I’m terrible at packing, so I make packing lists. Here’s my packing list for Canada because I’m taking the bus across CANADA!
Packing list for Canada
If there were a failblog for packing, I’d be first on the list.
However, I am nothing if I am not persistent. I want to travel and have accepted I must, therefore, pack well in order to enjoy my travels to the fullest.
Things I usually mess up
- Pack at the last minute
- Neglect to check the weather
- Randomly throw clothes in
- Bring too much random stuff
Keeping in mind the awkward times I’ve had with my packing lists, I decided to make a list of my packing victories.
Golden Rules of Robyn Roste travel
- Always write a packing list. Then share with my good friend Celia because she’ll remind me to pack underwear
- Write an events list and what kinds of outfits you’ll need
- Leave enough time to pack three times. First pack whimsically, vaguely attending to The Packing List. Second compare to the events list and pilfer items out. Third, repeat again. This time making sure packed items are versatile and can be combined more than one way
- If you’re on a long bus/train trip, avoid shirts with sleeves. You won’t be able to change/shower and you will smell. It is unavoidable. However, your stench is less when you lack sleeves
- Don’t bring a sleeping bag, blanket or pillow unless you have a car. Just bring one warm coat/fleece and one sheet—bring your Quillow instead of a sheet if it’s not summer
- Divide your toiletries into sections: Stuff you’ll need while travelling, stuff you’ll need overnight and stuff you’ll only need periodically
- Always use a backpack unless you’re staying in hotels. You will never regret this
- Only bring books you’re willing to ditch when finished reading. If you meet cool people you can trade books
Since I was taking the bus and travelling upwards of four/five weeks, and spanning the country of The Great White North in the summer, I knew I would probably meet nearly every type of weather system at some point.
Maybe not snow, but I wasn’t ruling it out. I didn’t pack a toque or anything (don’t be silly) but I had a backup plan: I would just knit one.
I also knew I could only bring one bag. This was because Greyhounds only allow one checked bag (under the bus) and one carry on. Of course you can get around this, but I wanted to have lots of room at the beginning so I wouldn’t have problems fitting everything in.
The backpack I went with is an old Outbound pack I bought on my first trip to Europe in 1997. It zips open all the way, which is handy. As well, it has a convertible day pack, which zips on and off simply. I love this bag because it converts from backpack to suitcase with a zip. Also I get an extra bag without much effort, which has paid for itself 100 times over for that feature alone.
The process was simple: I packed the larger pack with clothes, shoes and extras. The smaller pack held extra books, pens, paper and toiletries. I also decided to bring a computer bag with my laptop, camera, iPod and other electronics. Of course I had a purse to boot. I did question whether to bring the electronics—I mean, I was going to be in pretty crazy conditions for most of the trip, and asleep for much of my travelling. What if something got stolen?
However, I decided I would regret not bringing the equipment, plus I had some room to spare in my big pack, so I brought it.
My big plan was to knit something for everyone I stayed with, so I also had to plan out a knitting list. This was actually harder than actually packing. I had no idea what I’d feel like making or what colours I’d require. So, I estimated and brought what I thought I needed. I packed several patterns, which would work with all the yarns I packed, as well as a small choice of needles.
Knitting stuff took up a large section of my bag, but I knew as I travelled the space would open up. I figured this was important in case I needed to downsize my bags for any reason. For example, if the bus is too full to have a purse and a laptop bag. Or if I become nervous someone will rip me off and want to hide my bling. I had a lock for my large pack, so it gave me the semblance of peace of mind.
Two months after my trip I don’t have my lists any longer, but I am pleased with the results of my packing attempt.
Not only did I wear all the clothes I packed (what a GREAT packing list for Canada!), but they were, for the most part, appropriate.
This was a great victory for me since I spent the trip:
- On more than 20 busses
- At a business luncheon
- Watching baseball
- In weather ranging from 10-35 degrees
- On a variety of boats
- Playing tennis
- IN NEW YORK (dress to impress)
- Networking with other journalists/writers
- On an airplane
Therefore, this packing list for Canada challenge was a worthy adversary and I look forward to our next meeting.
And, nothing got lost, broken or stolen except for my left contact lens (lost, broken and stolen?). But I had an extra left contact, so no big deal.
Other packing lists (although not a packing list for Canada, this is the only one)
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This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.