Packing strategy

I’ve always been something of an obsessive packer. I’ ll start days beforehand, experimentally piling underwear and tops and bottoms into whatever receptacle I deem fit for the purpose, then iteratively extracting and adding until I’m happy with the result. Invariably, I’ll pack things I end up not needing and end up regretting that I didn’t pack the things I left out.

Such is life.

This time, I’m trying to pack light. To save money on the flight to Melbourne and from Adelaide, I’ve tried to stick to the 10kg weight limit imposed by Jetstar. (Any more and you pay extra – the Australians charge for everything. Absolutely everything.)

So my aim is an ambitious one: to pack light enough that I don’t need to check in any luggage.

To do this, I’ve schemed up the following:

1. No dressing up. Going to restaurants is not only expensive, but if there’s a dress code, it adds to the weight. All clothing to be light and practical. Dress in layers. Jeans and long sleeved shirts (which can be rolled up) only. Luckily, the weather in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide is almost exactly the same as the weather in South Africa at the time, so there will be no unpleasant surprises.

2. Wear all my heaviest clothing on the plane. You can’t get penalized if you’re wearing stuff. No matter how much they weigh your luggage, the airlines still don’t actually weigh you. (Though that would be an incentive to go on diet.)

3. Borrow shampoo from your friend. Since I’ll be staying with a friend, I’m banking on sharing some of his stuff. Shampoo and sunblock just adds to the weight. Also the Australians make you pack everything in ziplock plastic bags, and bringing too many liquids (which could be used by terrorists to blow up the plane) is liable to get you turfed off at the gate.

4. Resist the urge to buy souvenirs. In all seriousness, is there anything that anyone wants from a destination they themselves haven’t visited – unless it’s a world famous specialty you can’t get from Pick n Pay on Nicol? As I type this, I’m wearing the souvenir shirt I bought when I visited Berlin in 2011 to remind of of, well, visiting Berlin in 2011. There is nothing more pointless and skaam than wearing a shirt from Byron Bay when you’ve never actually visited Byron Bay. I may stock up on Tim Tams in Duty Free on the way back, but that’s as far as it goes, and even then, you can buy the best Australian brands in South Africa now (Tim Tams are available from most Pick n Pays and I’ve spotted Darrell Lea licorice in my local Engen), which rather defeats the object of the exercise. The reverse also applied: Ouma rusks used to be available in Franklin’s supermarkets, but that was back when they were owned by Pick n Pay, so perhaps that’s no longer the case. (I shopped at Franklins Mosman when I lived in Sydney.)

Tim Tam

PS No, I won’t be visiting Byron Bay.

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