In the past 15 years, I don’t think I’ve ever been sober while I packed for a trip. I HATE to pack. In fact, pre-child I would never have taken a job where travel was required, because I hated to pack THAT MUCH. Given the option to pack or have someone poke me in the eye with a sharpened toothpick; it would be a toss up.
After having a kid, this hatred has only heightened. I’m now packing for 2 ½ people (my husband only packs his clothes and toiletries and thinks sunscreen, Q-tips, first aid, etc… come with the bag). I used to have a page-long checklist. Now, I can reach up to three pages, depending on the length of our stay.
The laundry is endless. We all have a vacation-only wardrobe that comes out of hiding, once a year. Too short shorts that can only be worn in sweltering, humid, hot spots. Sarongs, bikinis and cover-ups that only see the light of day when we hit the sand or hotel swimming pool. They gather dust and then need to be rewashed, right before we board a plane or pack up the car again. Our water bill escalates and I get a free workout from folding for hours.
The trips to Target are endless. Is there a support group for buying too many unnecessary toiletries for vacations? I always end up with enough sunscreen for the entire hotel. I buy and bring medications and first aid items that we would never use in a year at home. They expire, so they get thrown out. I buy more for the next trip and the cycle renews. I should keep a log of the expiration dates and donate them to the needy, somehow.
I bring Imodium on every trip, but have only used it once (my husband doesn’t complain about me bringing that anymore). I bring enough Tylenol or Advil for the length of the stay, but only break into it on the plane ride home. I bring make-up that I only wear on two days of the trip. I think I’m going to primp, but I’m too relaxed or too tired, depending on the destination to put it on.
Thank goodness Babyface is out of diapers or I would pack an entire bag of nighttime and daytime pull-ups, just in case. I bring travel Clorox wipes to wipe down the plane seats or just in case the bathtub looks like it was transported from a college fraternity. I bring travel laundry detergent, just in case we need to wash our clothes. I have NEVER used this. We are too lazy. We just end up wearing the stained clothes. It’s a waste of space, but I still do it because I’m a pack rat. I unpack it and immediately wonder, “What if…”
I’m a Travel Hoarder. I watch the people on Hoarders and think they should be committed, but I’m just a few steps behind. Our home looks fine, but our luggage is always borderline overweight. Last trip, we hit 52 pounds with both bags. We had to lay the bags out and open them right in the middle of the airport. We had to put any extra weight into plastic sacs and take them as carry-on. My husband was very excited about this, as his knees were up to his chest; the storage space in front of his seat was completely stacked.
Then there is the packing of our little princess’s princess, carry-on bag. This requires the most precision, as it’s the difference between a smooth flight and one full of turbulent tantrums. Target reaps the benefits, once again, as I need to buy new coloring books, crayons and anything that will keep her calm and carry on for 5 hours or more. I need to stock up on iPad apps and load it up with movies to keep her from getting bored and kicking the chair in front of her or, even worse, getting booted from the plane as so many parents have recently been subjected to. I need enough snacks for an emergency, where the plane may be sitting on the tarmac for two or even twelve hours.
My husband always says, “We’re not going to a third world country. We can always buy whatever we forget there.” But, I know better. We’re going to Disney World next week. Toothpaste will be ten dollars. Mickey Mouse shorts and a t-shirt will rob us of a $45, quick service meal. So, really, my pack rat mentality will save us a lot of money.
When we’re there, I almost always forget something like Band-Aids. And, of course, my husband says, “You forgot the Band-Aids?” Like it was only my responsibility to make sure we had everything. I say, “Live with it or pack yourself. I’ll sip on my Skinny Girl cocktails and watch you forget all of our essentials.”