Let's Talk with Cheryl Hollon

Do you have a packing routine?

October 5, 2023

Do you have a packing routine? I have a ritual I’ve used since I started traveling internationally for my engineering job back in the 80s. Now that I’m attending mystery conferences, I use the same techniques.

Here’s what my rack looked like for the largest and longest mystery conference, Bouchercon. It was held in San Diego, CA in 2023. It moves to different cities every year so next year it will be in Nashville, TN, followed by New Orleans, LA, in 2025. More than 1500 readers and authors usually attend. It’s an opportunity to meet your favorite author and get a signed book.

I can see at a glance that all the individual elements coordinate with each other. This is because I frequently change my mind after I arrive. I can also make certain I have clothes appropriate for the weather at the destination.

Here’s the empty packing rack I use to hang up my outfits. I found little marker tabs to separate the days. Yes, I am that fussy about my packing. I start with shoes, then hats, and then I fill each day with an outfit.

I’m also a big fan of compression cubes. I stow my PJs and undies in a small cube. I roll my T-shirts, blouses, and sweaters in a medium cube, but I fold all my trousers and suit jackets flat in a large one. I’ve found that this method reduces wrinkles. Reduces, but doesn’t eliminate them completely. Luckily, there are irons and ironing boards in the conference hotels.

Finally, I tuck in my waterproof toiletry bag. Waterproof, because who hasn’t had something leak all over your lovely clean clothes? It never seems to happen to the already-worn outfits.

Do you have packing rituals that keep you organized during travel?

The Paint & Shine Mysteries are set in the Daniel Boone National Forest. My parents were born and raised in the area, and now they rest in peace in the JJ Adams Family Cemetery in Wolfe County, Kentucky. The characters spend considerable time preparing traditional southern meals and creating moonshine cocktails. Please consider buying locally. Independent bookstores need your help. BOOK LINK

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Posted in Let's Talk, with Cheryl Hollon • Tags: , , , , |  19 Comments


19 thoughts on “Do you have a packing routine?

  1. I’m not much of a traveler. But when I did I tried to have everything I needed to incorporate the weather as well.

    1. I permanently keep an umbrella in my computer backpack. I live in Florida, so a thunderstorm can happen in a heartbeat.

  2. I pack as little as possible and roll everything. I try to keep to a color scheme so I can reuse pieces together. aprilbluetx at yahoo dot com

  3. Having a color scheme has been a trip-saver for me on more than one occasion. Good planning.

  4. Even though I keep a packing list on my phone, I invariably forget to pack something every time I travel. It’s become so common that it’s now a running joke–what will I forget this time?

    1. We had a very extensive packing list that worked perfectly, then in the middle of packing for our road trip, it somehow got deleted from iCloud. It was blank and we were lost. By the time we were midway through the trip, we’d reconstructed it, but losing that list practically brought our packing to a standstill!

  5. Like you, I try to color coordinate for a trip  – to minimize the shoes I need. I jot down a list of what I need – starting with underwear and working outward in terms of misc. things and marking off each day (much like your dividers) so that each day’s outfit’s needs are noted). Once the written list is finished, I pull and pack. To hopefully avoid missing something, I circle it after the first round of packing to remind me that it isn’t in the case. Once packed, it is marked off.

    1. I have to admire your process, Debra. I think I must start a list for the electronics and toiletries. They get a little more complicated each year.

  6. My packing routine:
    Wait until the last minute, throw a bunch of clothes, shoes and toiletries in, arrive at my destination to find I’ve packed too many clothes and forgotten important shoes and toiletries. Well, truth be told, it’s not quite that haphazard, but I hate packing!

    1. I have a writer friend who doesn’t pack until the last minute. She has six cats and they get anxious as soon as she gets out her suitcase. That would drive me nuts.

  7. Being an avid canoeist, I learned to pack individual items in plastic ziplocks, then push all the air out. They take up less than half the room they would have required and are waterproof. It works for international travel as well.

    1. Hi Su, That’s a great idea, and you don’t have to buy compressible packing cubes. Brilliant!

  8. For cruises, I like to roll my clothes so they don’t get wrinkled before I have a chance to hang them up. Shoes and handbags go on the bottom, then undies and pjs, then day and evening outfits. I do try to color coordinate so I can swap out tops easily. Makeup and electronics go in my carry-on bag. I also throw in the larger suitcase a “Hope-I-Don’t-Need-It zippered bag with medicinal and first aid supplies.

  9. I usually make a list and then pack. The last time that I flew instead of taking a big suitcase and checking it and messing with it, I shipped all of my clothes and a lot of my stuff in a box via Fedex. it cost just a bit more than the airline fee and it was at the destination in two days. I got there and there was my stuff. I just carried a carry on with my laptop and purse. Way to go. But if it is for longer or we are going to different places, then it is a different story. We used to go to the Florida Keys for two months and rented the same house every year. We had stuff that we would take down there and boxed it up, opened it, repacked it, and kept it boxed up until the next year. Made it a lot easier.

  10. I finally started using those compression cubes and they are perfect. I can now get more clothes in my luggage without sacrificing space. I have a list of items I need and as I put them in my packing area, I tick it off until the only thing left to put in my suitcase is my computer.

  11. I am adamant about how I pack for conferences, too. I put each day’s outfit in a zip bag (you call them cubes but mine are rectangles). That way I do not get stuck in dither mode each morning. What’s important to me is that I pack something for blues shoes one day and black shoes the next. For some reason, my feet do best in different shoes each day. My shoes used to be “Sunday Best” in style, but I’m more casual about footwear now. My goal is a polished look, but everything must be comfy. That’s how I roll.

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