In the movie “As Good As It Gets” there is a scene where the heroine played by Helen Hunt is packing for an overnight trip out of NYC. She has an empty suitcase on the bed and an exasperated look on her face and says: “There is no way to pack for this trip.”
I identify with that scene on a fairly regular basis.
The dilemma of what to pack for a trip can be hard in the best of situations. Helen Hunt character’s problem was that she didn’t know what to expect, hence her calling Jack Nicholson to find out if they were likely to go to a restaurant for dinner. For a “blended trip” where a wildly diverse set of activities can be expected, the problems escalate. I will demonstrate this and provide what will hopefully be a reasonable solution.
My problem is that I’m going to the RWA convention, which is being held this year in WDW and then staying on for several days to enjoy the parks. So I need a wardrobe suitable for touring an amusement park in hot weather as well as business clothes for the conference. To top it all off I also need a formal outfit for the RITA awards that will include dress-up shoes. Difficult for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which is that I refuse to take a trip like this with two suitcases when I’m likely be hauling back several pounds of books. Better to start out with less than scramble to find room for stuff going home in your luggage.
So I have to come up with a wardrobe that will cover my needs for all events for the convention as well as park touring - a total of eight days of activities that all fits in one suitcase.
This picture is what I’ve come up with.
To the far left are a three pairs of long pants, black jeans, tailored tan capris, and a pair of silky black dress pants. Next are three pairs of shorts and a cap, followed by three colored t-shirts, and a long-sleeved white shirt. The next line is two, patterned button-up shirts, a black silk shell, and a black and white swimsuit. A black cardigan sweater is at the top of the next column followed by a white skirt, and in the last row is a blue silk top with beading, and a gold and turquoise dress. At the far right is my purple roll-up raincoat. My shoes are lined up at the bottom, a pair of water sandals that are great for walking in, tan sandals and a dressy pair of black sandals.
Instead of a business suit I’ll wear the black sweater with black dress pants for a tailored look. Instead of an evening dress the blue beaded top will pair with the dressy black pants for the RITA, and I’ll throw in a black shawl in case it is cool in the hotel. Instead of blue jeans, which I might have packed for a WDW trip, I have black jeans because those dress both up and down, and the tailored capri pants for casual wear at the convention will still work for touring the parks or going to dinner someplace nice.
For daytime park touring the shorts will pair with the solid color t-shirts and patterned shirts, and both patterned shirts can be worn open over the t-shirts to give me a different look.
I have a white cotton skirt because that dresses up well and will go with virtually any of the shirts. Yes, white is risky for wearing at a resort, but there are laundry facilities at the hotel in case of emergency. The dress is in a lightweight fabric that takes little room and will be ideal for the Orlando environment. For the same reason I’m taking the black silk shell. It takes no room in a suitcase and paired with either the white skirt or the black pants and under the black sweater it gives me another business look.
To cope with possible rainstorms I have a roll-up rain jacket that is very informal but no one will need to see me dressed business casual outside of the hotel. All the shoes I’m bringing will stand up to the walking we will do, a must for me as I get sore feet easily. They can be used for most of the events in the hotel including the Rita awards and still be wearable for park touring.
The key to this kind of packing is versatility. A tailored business suit has one purpose only. A black sweater can be used in many ways. A solid color t-shirt is more versatile than one with Tigger on it so I’ve omitted my favorite Disney shirts from this wardrobe.
In addition to reusability how much space an item takes is important. Space, weight, and versatility are the key things to remember when choosing your wardrobe for a long trip. If you positively have to have an evening gown then you must be prepared to give up something to make room for it. I’d rather have a top I can dress down for dining at a nice restaurant than an evening gown I can only wear once.