Wednesday, 24 August 2011

How to pack?

Good evening*.

*Or which ever time of the day it is when you're reading this. For me it's an evening, although that's not what the clock says.

I'm contemplating packing. This is a very essential part of my strategy for packing. It's unintentional, and I definitely don't recommend packing around midnight, but this is how it happens to me every time, and I've learned to accept it. I'm just unable to pack too early (20 minutes before I actually need to rush out of the door is the point when I usually start feeling like it might be the time to actually do it), so I decided to take this time and use it to write to you about packing and how to do it wisely.

My friend Tiia packing.

1. Before you go anywhere you need to think about where you're going. Well duh, that's quite an obvious thing really. But then you should apply this and think what you actually need with you, and leave all the unnecessary things that you normally would use at home. For instance, if you're going to stay with grown-up guests or in a hotel there's no point filling half of your backpack with a towel because you will be provided one when you get there. And you definitely don't need things like your hair-straightener if you're going camping and won't even have electricity.

I'm starting my journey to Finland tomorrow (in my opinion and experience, it's not proper travelling if you arrive to your final destination too soon). I'm going to visit my friends and family for approximately a weekend. Therefore this blog post will only tell you how to pack for short visits. I will write about packing for longer visits and proper touristy trips later.

Tampere, Finland.

2. Once you know where you're going (it of course gets trickier if you don't know where you're going but I will discuss that problem in my next packing post as well) you need to think about what you're going to do there. I would recommend writing these things down so you can see the whole picture. But if you don't feel like using it, you just have to trust your brain to keep all of it in order. And if you forget something, you can only blame your brain.

The special things that I'm going to be doing are:

a) Seeing my cat.
b) Getting my hair cut.
c) Going to my brother's army vow.
d) Going to my friend's leaving party.
e) Visiting a friend who moved to a new flat in Helsinki.

Remus the Cat.

3. Once you have these things down it's easy to think them through and gather things that you need in these occasions.

For the happening (a) I need myself because my cat likes me. 

For the happening (b) I need my hair messy and too long. 

For the happening (c) I probably need something slightly sensible, although I have no idea what is going to happen there. According to my mum it will involve a lot of standing on a cold and windy motordrome looking at things happen. She told me that I should wear lots of clothes because she heard that last January some mothers nearly froze to death because they weren't wearing enough clothes. Well, it was -20 in January and according to the weather forecast it will be 40 degrees warmer this time, so I wouldn't really worry about freezing and can leave my fur coat at home. And after standing on the motordrome I will go and dine with the soldiers and my brother's girlfriend. So sensible clothes might be the way forward although I do love my giraffe t-shirt.

For the happening (d) I need my ridiculous high heels because this is a chance to wear them if we end up going out. And because she hosts a leaving party because she's moving to UK, and I'm flying from the UK to go to her party, which is a little bit silly, I must keep up the ridiculousness level.

For the happening (e) I probably would need a boat, because there seems to be a lot of water on the roads in Helsinki every time I try to approach it with a car. The other day, someone was swimming on the road there. But I am not likely to have space for a boat in my backpack so I just have to live without it and hope for the best. My friend also told me that I'm allowed to come and visit if I bring something really expensive as a house-warming gift. Therefore I will pack an empty Ben&Jerry's ice cream tub. She collects them and it's only good if it's already empty because the ice cream would just melt and it would be messy.


4. Once you have all of your special bits and pieces gathered you can pretty much see how big a bag you require. The size of the bag will also depend on how you're travelling and what you're allowed to take with you.

I'm flying with Ryanair with only hand-luggage. This means that I am only allowed to have myself and one bag. I am however allowed to wear a lot of clothes and to have a jacket on and fill my pockets. This is why so many people look like they are pregnant when they are flying with cheap airlines. This time I'm not going to do that, but I'm going to wear my woolly winter coat "just in case it's cold in Finland". If I needed to take a lamp-shade with me, I would have to wear it as a hat.

Everything that I am not wearing will need to go into my backpack. I am not allowed to have a handbag when I walk onto the plane but no one will stop me if I walk out with one. My backpack can therefore be as full as it can as long as there is still space for my handbag to fit in it for the 5 minutes that it takes to walk onto the plane. It's also probably a good idea to pack an empty carrier bag somewhere near the top of your backpack in case you get a slightly too warm on the plane wearing all of your extra layers and want to take them off.

So how am I going to pack the silly things I need to take with me: the high heels and the empty ice cream tub? 

The high heels take a lot of space so there is no point trying to fit them anywhere in my luggage. There is also no point trying to run across the airport wearing them. Thus, I will carry them in my handbag (a carrier bag works too if your handbag isn't big enough) until I need to fit everything in my backpack at the gate. Then I will wear them until I'm through the passport check on the other side. Not so that my mum and grandma would faint, but because it's not a long walk and doesn't involve any running.

The ice cream tub can go in the backpack once it's filled with clothes that will support it's structure so that it will keep it's beautiful rounded shape. I will just have to remember to remove the clothes before I gift-wrap it or my friend might be a little bit surprised why I am giving her my old odd socks in an ice cream tub.

Gilmore Girls.

5. Add all of the other required things, excluding the ones you decided where unnecessary at the point 1.

I warmly recommend taking:

a) Underwear (believe me, it's embarrassing if you forget them)

b) A clean top for each day (if it's a short stay without a possibility of doing laundry or if you're not going on a shopping holiday)

c) Toothbrush

d) Small toilet bag including your medication

e) Travel documents (make sure you have your passport when you're OUTSIDE. You don't want to get to the airport/another passport check point and realise that you did check that you had it before you left but then put it down on your desk at home.)

f) Phone and camera 

And that's all you need unless you have some souvenirs to take to someone. If for some reason you feel like you need something else, keep it to minimum. For instance, you do not need your whole make-up bag. And if you're flying you need to pop most of it into a mini-grip bag anyway, so take only a small selection of them. If for some reason you're flying you have a suitcase for a short trip, you are probably taking too much stuff with you. If you have an empty suitcase on the way there, it's ok because it means that you're going to renew all of your wardrobe and do your next weeks grocery shopping wherever you're going. It's alright, I already know someone who does that.

Landing in Finland.

6. Close the bag and go to sleep. Or run to the station/bus stop/taxi/one-of-those-other-things-that-move.

Of course I haven't done any of this yet, because I've been writing to you here. So now I will need to go and do just what I explained to you. And possibly eat some ice cream.

1 comment:

  1. Olisitpa nähnyt mun reilillä olleen rinkan :D. Nyt se on rikki. Ei siellä ollut kuin lähinnä vaatteita, ja kaikkia tarvitsin, keskenkin loppui. Kun oli ongelmia pyykinpesun kanssa.

    Mutta, oivoi sitä kun tultiin takaisin. Mulla oli miljoona painavaa pussia (no kolme), kun vähän shoppailtiin :D. On rankkaa kantaa mukanaan paljon tavaraa.

    Mulla oli myös matkalaukku Lontoossa. Tarvitsin kaikkea silloinkin!!

    Joskus olin hyvä pakkaaja.