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?).
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):
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.
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).
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).