I’m just about to start my packing list for CILIP conference next week in Manchester. I thought I’d use one of my catch up blogs to outline my tips on effective packing. I was partly prompted by a packing advice article in Wednesday’s Guardian.
My hints are all based on the last 10 years of travel, during which I have attended a lot of conferences & meetings all around the world. I picked up some useful tips on what to do & what not to do. Plus I used my librarians’s organisational & categorising skills to become a demon packer.
1. Buy a decent suitcase, one with wheels & capacity to expand. Useful for gifts & conference swag. I’m a big fan of Eminent and have had one of their pull along soft cases for nearly 10 years and it’s been around the world a few times and is still in fine form.
2. Make a list – if you’re going to a conference plan what you’ll wear each day & keep that list. It’ll be a godsend to not have to think about what to wear each day. You’ll thank your forward thinking self.
3. Always take an umbrella.
4. Try to keep your footwear to three pairs – you’ll be wearing one pair & packing two. Footwear is heavy & you should be able to cope with two pairs of shoes. They’ll be odd occasions when three are necessary. I had a snow, sun and normal weather three week trip to USA in January 2017 and survived with three pairs of footwear.
5. Layers are important, if you’re going to a conference in a hot climate you will need a cardigan as the air conditioning will make the venue cold.
6. I’m a great believer in packing bags (or packing cubes if you prefer) & organise clothing by bags eg underwear in one bag, dresses and t-shirts in another. It makes it easier to find things.
7. Roll your clothes, don’t fold them. This means you can pack things more easily & often results in fewer creases.
8. Liquids & security – I invested in a Vera Bradley 3-1-1 bag (US term for the 100ml plastic bags) in 2013 & wouldn’t be without it now. It is very sturdy, for short trips means I don’t have to take any other wash bag. Only once during my travels around the world, at Gatwick airport, have I had security staff ask me to decant my liquids into a different plastic bag.
9. Take some empty ziplock bags – you never know when you might need one!
10. When you get home & unpack check through what worked & what didn’t outfit wise. This is the equivalent of a lessons learned review. Make a note of what you took, but didn’t use. I count it as a successful pack if there are only 2 or fewer items I’ve not worn!