#blogjune: post 22: Effective packing

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) IMG_0547in 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!





Up, Up and away ….

SLA2014_Btn_AttendeeTwo weeks today & SLA’s annual conference will be starting in Vancouver. As well as last minute things like finalising my schedule I’m beginning to make my plans for the trip to Vancouver.

As I’ve shared my thoughts on preparing for conference before  I thought I’d share my traveller’s tips. As a good researcher I checked what others had to say on the subject. Here’s a great piece from the BBC America site with valuable advice on travelling to the US . I also consulted the flight attendants on my recent flight back from the US. When asked for their top three tips for surviving long flights they replied:

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate;
  • Avoid alcohol, particularly if taking sleeping tablets or other drugs;
  • Set clock to new time zone and move into that time zone. It’s a mind game.

Here are my top tips for making flying as hassle free as possible:

source: http://bit.ly/1gtWhpG
source: http://bit.ly/1gtWhpG

* Put all your liquids in your carry-on luggage in a ziplock bag before you leave home so you won’t waste time at security.

* Keep your foreign currency easily accessible, and remember to take something to put your home country currency in (again ziplock bag or an envelope works well).

* Wear shoes that are easy to take off and put back on, to ease your passage through security;

* Take some snacks, dried fruit, cereal bars etc for the flight, just in case you get hungry.

* Have your headphones in your carry-on luggage as some airlines charge for these, while others provide them for free;

make sure to set your watch to the new time zone
source: http://bit.ly/1m9APEp

* In your carry-on luggage have a pen easily accessible, along with your passport and address of your hotel – you’ll need these to complete immigration form. Do it on the plane, don’t wait until you get to the arrivals hall;

* Set watch/phone/clock to destination time the moment you get on the plane.

* Move to new time zone and don’t keep saying it’s x (where x is the time zone you’ve come from) time for my body clock.

source: http://bit.ly/1k7aiEX
source: http://bit.ly/1k7aiEX


Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate while flying, and try to avoid alcohol. Remember to take an empty water bottle in your hand luggage, and fill it up in the departure lounge.



Happy flying & remember the secret to successful flying is to stay hydrated, avoid alcohol & mentally move into the time zone of your destination.