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.

223 thoughts on “Packing

  1. You can do it – depending on your definition of bedtime! If you are anything like me the night before a big trip then bedtime is a totally achievable goal.

  2. Underwear in your carry-on. It keeps customs folks from digging around too much and is extremely useful in the event the airline loses your luggage. Speaking from experience a hotel will easily provide you with toiletries, panties not so much.

  3. great tips!! Unfortunately I don’t think my little books will ever be wildly popular enough to require a two week book tour! Can’t wait to stop and say hi this weekend! Have safe travels!

  4. Panty liners.
    Yes, really. You could (conceivably…) travel with just one pair of undies as long as you have a healthy stock of panty liners.
    Ask me how I know….>:-)

  5. “I cain’t have spaghetti, I ain’t wearin’ my eatin’ shirt.”
    This is definitely something my parents would say, just to make me laugh. 🙂

  6. Awesome protips.
    The shawl thing really is so true. I always bring one with me on the plane and feel about 100% more elegant than I do in normal life. Nobody ever predicts that the thing we spent weeks/months painstakingly knitting becomes a thing to quickly sling around your neck to look effortless and comfortable.
    Good luck with your Gwendolyn sweater! I’ve had mine on the needles for over a month and still only have 1.5 sleeves, and last time I saw her Fiona was breathing down my neck to see it finished. 😉

  7. Pro tip (admittedly untested): Outdoorsy stores sell underpants that are designed to be washed/dried overnight (and be dry by morning.)[1] They’re silly-expensive, but might be better than the no-underwear plan. (Although now that you’ve mentioned said lack of underpants, you’re probably going to be greeted by hoards of knitters bearing packs of Fruit of the Loom undies at every tour stop.

  8. Don’t forget the yarn. You wouldn’t want to be forced into buying more. Safe travels.

  9. Pro-Tips:
    If packing a curling iron, always make sure the barrel is not hot before stowing in the suitcase.
    Close all lotion/shampoo/soap/make-up dispensers tightly and stow in a plastic bag or toiletries bag. Then if they break, your entire suitcase and wardrobe are not covered in white/cream/brown/black goo.

  10. If you just go commando, you have less to worry about–and less to pack!(that’s NO underwear!)

  11. Having formerly been involved with pregnant women/nursing mothers, I am surprised that you didn’t embrace “prints are your friend”.
    A good printed top can cover a multiple of “stains”.

  12. My mom always packed pjs and t-shirts that were old, and threw them out after wearing them once, so her suitcase would have more room for gifts, and she wouldn’t have to buy extra luggage. In your case, this would leave more room for souvenir yarn.

  13. I really like Milissa’s Mum’s idea! My son once advised me that if I just wore clothes with a food splatter design I’d be further ahead. He has a point. There may be a marketing possibility here…
    Travel safely, have a great time and remember that the people who will be looking at you are already your friends!

  14. You can probably use the hotel iron to dry your clothes faster. (I say probably because you should make sure it won’t melt first.) It’s just like spraying something with water before ironing it, just turn off the steam setting. Or the hair dryer might be a possibility.

  15. The panty liners trick in one pair of underwear works great or panty liners stuck in the crotch of the pants works also. The eatin’ shirt should probably be a dark multi-colored pattern to disguise all different spill colors. Have fun on the trip!

  16. p.s. Silk undies would dry fast enough; was having some on clearance this week. (Watch them disappear fast now!)

  17. A big clear plastic bag to put unwashed laundry in, to keep it separate from the clean clothes.
    Polo shirts (T-shirts in summer): roll them and they don’t wrinkle.
    Terry Pratchett always wears all black when touring. Multiple shirts, one color. I realize this isn’t practical for you.
    I agree about underwear in your carry-on, and wish to add: also one good shirt in the carry-on bag.

  18. I think it’s safe to say that any non knitter reading this would be wondering why fitting 2weeks worth of clothes into a suitcase is hard, what they don’t realise is for knitters half the suitcase space is filled with knitting and yarn!
    Tip; Ask people who you know will be visiting you to bring you gifts of tops and pants (not the American kind of pants!).
    I think wearing the same trousers all week is totally acceptable.
    Enjoy your tour, I wish I could come. I think you should seriously consider coming to Bournemouth, UK next time, we’d love to meet you.

  19. I second the prints option. When my son was little he wore a LOT of plaid. Why? You could rarely see what he had spilled on himself!

  20. Bring safety pins (though if you only have carry-on luggage, bring safety pins but be prepared for the possibility that they will be confiscated — this seems to vary by airport and security guard). You can use them to fix zipper problems, “tailor” clothes that don’t fit they way you remembered them, fill in as stitch markers and stitch holders, open the seal on the bottle of aspirin you just bought….

  21. Pack your perfumes/body spray in your shoes that way if they break in your bag en-route your shoes will smell great but your clothes won’t be overwhelmed. In order to fit everything easier because I am a notorious over-packer, I also fold everything to be pretty square, stack it up and put it in the suitcase lined up like slices in a loaf of bread – that way everything is visible wtihout digging and it always seems to fit more than stacked one on top of the other.

  22. I’m sure that’ll come very useful when I grow up, and am a famous writer like you. Oh – out of curiosity – what do you recommend you drink when all your wardrobe is white because your daddy took a hand at the laundry?

  23. I second the panty shields advice, and carrying your undies in your purse/carryon.
    If you can coordinate all of your garments around one central color – brown is a good choice – you can mix and match with a minimum number of items. I did five weeks touring Europe with a concert band in high school, with just one suitcase. The uniform was a brown skirt, white blouse, and brown vest. Add brown pants, a couple of shirts that worked with brown (tan, light blue), a couple of lighter skirts that went with all the blouses, and we were good to go. Two good pairs of comfortable shoes, so you can alternate.
    I’m normally not fond of polyester or other acrylics, but they don’t wrinkle easily and that’s a plus when packing and repacking in a hurry.
    Roll all of your clothes – they take up less space and don’t get nearly as wrinkled as folding.
    Have fun! We don’t care what you’re wearing (other than the hand-knits); we’re just happy to see you again. I’m seriously bummed: I’m going to be out of town when you get to Portland. 🙁

  24. If you ask me, the most important travel accessory for black pants (must be non-shiny) is a black fabric marker or permanent pen. You just paint over stains and can go weeks that way, but since most fabric markers need heat-setting, you’re better off with the marker, if irons are unlikely.

  25. Good luck and happy traveling! I once purchased the abovementioned travel-undies for my husband. He was going to Peru with students every summer, and I thought it would simplify his life to have underwear that you could wash at night and would dry by morning.
    He was so disinterested that he never went to Peru again.

  26. To cool a curling iron wrap the barrel in a wet washcloth. That cools in quickly. (then leave the washcloth at the hotel)
    When you wash your undies wrap them in a towel then stomp on towel like you do when blocking a sweater. That takes out most of the water so they will dry overnight.
    Take a large plastic ziplock for soiled clothes so they don’t make the whole suitcase smell.
    Plastic grocery bags for your shoes so they don’t soil your clothes.
    Hope to see you and Gwendolyn at B&N Skokie! Safe journey.

  27. I’m leaving tomorrow on a trip. I have to go swap out my white T for the brown one. Hadn’t thought about the coffee trouble but with Murphy’s law being what it is, the brown shirt is infinitely more important than looking good from here to Boston (which is where I’ll miss seeing you Tuesday by mere hours.) [Boo hoo!]

  28. I’m fascinated that you didn’t go into the varying climate issue. I am actually going from Rhinebeck to Philly to Austin in the exact same timeframe (for Rhinebeck obviously, and then back-to-back work conferences). But the whole going from wet Fall weather to the drought-dry heat of Austin is making me nuts. At least I’m able to stop home for a day between each to switch bags/wardrobes. But underwear is the catch. I fully endorse tip #3!

  29. Katlin at 12:53 talked about the quick drying underwear, and I can attest that they work. She is right that they are ridiculously expensive but, when not traveling, I use them for working out and they are worth it. You will also be right next to an REI that sells them when you are at BookPeople in Austin. No, I don’t work for REI.

  30. Lands End has an entire wardrobe in their catalog designated as “Travel” clothes. I can attest to the fact that they don’t wrinkle, they’re dark so unless you spill aforementioned cream sauce, they don’t show stains, and you can rinse them out in your hotel room at night and wear them the next day. I took them to Russia for 2 weeks… (along with some jeans) and was totally prepared for everything from a ballet at the Kirov to a pro-communist demonstration (which I accidentally found myself in the middle of) and everything in between (fancy dinners with Moscow State University faculty, posing for a street artist in St. Petersburg, wading in the Gulf of Finland, etc). Have fun on your tour, Steph.

  31. As a person who has traveled for work for the last 4 years, here are a few of my tips:
    – Always pack a set of clothes in your carry-on bag in case the airline looses your luggage or it might take an extra day to get your luggage to your location.
    – Wear comfy/all-purpose shoes when you travel (preferably those that match the extra set of clothes in your carry-on bag); airline lost my suitcase so I couldn’t change my shoes.
    – Roll your outfits together; saves tons of space in your suitcase! So if you know that X shirt goes with X pants/skirt; roll the shirt w/the pants/skirt. Easier to find top/bottom sets when you are in a hurry.
    – Use a packing list; check off things that went into your suitcase. This helps me be less forgetful at the hotel when I am trying to re-pack my stuff to leave.
    – Toss in a draw string garbage bag; this helps with collecting dirty laundry. I stayed at a hotel for a week with a washer & dryer – this can help with taking laundry back & forth.
    – Add one of those stain remover pen sticks; I am always spilling on my “shelf” and washing clothes after returning from a trip can be a nightmare! I love the OxiClean stain remover stick! Great thing to toss in your suitcase and use if needed.

  32. Ah, another underpants buyer. When my husband worked for the World Bank and travelled the far reaches of the globe, he had a habit of re-stocking his underwear collection at Heathrow. Best not to ask why he needed to replace so many pairs (the “Indian village immersion” week should be explanation enough)!

  33. “Close all lotion/shampoo/soap/make-up dispensers tightly and stow in a plastic bag or toiletries bag. Then if they break, your entire suitcase and wardrobe are not covered in white/cream/brown/black goo.”
    Preach it sister!

  34. “Close all lotion/shampoo/soap/make-up dispensers tightly and stow in a plastic bag or toiletries bag. Then if they break, your entire suitcase and wardrobe are not covered in white/cream/brown/black goo.”
    Preach it sister!!!

  35. Maybe this tip is only good for the first packing (since hotel rooms aren’t usually equipped with hoovers), but if possible I use vacuum bags. It saves so much space!

  36. You’re absolutely going to make it. I have watched you knit in person and so I have total confidence in your abilities. Besides, the temperature in New York is pleasantly warm and the weather is stormy. If your sweater is still damp when you get to Rhinebeck, you’ll just be ahead of the game — everyone else’s sweater will also be damp when those thunderclouds open up.

  37. I decided years ago that I was tired of spilling food on every shirt I own, so now when I eat I tuck my napkin into my shirt and wear it like a bib. Yes, it looks dorky while I’m eating, but when I’m done eating I don’t have food on my shirt. Interestingly I never seem to spill food on the napkin. It apparently acts as a magic talisman and prevents spills from happening.
    Also, while I don’t drink coffee, my favorite pants are dirt-colored. I could wear them for weeks and they would never look dirty. I love them.

  38. There is an underwear brand called Barely There. Those things are comfortable and will dry overnight and are not nearly as expensive as the stuff at the camping stores. I was not a believer until I tried it.
    I am a believer in wearing all dark colors mostly black when I travel so I can avoid packing a lot of pieces and when you are monochromatic, it is a lot harder to point out you are wearing the same things more than once.

  39. You are stopping in Maryland, if you lose something, need something, let me know ahead of time and it will be at Barnes and Nobel waiting for you. There is a Target and a Trader Joes (Food store) close by.
    Are mini scotch bottles allowed to be carried in your carryon? Husband knows the best scotches.
    Layering is my suggestion, sweater over a pullover, jacket over tshirt. Remember different parts of the US cool down at different times, some places are wetter than other (umbrella), warm socks that can be worn with your shoes. Fold up rain jacket. LLbean is good for those.
    See you next week!

  40. Don’t take your knitting to Mexico – they dig through your bag and take your sock needles on the way back into the country. Darn them. Have a fun trip, Stephanie!

  41. Don’t forget the possibility of other people spilling things on you on the plane, as when I was flying to London and the woman in the seat beside me spilled a beer all over me and I arrived smelling like a brewery. The brown skirt & jacket I was wearing didn’t help.

  42. Use your cell phone to take a picture of your suitcase if possible. Then, when the airline loses your bag, you can show them the picture. It helps a lot with the identification process.

  43. You should just go ahead and post your underwear preferences and size so that all the knitters will bring knickers to you that you can use. Cause you know we will…
    I hope your tour is full of good beer, great coffee, and on time flights.

  44. I have a neighbor who doesn’t throw out her old underpants all year. When they’re ready for “just one more wear” she throws them in a bag and then when she’s traveling she just tosses the used pair in the trash every day. Unless you’ve got a need for “fancy panties” it works out well.

  45. Brilliant. I want an eatin’ shirt for always. And I shall refer to it often. “Lets go eat! I got my eatin’ shirt on!”
    Also? The Tide stick. Very good for droolers and dribblers like me.
    Should I have made this comment anonymous?

  46. I’m about to fly to LA, and my travel essentials are noise-canceling earphones and a good eye mask for naps on planes, trains, etc. My travel day outfit is going to be leggings, long layered shirts and Frye boots for ultimate comfort and a little style. Sometimes I go for the whole yoga-pants-frumpy thing if comfort is really all I care about (say going to or from a funeral when I’m a mess and just need to physically be there), but mostly I like to feel a little dressed up to make the whole TSA-molestation-cramped-airplane-seats-recirculating-air thing feel slightly more luxurious. Also I pack mini liquor bottles and pour shots into the free cranberry juice I get on the plane, that helps too.

  47. I’d pack a coffee travel mug in my carryon or purse to solve the coffee issue, and I second the stain stick thing. I wear black bottoms (skirt or pants) and a variety of colored tops, with patterns if possible and always pack an extra or two. Last time I realized when I got there that I’d packed the wrong size shirt and it didn’t fit, good thing I had an extra. Undies aren’t a problem, I tuck them into corners…..Have a great time!!

  48. If your sweater is only in need of buttons by the time you depart, buy buttons at Rhinebeck and secure it with a decorative pin or shawl pin in the meantime. Good luck!

  49. Two shawls. One for travel in a good dark eating colour, one for glam. A long, simple project to knit on circulars so the risk of losing a needle is minimized. Maybe another shawl? Safe journey!

  50. Any tips on the best traveling shoes?
    I also love packing old PJ’s on trips. Only I use them to buffer between nice clothes (or yarn) and the ziplock baggie of toiletries. The leakage + bag failure possibility is a real bummer…trust me. Or to wrap around any breakable items I may have purchased.
    I second the quick drying underwear. You don’t need many pairs and they’re great on trips.
    I’ll be in Maryland right after you leave…bummer…
    Have fun though!

  51. Please pardon my blatant product shilling, but Tide-to-Go pens are nearly perfect and you should have one or two. They will get just about any food stain out (but they don’t work all that well on blood) and by the time it’s dry you’ll never know there was a stain there. I’ve seen them remove makeup from a handmade silk wedding dress the night before the wedding, and have never doubted their mighty stain-removing awesomeness since then. The only reason they’re not 100% perfect is that sometimes the cap comes off too easily. Have a great book tour!

  52. Color-coordinate with the main colors in your wardrobe and skip the whites completely. When I pack, I decided something like “if it isn’t black or purple, it isn’t going.” Black and red works too, as does blue and green. This rule does not apply to undies and shoes but works for everything else.

  53. Mono chromatic works wonders for packing and if you have a couple of great shawls, you always look dressed up. Shawls also work great for us gals who experience personal tropical moments as you can be warm when you need to and cool when your thermostat starts jumping around.

  54. Don’t sit next to anyone drinking red wine on a flight. I did that once, and ended up with red wine all over me when we hit turbulence.
    I always wear a dark shirt to Italian or Mexican restaurants. Tomato sauce / salsa is invisible on red shirts.

  55. Because you are deliciously funny in person AND in print, your book will sell out, the media will be there, and so will lots of people who love you. (Hint: focus on the people who love you. They won’t care about the wardrobe.)

  56. A couple years ago a woman did an experiment and wore the same brown dress every day for a year, alternating accessories. She said one or two people mentioned it, in the whole course of a year. The lesson, I think, is that no one really cares what you wear.

  57. Whirlybird, how wonderful it would be to be able to choose who we sit beside on a flight. I say as soon as you hit turbulence, grab their wine and down it! It’s really the only viable solution. And how come no matter how careful I am eating salsa, leaning over the table and chewing slowly, do I ALWAYS get it on my shirt? I swear it’s magnetic.

  58. Also? Baby wipes get almost any stain out – squeeze the liquid on the stain, blot with the baby wipe, go. (You prolly knew that but it couldn’t hurt to be reminded that you don’t have to have a baby handy in order to buy baby wipes.)

  59. Rent a tour bus and drive everywhere! Takes longer but you get to sleep in the same bed every night, take more stuff and make more memories.

  60. Always pack a top and undies in your carry on. Wear jeans for travel and pack one pair of black pants, one black knit top and one white knit top. Then all you need add is scarves and shawls to change up the possible outfits. I never take too many clothes, but almost always pack too many shoes. 🙁

  61. Hi Steph! Pack a Tide Stick in your purse or carry-on. They really work at removing spills and stains. It’s like a marker that erases! Love Them! See you in Rhinebeck this weekend. Have a safe trip.

  62. Another pro tip: you can sub black garments for the brown ones and be oh-so-urban-cool. Even fewer spills will show on black. I don’t know how it is in the cities where you are going, but in Minneapolis every female between 18 and 40 wears only BLACK pants to work. No khaki, no navy, no gray; only black. Apparently they all got the memo.

  63. I am sure I’m not the only one who has noticed that all of these tips can be applied to living/traveling with babies and small children. Right?
    Have a wonderful, safe, and lovely trip. 🙂

  64. Have you ever considered bringing a commuter cup, so you can have coffee and other drinks poured into it instead of an open cup? That way, no spill. I use one when I am trying to knit in close quarters. Even a clear soda can mess up knitting.

  65. Shawls are also very useful at covering wardrobe malfunctions like when the seam in your new pants decided to disintegrate, just before you have to do something very public. A shawl tied around your waist isn’t just a fashion statement, it is a dignity saver! Enjoy your trip

  66. What a lot of good ideas: your travel tips and the tips in the Comments. Just put Tide-to-go stick on my shopping list.

  67. To speed up drying clothes, roll them in the millions of towels that hotel rooms provide. Do the trick of standing on the roll of towels and clothes to draw out more water. Your clothes are more likely to be dry the next morning.
    P.S. The commuter cup could be used for storage when not being used for coffee. This is a logical place to put a small snack for you.
    The airlines now do not provide food generally, and is no time to buy something to eat at the airport in many situations. Airlines seem to schedule connecting flights so you either wait for hours, or literally walk from one plane to the other. Besides, if your schedule is hectic, it might be difficult for you to eat while doing your tour. A few pretzels tucked away can be a godsend.
    Have a great trip, and I think you look fine.

  68. Only pack pants/skirts that will work with the same 1 or 2 pairs of shoes. At least yarn will squish into the corners of your suitcase, but shoes take up way more room than they deserve.

  69. I was a road warrior for a couple of years, and those are some excellent tips. A couple of notes:
    The underpants tip only works if you are somewhere with easy access to a Wal-Mart or Target, or wherever your preferred underpants store is. It does not work in the boonies, or in Manhattan.
    There is no end to the wonder of the shawl, especially a large opaque one. It can even double as a skirt, in case your sister is stung on the butt by a bee and has to shed her pants RIGHT NOW.
    I recommend a busy dark pattern for the eating shirt. It forgives a multitude of sins.
    Lastly, keep safety pins (NOT GUM) in your purse/pocket. They close gaping shirts, hang signs, and solve many tiny hole problems.
    Have fun on your trip!

  70. The “eatin’ shirt” also works for the last couple weeks of pregnancy when you only have 2-3 tops that still fit. Just sayin’

  71. You are ridiculously, laugh out loud, adorable. One of the things that I like best about finally learning to knit when I was 50 (aside from all that yarn) was finding your blog and books. thank-you.

  72. My husband travels (everywhere) with his insulated, spillproof travel coffee mug. He empties it before going thru security and then either hits a coffee shop before getting on the plane or has the flight attendant fill his mug rather than the spilly cups on the plane (holds more and stays hot too). I travel with my Nalgene bottle and refill at the airport, hotel or restaurant water fountain rather than paying for bottled, and carried sippy cups and lidded snack bowls when the kids were little. I also toss a handfull of granola bars or small packs of gum, lifesavers, hard candies or sour gummi octopus in my bag for snacks (not just for travel- these also are handy at hockey games/practice, knit group, etc). I can’t help you with the clothing issue- I’ve been known to use the hotel hair dryer or bathroom hand dryer to dry spots where I’ve hastily washed out spills. My daughter travels with a Tide laundry pen and says they’re good for little spots and can go in your TSA ziplock. You can always offer to advertize for the venue and perhaps get a fresh T-shirt that way. Keeping my fingers crossed that Denver/Colorado Springs will be added to the tour.

  73. my travel experience taught me to only use carry-ons. Especially when you have short lay-overs/stays. Which also makes the eating shirt a fantastic idea. 🙂

  74. I am about to take a weeklong trip to Lima, Peru, and I haven’t packed one stitch! Yikes!
    However, for me, dresses are my best friend. One article of clothing and it’s an outfit! Add leggings, socks and boots, or leggings and flats or just heels for totally different looks.
    I usually keep a number of safety pins pinned to the lining of my purse. You always know where they are, and they don’t shift around.
    Shawls hide a multitude of sins.
    Good luck!

  75. Best travel advice I ever got was to pack clothes you no longer want and toss them as you use them – that leaves more room for yarn in the suitcase (priorities & all). Good luck on your tour!

  76. Take a universal bath plug, just in case yours is missing from the hotel basin. Or a squash ball – works just the same.
    Good luck and safe travelling.

  77. I throw everything away after I wear it and replace it with new. It’s always possible to find an H&M or some other shop with disposable clothes. Then, when you get home you have a whole new wardrobe.

  78. Loved your post, especially as we’re getting ready to leave for a week in Mexico. @Jamie-I always take my knitting with me, but only bamboo needles. They have never taken them-knock on wood! The Tide to Go is a great idea, those little suckers really work, and we always take a couple of the HUGE Ziplocs for our laundry. I also take some of my homemade foldable grocery bags. They have come in handy many times, especially for getting groceries back to the resort on the bus. Have fun!

  79. I agree with so many of the ideas especially Tide pen(everyone wants to borrow mine)and commuter mug. I buy a fairly cheap one and if it breaks it breaks. But it has been a spill lifesaver. The shawl is always with me along with extra pair of panties and socks in my carryon and sometimes an extra thin t-shirt. I splurge and have a pair of silk pjs and a tank top for night wear. Cold, wear the shirt hot, wear the tank top. But they wash out and using the towel drying trick and sometimes the blower from the heat or ac hanging on a hanger they dry really quickly. You always pack a sense of humor so your are covered on that front, it really comes in handy.

  80. (1) Post your underwear size here. You will be able to make generous donations of new underwear to women’s shelters in every town you visit, and still have clean, new ones every day.
    (2) Shop in camping stores.
    (3) Have a coffee clause in your next contract, to ensure that decent, drinkable coffee will always be available. Your publicist could easily make a contact in every city (your fans will do anything for you).
    (4) Remember to pack your bra.
    Have fun! Hope I’ll get to see you again sometime.

  81. As someone who travles with dogs, I will add that eating shirts should be colorful with a random print so that sauce/pawprints/wine blend in. It is perfectly acceptable to be “chilly” and need to wear a light jacket, ie raincoat during dinner- nothing sticks. If you want to be organized about it, scotchguard all shirts before traveling so everthing runs off. This however, makes the dark colored pants more crticial. I find that the “mossy oak” cammoulfage pattern is ideal for this, and quite seasonal this time of year

  82. I’ve done a number of trips with the contents of a single dufflebag (it was almost completely full yesterday and had 10 pounds of stuff in it), plus a smaller handbag for the main knitting project. My biggest tip is to wear your biggest and bulkiest clothing on the plane. That maximizes your ability to have other things in your luggage, ensures you don’t freeze on the plane, and can double as a pillow if you take a thick sweater or jacket off.

  83. Packing cubes are also great. TravelSmith and Magellan’s catalogs sell them. They come in various shapes and sizes and are perfect to keep your clothes from shifting all over your suitcase. An added bonus, you can remove the cubes and place them along with their contents in the hotel’s dresser or on shelves. As my mother used to say, “A place for everything, and everything in its place.”
    I hope to see you on the 19th in Reisterstown.

  84. Hesitant though I am to admit this, I have done a bit of field research, and it is absolutely possible to travel extensively without underwear. I’ve yet to have a border guard inquire as to the state of my drawers, and I figure the nice men at the airport body scan have likely seen worse. It means one less thing to pack and one less thing to launder.
    I also tend to take my rattiest old tshirts to sleep in and just abandon them as they get dirty along the way.
    Also, the tide sink packs (look like a condom package, hold just enough soap to do one sink’s worth of laundry) + one of those rubber disks to act as a sink stopper if yours is missing are total life savers.

  85. 1. take advantage of hotel laundry service. Yes, it will cost you but frankly, I’d pass the cost along to the publicist. If the publicist won’t pick it up, isn’t it tax deductible as a business expense?
    2. Bring enough clothes for 1 full week, including 7 days and nights of underwear. No washing in the hotel bathroom. After week one, box up your dirty clothes and mail them home to yourself (better yet, mail them home to Joe with washing/drying instructions). Why do washing in the hotel bathroom and why shlep them — damp or dry?
    3. At the same time, make up a box of “second week” clothes and mail it to yourself c/o the hotel where you will be staying at the start of the second week. Once you empty this box, you can use it to mail home your dirty week one laundry (see above).

  86. “I cain’t have spaghetti, I ain’t wearin’ my eatin’ shirt.” I am so going to start working this into my everyday conversation!
    I hope you have a great trip.

  87. Ohh love the eating shirt! Great trael tips and lots of laughs to go with them. Hugs and safe journey.

  88. Pack a plastic bag to keep your suitcase in at the hotel. BIG bedbug problem in the states. Yucko.

  89. Ummm, what about taking a non-spill travel mug for your coffee (I KNOW they’re not totally non-spill–have a dead camera to prove it!). That’s what I’m planning to do. However, if it’s a new mug, please pre-test it with water in it.

  90. Black is a girl’s best friend. Nothing shows when spilled on it, it goes with everything, and you look 5 pounds thinner. Pack 2 black pants, 1 black skirt, 1 extra pair of black shoes and some knit tops in whatever colours you want. Add a cardi, a shawl or two and you’re good to go. And as others have said: safety pins. A multitude of uses. Have fun!

  91. How about copying David Attenborough and Michael Palin? They are only dressed in light blue shirts and kaki jeans on their expeditions 😉

  92. Hotel laundry service. Worth it’s weight in gold at certain times, and cheaper than checking another bag these days. Bonus? You look neatly pressed even when you’re a rumpled person because they starch the snot out of things. Important point: Note what the return time is for the laundry, BEFORE you give them the clothes.

  93. When I check into a hotel room the first thing I do is run the hot and cold water in the bath tub to verify I really have hot and cold water. I recommend not waiting until you are ready to take a shower the next morning to find out that you only have scalding hot water and zero cold water for your shower and you have to use the ice bucket to bail cold water from the bathroom sink into the tub so you can take a bath without scalding yourself. This is especially true if the hotel clerk says something like ‘you got the last room tonight ‘when you check in. The last room might be the one that needs maintenance.
    As a knitter you probably keep stickie notes in your knitting bag. Keep them handy so at 12:30 AM you can quietly sneak out of your room and put a stickie note on the soda vending machine that says ‘Out of Order’ -so people will stop using it all-*&%$-night even though it makes a terribly loud ka-klunk when the bottle of soda drops down. This time the last room is directly across the hall from the soda machine. Even though it is 12:30 AM try to write ‘Out of Order’ very neatly so people think it’s official. It’s best if your stickie notes are plain and don’t have balls of yarn graphics decorating them. Don’t forget to remove the said stickie note before you check out. Or if this was the room without any cold water in the shower just leave the stickie note where it is when you check out.

  94. If you’re taking any jewelry, run the chains through drinking straws and fasten them. This keeps them from becoming a tangled, knotted mess. This tip has saved me many agonizing, stressful moments when the family is waiting for me to go to dinner and I can’t get the knot our of my chain.
    Have a wonderful time – I hope I’ll get to see you in Atlanta at some point!

  95. Don’t have twitter, have to email my TV series suggested take-along….”Dead Like Me” Seasons 1 and 2! Wanna borrow mine?!

  96. You know exactly what I go through every time I have a deadline for my knitting. I love how you write about the experience. I can’t wait to see you in Portland. We won’t mind if you have the same shirt on – stains and all. We will be so happy to see you.

  97. Outward Bound taught me an unpleasant but effective method of drying wet clothes: sleep in them. In your case, I’m thinking specifically of socks, seeing as how wool ones might felt given more aggressive treatment. Think of it as wet blocking.
    As far as getting out stains, I once had a friend who was unable to get a tea stain out of a cotton sweater. She simply dyed the whole thing in ice tea.

  98. When you have more time, you should check out this project, called Six Month Uniform:
    by artist, Andrea Zittel. She also was tired of having to make choices about what to wear so she made (usually crocheted) a “uniform” to wear, and she wore it everyday for six months. During that time, she made her next uniform. She did this for four years (eight uniforms). I often think about this project longingly…

  99. Weird, I’ve been thinking about Andrea Zittel lately too! I always think about her when it comes time to do my laundry.
    Have fun at Rhinebeck, YH! I really long to go there someday…

  100. You have some brilliant blog readers! Sue at 5:08 with the idea of the sticky note on the vending machine is genius. I’m going to remember that one. And Brenda at 5:16 with the drinking straw idea – very clever.
    Safe travels!

  101. ….shoes, knee highs, socks? Handi wipes, stain remover stick, hats, caps for bad hair book signings. Straws for drinking beer and anything else. Lots of knitting…LOTS!

  102. If you’re fortunate enough to land in a hotel that offers laundry service – appropriate that plastic bag they provide with the tag of prices ($4 for washing my undies? I think not!) Then fill it with what needs to be laundered.
    I go with at least 3 interchangeable outfits, and the laundry bag provides a place to keep the filthy plane clothes separate from the clean ones until you have enough of a travel break to launder in the sink. And of course, you have a small zip-lock with packets of soap for laundering, yes?
    The one that always throws me is shoes – easy on/off pair for flight days, sandals if it gets warm – you probably don’t need them that often in the frozen north, but California? yeah. And if it’s going to be cold, a pair of boots too. So now where does the rest of my wardrobe go, now that the suitcase is full of footwear?
    And definitely a mini-first aid kit; can’t count the number of time having a bandaid or some arnica was crucial to my well-being. And for some strange reason, convenience stores and airports rarely carry arnica or my other must-have natural remedies, so I carry a little zipper bag with all the Boiron homeopathics I don’t want to have to track down in a city where I don’t speak the language (remind me to tell you about the time in Florence with a 2-year old with a hacking cough and trying to find a non-chemical syrup!) Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out yet how to pack a masseuse.

  103. The Tilly hat people sell under panties that dry crazy fast, but they are a crazy price too. Good luck.

  104. I have a friend who once backpacked in Europe for several weeks with a female friend who brought only two pairs of underpants. Each day she washed the one she’d just worn and hung it on the outside of her backpack to dry as they traveled. She was blithely untroubled by the strange looks they received. Whether it had a part to play in the fact that they had no trouble with pickpockets is unproven.

  105. Those shout pre-treaters work really well on spots….
    also, for drying laundry, I hang up mine (I’m crazy enough to have some clothing that is supposed to be hand wash only and do NOT go in the dryer, and no, they’re not handknits…) and put a box fan blowing on them (if your room has a ceiling fan with lights coming off of it, my craft room has these and I’ve been known to hang the plastic hanger on the metal part of the light that goes down to the globe and turn the ceiling fan on… takes less than 4 hours for something to fully dry). You can also use a hair dryer for faster drying as well….. just be careful you don’t singe something….

  106. You could always do the rock star thing and request a tour rider… I’ve seen underwear, socks, and of course the M&Ms without one color.

  107. You’ll make it, I know you will.
    And if it’s not done blocking, throw it in a garbage bag and finish blocking at your next hotel.

  108. Black jersey dress, brown jersey dress, another black jersey dress. They roll up, unroll unwrinkled, and hide stains. Yes. Dress. You can do it. The ease is worth it.

  109. I agree with Debbie W.: do the Steve Jobs thing and always wear the same thing. No one will know if you have been wearing the same brown shirt for 3 days if you always wear a brown shirt.

  110. ProTip: Solid colours show stains. Wild prints don’t. I have a dress that could go through a tomato-throwing contest and still look presentable. (Though I’d have to wash off the seeds. Seeds are a giveaway.)

  111. Instead of an eating shirt, you could do an eating scarf. Use funky wild yarn so nothing shows. It works like a bib and if it gets too nasty, pitch it and make another one quick.

    …ain’t wearin my eatin shirt

  113. You are GOING to make it. I will see you there in your sweater, and I’ll Oooh and Ahhh admiringly. Can’t wait to buy your book at Rhinebeck. I will be taking it on a plane myself to Florida next week to visit my DD for parent’s weekend. Not weird to bring a knitting book to Florida in the heat….not weird at all.

  114. (1) chico’s travelers (2) “shout” wipes (3) all undies in a ziplock bag. that way if the suitcase has to be opened NObody physically has their hands (I don’t CARE that they are wearing gloves) on my things.

  115. Vests…that’s my tip. 2 vests + 2 shirts = 6 outfits. This works for trips where you are low on luggage space because a vest takes a lot less space than a blazer or cardigan. Did I mention they should mix and match?

  116. Oh dear, I’m laughing and just about blew soda out my nose from it! I can’t WAIT to see all the posts about people bringing you new panties at all of your book signings!

  117. After reading today’s blog & posts:
    1) The moment you mentioned it, someone out there got right on Ravelry to try to figure out how to set up a thread for everyone to post the pics of your Book Tour Wardrobe.
    2) The Fates will find something for you to spill on the coffee brown pants that will show, but not to worry…
    3) You will be coming home with approximately 398 new pairs of panties. 😉
    Have a great trip & would love to see you in Atlanta!

  118. Wear socks (not hand knit) with shoes at the airport…no sandels, etc. The security area floors are not pristine.

  119. Remember to put Gwendolyn in a ziplock as she will surely still be damp when you leave. (Although she is somewhat brownish-perhaps you can wear her on the plane.)

  120. BTW, didn’t they throw underpants at you at a book signing a couple of years ago? That would be as good a plan as any. Everyone, for the sake of the Harlot’s sanity during her travels, please toss fresh new skivvies at her. Problem solved!

  121. I always pack the outfit for my return trip home in its own plastic bag. That way, I am wearing clean clothes for,often, the longest trip and feel confident and clean. Otherwise, tops and scarfs go in one see-through bag (think zippered bag that bedding comes in) and bottoms go in a second bag. Third bag is for laundry. My suitcase doesn’t get messy. Hurray for hotel’s laundry services. The cost is low and worth not having to carry too much. Synthetic undies for quick drying while traveling. Having many pairs of shoes is overrated. Knitters don’t care.

  122. Slacks yes, black jeans, yes, but blue jeans NO!
    I have seen airline people discriminate on the basis of clothing; nice shoes and pocketbook will cover for comfortable clothes, but blue jeans put you at the end of the line.

  123. My tips:
    1. toss some dried fruit in your bag, along with some other snacks.
    2. ditto on the first-aid kit.
    3. take a pair of slippers
    4. take some hand sanitizer with you – that’s a lot of long days – and it is the cold/flu season!

  124. Only put your suitcase and bags down in the bath tub or tiled surface. That will foil hitch hiking bed bugs!

  125. My Mom has a trick for eating stain free on trains (her preferred travel mode). She wears a cardigan over a crew neck top, and on the way to the dining car she nips into the bathroom and turns the crew neck shirt backwards, and puts the cardigan back on. Then she eats and does not worry about spills. On her way back to her seat she goes into the bathroom again where she turns the crew neck shirt back around the right way and puts the cardigan on to cover any spills that are now on her back! I think she’s brilliant.

  126. Totally agree with bringing a Travel mug with you. This also solves, at least partially, the horrible airplane coffee dilemma.
    Definitely test it before you leave. I once bought one from my neighbor that was a beautiful ceramic one but the lid wouldn’t stay on when hot liquid was inside the mug.
    Cardigans are now my favorite article of clothing. They can dress up anything, and are easy to put on and take off on in a airplane seat. I have worn a cardigan, a ravelry “Dose of Daily Fiber” shirt, jeans and TOMS and have been complimented on my “good taste”. I’m almost certain it wasn’t sarcastic.

  127. My favourite aunt traveled the world and always carried those squishy orange earplugs to use at night. She also took eye covers with her, and a bag of marshmallows tucked in her bag to munch on if she got hungry between meals, which can be few and far between when you’re crossing time zones. My mom always packs all her clothes in a garbage bag, and then puts the bag in her suitcase. She believes that if her suitcase gets destroyed, her clothes in the garbage bag might have a chance of being spared. I once traveled in a skirt and pink silk blouse and spilled salad covered in olive oil dressing all down the front of my beautiful blouse. Don’t wear silk. It’s a food magnet.

  128. patterned tops…hides things. stain stick – works incredibly well. Have a wonderful time!

  129. Don’t forget to bring the suitcase you packed. It’s really a bummer to get where you’re going and discover you left it at home. Trust me on this.
    Also utterly essential: medicinal chocolate

  130. Lots of great suggestions have been posted but I still chuckle at the idea of a well seasoned traveller – through all seasons – asking for travel advise. Bet you could write a humorous book on the subject. 🙂
    Wishing you safe and enjoyable travels with plenty of decent sleep, coffee,food and great friendships!

  131. You sound kind of fragile, so I just want to say I know you will finish your sweater! Totally finish and you will pack perfectly. If you were coming to Dallas I’d come see you and give you a big hug. You are great!

  132. Once again you are hilarious!!! I’m by myself cracking up in my living room. Planning for my first time going to Rhinebeck. My younger daughter wanted to go-that’s cool b/c I have no major agenda other than getting my book signed by you! I guess now I’ll have to stop off for some undies.

  133. A couple more tips:
    Pack only one scent (cologne, eau de toilette, after shave, whatever). If you have to wear something twice before laundering, you don’t have to worry about your Channel No. Umpteen clashing with your Miss Eeyore’s Evening in Paducah.
    On the trip home, use laundry that needs to be washed to help cushion fragile items. True story: O’Hare customs, holding a box still in a Harrod’s bag — “And what is this?” Me: “It’s a cat dish.” Customs: “It’s awfully heavy for a cat dish.” Me: “It’s heavy stoneware — and jammed full of used socks and underwear to help keep it from breaking.” Customs: “We’ll see about that. (Takes box from bag, opens box, tips out contents, inhales the aroma.) OK! That’s it! You’re done!” Me: “Could you retrieve those luggage locks you dropped under the conveyor belt????”
    Safe travels!

  134. Janet (1:31) and Ellen (2:23) had great tips, but I’ll add a few.
    Your carry on should include undies, a clean top, and something to sleep in. That way, if your flight is cancelled due to bad weather after you have checked your bag you can still spend the night in relative comfort without schlepping to the nearest Walmart across two freeways (this happened on the way home from Costa Rica; I had to get clothes for the entire family –not fun).
    Check the souvenir stands when your flight arrives at an airport. You can get a shirt that reflects local interests, it can be a reminder of the wonderful time you are having, it is something NEW, and may even get the local press to treat you with greater interest (“she clearly cares about our city — look at the shirt she is wearing!”).

  135. The rules from my mom:
    Always pack a clean shirt and clean undies in your carryon (if you’re checking luggage). This way you can still be a little “fresh” while waiting for the airline to deliver your bag the next day.
    Always pack a tea towel in your carryon – it can do so much. Also, pack a plastic shopping bag in your carryon. It can hold that filthy tea towel once you’ve used it to mop up something.
    Line your toiletry bag with a plastic shopping bag – this saves you when your shampoo oozes or whatever.
    You know that line about how the milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hands? This is key when traveling – pack M&Ms.

  136. See, I like the idea about wearing the same shirt for the whole tour. Then throw it away. You can then identify where you were, and what tour it was and what year, by the shirt you were wearing.

  137. When traveling, I try to dry my swim suit or hand washables over the air conditioner/heater vents. It also adds moisture to the room which are usually so dry. A couple of clothes pins would be helpful to clip a hanger to the edge of the curtain. Of course only light weight articles.
    I also pack a night light.
    Safe Travels!!

  138. Please leave the sweater at home. We all know you’re the best. The lucky fans who get to see you this time won’t care anything about the sweater or how you look. Just being with you and chatting about knitting and knitting adventures is enough. I can’t imagine your lucky fans would be happy if they find out you’ve been so stressed before you left. After all, this is supposed to be edifying and uplifting for you to bask in the glow of your fans. And don’t forget our side of it. It is a once-in-a-lifetime remembrance for us. Sending you my best wishes for a happy and safe journey.

  139. I’ve seen you speaking in Portland before and at both Sock Summits, and I don’t remember a thing you wore. Well, I do remember the sweater. Trust me, the only thing a knitter will look at is your handknits!
    Can’t wait to see you at Powell’s! Have a safe and happy trip.

  140. Not having read everything:
    roll your clothes
    try to have core items of neutral colors, then use accessories to bring color in – that way you don’t have to worry about the pink shirt not matching anything – if you work around khakis/grays, nearly everything will match.
    khaki is also an excellent travel color.
    anything that can possibly explode in a plastic bag. preferably several in case of multiple explosions
    pack loose – leaves room for souvenirs

  141. The Ex Officio underwear (available at REI & other stores) is worth the money. If you wash it and roll out the water in a towel, it can be dry in as little as 2 hours. I was gone for two weeks with just 2 pr…and it worked great. I think they make bras as well.

  142. 1. Underwear: Ex-Officio. It’s worth every ziplock saved. Not to mention not having to wear damp panties under your power pants.
    2. Bring pillow, candle and teddybear. Or whatever it takes to fool you into feeling home-so-you-can-sleep after washing your undies.
    3. Photograph/scan/copy passport, credit cards (front and back), drivers license, etc. Upload to secure cloud storage so you have access from the web or leave with someone at home so you can get the current account and phone numbers quickly in case of loss. Don’t bother with the undies, the nice clerk at the airport travel accessories store can guess your size.
    4. Rehearse the perfect trip mantra: “if I walk off the plane, it is a good trip. If I walk off the plane, with my luggage, it is a great trip. If I walk off the plane, with my luggage, in my intended destination, it is a fabulous trip!” Even if your undies are damp and your sweater is unfinished.
    Have a fabulous trip!

  143. I favor an eating hoodie. That way you can just throw it on over whatever you’re wearing while you eat and remove when you have to look presentable again.

  144. Baby wipes solve a multitude of sins, or should that be stains. Alternatively I think there’s a genuine need for splatter pattern tops – with a pattern that looks like you meant to go out with a bit of baby sick over your shoulder and snot on your front.

  145. Although it might not be the most sustainable solution, I use disposable u-pants (e.g., onederwear) when I travel. No wet laundry to pack — and the luggage gets a little lighter as I go along. (More room for yarn!)

  146. Pro tip: The hotel hairdryer doesn’t dry just hair!!! After washing (I bring little packets of Soak just for this purpose) said undies, shirts, socks or whatever and finding that they didn’t dry overnight, hit them with the hairdryer! You’ll be amazed at how fast they will dry. Whenever I’ve had to do this when traveling(like last week LOL) I’ll wash something, press it in a towel to get most of the water out, then hang it up and hit it with a hairdryer on high for a minute or two. Let it hang for a while, and then blast it again for a few minutes. You can actually dry a whole garment this way in 10 or 15 minutes depending on how hot the hair dryer is. Almost every hotel has a hairdryer in their room or one available for request, so you’re always covered. Just make sure that if it’s a shirt you want to dry that it doesn’t have any stains still on it before you hit it with the hairdryer. You’ll can set the stain and make it really hard to get out if you heat it up. Now you don’t need to worry so much about forgotten wet panties in Ziplocs, but I would still take the extra Ziplocs anyways because they are always useful! Have a safe trip and hopefully we’ll catch a glimpse of you at Rhinebeck.

  147. Lay all the clothes you absolutely need out on on your bed. Force yourself to put 1/3 of it back. You won’t miss it.

  148. Great tips and I have my fingers crossed that you will get the sweater finished and blocked. I was going to ask why you only brought two changes of clothes and then went “duh, yarn!”.

  149. Get some tartan on! A good red/black sort of pattern will hide all sorts of stains, and the tweedy material abosrbs most of it to begin with! And while you’re picking out tartan, please add Scotland to your tour 🙂

  150. Can’t wait to see you in Park Slope, Brooklyn. I am so at peace with my knitting since discovering your books. Have a safe and wonderfully exciting trip.

  151. As I replace my old underwear with the new stuff, I stash the clean, washed old ones in a bag and pack them for the next trip. I trash them as I go when traveling, so I never have to cart around and/or wash out used skivvies.

  152. Before you leave, make sure you have taken all the neatly hung clothes that you have on hangers on the back of your closet door, and put them in the suitcase with the rest of your clothes. Don’t ask me how I know… It was a good case for overpacking. I was able to squeak by on the flat packed stuff.

  153. I travel a lot and the best tip I ever received, make sure you have a couple of dark shirts that are patterned, VERY difficult for others to detect a stain and they go with any solid pant/skirt.
    Also, avoid anything super wrinkly (linen) traveling is the only reason I own some clothes made of synthetic facbrics, the don’t wrinkle, easily washed, dried and reworn on the road.
    And the ‘accessory’ scarf/shawl/pashmina, change up the wardwrobe and cover a multitude of sins! LOVE this piece of clothing.

  154. You need to just finish the sweater and you can wear it to all the events… Since everyone will be just as excited to see it.

  155. Can you pack for me, too? I am going away for two nights and I am a terrible packer. As long as I have my knitting, I am good to go. Thanks for the tips. Will you be visiting Pennsylvania?

  156. Aubrie: Merrill shoes are the best… good arch support, made for walking, and can be really cute.
    Stephanie: enjoy reading these comments after you return, since you’re probably knitting yourself out instead of reading now.
    Pro-tip: no white pants. Unless you’re traveling with someone who is easily embarrassed and you want to take advantage of that. Then, by all means, enjoy the coffee on the turbulent flight!

  157. Good thing Gwendolyn is coffee colored!
    Maybe that should be an addition to rule #1:
    Rule 1a: If you plan to knit during your flight, your yarn should be dark enough to hide coffee/tea/red wine stains. (P.S. Always carry an etra skein of yarn, just in case)

  158. Brown top and pants/skirt also makes a great backdrop for handknits. I always travel with that same base layer so that I can wear any given sweater, vest or scarf over it.
    Travel safe, don’t lock yourself out of any hotel room naked, and have a god time!
    (my favorite sugggestion is Mary’s, to wear one shirt which will thenceforth be the October2011 book tour shirt – but you could auction it off, rather than tossing it)

  159. i love this post; great travel advice! i look forward to your visit to brookline booksmith! safe travels.

  160. Hi Stephanie,
    I know you’re not in charge, but maybe you could tell your publicist to send you to Denver, CO., too. We have a really great yarn store and it’s right across the street from amazing local (sometimes vegan and occasionally beer flavored) ice cream. It is also very close to venues that distribute actual beer as well!

  161. My husband and I did 11 days in England in May with a medium-sized backpack apiece. When choosing clothes I went with thin light clothes that I could layer if it was cool.
    We did have to do laundry mid-trip; we dropped off everything at a laundromat with a wash-and-fold service on our way out in the AM and picked it up again later in the day.
    Although if your schedule is that tight, you may need a volunteer to run the errand for you.
    Safe travels!

  162. Baby wipes, in a ziplok in your purse/tote. Good for practically everything. Also a Tide stain pen. I have no connection with Tide, beyond the fact that these things WORK, for all kinds of things, including coffee/tea drips on one’s shirt, and things like spaghetti sauce spatters and soup incidents. A lifesaver!

  163. Yesterday I dropped you a line about investing in a basic, wrinkleproof traveler’s wardrobe, so I won’t repeat that in detail. It really has saved my sanity, though.
    Just looked at your schedule. Your tour will be taking you a lot of places, with varying climes, including the South in the fall. Layers are your friend. Also, buy a cheap plastic rain poncho at a dollar store. They fold up small and are easier to wrangle than an umbrella if you are carrying things and/or if it is windy.
    I always carry a shawl in cool and cold weather, and a print sari in mild weather, for all the same uses as you listed for a shawl. Or, you might also want to make or invest in a Japanese furoshimi. It is a simple square meter of light, sturdy twill fabric which, through the magic of fabric origami, can be a blanket, a skirt-like object, a shawl, a pillow, a tote bag if you come home with more than you left with, and more. I will have to blog about my furoshimi sometime. It is wonderful.
    I always wear my oldest, rattiest undies for travel and toss them as I go. When I travel a lot in the same year I don’t always have a lot of old undies, but I cut the legs off old pantyhose and save those (I wear hose rarely and when they run I save the panties), and these can be discarded with glee. Another vote for REI microfiber undies here, too. Campmor has them too. HINT: leave undies-to-dry atop the hotel A/C vent, or, drape them over the top of the lampshade while you are awake (don’tlet them touch the bulb.)
    Even if your a plastic-eschewing granola-head like me, there are times when plastic is useful, and ziplock bags are the traveler’s friend. ANYTHING containing liquid should go in them. I also pack my clean undies in the. I don’t want some guy at TSA touching my undies with his rubber gloves that have been fondling everyone else’s germy things. I also use plastic bags to contain small items that might get lost in a bag inspection: (combs, aspirin, etc.)
    Likewise, obtain a sturdy,. medium sized plastic bag from Barnes and Noble or a national chain like Walgreen’s, Walmart etc. and make this your purse while walking in an unfamiliar city. Less of a target for muggers. Especially a bookstore bag.
    Don;t count on always being able to carry on your carry-on bag. It sometimes get wrangled from you at planeside. I always carry all of my travel documents, my knitting, my small purse, my underwear and toiletries in plastic bags inside my tote bag. I pack one credit card, well-hidden, in my carry-on bag in case it my purse is stolen. I also carry an index card with all of my 1-800 numbers to report stolen cards and ID in my POCKET.
    Prescriptions, lecture notes, etc. should be on your person at all times while travelling, in case you get separated from your luggage.
    More later. Have an interview in an hour.

  164. All my great travel tips have been posted- but here’s my most important thought (Courtesy of my mother)
    If you have your prescription meds, your glasses and a credit card, you are good to go. Everything else can be replaced.
    It really relieves a lot of stress. And just think, you have a giant fan group who would be willing to go out and get you anything you need. Talk about support! It’ll be a great trip.
    And check out that travel underwear- it really is great stuff.

  165. > “I cain’t have spaghetti, I ain’t wearin’ my eatin’ shirt.”
    I’d love to hear you say this in American Cowboy-Canadian lilt!

  166. You didn’t mention shoes, which in my experience can be the undoing of an otherwise efficient pack. I try to avoid more than 2 pair of shoes, falling into two categories: 1 for walking and 1 for everything else. Therefore, they must both look OK with EVERYTHING I take along.
    I am the queen of color coordinated separates, or I as like to call them, Garanimals for Big Girls.
    Safe journey to you.

  167. Febreeze in your ziplock bag. It handles that smell left from the beer that the guy on the plane spilled on you. And when you hit that hotel room with that stale smell, and the front desk says sorry we can’t move you, it handles that too. Not that you would get a room that isn’t wonderful but just in case.

  168. In a pinch, the crappy hotel hair dryer that’s an absolute nightmare for drying, well, hair, can work wonders on a pair of damp underpants. I learned this the night Milwaukee flooded and I literally couldn’t get home from work. There’s enough dignity lost in wearing the same clothes to the office 2 days in a row, one did NOT need to suffer recycled or damp undies in the process!

  169. I love Chico’s-type clothing for travel. You really have to try hard to wrinkle anything beyond respectable wearability, and they are sink-washable and quick to dry. Lots of more affordable places carry clothes made from that slinky, stretchy fabric, including Wal-Mart!

  170. I will now add a shawl to my packing list – I do always have a towel since I read Hitchhikers Guide about 20 years ago!

  171. See comment above. Now that I think of it I may knit a shawl out of very absorbent cotton or terry cloth.

  172. When on tour,I have found that a bottle of spray starch and a hair dryer work as well as an iron…especially if one is forced to do laundry in a hotel sink. And hotel provided shampoo, works well on oil based stains and is a divine gift for washing a sweater/jumper travelling on the road. Also just washing out the (how shall I say this….just the crotch) of a pair of pants… and using said hairdryer…can go a long way when washing jeans and dress pants. My motto IF it aint dirty everywhere… just sayin’!!! Have a wonderful tour Stephanie!
    ps. I have used baby power to get oil off of silk and cotton tops when on a trip!

  173. “I’d love to go to dinner, just let me change” VS “I cain’t have spaghetti, I ain’t wearin’ my eatin’ shirt.” Made me laugh so hard I was crying! and now everyone in the offices by mine think I’m nuts! 🙂

  174. The best travel packing trip I have ever heard was a knitter who liked to wear suits and would knit sleveless tanks with front & back shaping exactly the same but front and back each a different colour. That way, one shirt became 2 if she wore it with a suit. Beth

  175. I got an email saying your book has dispatched to me today. Looking forward to reading it more than you can imagine. Hope your book tour is lovely. You can so finish the sweater.

  176. Ohhh, Ohhhhh, pick me–pick me!!! I have ideas-useful ones.
    1–Get thee to an outdoor-stuff store. There you can buy two pairs of unders made out of magic-dries-in-a-wink fabric. They are expensive close to $20 a pair, but clean and dry undies are WORTH IT.
    2–pack several identical shirts in black and/or brown. That way it just LOOKS like you are wearing the same shirt day-after-day.
    3–pack two shawls. I wouldn’t notice the same shirt, but I would notice the same shaw over-and-over again–but I’d be waaaay to polite to comment.

  177. Ain’t wearin’ my eatin’ shirt, ROTFLMAO!!!!!
    My Mom always told me “if you walk fast enough, nobody’ll notice” & “If they have time to notice, then they have too much time in thier hands”.
    You’re going to get damp when you get to Portland anyway, raining as usual… not as to worry, we’re all wrinkled

  178. btw, Starbucks is selling a white t-shirt that allready has a “coffee stain” on it. Seriously, this is not a joke.
    I’d invest in one… maybe two

  179. That white shirt/clear liquids thing as one small fallacy – your seatmate. I’ve had people next to me spill diet soda (not bad, as it’s not sticky) and orange juice (disasterous – sticky AND orange) on me.

  180. 1. Safety pins can be easily coordinated with every outfit. I keep two pinned on the inside of the hem of every top I own. They stay there through all laundering and only get moved if I need to use one. My sister always has a couple hanging on her necklace. It’s kind of a funky look, but very cool. You could probably fashion some kind of brooch out of them, and thus carry a whole stash of them that security will never investigate…
    2. If you’re worried about your purse contents when you travel, consider a bra. ;^) I keep my credit cards, cash, lip balm, and phone in there all the time. Just make sure your phone’s screen is off so you don’t light up at the wrong time. And don’t turn smartphones with the screen toward your body, as they will overheat that way.
    I’m not covering ziplocs or underwear, as everyone else has covered those topics. Enjoy your travels!!

  181. I take 2 prs of lightweight travel undies. When I shower, I wash them out in the shower, wring them out well and hang to dry on the towel rack. They’re always dry the next morning.

  182. I laughed so hard when I read the bit about the eating shirt. As a terrible klutz, I should really consider doing that all the time…

  183. Chico’s travel outfits are super for travel, no matter the event!
    don’t wrinkle and come in black or brown! See you in Seattle!

  184. Superb! One tip I read somewhere–get outfits at the thrift store to take along. Leave them along the way; it doesn’t matter. Fill the empty space with yarn.

  185. I travel a lot for work too and on my current trip which took me south of the border to San Francisco I found a travel clothesline at the Container Store. It is a bungee cord with hooks on the end and built in clothespins. Not only did it stop my panties from being spread over Union Square but it allowed my new fair isle mittens to finish drying without having to tuck them into a plastic bag when packing.

  186. Great post! It always amaze me how people can take time to write them. But to be honest maybe you should change the color of the texts? Sorry if I am being rude, just trying to help. Kind regards, Sophia

  187. The trick to drying your socks quickly is putting the hot end of the hair dryer in them while you brush your teeth and wash your face. Don’t leave the bathroom while doing this. Trust me.

  188. Roll up the washed out items in towels and then walk/jump on them. Viola! Nearly dry and it’s a certain stress reliever.

  189. If you are on a car trip, socks dry really well in the sun under glass. I’d put one of those high-tech microfiber towels on top of the shelf behind the back seat and then arrange the damp wool socks on it. This worked great on the road trip to and from Sock Summit ’11!

  190. On long trips, I UPS a box of clothes to the half-way point and ship the dirties back the same way. That way I’m assured of having clean undies and an unstained shirt. And it eliminates schlepping everything around. (I also have this little dream that my lovely husband will have done laundry while I’m gone.)

  191. About the underpants thing: I once went on a cruise with only the underpants I was wearing. Turns out it wasn’t a serious problem. They were my ExOfficio travel underpants and I just washed them every night and they were dry by morning. Now I always travel with only one extra pair instead of several.

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