There are two types of people in the world: those who pack a suitcase like a bento box, and those who chuck everything in like a pita pocket.
Me? I’m the type who decides the night before the flight she’ll just ‘wing it’ (beyond the passport, phone and phone charger – I’m not an animal).
Yes, I fall into the second category. There’s no structure. There’s no method. And, mark my words, it’s the best way to travel.
My golden rule of packing is that if I find myself sitting on a suitcase to make it close, I have too much. I take four things out. Voila, I’m packed.
If you have a rough idea of your destination’s climate, you don’t need to roll up four heat-tech sweaters, just in case, right?
I promise you won’t find yourself looking to make an emergency snow cave during your summer tour of Europe.
This is not to say I don’t like order. I love it. If I could have asked my schedule to join me for Valentine’s Day last night, I would have. (I did, she had a meeting).
But taking the “plan it to a tee” part of you overseas is an absolute boner-killer.
The whole premise of Eat, Pray, Love is that truly experiencing a foreign country happens when you take your hands off the wheel. Let go a little. Not when you spend most of the time with your nose in an itinerary.
You need to tell that part of you to pipe down and chill out.
The most obvious upside of being the “chuck it in and go” person is that you have more room for things to bring home. Sure, you could purchase additional luggage but once you travel internationally with a small suitcase, you never look back.
I won't pretend that the "wing it" plan doesn't backfire. After forgetting to pack socks, I found myself tempted to step into a fire pit in Korea last year so I could feel my feet again.
I was so cold that I would have Googled, "how do you know if you have hypothermia?" if my phone screen hadn't cracked after I pulled it out to take photos. No joke.
Did I curse my former self for not packing that sock set? God no. I scoffed a scorching hot bag of roasted chestnuts and experienced something I would otherwise never feel.
Give it a go the next time you go away. If you find yourself stranded in New York, wishing you had brought those jeans that make you look [insert desired body shape], then close your eyes, spin around and walk into a store.
You might hate the new pair but at least you can bring up those "awful jeans" you "bought in New York" at every future dinner party.
Love travel stories? Listen to the stories of a couple who retired in their thirties.