Ginny Otte

Weeknights 12am - 5:30am

I recently traveled to my daughter’s house (about 400 miles away) and traveled by train.  She was impressed with me because I was fully packed with only one average-sized backpack.  My goal was to pack as lightly as I could, because I was a solo traveler on a train, and there really isn’t too much room on a train for a lot of luggage and I’m not a fan of carry too much all at once by myself.

For four days, I assumed that I wasn’t going to be out doing intense exercise.  I hung around her neighborhood except for one day when we saw the Van Gogh interactive show near her home, and one day at a trampoline park.   I don’t wear makeup, so I didn’t have to pack any of that.

Being a camper, I know how to pack lightly.  In fact, REI has a great guide on how much clothing you actually need for a 2 week trip.  I wasn’t camping, so I knew I would have access to a grocery store if I did actually forget anything.  Here’s what I put in my backpack:

an outfit roll

Packing compactly to fit everything into a backpack

3 changes of clothes–underwear, socks, outerwear.  I packed a sundress, an outfit of lightweight leggings and a tank top, and jeans capri shorts and a t-shirt.  Each complete outfit was placed on a flat surface, folded, and then rolled up into a roll.  The roll was secured with the scrunchie hair tie I would use in my long hair that day, as it was hot so the hair would be up.

1 nightgown

A spare pair of sneakers

My brush and travel-sized toiletries, all placed in a plastic bag

my iPad mini for reading ebooks on the train

my Nintendo Switch for playing games with my granddaughter

The pair of shoes, I placed at the bottom of the backpack and next to it on the bottom, one roll of clothes.  The next layer was the other two rolls of clothes. Then the  nightgown, the plastic back of toiletries, the Switch, and the chargers for all of the electronics. I still had space up top where I put my vitamins.  In the front pouch I put my iPad mini so I would not have to root around in my backpack.  This gave me empty pockets in the backpack where I could bring things home just in case.  Then I had a small crossbody purse for my wallet, keys and cell phone.  I decided rather than make use of the food car on the train, I also packed a sandwich and brought a drink, which I also tucked into the backpack. And that was it!  When I arrived my daughter marveled at how much I pulled out of the backpack, but the key was rolling up the clothes.

When you travel, pack very lightly, and enjoy the trip!