That title is deliberately evocative of something gloomy. Packing has a depressing aspect to it in that even fairly experienced travelers like us can, checklist in hand, still miss out on something.
Some folks are impressed that we almost always travel with carry-on only, while others are surprised we fill up two rollaboards rather than one little backpack.
We're just about to leave for 20 or so days, starting with an overnight at the Seattle Airport, followed by a Transaatlantic cruise, followed by a couple of days in Boston before flying home. How do we pack?
We've developed a two-page checklist that we read before we finalize anything. A few months ago while staying in Schliersee Germany we found a remarkably similar list that somebody had lost in the lobby. We too have developed the habit of forgetting lists of things not to forget - we're at that point in life and might as well chuckle about it.
We check the temperature trends of the places we're visiting - long-sleeve or short-sleeve weather? - and try to judge the number of shirts, etc. that we'll need fairly ruthlessly. When we're down to the point of worrying about which is the least dirty shirt to wear toward the end of a two-week trip, we know we've packed fairly efficiently.
Kathy's become quite expert at packing. The second pair of shoes goes at the bottom of the suitcase, stuffed with socks and underwear. Pants are laid in carefully and folded over on themselves. Shirts are folded and stuffed in.
Brian will wear his blue blazer, as formal a jacket as he intends on taking aboard the Jewel of The Seas, following research on Cruise Critic.
We've also noted that the Jewel does not have a self-service laundry, and travel irons are strictly forbidden. Thank goodness for Permanent Press and Kathy's packing skills.
Kathy has a few more secrets but the main secret is to make the following choice: Dress to travel or travel to dress. The rest is easy.