My packing philosophy is: Keep it light. You may have to lift it.
However, I have slowly evolved. Flashback to Paris when I was twenty-six-years old. When a taxi met us at Orly Airport, our luggage would not fit in the trunk without tying it shut. The driver was not amused! Our gold metal Halliburton luggage was heavy without contents. I had packed a different outfit for each day. My GQ partner was not far behind. What were we thinking? One leg of our journey we took a train to Portmeirion, Wales, only to discover a 1.5 mile walk into the village while dragging pre-spinner luggage!
I have not given up airplane travel since my Parkinson’s diagnosis. From 2014 through 2017, I went on sixteen trips. It is possible to lightly pack a two-week trip to England in a 25” suitcase and happily lift it, if necessary! So how do I?
Select the right clothing
First, I go shopping in my closet to consider the 4-C’s
- Color—black and blue, my travel favorite, hides spots
- Content of Fabric—lightweight, rolls up small, does not wrinkle
- Coordination—a few pieces create multiple looks
- Comfort—appropriate for weather changes and activities
The final wardrobe selections are made several days before a trip. My rule is the item has to be worn at least twice, unless a special occasion.
eBag cubes save space and simplify packing
Two days before departure, I roll the clothing and place in three packing cubes in suitcase. I save suitcase space by wearing a jacket with the added bonus of being comfortable in airports and planes. Walking shoes are worn and provide stable sturdy support for my travel day. The departure outfit is repeated on the return trip.
Limit accessories and toiletries
As for accessories, I simplify. The only jewelry I take is what I wear which includes a classic gold bracelet, two rings, watch, brooch, and pearl earrings. One infinity scarf adds punch. One pair of flat shoes and one pair of strappy sandals are allowed. Toiletries and basic make-up and skin care are packed in travel size containers. Yes, I can survive on one tube of lipstick, blush, sun screen moisturizer, mascara, and night skin cream. A rain slicker or denim jacket and umbrella are packed in an outside pocket.
Select the right tote bag and pack it lightly
Prior to PD, I traveled with a tote bag and a handbag. Now it’s one too many things to maneuver. A medium sized lightweight nylon cross body Baggallini tote bag, with a zipper closure and inside/outside pockets works best. I can easily access tip money, credit card, identification, and travel documents in outside pockets.
The inside contents of the tote include essentials: medicine, Parkinson’s ID card, collapsible cup, pen, pencil, spiral 5×7 notebook, paperback book, lip stick, lip balm, comb, tissues, insurance card, phone, charger, camera, and snacks. I keep a master list of items for future trips. My hobo bag is packed in suitcase.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is quoted as “he who would travel happily must travel light.” It sure works for me.
Keep it light! Keep it simple! Keep on traveling!
Question: What are your packing tips for air travel? I’d love to hear from you.