Archive for December 24th, 2008

Going on holiday?

This is about one of the more traumatic parts of going away on a long holiday. What to take and what to leave behind as you are only allowed so much if you are flying. With the information on this blog you will be able to pack in minutes!

Pam and I have decided mutually, not to fly again. Under the excuse of catching terrorists the authorities are making it as uncomfortable as possible to fly. I mean, everyone knows they don’t bring their guns through Customs – they get a mate in catering to smuggle them aboard and hide them in the toilets! We now take the Eurostar to Paris, Lille or Brussels – and for longer trips, we go on cruises from Dover or Southampton.

Anyway, to get back to our packing problem. I timed us the last time we spent three weeks in the Cape and it took us eleven minutes to pack both cases. How long would it take you?

Well, OK, we do cheat a little. I have drawn up a packing list each.

____ Casual shoes ____ __/__
____ Casual socks ____ __/__
____ t-shirts ____ __/__

and so on

The first part is for what we will be wearing, the second part is the actual item, the third part is the quantity we actually pack, and the fourth is for an outbound tick and an inbound tick when the item goes in the case when we return (to make sure we return with everything). Our list takes up a whole A4 page in two columns and we have everything listed which we may want to take on every conceivable holiday.

There is a second page for things we have to do before the holiday with the date (visas etc) then a section for the day before (charging batteries, camera cards, checking travel docs and money) and a section for things to be in our pockets, (handbag in the case of Pam), etc on the day of departure.

When we travel we always ask what facilities there are for washing clothes and ironing them. We stay in a flat in Stellenbosch when we go to South Africa so only take a week’s underwear and t-shirts etc. as the flat has a washing machine, tumble dryer and an ironing board. This can make a big difference on the extras you can get into your suitcase.

OK, you are now fully packed and your suitcase is full. Oh dear! You haven’t left room to bring back presents from that far off land have you? We buy our Christmas presents abroad so we can give something different.

And did you remember to use a huge colour marker to put some sort of mark on both sides of your case? So you can immediately recognise it when it arrives on the airport carousel? This makes it very easy when many cases look identical.

Remember, it will take you a little time to think of everything and to make the lists, but it can be used again and again. We first compiled our list over twenty years ago. It has been tweaked over the years but very little.



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