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There’s a Secret to Packing Smart for Your Travels

Packing for a trip of more than a weekend seems to be a big problem for a lot of people. Suitcases are crammed full of  “might needs” and I see people struggling with oversized, over-stuffed bags whenever I have reason to go to the airport here on Maui.
Why in the world would a couple need all that stuff for a 10-day stay in a tropical climate where shorts and a polo shirt meet the dress code almost everywhere?
I don’t know if I can claim to be an expert on packing, but I’ve traveled enough to have my own needs figured out, including a couple of refinements specific to train travel.
The secret is shirts for us guys, tops for the ladies. You can pack a bare minimum of pants, socks and even underwear, but not tops. They need to be clean and presentable every day. Wrinkle-resistant polo shirts are what I choose. They’re comfortable and work reasonably well under a sport coat if you absolutely must have one.
Now a couple of tips – both probably obvious. First, I make sure there’s a non-travel day more or less halfway through your itinerary when you can get a little laundry done. Second, because I always opt for a roomette on Amtrak trains, I pack a comfortable pair of gym shorts and a T-shirt to sleep in. Then, for that inevitable trip down the corridor to the lavatory in the wee hours, I just roll out of my berth, slip on a pair of rubber slippers (you call them flip-flops or go-aheads) and off I go.
Bottom line: Remember what travel guru Rick Steves says: “There are only two kinds of travelers—those who are traveling light and those who wish they were.”

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