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Flat and Black – The Answer To The RTW Packing Dilemma

Planning for this trip has been exhilarating, but deciding what to pack, not so much. Hey, I am a girl and I really need my new cool boyfriend jeans AND the dark blue jeans too dammit. I need fancy shampoo, coconut and aromatherapy oil, contact lens stuff, you get the picture. Not to mention the slinky white sweater I think is so ‘European’, and of course my fav yoga pants…sooo versatile. High heels you ask? In this house they’re called fella shoes, and come hell or high water, the queen was going to find a way to stuff the black strappy ones in the mix. I and my packing assistant (sister), tried the cubes, then the rolling technique, then  those packing envelopes on a few trial runs. In the end, the winner was a box of 2 gallon Ziploc bags using the flat and black technique. It’s kinda like the like the bend and snap maneuver, but different, thanks Elle Woods.

 Here’s how we did it:

1.      Start by laying out everything in I love and think I can’t live without

2.      Scrutinize every piece, asking “Is it multipurpose?”

3.      What ended up in the ‘to go’ pile was a lot of black, maybe 12 days of outfits, Italy will be chilly in the fall

4.      Decided to put the liquids in the one free checked bag, the small daypak

5.      Decided to ship a box (15lbs worth) with the warmer climate clothes to my host’s flat in South Africa

6.      When I get to Capetown, I will re-evaluate and donate what can’t fit, or what doesn’t fit my post Italy gelato, bread and pasta figure

7.      Filled the bottom suitcase nooks with socks, etc.

8.      Insert a few clothing items in a Ziploc, roll it to remove the air, then mush the bag as flat as possible while pressing yellow and blue to make green. Ended up with 15 or so Ziploc flatbreads

9.      Layer clothes to wear on the plane; boots, a scarf ,( aka: blanket, beach towel, sarong and color accessory to black items)  and the bulky European sweater

10.   Organize the gadgets in multiple pouches

End result, 3 small portable pieces of luggage, see pics.

The logistics of shipping a box to South Africa was quite the eye opener at how new I am to this international stuff. At Fed Ex, I learned my 15 lb box would cost $496. No way. After negotiating on the phone with the international department, filling out tons of papers for customs (swearing I am only taking personal clothes (called textiles) and giving Fed Ex power of attorney, the final price was $185 plus local duty & fees to be determined later. OK. Before sealing the deal and after much discussion with the fed ex boy, I thought it best to open the box and remove 2 items: A baggie with vanilla protein powder and some US cash. The powder because that was just me having a blonde moment, cocaine anyone? As my original thought was to bring it because I am nervous about the food on safari, BBQ Yak, maybe? The cash, I hid in a boot because it is recommended to tip safari guides in US money, and to have new bills handy to buy cool stuff at tribal markets. I did not want to carry a lot of cash around Italy for 90 days ect. Ok, that was kinda dumb too. Customs opens boxes, remember? Why take the chance that the inspector who opens my box is going to be a 100% honest

Now, for the best part, tucked into the Africa box I found a variety of condoms! Because that’s what sisters do for each other??? Not your everyday Trojans, but the Walmart super special edition: ‘Pleasure Pack’. There were thin ones, thick ones, ribbed, nubbed, stripped, flavored and neon colors! Are you kidding, neon yellow condoms? Think quickly, I’m not sure if anyone noticed, and I can’t find a garbage can. So, I am just hoping the person who cleans the fed ex office has a great sense of humor when they find the piles of rainbow rubbers hidden in the cabinet. Sisters sure look out for one another, what would we do without them?

Comments ( 5 )

  • Billy Adams says:

    This is hilarious!! What a great sister you have! That pleasure pack will come in handy, and yes, neon yellow condoms are a must! I am so impressed with your blog. I think I can speak for everyone, we are living vicariously through you! Thinking of you. Muah!

  • Robert Garcia says:

    Why go with the boring "everyday" when you can spice thing up with yellow neon?

  • Di (2) aka Diane Kane Moore says:

    Too funny!!!!!!!! Has me remembering why I loved you guys so much and how much fun we had in our middle/high school years!!! :) :) :)

  • Rose says:

    Are you kidding me you must have forgot the story about hiding money I your boot! No Bueno! Have a safe trip!

  • Marianne Hinshaw says:

    Awesome stay cool sister

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