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Take the "ack!" out of pack. The First Rule of Packing is that you always end up packing more than you need. Be ruthless. Instead of five or six seperate outfits, take three or four that you can mix and match. No one will care or probably even notice if you repeat outfits. If you're headed for warm climes, you'll probably be buying souvenier t-shirts; those and a pair of shorts and sandals will get you through most of the day. Some ships have self-service laundries, if you must. The ship's laundering is fairly pricey. Everything you will need for up to two weeks should fit into one large bag. An important caveat is to ensure your bag is under the weight limit for your airline. The limit can differ between airlines and foriegn and domestic travel. It may be necessary to break your load into two bags to avoid the overage penalty (some items may be shifted to your roll- aboard; see below). In any case, you will be thankful during your many travel transitions that you kept your load light, especially when you return with an added burden of souvenirs. The Second Rule of Packing is that one large bag really isn't enough. It is a necessity that you have a small carry-on bag (roll-aboard recommended) to contain the items you must keep with you--passports, important documents, jewelry and valuables, cameras, and reading material for the flight. Also advisable are minimal hygiene articles and a comfortable change of clothes in case your one large bag is delayed in delivery to your cabin (we won't dwell on the possibilities with the airline). It is a good idea if the carry-on can be attached or otherwise placed on your one large bag (roll-aboard, of course) for shuttling around easily. Take "Disposable" Clothing! Save your holey socks and dingy underwear for your trip, and throw them away as you go! You'll have less washing to do.* Same goes for old T-shirts, and even SHOES! If you are a regular jogger, save your older running shoes (which are still good for walking). You can throw them away at the end your trip and not have to carry them home (donate them at a local Goodwill or church if your conscience bothers you). Also, if you're going on a shopping trip and you're planning on stocking up your wardrobe, take only those old clothes you plan to throw away. As you buy new clothing, you can wear them and have less to pack. This concept supports charitable travel, because our used clothing may be useful to someone in a less advantaged economy. *(The dirty clothing you do want to bring home can be used for padding around your souvenir purchases.) More Packing Tips! Before putting anything in a softside suitcase, “waterproof it” by using a thin plastic sheet (dry cleaning bag or plastic paint sheets) that fills and overlaps interior of the suitcase. Then pack as suggested below. Fold excess plastic over the top of clothing. Now your clothes will be protected from rain or external moisture while being loaded on planes and ships. Pack heavy items, such as shoes and toiletry kits, before the more delicate ones. Place them along the suitcase's spine to balance weight at the bottom. Use tissue paper or plastic bags between each layer of clothing and stuff it up jacket sleeves. Line the bottom of your suitcase with trousers, letting the legs hang over the outside edge. Then pack the rest of your travel gear - lighter materials on top. Wrap trouser legs over the pile; they'll keep their crease. Stuff socks and rolled-up belts into shoes to save space. Take along plastic zip lock bags for laundry or wet swimsuits. Hang clothing in the bathroom while showering to steam out wrinkles. Bring an empty soft bag for souvenirs. If you want to use your suitcase's restraining belts or ties, use a nightdress or knit shirts to prevent crushing. Keep a checklist of items you regularly need on a trip. Pack a dryer sheet, it smells nice and will help eliminate static. Pack f irst aid items in a small ziplock bag, that fits in pocket, purse or fanny pack: bandaids, Neosporin ointment, Advil or Tylenol, Immodium, antiseptic wipes, eye drops (Visine). Use a dry erase marker to write messages to my cabinmate on the mirror.