The Skilful Art of Packing

I am very strict with my packing and have everything in its right place.  I never change a rule.  I hardly use anything in the hotel room.  I wheel my own wardrobe in and that’s it. Charlie Watts

Well done, Charlie!  Wish I could be like that.  Despite travelling back to the UK, and to other countries, several times during the course of a normal year, I never pack my case the same way twice, and I never seem to get it right!

Some trips I come back home having taken out of the case just about a third of what I took: I didn’t after all need the hair dryer, the straighteners, the factor 50 sunscreen, the extra special hair conditioner, the three pashminas, the cocktail dress, the new strappy sandals, the cargo shorts, or – surprise surprise!! – the four different kinds of phone charger / plug adaptor, my Swiss Army penknife (assuming it was in my case and NOT my hand luggage and therefore made it to our destination), or even my GPS …

Some holidays I am immediately off on a search for a long, short sleeved and baggy tee-shirt, because absolutely no one is wearing a slinky see-through and very short cover-up on the beach …   Or factor 50, because this year I packed factor 30 thinking that would do for everyone, but boy, is the sun strong, and the kids are fair skinned …  Or a good pair of walking sandals, because suddenly Himself wants to walk everywhere to find his morning espresso and high-heeled strappy sandals just don’t do hills with cobblestones …

So, here are some questions for you – to which I would appreciate answers!

1.    Should suitcases be shared – or does everyone get their own?
2.    Is it good to start the packing process early?  Should you lay everything out on a spare bed – assuming you have one – about a week in advance of the final, final closure of the zip and padlock?
3.    Or should it all be done in one fell swoop: an hour of constant buzz and flurry ‘twixt wardrobe and dressing table and suitcase?
4.    Do you roll or fold?
5.    Do you take your favourite piece of jewellery, even when you don’t know if where you are staying has a personal safe?  Do you take any jewellery?
6.    Do you take your laptop, and all the paraphernalia that that entails?
7.    Ditto mobile phones?  Do you all take them?  Or just the man-of-the-house?
8.    Do you pack more than one book …  in case the one you’ve just started turns out to be great and gets finished within two days?
9.    Do you take your iPod, plug yourself in, and remain aloof and distant and therefore miss out on the conversations going on around you, plus (thank goodness) the constant blare of the kids’ music?
10.    Just how many toys, books and gadgets do you allow each of your kids to bring?  Do they make the choices?  Or do you, knowing as you do just which ones are more likely to survive the two weeks of Ko Samui’s beaches, pools, restaurants and taxis rides?

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