My mother would tell you that all three of her kids turned out to be successful citizens who contribute to society and that she’s proud of us. Furthermore, she would probably brag that it was not from a judicious use of any “timeouts” or “discussion therapy.” No sir, it was the repeated use of a belt, switch, or yardstick that kept us in line, make no mistake about it! Occasionally she would break one of her yardsticks across your butt, but it only served to further steel her determination; she kept the “yard shards” in the pantry as a reminder…
I remember as a young child, traveling across country (by car) to participate in some awesome family vacations. We would travel to my Grandfather’s farm in Missouri for Christmas with all of the Uncles and Aunts and Cousins, etc. I also remember that when mom would pack for these trips, I would hide the yardsticks from the pantry so she wouldn’t pack them! Not that she couldn’t just pull over and grab the first small tree she could find, mind you, but my fear of the yardstick was legitimate at the time and the thought that I was sparing myself and my siblings from certain doom was just as real. I can’t remember all of the things mom packed in the suitcases, but I remember the yardstick was never one of them.
Today, I maintain a list of things not to pack. I see other people pack them, and I always wonder why. See if you pack any of these items:
- Hair dryer. Why? Tiny hotels in third world countries have them in the rooms, why on earth would carry one in your suitcase? Leave it.
- Beer. The temptation to bring home a six-pack from some of this country’s small microbreweries is daunting, indeed. However, only ? of the airplane’s cargo space is pressurized and since that’s where they keep pets, etc, your chances of having said beer explode all over the contents of your suitcase are very real indeed. Ship it.
- Shoes. Well, you’ll need some shoes, just not 8 pair of shoes for a three day trip. Ladies, I’m talking to you on this one half. A good conservative pair of black pumps will go with almost anything. Take along a pair of sneakers for long walks or working out, and you’re good to go. Anything else just adds weight to your suitcase and these days, weight costs money. Forget it.
- Pool toys. Fins, masks, snorkels, inflatable toys, etc, are almost always available at the hotel. Snorkeling equipment and the like are available for rent. Skip it.
- “Just in case” items. Do you really need to pack a three foot long umbrella in case it rains? Do you need that big, heavy coat in case it gets cold? No. Dress in layers, buy a cheap umbrella from the hotel gift shop, get creative, use your trip as an excuse to buy new sandals if it’s hot, just don’t pack the whole ensemble. It’s expensive!
Today, I have an antique yardstick hanging by my own pantry door. I don’t have kids, perhaps is a subliminal reminder to behave? I don’t know why it’s there, but I know I’m taking it down before mom visits this Christmas season!
EXTRA: If you have questions for Ken regarding business travel, hotels, airplanes, etc, please call 1-877-49-EXPERT. Your questions will be recorded and Ken will answer the best ones in his Ask the Expert podcast show.