Packing for May 2014 Travel – The Debrief

I’m back from my week-long travels, so it’s time to do a debrief on how I did with my packing for the trip.  If you missed my post last week on packing tips, I definitely recommend your giving it a read (and check out the many insightful comments made by readers, too!).

First, a bit about my trip…  I went to Incline Village, Nevada, which is where my mom and brother live.  It’s in the Lake Tahoe area and was also where I went on my last trip in December.  The reason for this trip was to help my mom after a hip replacement surgery, but I also got to spend some time with my brother, nephew (age 11), niece (age 5), and a friend lives in the area.

I’m happy to report that my mom is healing from her surgery quite nicely and has progressed from using a walker to walking with a cane.  Although I didn’t inherit her “nurse gene” (she worked as a nurse in the San Francisco Bay Area for many years before retiring and moving to Incline Village five years ago), I was able to help her with basic tasks to make her recovery easier.  I brought her food, drinks, ice packs, and medication, and assisted her with getting into bed and putting on her socks and shoes.  I also took care of her adorable tabby cat, who I spoiled like the two kitties I have at home (I Skyped with my husband while I was gone, so I got to see him and my cats that way – isn’t technology great?).

Debbie and her mom, Marilyn

Me with my mom, Marilyn, a few years back…

Variable Weather and Uncertain Activities

The weather in Lake Tahoe during May can be quite variable and unpredictable.  As it turned out, the temperature ranged from the mid-70’s on my first day there down to the 20’s toward the end of my trip.  In fact, on my second to last day there, I woke up to snow on the ground and a snowstorm that continued throughout the day!  The temperamental Tahoe weather makes packing a bit more challenging, especially for a novice like me.  There was no snow predicted for Tahoe before I left San Diego, but I did see that a general cooling trend was in the cards.

I was somewhat unsure as to what my activities would be during my trip.  I knew I would be spending a lot of time at home with my mom, but I wasn’t sure what else I might be doing during my time in Tahoe.  I knew that if my mom felt up to it, we’d get out and about a bit (that happened on my last two days there), and I also knew I’d spend some time with my brother and his kids, as well as with my friend who lives in the area.   However, as Tahoe is a very casual place (much like San Diego), I knew I wouldn’t need anything dressy on my trip.

What I Packed

I packed two capsules for my trip, a casual capsule for when I was out and about, as well as a lounge/workout wear capsule for my time at home with my mom and for the walks I planned to take along the lake.  Here’s a photo of my casual wear capsule (I also packed three scarves which are not shown):

Casual Clothing Capsule

These 11 items plus three scarves comprised my casual wear capsule for Tahoe.

Below is a photo of some of the items I packed for lounging at home and going on walks.  Not pictured are my two pairs of workout pants (one for at home and one for walks), one long-sleeved top, one short-sleeved top, a hat, and my pajamas.

Workout wear capsule

Part of my workout/lounge capsule for Tahoe (plus two tops, two pants, hat & pajamas).

In addition to the clothes and shoes I packed for my trip, I also packed a laptop computer, my Nook reader, a paperback book, a magazine, a folder of articles to read, some snacks, a few supplements, a wrist brace (I have repetitive stress injury and often sleep with this on), a moist heat neck wrap (I have lots of neck problems…), and a variety of toiletry items. Since my suitcase is quite large, I had plenty of room to pack all of these items, so long as I didn’t exceed the fifty pound weight limit imposed by the airlines!  That said, I wish I would have taken the time to pack smaller-sized versions of my toiletry items and supplements.  That’s definitely something I plan to do on my next trip.

What I Wore and How Often

Although I did not take photos of my outfits during my trip, many of them were repeats of previous ensembles, some of which have been posted on the blog.  While the photos below do not represent my actual outfits, they are very similar to what I wore while I was in Tahoe (in the last outfit, I wore a different scarf and the cobalt coat).

May 2014 Tahoe Trip Outfits 1-4

May 2014 Tahoe Trip Outfits 5-7

I wore all of the clothes and shoes I packed for the trip and some items were worn multiple times.  The items that were worn most often were the following:

  • Black boots (worn 7 times)
  • Black lounge pants (worn 6 times)
  • Cobalt coat (worn 5 times)
  • Green Patagonia jacket (worn 5 times, mostly inside my mom’s cool condo)
  • Jeans (worn 4 times)
  • Black workout pants (worn 4 times)
  • Walking shoes (worn 4 times)
  • Black Ponte knit pants (worn 3 times)
  • Black parka (worn 3 times – on walks)

Most of my lounge/workout tops were worn two or three times, while the standard wear tops were mostly worn only once each, with the exception of the green waffle top (which was worn twice).

What I Should Have Packed

I feel I did far better with my packing for this trip than I have on previous trips.  The tips offered by readers in response to previous posts helped a lot, as did all of the thought and consideration I gave to packing this time around.  However, I still found myself wishing I had a few other items with me or that I had made several substitutions.  Here’s my list of items I wish I had with me on the trip:

  • Wrist wraps to use while working on the laptop computer (for the RSI again…)
  • One short-sleeved standard top to wear on the warmer days (earlier in the trip)
  • A looser jacket to wear with my pajamas during cool mornings and evenings (the Patagonia jacket is more fitted and looks better with my workout clothes) or a long-sleeved pajama top
  • Podcasts to listen to on my phone or the Nook (I ended up downloading a few while I was there)
  • Microfiber towel for my hair
  • Hair oil (it’s very dry in Tahoe and my hair felt like straw!)
  • A sticky roller / lint brush (I ended up buying one and left it in my suitcase for future trips)

I also found myself wishing I had flat shoes to wear with my jeans and black pants, as my toes sometimes end up hurting after wearing my boots for several hours.  Of course, this would have required my packing another pair of pants for the flat shoes or shifting my pants and shoes strategy altogether.  During travel is when I really wish I had streamlined my pants lengths and shoe heel heights (written about in this post).  How great would it be to be able to wear all of my pants with most of my shoes?  This is definitely something I plan to streamline moving forward…

What I Wish I’d Left at Home

Of course, I also discovered that I packed too many things in certain categories.  Here’s what I wish I’d left at home:

  • Large-sized supplement bottles (I should have transferred the amount I needed into smaller containers)
  • Large-sized toiletries (I should have also transferred these items into smaller bottles)
  • Fewer tops overall (I could have easily gotten by with 3-4 regular tops and 3-4 workout/lounge tops, especially since I could have washed them if needed)
  • One pair of glasses (I packed both my reading glasses and my computer glasses – I should have packed only the latter pair)
  • Laptop computer (It’s far too heavy and I could have gotten by with using my mom’s computer and the Nook for everything I needed)
  • So many items to read (The Nook reader would have sufficed!)
  • So many socks (I packed socks for during the day, as well as socks for sleeping, but I could have easily gotten by with just the former)
  • 3 scarves (I only wore two of them, but I would have been okay with just one)
  • So many snacks (I ended up shopping for food the day after I arrived in Tahoe, so I didn’t really need to pack more than one or two snacks)

Lessons for Next Time

I don’t know if I’ll ever be the travel minimalist that some of you are, but I do believe that keeping notes about what worked and what didn’t work will help me improve in the packing department.  I did push myself quite a bit this time in that I only packed two pairs of shoes (black boots and walking shoes) and two standard pairs of pants (jeans and black Ponte pants).  But next time I will also pack fewer tops, travel-sized toiletries and supplements, fewer electronic devices, fewer snacks, and not as many items to read.

It was extremely helpful for me to make notes about what I wore, how often I wore everything, and how I felt about the items I packed.  Knowing I was going to write this travel debrief post pushed me to ponder my packing successes and failures far more than I would have otherwise.  I hope to travel more often in the future and I believe the lessons learned from my Tahoe trip will help me pack smarter for upcoming travels.


Since posts on packing and travel seem to be quite popular with readers, I will definitely write about these topics again in the future.  Hopefully I won’t go so long between trips and I’ll also travel to some alternate locations, including warmer locales.  However, I do hope to make another trip to Tahoe during the coming summer, as that is really the best season there (at least for this non-skiing warm weather lover…).   If you like to be outdoors in a beautiful place without excessive heat and humidity, you really can’t beat Lake Tahoe as a summer travel destination, at least in the United States (I would love other recommendations, though, if you have them…).

For those of you in the United States, I wish you a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend.  For everyone else, enjoy the standard two-day weekend, which is always welcomed and nice.  I’ll be back next week with an exciting announcement and some more thoughts on the topics of shopping, wardrobe management, personal style, and related subjects.  As always, I thank you for reading and I welcome your questions and feedback (if you’re reading this via email or a feed reader, click here to comment).

42 thoughts on “Packing for May 2014 Travel – The Debrief

  1. Welcome back! and Good for you! It looks like you packed moderately and learned a lot. Good thing you spotted that cooling trend when you were planning – that’s quite a dip in temperatures, especially for someone who runs cold anyway. It seems like you were prepared for that. I probably would have been caught out by my minimalist packing – I would’ve ended up freezing my ass off and wishing I’d brought more warm things.
    btw aren’t the repetitive motion injuries a bitch? I have funny neck issues (one of the reasons I don’t wear scarves or structured garments with collars very much – they throw the alignment of my neck off somehow) and I have elbow/wrist/hand/finger issues that started in college… 😦

    • I’m glad I noticed the cooling trend, too, but when I looked at home, I didn’t see THAT much of a dip! But Tahoe weather can really change on a dime, so I’m glad I was at least somewhat prepared. Yes, repetitive motion injuries are a bitch! I’ve struggled with them for MANY years and they have gotten worse recently. I have to take a lot of breaks and change my positions often. It’s definitely a struggle and I’m sorry you have to go through it, too, Joanna.

  2. Aw, you made me miss home! It was heat index in the 100’s here today in FL 😦 I think you did very well only bringing 2 pants. I usually bring about the same number of bottoms as days in my trip. I always think sensible shoes when in Tahoe – sidewalks are not common – but I don’t mind dressing up a little more than the prevailing culture. As a matter of fact, every time BF and I go to a show or concert at the casinos in South Shore the timeshare hawkers wave us down. They don’t believe we’re locals because we’re not in hoodies lol.
    I usually travel to warmer climes, since home base is where we find snow, and have the luxury of fitting a lot more items in the case when we do. Footwear is always the one place I have to concede a little. And a definite yes to the smaller toiletries. My BF still has yet to figure this one out (large size Tums bottle, um . . .)
    Thanks for letting us into your thought process! And, yeah, summer in Tahoe is pretty much heaven on earth!!

    • I thought of you when I was in Tahoe, Mo! Maybe one of these days we’ll be there at the same time and we can meet (even though I know you live in South Shore). You’re right about the need for “sensible shoes.” My boots were pretty good, but I did find myself wishing for flats at times. I definitely looked more dressed up than most of the locals, but that’s true for me in San Diego, too. I’m okay with it, as you are, as long as it’s not too much of a discrepancy. No hoodies for me – LOL. I think I would have brought more bottoms in the summer, especially since I like to wear skirts and dresses then. I hope I get to have the problem of packing for summer in Tahoe this year. You’re right about “heaven on earth.” Hope you’ll be able to make it back, too!

  3. It looks like overall you did very well with your choices. I’m glad that you had a good trip and that you were able to help your mom. I spent a week in CT. about six years ago for the same reason- my mom’s hip replacement surgery. I was very helpful getting her a green monkey with velcro hands that could ride on her crutches 🙂

    • Wow, interesting that you also helped your mom after hip replacement surgery, Tonya… Love the green monkey visual 🙂 I think my mom would have liked one of those!

  4. Impressive!

    Two comments and a question.

    Comment 1 — I always keep a toiletry kit packed and ready to go. I buy the travel sizes of things I need and/or refillable plastic travel bottles at Target. A great trick I learned from a friend — for nonrefillable items like deodorant or contact lens solution or hair spray, stop using your standard-sized items a week before they’re due to run out. Put these almost empty bottles into your toiletry kit. Use them while you’re on the road, and throw them out on your last day on the road.

    Comment 2 — re supplements and other meds — count out the trip’s worth and put them into a baggie. Throw the baggie away on the last day of your trip.

    Question — what is a moist heat neck wrap? I need one! I have terrible neck issues and welcome your suggestions for anything that works.

    • Thanks so much for your advice, Bette. I love the tip about the deodorant, etc. Good idea! I know I could have saved a lot of space by using travel bottles. I will pick some up soon, so I’m ready to go for my next trip (as yet unplanned)

      The moist neck wrap has been SO helpful to me! It was recommended by a physical therapist I went to for my neck, back, and arm issues. I got mine at a local drug store. It was inexpensive and has really helped me a great deal. It wraps around my neck and attaches with velcro. It has little beads (or maybe seeds?) inside of it. I warm it up in the microwave for a minute or so and put it on. I use it at least once a day and sometimes many times a day if my neck is really troubling me. This isn’t the exact one I have, but it’s similar:

      I’ve also found that various neck stretches and massage help, but I have to constantly be vigilant about treating my neck (well, more like babying it). The computer is the worst, but many of us spend a lot of time on computers these days. I’ve had several ergonomic assessments and have what should be the perfect set-up in my home office, but I still have a lot of pain. I am going to get an adjustable desk (so I can alternate between sitting and standing) as soon as I can afford it. I’ve heard that can really help because it’s best of us to alternate our positions. Feel free to contact me if you want to chat more about neck issues and things to do for them. I am still in pain, but I’ve found some things that work.

  5. Debbie, I think you did very well with your packing! Packing for variable weather is difficult, isn’t it? The city I’m originally from has unpredictable weather and I find myself overpacking when I visit my family there as I want to be prepared for every eventuality. Your comment about taking hair oil next time was interesting to me. I’ve spent years trying to figure out how best to manage my hair in the climate in which I currently live, and end up back at square one when I visit home as the climate is quite different and I’ve forgotten how I used to manage it when I lived there.

    • Yes, it’s much easier to pack for places like Hawaii than for a variable weather climate like Tahoe! I used to live there, but I don’t remember the dryness affecting me as much back then (I also lived in Colorado, which was worse). I came home not only with straw-like hair, but cracked fingers and lips! I even used lots of lotion and lip balm, but to no avail… I complain that my hair gets frizzy in San Diego (where I live), but I think that may be better than the dry and flyaway hair I had in Tahoe. As I get older, my hair is harder to manage no matter where I am. I’m beginning to understand why so many women cut their hair short when they get older!

  6. When I travel, I always take a base layer (top and bottom for fall-winter-spring, s/s top only for summer) to allow me to adjust to a wide range of temperatures. I can wear these layers under most of my clothes (very thin but very warm) and this has gotten me through a cold snap in London (base layer top under a dressy blouse for the opera) and a snowstorm (base layer top and pants very much appreciated) at the Great Wall of China. I seldom take more than 3-4 tops (but remember, I generally avoid patterned or embellished tops so I add variety with scarves and jewelry. For a visit with family (and access to a washer/dryer) I would have take one, maybe two, pairs of pants and 3-4 tops plus the base layer, a jacket/coat and a cardigan. A friend recently visited for a week and she had a few tops, cardigan, moto-style jacket, dress, dress shoes, loafers, and two pairs of pants — all within a well-coordinated color palette. She layered when it was cold and de-layered on warmer days (no snowstorm, though!) One scarf that got a lot of usage! Her luggage was a small carry-on tote. I was very impressed with how she managed this tiny wardrobe, especially when she had to stay a few extra days because of travel issues.

    I hope you mother is on the mend. She must have enjoyed your visit very much.

    • My mother is doing much better, Dottie! She was very appreciative that I was there with her and I think she wishes I stayed longer. But she was having a friend stay with her for a few nights after I left, so she had some extra help.

      I’m curious about what you use for your base layers. Are they standard tops that you also wear as stand-alone items in warmer weather, or are they specifically made for layering for warmth? I could definitely use advice on better layering, as I am notoriously bad at it. I think it’s because I live in a temperate climate. I usually just wear two layers (including a jacket or coat), but that doesn’t cut it in cold Tahoe weather (or similar locales). Any advice you can offer would be appreciated, as I know you survived the polar vortex!

      • I have several types. I have a silk layer (and another synthetic-silky top that’s very warm) for under blouses, sweaters, pants, etc. These pack up to next to nothing. I also have an Ice Breaker s/s merino wool top. The base layer is designed to trap heat — and it really works. I find wearing 2 cotton tops doesn’t work for me — I definitely need a base layer and/or a sweater/fleece.

        More on the subject:

      • Thanks for clarifying, Dottie. This is helpful, as is the REI link. I will have to invest in some of these layers before I go anywhere else that is cold. Hopefully my next trip or two will be to a warm locale, but I know I’ll be venturing to cold destinations again before too long, and I’m sure others reading this will be doing so as well. I appreciate your sharing your expertise with us!

      • I forgot to mention that the s/s merino wool top could be worn alone. I also wear the synthetic “silk” top as part of a pajama set. It washes and dries in a few hours. Silk takes longer to dry but is very warm.

      • I agree with Dottie, whenever I venture OS to the Northern hemisphere, my base layers serve me well. In the ski shops, they sell merino short and long sleeve tops. 6 years ago, I started buying them on a trip to New Zealand. Now I wear them under my dressier or summer blouses in winter, under a sleeveless dress or on their own; the idea is to make them tight fitting, like leggings. Mountain Designs is a brand sold in Australia which often is on sale. They are more expensive than the poly cotton tops which I’d buy and they throw out after 2 years, but I still have these 6 years later. I don’t itch in them and they are anti-bacterial, so you can wear them for a week or two at least, although mountaineers were them for months! I also have a couple of short sleeve ones which I worn to Florida.

      • Thanks for the tip on merino wool tops, Dottie and Sew Stylish. I remember others mentioning this before, but I didn’t get around to getting these items yet. I didn’t think I would need anything that warm for my most recent tip, but as you saw from my post, the temperature varied widely! I like the idea of buying things I may be able to use at home, too, so I will keep an eye out for some high-quality merino tops that I wouldn’t mind wearing on their own as well as for layering.

  7. I only recently found your blog and it has already been an inspiration. First of all, packing is one area where I don’t have problems (we travel frequently and always with hand luggage only, even for several weeks trips in the wintertime) and through my experiences eyes looks like you did pretty well! And your conclusions on how to edit for next time sounds very familiar. 🙂 I don’t pack several scarves or big toiletries anymore after a lot of experience, but the laptop still sometimes travels when I really rarely absolutely need it.

    But I really wanted to comment because I have found out what is at the root of my own shopaholism. I think it’s perfectionism. I look for that one perfect item to suit my needs. Be it shorts for a summer vacation, winter coat or – at the moment – dress for an important event. Silly thing is, I had already settled. I had “found perfection”. Within my budget (well, that’s lying, a bit over), relatively well in the color-family I initially thought about, altered to fit well. I was settled. But I still get this urge, when bored, usually, to go look in my trusty webstores wether there “would be something interesting”. And blam, of course there is. Something that seems just a tad more perfect than what I already have (size, color, cut, price – all). And I feel like I MUST have it. But of course I don’t and I shouldn’t.

    However, this unsettling feeling of “there is a better option out there in my reach” is really hard to get rid of! What do YOU do when it hits? I hate it. But often end up not being able to resist it.

    • Welcome, Rellies, and thanks for your comment. I appreciate that an experienced traveler thinks I did well with my packing for my recent trip! I think I will do a lot better next time and perhaps will eventually be a “pro” at it.

      I think perfectionism is a big part of my shopaholism, too. I am happy with things when I buy them, but there is always a part of me that thinks I can do better. So I keep looking, which is dangerous, because if you keep looking, you’ll eventually FIND. What’s helped me in recent months is to only shop for specific items and confine my looking to only those things. It’s definitely not as fun as looking around, but it keeps me out of trouble. I also do pre-shopping online so I only go to the stores that have the specific items I’m targeting. Sometimes I just order online instead of going to the stores. Yes, I often have to end up returning things that don’t work out, but I don’t have as much temptation dangling in front of my face like at the stores. Sure, I still make mistakes, but having a targeted approach to shopping has helped a lot.

  8. Your debriefing tips are very helpful. I am in the process of planning a capsule wardrobe for a cruise to Scandinavia and St. Petersburg. I have only taken carry on for 8 years since all of my luggage was lost going to Florence. Trying to figure out the formal aspect of dressing on a cruise is challenging. The trade off may be to forgo the formal events. Please continue to post your valuable tips.

    • I hope you eventually got your luggage back after that Florence trip, Andrea! I’ve read a bunch of horror stories about lost luggage and I may eventually be a carry-on only traveler, too. I’ve only been on one cruise – to Alaska in 2005 – and I VASTLY over-packed! There were just too many variables with the excursions, standard dinners, and formal events. I think forgoing the formal events is a good option. I wasn’t all that enamored of them, but I am not a very formal person. I’m sure there is some good advice online on packing for cruises, but if any other readers see this and have advice for Andrea, please chime in. I think packing for cruising is some of the most challenging packing there is!

    • One option could be just bring one dress that can be dressed up for the formal events – preferably in a light, wrinkle-free fabric. Not forgoing the formal events but forgoing the idea of being dressed in your very best in them. I feel like a very simple, but well cut dress, even one in a cheap fabric like polyester (as long as the quality of the workmanship is good) can go very far. Just pick one in such style, material and color that with fancier shoes (ballet flats are fine and take less room than heels), small fancy purse and a flowy scarf it turns into everning wear – but with a sun hat and sandals it can be worn on the deck.

      • This is a great tip, Rellies. Thanks for sharing! I like the dress you linked to as well. I love the idea of packing something that can be both dressed up and dressed down. That way, one could have the option of attending the formal events but can also wear the clothes for other occasions during the cruise. Win, win!

      • Thank you,Rellies; this is a really great tip! It will involve a change of mindset, but I can do that.

    • I’ve just come back from a month in Australia where I had to cover cooler weather in the south and very hot (for me at least) in the north. As my husband was working and a key note speaker at an international conference I also had to have appropriate clothes for two formal events (theme 007 for one of them!). I stuck to one silky dress that de-creased if necessary in a steamy bathroom and one pair of linen trousers and just played around with tops. I had a white jersy short blazer that “picked up” an outfit and made it smarter if necessary. Other than that almost entirely jersey (mainly bamboo) and layered up for when it was cool. Even back in the UK, where I live in the north so it is colder than the rest. I still mainly wear “summer” clothes all year and just wear more layers when it is cold.

      • Thanks for sharing your experience, Gillie. It seems like you’re a real packing pro! I think it’s great that you wear many of the same clothes year-round. I do, too, but I live in a much more temperate climate than you do. I think that choosing the right fabrics and layering are key to maintaining a smaller wardrobe for travel or variable climates. I definitely need to improve in both areas!

  9. Ohoh – I must remember the sticky roller! Thanks for reminding me. I’m glad you’re back and that you mother is doing better. I’ve missed you :-).

    It’s a really nice casual capsule wardrobe with a few stripes of course. And I love your cobalt coat, it’s really stylish and a gorgeous color on you.

    Did you plan outfits before your trip or did you decide once you were there?

    • Yes, the sticky roller is critical, Mette! I use it all the time at home with cats, but for some reason I picked up more lint and hair on my clothes at my mom’s house. Maybe it’s the dry air…

      I’ve enjoyed reading all of your posts while I was gone, including all of the different make-up and hair looks. I really need to vary things up in both of those departments and you’re inspiring me to try new things. Maybe I will blog about those things, too, at some point…

      Thanks for the compliments on my travel wardrobe. The cobalt coat is a definite favorite! I actually looked at my old outfit photos to help me in planning my travel wardrobe. I also tried to make sure that everything would mix and match, which was pretty easy with the jeans and black pants. My travel capsule was not very adventurous, but it worked. I used to try to wear new outfits when I traveled or to “christen” new clothing items on a trip, but I’ve since learned that it’s best to go with the tried and true. Your upcoming trip to Malta sounds wonderful! I look forward to taking a warm weather vacation sometime soon.

  10. I am laughing about the range of temperatures. I live in Lake Tahoe on the North Shore and many fall and spring days start out like winter and turn into summer by mid-day. Layers are the only way to survive in this!! Although my two daughters in their twenties often walk out the door in shorts and flip flops when the morning temperature is in the 30’s, they know it won’t be long until it hits 70. I honestly don’t know how they do it.

    Also, Mo is right, it’s all about the shoes. Anything rather than sturdy and practical looks ridiculous in a place like Tahoe. (Of course, there are lots of attractive versions of sturdy and practical.)

    By the way, re: Rellies’ comment on perfectionism, I loved something I heard Robert Holden say in a podcast this morning: We are always working on becoming a better person (the ego keeps us thinking we are not lovable enough, yet) rather than accepting that we are already worthy, deserving of and receiving love just as we are.

    • I heard it got up to the high-70s in Tahoe again by yesterday, Happy Forgiver. What a swing in a week’s time! Funny what you said about your daughters… I saw some teens and 20-somethings in that type of attire while I was there, and my niece and nephew never seem to be dressed all that warmly regardless of the weather.

      I did live in Incline Village for a year and a half, but it was 12 years ago now, so sometimes I forget how things are there. You and Mo are definitely right about the shoes, but living in San Diego, my shoe wardrobe isn’t really Tahoe-worthy. But I did my best…

      I love the Robert Holden quote – thanks for sharing! I need to post that on my monitor, I think. I’m a recovering perfectionist as well as a recovering shopaholic!

  11. Glad you had a good trip Debbie! I’m sure your mom was thrilled to have you there during her early recuperation. I enjoyed this post on debriefing. I’ve gotten pretty good with minimal packing since I started dressing for my actual lifestyle and not a fantasy one. Having a defined color palette also helps.

    As far as medications and supplements, I use very small pill bags which I found at: I’ve experimented with putting the same supplement in 1 bag and with putting a single dose of all supplements in 1 bag. I ended up preferring putting each type of supplement in its own bag. I like these tiny bags better than regular sandwich bags because they are thicker and hold up well for multiple trips. I just keep on reusing them. 🙂

    Seems you are on the right track with your packing! Hope you have many more trips in your future.

    • You’re right that it helps so much to dress for our actual lifestyles and to define our color palettes, Kim. Both things have been VERY helpful for me! Thanks for your tip on the small pill bags. I can definitely see how those would be helpful. I also need a way to store my powdered supplements (I have two of those), but perhaps either larger bags or small tupperware containers would work for those. Bringing them in their very large plastic bottles was not the best thing to do, but I had the room in my larger suitcase this time. But for those many trips in my future (which I plan to have!), I need to find better solutions…

    • Thanks for sharing these links, Dottie! I know a lot of people can benefit from what a seasoned traveler like you has learned over the years.

  12. I tried not to laugh at the boot/shoe issue. Even if I hadn’t looked at your pictures I would be able to tell that you are quite a bit younger than I am! Comfort has the edge over style for me on holiday. I live in FitFlops and Toms. I haven’t worn socks since I got back from Austalia in early March. When I need to dress up I do have a sizeable collection of smart and quite high heeled shoes. But they hardly ever get worn.

    What I love about both the FitFlops and Toms is not only are they unbelieveably comfy, they don’t look as if I have just walked off the beach. I was at the Chelsea Flower Show last week (quite smart). I ummed and ahhed about wearing my FF. I was wearing a mid length floral cotton dress and my trusty jersey blazer. I wore the FF and reckoned that I saw at least 30-40 other women wearing theirs. We were a lot more comfortable than the ones in strappy sandals and I don’t think we looked out of place at all.

    • I’m not really that young, Gillie, but I’m glad you think I LOOK young 🙂 I’ll be 48 in just over two months… I agree that comfort should trump style when travelling. I try my best to marry the two, but it’s more difficult to do in the footwear department sometimes. I haven’t tried either FitFlops or Toms (but I am familiar with both brands). I’ll have to check them out the next time I’m shopping for shoes. I definitely need some more comfortable options than what I have. I have good options for warm weather, but am a bit lacking in the cold weather shoe department.

  13. Ironically I’m packing once again while writing this 😉 Happy that you enjoyed your trip, sounds that it was good change of routine for you and well done helping your mother out after such a major operation!

    The more I travel, the less I think about packing. I’ll spend the summer in another country and my fall schedule entails monthly trips abroad, so I tend to pack on autopilot (it is always unpleasant and slightly stressful though). I mostly try to remember my passport, phone, keys, credit card, medicines and chargers. Everything else is optional 😉 I feel my wardrobe is increasingly full of options that are very ‘me’ and just about everything coordinates. So I tend to just grab a couple of pairs of pants, a few tops and my warm socks, ultralight down jacket, two or three pairs of shoes, and some underwear.

    Slightly off-topic, I read ‘The Paradox of Choice’ by Barry Schwarz last week and can really recommend it – it’s a terrific book, really well-written and full of insights that really helped me to understand why I am trapped in a pattern of shopping and why it is so difficult to change. If you have time, I definitely recommend it!

    • I know you travel a great deal, FrugalFashionista. You’re probably MUCH better at it than I am! I think it helps a lot that you have a core wardrobe that feels like “you” and that things coordinate well. I used to try to wear new pieces or “benchwarmers” on trips, but quickly learned that’s not a good idea!

      I definitely want to read “The Paradox of Choice.” I watched the video that Dottie posted a while back (here’s the link for those who haven’t seen it: and found myself nodding my head a lot. One thing I noticed while on my trip was how EASY it was for me to get dressed each day. Why? Because I only had a handful of choices! I know I need to keep paring down my wardrobe so I can have the kind of peace in the closet that I so deeply desire.

  14. Great job packing. I find packing is always a challenge, because my current wardrobe still has more than one core color. I learned to only pick one core color for a trip. And comfy footwear is a must for me. I always pack at least one low heel because it’s amazing how on a trip a pair of usually comfy shoes can suddenly turn torturous.

    • Yes, packing is definitely a challenge, and selecting a core color can be tough. I usually choose black, even in the summer, because I have a lot of black and it’s versatile. You’re right about the footwear! I will definitely pack a pair of flats or low heels for my next trip, as my comfortable boots become less so when I wear them for a lot of walking!

Comments are closed.