RACHEL’S BLOG – IT’S IN THE BAG…..OR IS IT??

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Thoughts unpacked on a weekend away

With our programme of weekend events in full swing, I thought I’d share a few thoughts about packing for a weekend away.  There’s a rule for a trip away isn’t there – half the clothes and double the money.    See, it’s already getting complicated….

Do you fold or roll your clothes?  A quick ‘celebrity packing tips’ google search seems to favour rolling.  Well Serious About Events have been rolling for nearly 30 years now so I think we’re definitely rolling when it comes to packing.  And yes, we do occasionally have calls, usually from first timers, asking what they should wear for a weekend away.  We tend to say wear what you’d wear to the pub, maybe pop in a bit of bling or fancy dress and definitely your boogie shoes for our Saturday party night. But far more importantly, be prepared for a great time.

There’s also a jungle out there, recommending packing cubes, garment folders, tissue paper and compression bags.  In case they haven’t ventured on to your radar, compression bags are those handy plastic bags that suck the life out of your clothes.  You shove the nozzle of your vacuum cleaner in the hole in the back and reduce your gladrags to a small, slightly bizarre lump.  What a piece of utter genius that is, until you get to your hotel and realise you don’t have a handy vacuum cleaner to repeat the process for the trip home.  I bet room attendants have been asked more than once to borrow their nozzle, wondering if there’s something funny going on.

So what to take for a weekend away?  And when do you do your packing?  Are you a last minuter or a strategic planner when it comes to a weekend away?  Is the last minute dot com just a bloke thing.  I can’t imagine a bunch of guys going on a stag weekend away spending hours deciding what they’re going to wear and fretting about matching shoes.  I certainly don’t know any.  But a hen weekend away needs careful thought as it might involve spa treatments, some sports and a smart night out.  A full blown hen weekend could involve a pre weekend away just to rehearse the outfits.  And yes I’ve read Men Are From Mars, Women Are from Venus.  And we all know how hen party weekend ideas can get out of hand….

Some of my pals pack weeks ahead.  I think that’s a risky strategy as you can easily forget what you’ve packed.  I’m writing from experience here.  I read some travel guru’s advice about filling your shoes with smaller items.   So picking up on this, I was packing a pair of trainers for a trip to ((hot country)) and hit on the brilliant idea of putting my phone charger, cable and power banks in the shoes, filling the gap snugly with socks. I then forgot about this entire process, put the trainers in my hotel wardrobe, never to be worn during the trip as it was far too hot for anything but flip flops.  I promptly spent the first day cursing myself for forgetting to pack a phone charger and having to track down a shop to buy one.

I have a friend…..I won’t name this friend…..who has a portable luggage scale to weigh her luggage.  And then packs it so she can check before the journey back. Personally I hop on the bathroom scales clutching my luggage and do a bit of subtraction.  On the way back, I hope for the best.   Of course that was pre Covid, back in the time when we occasionally got on planes and had to weigh our stuff.

This friend is NOT Karen, by the way.  Karen is a very organised packer, and has almost turned it into an art form.  Rows of carefully rolled clothes that look like a piece of serious artwork.  As for me, having had to lug a minimal rucksack up mountains on my Cancer Research UK fund raising challenges, I learned how to say goodbye to my hair straighteners. But when it’s a fun weekend away, I revert to type and take everything and more that I can ram into my bag.   It usually involves a bit of case sitting and loud complaints from the zips.

Jane, our press officer, swears by a see through bag for toiletries so you can easily check the contents and hang it on the hotel bathroom door.  She confessed to me that when she does a beach holiday, she takes a mix of favourite things and old stuff for beach/pool. She then dumps the tired items especially old shoes, before the trip home, leaving room for shopping triumphs.  Her other tip is to take mugging cash especially if you’re going somewhere a bit dodgy.  She’s never had to use it but knows people who have been able to quickly hand over a token wallet to avoid being stabbed.  I thought I’d pass that on.

So whether you’re packing for a stag weekend, a hen weekend, a dirty weekend or even one of our skittles weekends, don’t forget your toothbrush.  But as the old song goes, grab your coat and get your hat, leave your worries on the doorstep……!!