Living & Working in Great Places
This packing guide is meant for those taking a bus or plane as opposed to a personal vehicle, though anybody may find it useful. These items will easily fit into a 30" duffel, especially if you use space saver bags for your clothing. At the end of the article I'll discuss the best way to pack everything in order to minimize breakage/spillage.
1. Clothing: One week's worth, with a dozen pairs of socks. Find out which parts of your uniform will be provided, and adjust accordingly. And also keep in mind the climate of your destination. Optional items include a swimsuit, a hat, and a jacket. Slippers are a good idea if your destination uses community dorm restrooms. If you're tight on luggage space, space saver bags can help. If you use these, try to get the kind where you roll it up to remove the air, instead of the ones that use a vacuum. You never know if your destination will or won't have the right vacuum attachment at the end of the season.
2. Shoes: One pair casual, one pair work. A shoe polish kit, if you think you'll need it. Bag that polish up.
3. Hygiene: A shampoo/conditioner blend is best. Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, hair product, soap (bar soap is best, one or two bars will last the whole season. Have a travel case for it.), nail clippers, deodorant, feminine hygiene, shaving kit. Any liquids should be double- or triple-bagged to prevent leakage if traveling by plane or bus. Your employer might provide it, but having a roll of toilet paper may be a good idea.
4. Eye-wear: Glasses and/or contacts, cleaner, case, drops. Sunglasses.
5. Electronics: Laptop (case, charger, mouse), phone (charger), camera (charger, batteries, memory card), MP3 (charger, headphones), e-reader (charger). Everything in this category is optional, but usually laptops and phones are essential. The others are handy if you're taking a bus or plane, or if the camera in your phone isn't very good. A small power-strip may be handy, as most rooms will only have one or two outlets.
6. Linens: Sheet, blanket, pillow, towels. Check with your employer to see if they'll provide any or all of these. Most places will provide it all.
7. IDs/Financial: Wallet/purse, photo ID or license, SS card, credit/debit card, cash, a roll of quarters (for not-free laundry), keys. If you're working near or over the border, don't forget your passport.
8. Laundry: Detergent, dryer sheets, laundry bag. Even though these aren't strictly required for the minimalist, most folks purchase these at home and pack them, rather than spend way too much when they arrive. As with the shampoo, double- or triple-bag the detergent.
9. Personal Health: Prescriptions, headache pills, heartburn relief, vitamins. Obviously for those who need them.
10. Itinerary: Bus/plane tickets, hotel reservations, job packets.
11. Snacks: Sweet and salty, like trail mix. A bottle of water to go with. A small stack of tissues or napkins.
12. Battery-operated alarm clock, small flashlight, batteries for each.
13. Basic makeup kit, if you work the front desk or a similar position. Also, keep jewelry and perfume/cologne to a bare minimum.
14. Backpack: This comes in real handy when hiking, and can also be used as a carry-on if you don't bring a laptop.
15. For those of you taking a bus on a long route, bring a plastic grocery bag. You may want to change clothes at a transfer station if it's a long trip, so you'll want to keep the dirties separate of course. A second small plastic bag may be handy to use as a trash bag on the long stretches.
16. A notepad and a couple pens.
17. A small destination travel guide, puzzle book, or something similar to keep from getting bored on the trip.
18. A travel-sized bottle of hand sanitizer. This is said mostly to the bus riders out there.
Cell phone and charger
Camera (if not taking a plane)
Hand sanitizer (if taking a bus)
Snacks and water
Wallet/purse (naturally with your IDs and money inside)
Travel itinerary and work agreement packet if you have one
Grocery bags (if taking a bus)
Toothbrush/toothpaste, if it's a long ride
Jewelry, if you're paranoid
If you're only allowed one carry-on, then this setup will work for you if you're bringing a laptop: Cell phone, keys and wallet will go in your pockets, purse on your shoulder, camera around your neck, eye-wear should be worn, and if your laptop case is large enough everything else should fit in there. All laptop peripherals except the charger should go into your checked baggage if this is the case.
If you're using a backpack, then it's pretty self-explanatory. Keep in mind that I say this as a way to get onto your flight/bus with no issues; once you're on your ride it doesn't much matter how you have everything. Trust me, this isn't as complicated as I've typed. It's mostly just common sense.
Everything not mentioned in the carry-on section will go into the duffel. Bag up your small items like so: one bag has non-essential medicine; one bag has non-essential, non-leakable hygiene/beauty products (within this bag you may want to separate each item); one bag has non-leakable laundry items; and one bag has electronics and every other small item.
If you happen to have a couple medium-sized department store bags, great. Gather up every single item that has a chance to leak. They should all be double- or -triple bagged separately, as mentioned above. Now, take all those items and place them into one of the medium bags. Take the second medium bag and use it to cover the opening of the first. If you're really paranoid you can always tape up the middle after.
If you don't have any department store bags, that's okay too. Just make sure the leakable items are bagged up with no chance to leak.
It's a good idea a few days before you start packing to mark your checked bag with spray paint or something similar, for identification purposes.
However you are traveling, wear the larger and heavier pair of shoes, like hiking boots. Also, wear layers, like a t-shirt, regular shirt, long-sleeve shirt, and jacket. If you're on a plane the layers will probably make you comfortable, since planes tend to be cold. If you're taking a bus, you can always remove a couple layers once seated. Just don't forget them on the transfers!
1. Open your duffel flat on the ground or bed. The laundry bag should be spread flat in the bottom of it. Next, pack your linens/towels (if your are bringing any) in the same way along the bottom. Don't vacuum bag the linens and towels, so that you have a bottom cushion. Granted, you should probably space-save your pillow anyway, if you've got one. If you are not bringing any linens or towels, use pants, long-sleeve shirts or jackets/coats on the bottom.
2. Take some of your clothes and pack them into either side of the duffel. This will give you your next set of cushioning.
3. On one side will be the wrapped package (or bags) of leakable goods. Next to that will be the bag of laundry items. Next to that will be the bag of hygiene/beauty products. Next to that will be the bag of electronics/small items. The final bag of medicinal items will be next to that bag. Finally, pack your other pair of shoes between that last bag and the clothes on the side of the duffel.
4. If you want, go ahead and pack some t-shirts, socks, underwear, or whatever in between each bag for added cushioning. If you're concerned about some of the items in the bags, then by all means wrap a shirt around those individual items, or tuck them in some socks.
5. On top of the bags will be the backpack, if you're not using it for carry-on. Finally, the rest of your clothes, vacuum-bagged or not, will rest on top of everything else, providing the final layer of cushioning.
6. If there is still a sizable amount of space in the bag after everything is packed, then go ahead and thrown in some more clothes, another blanket or pillow, or any other similar items to tighten everything up. Having space in a duffel when you're done packing is a very bad thing.
I've used this packing method for almost twenty years, and it has never failed me, even with the most idiotic of airline baggers who like to really whip luggage into the cargo bay. I hope this guide helps you all out too!