I am legendary for the heft and size of my luggage. But when I headed out Sunday for an overnight trip, I reversed that trend and packed very lightly. I surprised the guys on the camera crew that I would actually take an overnight bag for an overnight trip.
However, I am now regretting my decision as my overnight stay in Louisville, Kentucky, has stretched into three nights--thanks to a vicious visitation of a local stomach virus. I was scheduled to tape an updated conversation with the founders of the Together for the Gospel conference (Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, C.J. Mahaney, and Al Mohler) in Dr. Mohler's personal library. I was looking forward to seeing this library in person as I had heard so many rave about it. Instead, I spent that time in the emergency room of Jewish Hospital in downtown Louisville. In case I had any delusions that I was indispensable to this shoot, I'm glad to report that the Brainbox Productions crew did a great job without me--no surprises there.
My little adventure has raised some good points about travel, especially for single women on travel. When I was registering at the hospital, I was asked if I have an advanced medical directive, a signed power of attorney, or other such medical forms. I don't. Yet. Like most people, I don't think I'm at the stage where I need to think about it. But obviously illness or injury can strike at any age, and if one travels a great deal it would be wise to put these documents in order--especially for singles.
As a result of this trip, I'm returning to my overpacking tendencies (sorry, guys!). I didn't pack the extra outfits I normally do, clothes that account for spills, weather changes, modesty mishaps (didn't I pack that cami?!) and unexpected changes in travel plans. Before I pack any extra clothes, my suitcase is typically pre-packed with the following items:
- Disinfectant wipes (I've seen some unclean hotel rooms in my time)
- Dove cleansing cloths (activated with water, these are ideal for carry-on luggage)
- Chargers for my mobile phone, PDA, laptop, iPod, etc.
- Slippers (have you ever noticed how black your feet get padding around some hotel rooms?)
- Robe (especially helpful if you are a houseguest and the bathroom is not adjacent to your room)
- Tiny fan (good for drowning out loud hallway conversations)
- Earplugs (good for drowning out everything, but risky if you don't hear that alarm)
- Noise-cancelling headphones (especially helpful for long plane rides)
- A vitamin-rich, ultra-moisturizing face mask for rehydrating post-plane skin
- An array of medicines to combat bug bites, rashes, nausea, colds, respiratory illness, skin infections, cuts, burns, blisters, and "Montezuma's revenge"
- An alarm clock function (on my mobile phone or iPaq) because wake-up calls are infamously unreliable
- Last, but not least, my medical insurance card
That's before I start packing what I need for a particular trip. I always bring two pairs of shoes, even if I'm just gone for a short trip, because you never know when blisters will strike--or when your colleagues will get impatient with the stately pace your high-heeled boots require. (On one trip, my male colleagues were scheming to put caster wheels in my heels and tip me backwards like a dolly to get me around faster. When they finally 'fessed up to what was amusing them, we all laughed so hard that we couldn't walk at all!)
My hotel and hospital stays were pleasant, but a I've got to give props to Southwest Airlines. They not only rescheduled my flight twice, they did it without charging me additional fees. I only have to produce my emergency room discharge papers. That's truly outstanding service, especially the week before Christmas!
If you have any other packing tips, please post a comment. I'm re-opening the comment function on this post in time for our holiday travels. (And check out the submitted ideas for "niblings" in the "Creating Aunt Traditions" post--I've updated that post with a selection of your comments.)