Monday, November 4, 2013

Weekend Travel Checklist

At 8:51am on a recent October Saturday, I hung up the phone, having just decided to go to away for the weekend. I showered, packed, stopped to purchase a ticket and a cup of coffee, and was on the 10:08am train out of Grand Central when it started boarding at 10am.

I had to make that train, or I would have missed the connection to the Shoreline East train out of New Haven, which, in turn, would have delayed the next leg of my journey -- getting to the airport and taking the short flight out to Block Island.

Usually when I'm headed somewhere, I take great delight in carefully considering my outfit options, but there was no time for such scrutiny that morning. I had to make it from the phone conversation to the train ticket window in an hour, and unlike on a past trip, I didn't want to have to buy anything when I got there.

Luckily, a couple years ago, after woefully over-packing for a trip to London, I devised a system for myself for quick and light packing, which I put to use on that October Saturday.

Here's what made it into my weekend bag:

Bottoms: Long skirt, Short skirt*, Leggings
Tops: Long tank top, White classic tee*, Long sleeve chambray shirt, Warm long sleeve shirt*
Warmth: Wrap scarf*, Lightweight rain jacket, Cashmere cardigan (pictured here)
Shoes: Eliza B. flip-flops, Ballet flats*
Other: Pre-packed toiletries bag, Bracelet / Necklace / earrings*, Bathing suit, Beach towel
(*Items I wore instead of carrying in my bag.)

Here's the list I use for quick reference when packing up for an overnight trip or a weekend trip. It helps me remember that I don't need eighteen outfits -- just two or three that can be mixed and matched to create more.

I've learned many of my packing tips from my mother, and one is to never go anywhere without a swimsuit and a cashmere sweater. October on Block Island is certainly not warm, but having done a good deal of swimming in freezing cold Maine water, I knew there was a good chance I'd want to go swimming, and we did! It was very, very cold -- we were the only people swimming without wet suits on, but it was so much fun, and the water felt fine after a few minutes.

I also try to pack PJ's which can appear in public for a bit in the early morning hours. Leggings and a long tank are great for this because they are comfy to sleep in, and a tunic can be tossed on in the morning for picking up a cup o' joe, an appearance downstairs at breakfast, or for an early morning walk on the beach.

Doubling up beats taking up space by packing a separate outfit for this purpose, and on the last day I often wear the tank mixed into my outfit. The leggings aren't really my style to wear for most of the day, but I wouldn't be opposed to adding them under a long skirt if the temperature suddenly dropped, which makes them very useful.

A couple other rules I keep in mind are to stick to a simple color palate so that mixing items for new outfits is easy, to add in more warm things than I think I'll need, and to wear the same jewelry the whole time if it's a quick trip.

It was a fun trip, and I was very pleased with myself for packing up so quickly without forgetting anything. Here are a few pictures, if you'd like to see...

I remember someone once saying "the best thing about living in New York is spending a weekend out of New York." As much as I love the city, I also love getting out of the city now and then, and spontaneous trips can be the best kind, don't you think? I'm so glad I got to go.

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