Packing It In


Being asked to write for Going Global to inject a little bit of a woman’s travel perspective on my new weekly column Herstory led me to one of the most female appropriate topics of all!

Why do women always pack so much when traveling?


Whether you have mastered the practice down to a fine art or still pack everything but the kitchen sink, over packing is like a right a passage for women at one stage in her life.

Packing does not come and go quietly. It is something that is spoken, discussed, complained and fought about in bedrooms around the world. It’s a constant dialogue in the intricate mind of a woman.

If you are like me, I usually starts somewhere between 4-6 weeks in advance, mentally plowing through hangers of dresses and tops, of course visualizing picture worthy outfits. Often faced with the dilemma like whether that 8th pair of jeweled sandals will be necessary. If you ask me of course they are!

Two weeks prior and there’s a small moment of clarity knowing (or admitting) that a new outfit every day isn’t as important as the experience of travel that lies ahead. You convince yourself you CAN be that girl who survives with 1 pair of jeans 3 tees and a leather jacket in a carry on. Think something along the lines of ‘cool skinny model’ uniform.

Sounds like a perfect plan, only one problem; I am not a model nor am I skinny. I just can’t pull it off.

packThe day of the pack comes, where I profusely deny agreeing to take JUST one carry on suitcase. Whoever that woman was two weeks ago is now a distant memory, unrecognizable.

“Never in my right mind, I must have been drunk!”

And that’s how the dialogue goes year round… constantly!

So why? Why oh why must we pack that ball gown on a European vacation or 5 pairs of heels to the Greek Islands?

For starters, have you ever watched a woman get dressed in the morning? It’s like 16 Broadway quick changes on fast-forward. It’s hard enough getting dressed for one day let alone planning and packing for 10.

Even for someone relatively low maintenance, a small compact hairdryer is already one more appliance a women needs than a man. And of course he will ask to use it when his hair gets wet or better yet spills something on his shirt.

There is always a degree of uncertainty while travelling. This unknown is vulnerability and for women, clothes become her security blanket. Yes, much of what gets packed will never see the light of day while away but this doesn’t mean we weren’t prepared for any situation, weather, activity or environment thrown our way,

My motto is, if it fits in the bag, take it. You can always buy another bag when you get there. As long as you aren’t ‘lugging’ your luggage before the trip has even started. Ladies, there is a difference between over packing and overweight. Try to still stay within the weight restrictions.

Men take note; it’s not always about the destination. Some journeys need a little bit of planning, ok a lot.

This is NOT a nonchalant event for women, hours and hours of planning go into packing. Next time you start complaining about all the extra luggage remember who was the one who forgot to bring his toothbrush!

Steph_profHerstory is a weekly column on women and travel by Steph Ridhalgh. Steph is a Sydney born; New York based television producer and travel blogger. Not one for being quiet for too long she simply loves talking about travel and lifestyle.

Steph is the founder of STEP(h) ABROAD, a travel and lifestyle resource for those who love to be in the know and know how.

Connect with her on the web, Facebook and Twitter.


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