Proper pack­ing is such a carry-on

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE - SU­SAN KURO­SAWA

Our cruise cou­ture fea­ture in last week’s T&I got me think­ing about holiday wardrobes and how ca­su­ally we dress. There was a time when fly­ing was so re­mark­able and so­phis­ti­cated that ladies wore chic hats and chaps their best suits, lug­gage would be a match­ing set of at least three sizes and porters were in abun­dance. Now it is not un­known for pas­sen­gers to board in thongs and skimpy beach­wear, es­pe­cially out of Bali. You can throw un­for­tu­nate braids and henna tat­toos into that mix as well. Never has an air­line eye-mask been so wel­come as aboard the overnighters out of Den­pasar; I al­ways put one on as soon as I find my seat, stick in the earplugs and cover my head with a shawl, Lawrence of Ara­bia style. That’s bet­ter.

My pack­ing used to be quite com­pli­cated but in the past few years I’ve be­come weary of lug­ging things about so have stream­lined the con­tents of my suit­case. The irony is that while checked-in bag­gage al­lowances have be­come more gen­er­ous on many air­lines, my lug­gage has shrunk. Last time I flew Emi­rates, I could have had 30kg worth of stuff and so felt like the most mis­er­able of un­der­achiev­ers at Syd­ney air­port when the scales in­di­cated my bag weighed a pa­thetic 11kg. None­the­less, it was packed with all I needed for a care­free fort­night away.

I keep to one colour scheme, layer my cloth­ing and have learned that a re­ally good pash­mina can be em­ployed as any­thing from an evening stole to jazz up a lit­tle black frock to an emer­gency blan­ket. As Mother al­ways said, the peo­ple you meet trav­el­ling today will most likely not see you to­mor­row so that same out­fit will look new. She was a lead­ing be­liever in the ben­e­fits of drip-dry cloth­ing but let’s not men­tion crim­p­lene, which is one retro look that has thank­fully not cir­cled back upon us.

Rarely do you see hat­boxes in the over­head com­part­ments on air­craft any more, ex­cept when on flights headed to Mel­bourne for the Cup or if there is a wed­ding party aboard. Re­gard­ing the lat­ter, a brawl broke out last time I was en route to Fiji when a care­less pas­sen­ger bunged in his bags on top of sev­eral care­fully placed cha­peaux. The bride was in tears, her mother throw­ing punches. I would have felt sorry for the of­fend­ing chap if he weren’t one of those bods who carry cabin bags big­ger than your checked lug­gage. They board with suit­cases or packs the size of cof­fee tables and conk peo­ple on the head and hold up board­ing while find­ing a spot to park said lug­gage.

Mean­time, my po­lite lit­tle bag sits in the hold, tak­ing up such a minute amount of space that, re­ally, I should get a dis­count. If it is a trip to sunny climes, there­fore re­quir­ing a shady hat, I sim­ply wear my panama and if a stoush breaks out or a chap with trousers at half-mast wad­dles past, I put it over my face, like a snooz­ing Mex­i­can. I am al­ways in wash-and-wear gar­ments, with a pair of emer­gency draw­string pants in my hand lug­gage. Mother, now de­parted for ce­les­tial climes and no doubt still re­fus­ing to coun­te­nance iron­ing, would ap­prove.

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