Uhhh packing we will go!! [aka, proof that perhaps I'm somewhat obsessive?]

First thing is, I can’t go to Bolivia without leaving behind a proper binder full of every imaginable detail–complete with color coded tabs, of course!

I got a special thrill out of labeling each and every section. Yes, I know. It’s weird. But still. How can a mother not thrill to a typed up master schedule, meal plan, emergency contact information, children’s insurance cards, my flight itinerary…you know, just the basics.

And then I set about packing my own things. First, I like to lay everything out to get a bird’s eye view of what I’m taking on the trip.

Then I started creating my “Clothing Bundles.” I really despise digging through a suitcase each day, so instead I put together one complete outfit for each day. I rolled it up tight and individually labeled it. I put together each bundle based on our agenda for that particular day; ie. on days we’re traveling I made bundles with knit skirts and comfy tops, on days we’re visiting developments I bundled longer skirts and blouses, on days we’ll be in town I packed jeans and tops.

In a separate section of my suitcase, I created “layerables”—pieces that can be added to each clothing bundle based on that day’s weather or activity (in Bolivia it’s winter right now!). Here’s how my entire wardrobe for the trip looks inside my suitcase (there’s still plenty of room for the gifts I have for the Bolivian kids):

Believe it or not, I’m thinking about re-doing the whole thing to see if I can fit it inside one carry-on suitcase. I think I can do it. My carry-on holds my toiletries, medications and protein bars. I just might be able to fit my Clothing Bundles if I cut back on a couple things. Here’s the carry-on right now:

The benefits of packing everything in a carry-on would be:

  1. No lost luggage
  2. Less wieldy (especially since I’m responsible for hauling my own luggage)
  3. Nothing leaves my personal oversight

Then again, I don’t want to get stopped at the gate because my bag is overstuffed. Ha.

What do you think? Should I try to do it all in a carry-on?
Or just stick with my original plan of 1 suitcase and 1 carry-on?

  • http://countingmyblessings.typepad.com Deb

    Okay, now I need you to come to my house and show me again how you did that. Wow! You are impressive.
    I have no plan; however, everything coordinates with everything else. All white tees, two pair of jeans, two black pants, one denim skirt, and one black gaucho pants. All gray sweaters. Hope that works. We’ll see. Can’t wait until we can all sit together and gab. I wonder how long it will take until we run out of things to say. :-) I’m thinking that probably won’t happen!

  • http://pinkdaisyjane.com Heatherly

    My only thought was would packing in one suitcase leave less room for the gifts you are bringing?

    Stealing packing tips. Grin.

  • http://www.mamabean.ca Mama Bean

    you are a packing genius. i cannot fathom how you fit that much stuff in that space. awesome :) i’m excited to hear about your trip!

  • Jennifer

    Put one of your “clothing bundles” in your carry on, just in case your suitcase gets lost.

  • Rachel

    I think it might be too tight a squeeze if you put everything in the carry on. If you’re worried about lost luggage, could you just put in your clothes for the first two or three days? That way, even if your big suit case is lost, you wouldn’t be stuck with just the clothes you wore on the airplane.

    And, wow!! I’m totally stealing your clothing bundles idea next time I go on a trip.

    Also, have a wonderful time!!

  • http://jamiallyn.wordpress.com Jami

    I think what you have done is amazing. I would have no idea where to start if I was going. I say go with the bag+ carry on. I think it’s always better to have too much than wish you had brought more

  • Deb

    I love it – I do the same thing when I leave my house. I’d stick with the suitcase and the carry-on. Especially if any of your toiletries is liquid over 3 oz; then you’d have to leave it behind. But do pack a clothing bundle in that carry on.

    Alternatively, you could wear ALL of the clothes you can’t easily fit into your carry-on in layers. I imagine this would cause a bit of a headache at security, but hey, no lost luggage :)

    • http://www.joyinthisjourney.com Joy

      I would love to see her go through the security screening with every outfit on. :D

  • http://phariseefreed.blogspot.com/ Susan

    No distraught pants?

  • Martha

    I vote for the carry-on. My girlfriend and I visited Paris and Venice for 8 days in May and we each had a backpack. It was a breeze going through the airports. On an unrelated to travel topic, I was delighted to learn that you saw the National Ballet of Cuba. Their founder, Alicia Alonso, danced with Am. Ballet Theater before returning to her homeland. Alicia Alonso was my heroine when I was 8 years old and a “ballet fan.” She is an amazing dancer — I had the privilege of seeing her dance in Boston in 1979. Her story (she is partially sighted) is inspiring & the library should have a biography.

  • http://www.americannaussie.katyannewilson.com Katy-Anne

    I say take both. What if you find stuff you want to bring back for your kids? Never know how big it will be. :)

  • http://www.indiatoappleton.blogspot.com Nancy

    Your stuff is going to be ssooooo dirty . . . you may not want to have it all in the carry-on for your return trip. I made the same kind of binder when we went to India — the grandparents (who took care of our kids) were so thankful for all the details being in one portable place! Good job, mama!

  • http://remnantofremnant.blogspot.com priest’s wife

    ….um….I wish I could be so organized…but I’m not.

  • http://grace-filled.net jen

    Moms have a huge amount of information in their heads at any given time. The only way to communicate it is to have a binder like that.

  • http://www.americannaussie.katyannewilson.com Katy-Anne

    How does your husband feel about the binder? He must have a much different personality than my husband…mine would be insulted and complain that I think he’s stupid.

  • Elizabeth Larson-DiPippo

    I’m tossing in my vote for finding a way to put it all in the carry on. We went to Spain & Italy a couple of years ago and our luggage was lost on the second leg of our trip. It was a real bummer. We finally got it back but then figured out we had way over packed and it was a pain hauling it around. Either way I hope you have an amazing time and I can’t wait to hear about how it all goes!!

  • Rowena

    I vote for the carryon. I’ve traveled internationally several times for over two weeks each trip and kept it to a carryon. The hardest part is the liquid restrictions. I have a collection of teeny tiny travel bottles that I use (it’s surprising how small an amount of shampoo, shower gel, etc that you actually use on a daily basis) and I’m always on the lookout for non-fluid basics..such as my favorite face wash but in their wipe form. Not liquid!
    When I travel, I fit a very plain cotton tote bag in my carryon..that way, if I buy gifts that don’t fit in the carryon, I have extra space. Sometimes I check my main bag coming home and bring my gifts as carryon in the tote bag. Or I put gifts and my purse in the tote bag so they count as the “one personal item” allowed by airlines in addition to your carryon bag.
    Hope this helps!

  • http://debsueknit.blogspot.com DebbieQ

    I always vote for carry on only. Hubs and I have been doing that for a number of years and have gone to India, Rwanda, Uganda and Peru all with carry on only.