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The Unreliable Guide To… The Art Of Packing

By Nat Shepherd on April 27, 2016 in Other


Photo: Kerry Packer

Photo: Kerry Packer

We live in a consumer-driven society and we just love our stuff. One of the hardest things about going on holiday is deciding what stuff is required to survive a week in that five-star resort and what can be left behind, remembering that you have to cram that stuff into a bag and carry the thing around. This is not easy, but it’s a life-skill that the jet-setting Eastern Suburbs elite can’t do without. If packing sends you into a meltdown, fear not. The Unreliable Guide is here to help:

  1. Get a scruffy travel partner: It is a truth universally acknowledged that scruffy people do not care what they look like. This means they need fewer clothes and far less grooming products than you do. If you offer to pack their bag for them you can reserve half of it for all the things that won’t fit into your own luggage. Buy them an e-reader and you can clear out all their pesky novels and guidebooks too.
  2. Use packing cubes: These cheap, zippered squares of nylon are amazing – an advanced filing system for your suitcase. You can find everything in your bag and when you get to your hotel you won’t have 25 t-shirts and no underpants. Packing cubes are awesome, but beware. The whole point of them is that you can fit more into your bag, but by doing so you may create a ‘Tardis’ bag. A Tardis bag is, as the name suggests, like Dr Who’s police box; it may contain the universe, but it is heavier than time itself. Packing cubes are best used for small bags only.
  3. Pros and cons of wheels: Wheels are great. When primitive man invented the wheel he found he could carry a whole heap more stuff – that’s how Stonehenge and the pyramids got built. A wheeled bag will make you think you can cope with its significant weight, until you need to navigate a set of stairs. Unless you are a weightlifter, you’ll end up hating your bag so much you’ll have a breakdown at the airport and spend the rest of your days haunting the check-in desks dressed in orange, telling people that “baggage is just baggage man; leave it all behind”. Remember: if you can’t carry your bag a block without fainting, you will end up hating it.
  4. Be economical: Don’t make the mistake of trying to cram your whole wardrobe and bathroom cabinet into the biggest bag you can find. You cannot cover every contingency. If Columbian drug lords invite you to a cocktail party or you need to teach dressage techniques to a Mongolian yak, don’t worry; you can probably buy the necessary accessories when you get there.

I haven’t even mentioned leaving space for all the ethnic knick-knackery you’re bound to accumulate on your travels. What could be more important than bringing back a fertility-goddess lampshade or a technicoloured lama poncho? You’ll never use them, of course, but these are the things that prove we have travelled.