Hanoi, Vietnam. PHOTO: Sarah Lofgren

The Ultimate Epic Packing List

Is it too epic? You decide.

Packing is a pain in the patooty, but my life’s mission is to not only overcome, but dazzle and dominate.

Are you trying to figure out exactly what you’ll need on your big summer trip? Over my many years going places, I’ve picked up a lot of valuable wisdom. Learn from me. I’ve got all the tips you need! (Except for the 10% kind. We don’t do that here.)

The first and most useful tip is that you should start obsessing about what to pack at least 2 months in advance. Play different scenarios in your mind to try and anticipate how they might unfold. Imagine yourself walking the streets of Rome and try to decide whether you’ll be happy without a life-sized Boba Fett cutout. (Pretty sure we all know the answer to that one.)

One of your most important decisions is what sort of bag will work best for your trip. Lots of people will tell you to go for something sleek, practical and expensive, but those people are being paid by big luggage to write those articles.

Instead, you’re going to want to buy the largest and most garish bag you can possibly find. Why?

  • Your trip won’t be satisfying unless you have all your stuff close at hand.
  • It’ll be easier to find your bag in the sea of black, practical cases and sad little duffles everyone else packed.
  • Every new person you meet will know you’re SPECIAL.

I don’t even want to talk to you unless you have at least one flower on your bag, a poofy pom pom and a sticker. Special people or no people, that’s my motto.

Once you’ve got a big, colorful bag picked out, you have to decide what to fill it with. This is the fun part! Try to conceive of every single thing you could possibly want over the course of your trip (and for a few days after, in case your flight is delayed).

  • Consider the full range of weather you might experience and, just to be safe, add 10 degrees of padding on either end.
  • People often lose weight while traveling, so you’ll want to bring your normal jeans and your skinny jeans.
  • Never go anywhere without a swimsuit.
  • And ten towels. (For cuddling, mopping things up, using as makeshift dresses, creating a tent if your lodging falls through, etc. If you’ve read Hitchhiker’s Guide, you know all about this.)
  • A ball gown or tuxedo (whichever is your preference). Sure, you think you’re only going on a camping trip, but what if you run into a prince with tickets to a ball and it’s that night and he wants you to go with him? Good thing you brought your formal wear!
  • Guidebooks and maps (as many as possible).
  • The dorkiest hat possible, especially if you’re American. There’s a rule that Americans have to wear ridiculous hats when traveling.
  • Your favorite stuffed animal (so you don’t get lonely). Even if you have human companionship for your trip, stuffed animals are more forgiving.
  • Hiking boots, flip flops, sneakers, oxfords, ballet flats, and high heels (regardless of gender).
  • The United States Constitution (regardless of nationality).
  • Snacks (as many as you can).
  • A book (but only the kind that can be purchased from an airport newsstand). Even if you aren’t traveling by plane, you should still probably swing by an airport newstand so you can pick up the exact right thriller or 5 pound beauty magazine (with 4.8 pounds of ads).
  • Antacids (if you’re a farter).
  • Perfume (apply liberally, esp if you’re sitting next to me on the plane, because I LOVE sneezing for 8 hours).
  • A printout that you can give people when they ask you your feelings about mr trump (seems this is all anyone wants to talk about, esp when abroad). Even if the printout just reads, “I don’t want to talk about trump,” this will save you a lot of emotional energy.
  • A sexy hand fan that you can open and close in front of your face when you are jet lagged and just don’t want to make eye contact.
  • Gum.
  • Framed pictures of family and friends.
  • Stationary.
  • The biggest camera lens possible (so other people will be impressed). If you have to fashion it out of paper towel rolls and paint, that is fine. Just do a convincing job.
  • A snuggie.
  • A musical instrument so you can spread joy (whether or not you play (learning is easy)).
  • Coloring book and pencils.
  • A disguise (in case of hijinks).

Thanks for reading the Ultimate Epic Packing List! That’s all the items I can think of right now, but I’m sure some readers have ideas for packables I might have forgotten. What was the most useful item you included on your last trip?

Sarah is a freelancer who exists on twitter and redbubble (buy her stuff!). She’s going to be traveling very shortly, so her posts might start occuring at weird intervals and taking on a strange vibe (stranger than usual). However, she’s determined to continue posting while on the road, so we’ll all see how that goes. Personally I think she’ll be having such a great time that she’ll forget to be silly and sardonic, but she assures me that isn’t the case. Whatever, Sarah. I think we all know you better than that. She instagrams a lot of fun stuff while on the road, so if you’d like to follow along, that’s the best place to do it. BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TO. Clearly. This ending bio is getting a little long. Ha ha.

If you’re into the whole travel thing, you might enjoy:

Engaged in inadvisable wordsmitheries and other creative acts. http://sarahlofgren.com

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