The word alone sends me into a total tizzy and always has. So what about going away, and that p-word, makes me feel so crazy? Let’s unpack it.
I traveled a lot in my former life as a producer. Trips to London for two weeks. Ten days in Tokyo or Los Angeles. My approach to packing is excessive. Like Mariah Carey vs carry-on excessive. Because I am a girl who needs options. This has gotten worse, not better, with age.
I remember loving this article in Vogue that shared Joan Didion’s enviable minimal packing list, including a spare wardrobe, cigarettes, and bourbon. And though conventional wisdom (aka the internet) offers packing tips like ABE (always be editing), accessorizing, and investing in some packing cubes, I’m not a conventional girl. For those who overpack, I salute you.
So here are my true tips as I ponder parking for two weeks at the beach. You’d be better off taking packing advice from people who wear pants that zip away to shorts that you can wash in your hotel room sink, but here goes everything:
First, pack like you are headed into the apocalypse or, at the bare minimum, the Amazon. Because as you know, there are no stores where you are headed. Coastal Eastern seaboard areas are notoriously remote, and there are no stores.
Not big on apocalypses? Pack like Beyoncé going to St. Tropez for eternity. Because even though you’re headed to the Jersey Shore and will most likely wear your favorite shorts from Target 24/7, a bounty of caftans and sparkly things makes you feel safe.
Think of your car as your back-seats-down suitcase. Because you are driving, your entire Jeep Cherokee is one big bag, so stuff it accordingly. Congratulations on not flying somewhere and fighting with your spouse about your overweight bag fee. Well played.
Speaking of husbands, why not surprise and delight them by placing a few extra bras or a cashmere sweater or extra retinol serum in his suitcase so he can find an extra treat to unpack? So romantic.
Always pack 27 pairs of underwear — no more, no less. The same goes for bras.
Bring every beauty product you own. Your jowls and crow’s feet don’t go on vacation; therefore, it all must come with you — every serum, lotion, and potion. As you pack up your regimen, pray to nobody in particular that you will have enough shelf space in your hotel or Airbnb to contain it all.
Pack a hat that needs its own seatbelt. And then pack a thousand more. Then buy a new one at the beach because you need a new one.
Since the car is your suitcase (repeat after me, my car is my suitcase), bring those pre-pandemic pieces that are a full-on crap shoot as to whether they still fit. If they don’t, blame it on the barometric pressure at the beach.
Packing five bulbous hardcover books in your beach tote is essential. If you read them, it will be a miracle. That history-of-fabric book is intriguing, but so is staring into space. The same goes for your gym clothes; it’s cute that you think you’ll work out. Unloading the car is workout enough.
Think you’ve got it all covered? If you forget micellar water or Motrin, you must stop at CVS. What’s a vacation without sightseeing at an unfamiliar CVS? By the end of the week, you’ll know it like the back of your hand.
Your new puppy must have her very own valise for everything from those stinky salmon treats to that sparkly vest to keep the gulls away to her small, medium, and large Lamb Chop stuffies.
Measure out a microdot. Then divide by two. That’s the space in the car/suitcase reserved for your husband’s things. Place his stuff under your giant Diptyque Baies candle you bring in case the Airbnb is musty.
Lastly, you’ve got a road trip ahead of you, so snack pack accordingly. Nice try on those pickle chips from 7-11. We all know you’ll exclusively eat the Chex Mix and get yelled at for meticulously picking out all the bagel chips. It’s not your fault you have a discerning palate, so fight back.
Thus concludes my packrat packing tips. My summer vacations are full of stuff. Literally. After all, more is more (until it needs to be unpacked).