The evolution of my packing style has gone through three eras:
#1 Backpacker me = Less is more. I’m using my underwear to insulate a Bavarian stein glass.
#2 No-more-hostels me = Under-packing is over-rated. You never know when I’m going to need a third pair of jeans and a full range of cosmetics.
#3 Older, wiser me = I’m not doing without, but I need extra room to bring home wine.
Packing regret involves either packing too much or leaving something perfect behind. I’ve swung from both extremes. A happy traveller remains in the middle; not too much, not too little, just right. Let’s be Goldilocks about packing.
Thankfully, during my transformation into the intrepid wine trail adventurer I am today, I have developed a few rules that I stick by to allow me to pack as few items as possible without feeling limited.
- Check the BOM. Bureau of Meteorology, that is. Get across the weather at your destination(s) before you pack. It can be difficult to get into the mindset of a climate different from the one you’re in, but you need to in order to pack efficiently. (Note: Tasmania can go from mild to freezing in the blink of an eye).
- Table all options. And when I say ‘table’, I mean ‘bed’. Put all your intended luggage contents in outfit categories on your bed. This helps to both ensure you have enough clothes and shoes for each day but also helps you identify items you could use more than once and eliminate others. This may sound a bit Carrie Bradshaw and frivolous, but it really works.
- Make like a Melbournian and layer. Light layers are your insurance policy for unexpected warmth and coolness. Plus, it adds versatility to your weekend wardrobe; when you can mix and match, you don’t need to pack as much for sartorial diversity.
- Switch into neutral gear. Neutral staples mean efficiency and multi-tasking clothing that work with each other over and over again. Change and colour things up with accessories or smaller, layering options.
- Casual, comfortable footwear rules. Nothing is more impractical in wine country than a spiky heel (go wedges if you absolutely must be elevated). You’ll also be doing a little bit of walking – not to mention what a hazard it is to navigate uncomfortable shoes after a glass or two. That said …
- Pack a dressier, evening outfit. Especially, after a day experiencing fine wines, you may want a night of fine dining. In my experience, the times you limit yourself to casual-only attire are the times you usually go somewhere nice and end up feeling self-conscious (which is silly and pointless, but it happens).
- Consider the shipping. You are going to fall so in love with certain wines (you know you are). Many cellar doors have great shipping options, other times you need to take them with you. Extra luggage space (or even another piece of luggage) will make things easier for getting your beloved vino home. Whatever the plan, remember the importance of insulation.
Top Tip: Trust me on the insulation. On the way home from a trip to the Margaret River, I made the comment to my partner that I could smell red wine. Cue to both of us looking down in horror as a fine shiraz seeped from one of our bags onto the floor of the sky bus. I could still cry …
- Pack and charge your phone. Ignore any Luddite that tries to you convince you to abandon your technology. Also, do yourself a favour and forgo a multitude of brochures and print-outs. You can rule your world from your phone. Book, search and locate everything you need for the great grape escape from the palm of your hand. (We hear there’s an especially fabulous app to help you with all of it).
Bon voyage baby!