This afternoon I start the real work of packing for two weeks away from home.  This is usually something that I don’t find that hard – but it’s complicated on a book tour, because you have to get seen by people every day- and lots of them take your picture, and at some point I can just tell that there will be a Ravelry thread called "One shirt wonder?" In which knitters who have been at events post pictures of me wearing the same thing over and over and have lengthy discussions about why I thought nobody would notice.   (This makes me think that book tours were probably a lot easier before camera phones, but I digress.)

I’ve come up with a couple of strategies (beyond the obvious, like clothes that match and stuff) that I will be happy to share with you now, in case you ever take a two week trip where people will be looking at you a lot and you have to take a plane every day.

1. Always pack one brown shirt and one brown pair of pants/skirt. Wear this outfit for travel and on the planes.  If you only have two pairs of pants for a whole trip, you can’t risk staining anything, and that means you can’t drink coffee on planes (planes have coffee spilling turbulence) and you’re going to need to be able to do that. The coffee coloured outfit is your insurance and your permission to drink coffee with impunity.  (Pro-tip. Beer/red wine don’t really show up on brown pants either.)   NEVER wear a white shirt on a plane if it is central to your two week wardrobe plan, unless you are making a commitment to drink only clear, colourless fluids for the duration of the journey.  The stress and risk aren’t worth it.

2. Pack two or three large zip-lock bags.  That way, you can wash out underpants/socks/shirts-you-wore-on-planes-that-weren’t-brown in the hotel room, even though the next morning you’re taking another flight and you totally thought that they would have time to dry before morning, but they didn’t. Never put damp stuff in your suitcase without the zip-lock. It makes everything in the suitcase into a damp wrinkled mess, which would be fine, except for I promise there will not be an iron in your next hotel room.   If stuff is still damp in the morning, toss them in the zip-locks, then in the suitcase, then resume drying hours later when you reach your next hotel.  Pro-tip: Never forget you have a pair of damp underpants in a zip-lock for a week.

3. The best thing to do about underpants is to abandon them and buy more as you go.  Pro-tip: Tell this plan to your publicist, so that if it’s crazy to think you’ll have three minutes to buy underpants because she’s booked you on a ridiculously tight schedule, she can giggle nervously and tip you off – like mine did this morning. 

4. Shawls.  Bring one.  Shawls can be used for:
– a Pillow on a flight
– to cover the stain on your shirt because you forgot rule #1
– a blanket in the hotel because you can’t figure out how to turn off the arctic blast of the air-conditioner
– something to cover your face with so you can try and block out the sun and sleep in a car.
– something to carry things in if your bag rips and your stuff is falling out
– an actual accessory to change how an outfit looks (That one is untested)
– something to hold in front of you if you discover that your pants zipper is broken while you’re at a book signing in Seattle.

5. Consider designating one top as an "eating shirt" so that all stains and spills are consolidated and your critical wardrobe stays pristine.  Dark colours work best for this, as long as you’re spiritually ready to forgo most cream based sauces.   Practice explaining the principal of the eating shirt  so that it comes out right,  as in "I’d love to go to dinner, just let me change" VS "I cain’t have spaghetti, I ain’t wearin’ my eatin’ shirt."  I’m sure you see the difference.

That’s all I’ve got, though if I figure out more I’ll tell you.  If you’ve got tips, fire them at me in the comments.  I’m packing.

PS: I now have both sleeves, the back, one front and 8cm of the second front done on Gwendolyn.  If I can get the other front done today, and the whole thing blocking by bedtime… I might make it.