn’t give you enough of an idea, I’ve got a few more things to confess.
Confession: Scarred by my own forgetfulness during bygone travels, I pack twice as many pairs of underwear as I think I’ll need. You just never know.
Confession: I find it necessary to bring at least one piece of jewelry to match every outfit. I know I’m adding an extra 10 pounds to my suitcase by packing stuff I’ll forget about later, but it’s worth the peace of mind I get from knowing I have something to complement the 37 articles of clothing I’ll also forget about later.
Confession: I take a carry-on suitcase that’s only for shoes. It doesn’t matter that it may or may not fit in the overhead bin or that if my checked bag is lost I’ll have nothing but footwear; I NEED all seven pairs of heels, thankyouverymuch.
Confession: Although I closely follow the three-ounce rule for liquids and gels, my quart-size bag is often a gallon-size. As a result, I predetermine which items can be discarded should I be stopped and have perfected the art of batting my eyes at male TSA agents. (Female agents are generally more sympathetic and understand why I simply must travel with three different types of moisturizer.)
Confession: In a fit of indecision, I usually decide to pack every single hair-styling appliance I own (hair dryer, flat iron, curling iron, double-barrel curling iron, etc.). To make up for it, I then feel obligated to use each and every one at some point on my trip, even if I don’t want to. I find great satisfaction in setting people straight when they tell me “you can’t possibly use all of that!” Oh, yes. Yes, I can.
Confession: I pack for the worst … and the best (whichever, it seems, will allow me to incur the most obscene fees for overweight luggage). If the glass is half empty, I tote sunscreen AND aloe to the Caribbean, assuming I’ll be extra crispy by the end of the first day. If the glass is half full, you can bet I’ll be taking a swimsuit to Alaska in December. Whether I’m trying to be ready for seasickness or nuclear winter, I’m like a significantly more feminine boy scout — always prepared.
What packing sins are you guilty of? Confess here.
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