How to Pack: An Illustrated Guide

How do you pack for two weeks in Spain and Morocco when it’s going to be chilly at night and warm during the day and it will likely rain a little and you’re by yourself so you need to be entertained and you’re old-fashioned and still use paper everything?

Yeah, yeah, you can keep your Kindles. I like paper, OK?

Like this:

1) Roll your clothes.

You guys know this, right? Everybody knows this by now? You roll everything. It gets less wrinkly and it’s easier to stuff a lot of t-shirts into a backpack side-by-side in little t-shirt tubes than to try to shove them in folded.

2) Prepare for the foreseeable. Don’t worry about the unforeseeable.

Weather.com says it’s going to rain in Madrid and Seville while I’m there, so I’m taking an umbrella. If it doesn’t rain, oh well, a little wasted weight–but it’s likely that it will rain, so it makes sense to bring gear for it. However, it’s unlikely that I’m going to go hiking, so I’m not bringing hiking boots. If I do wind up hiking, my feet may be a little miserable in my sneakers, but you have to do the best you can given the information you have.

3) Don’t pack the cat.

No matter how much she wants to come along.

4) Snacks!

Highly un-picturesque aw almonds and craisins

‘Nuff said.

5) Double-check the list.

For a trip like this, where I need so much (clothes for different climates and cultures, various bits of electronic gadgetry and their respective chargers), I actually make a list and cross things off as they go in the backpack. It helped both for buying supplies in advance (I needed to buy a long skirt, a lightweight scarf, and several travel-sized toiletry items) and for making sure all those items got into my bags. I often forget things like socks or a hairbrush that I feel sure must have gone into the bag somewhere at some point–but with the list, I know.

And there you have it:

Two weeks’ worth of life in two little bags. Easy to carry, and no need to check anything.

I’ll report as I can from the road. Until then, I leave you in the capable hands of Laura, Brooke, Cary, and friends. 

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