Packing Is Such Sweet Sorrow.

“There are only two kinds of travelers:

those traveling light and those who wish they were.”

—Rick Steves

 That’s one of my favorite quotes and I think of it often when I’m traveling and I see people struggling with their luggage. Two months from now, I’ll be on my way to Washington, DC, for the annual Spring meeting of the Rail Passengers Association. Of course I’m taking Amtrak both ways across the country and, at the conclusion of those meetings, I’ll be off for two weeks in France. In all, I’ll be gone a month. Here’s what my actual transportation segments look like:

• four planes
• five Amtrak trains
• ten French trains, including connections
• at least eight taxi rides
• and twice in a rental car
In other words, there will be at least 30 times when I’ll have to carry or roll or in some manner schlepp whatever luggage I have. The last thing I want is to be dragging some heavy suitcases through all that.
It’s not so much how to pack as it is what to pack. For instance, I know I’m only going to need “business attire” for the three days I’ll be in Washington, so why should I tote a business suit, a rain coat, three dress shirts, a couple of ties, and a pair of dress shoes for 26 days after I leave Washington? Of course I wouldn’t … so I will FedEx all of that to the hotel in Washington and at the end of the three-days of meetings, I’ll put everything back in the box and have FedEx bring it back home.
The key to packing for those other 26 days? Lots of shirts. Polo shirts, at least eight or ten. You can wear jeans many days in a row. And, if necessary, underwear and socks can be worn for a couple of days, then washed by hand. For shoes, I have a pair of comfortable desert boots and pack a pair of nice looking loafers that don’t take up much space.
And finally: When traveling abroad, what’s the one thing you must never forget to pack?
Answer: Your prescription medications.