I ran this post over the summer, but am coming back to it, as I start to plan my next trip to California in a few weeks. I am always obsessed with how people travel, because there is an art to doing it well. And sometimes, like I learned on my recent trip to Texas, it doesn’t always mean stuffing everything into a carry-on (I guess it keeps you from buying anything, but when you do, it’s an issue and you have to get really creative about getting everything back). There is nothing worse than getting to a place and not having everything you need, or those extra pieces thatmake getting dressed more enjoyable. Joan Didion’s packing list is my all-time favorite, perhaps for the extras (and the reasons behind them) that have nothing to do with clothes.
This recently discovered packing list of Jackie Kennedy featured in the New York Times on the fateful trip she and Jack took to Dallas shows how detailed she was about what she wore when. It is not surprising. Being someone who also loves to make lists and visualizes what I want to wear when on my trips, I thoroughly appreciated it.
This piece in CNTraveler by Tracee Ellis Ross on how she travels is a good read with everything from her airplane uniform, favorite souvenirs, and in-flight essentials to why she loves adventure.
My all-time favorite is Joan Didion’s packing list which appeared in her book, The White Album back in 1979, along with her reasoning as to why she takes what. Someday, I’ll learn to travel light like Joan.
“This is a list which was taped inside my closet door in Hollywood during those years when I was reporting more or less steadily. The list enabled me to pack, without thinking, for any piece I was likely to do. Notice the deliberate anonymity of costume: in a skirt, a leotard, and stockings, I could pass on either side of the culture. Notice the mohair throw for trunk-line flights (i.e. no blankets) and for the motel room in which the air conditioning could not be turned off. Notice the bourbon for the same motel room. Notice the typewriter for the airport, coming home: the idea was to turn in the Hertz car, check in, find an empty bench, and start typing the day’s notes.”
—Joan Didion, “The White Album”
TO PACK AND WEAR:
2 jerseys or leotards
1 pullover sweater
2 pair shoes
nightgown, robe, slippers
bag with: shampoo
toothbrush and paste
Basis soap, razor
2 legal pads and pens