Packing 2

In my 15 years of working for Rick Steves, I’ve spent time doing lots of different jobs. I’ve worked on the phones selling tours. I’ve researched and written chapters for the guidebooks. I’ve led tours. I’ve stuffed envelopes and licked stamps… it isn’t always glamorous in the travel industry.  One of my favorite jobs that I do up in Edmonds is lecturing. I do slideshows on all kinds of topics, mostly Italian cities.

One day a few summers ago I was called at the last minute and asked if I could do a packing lecture- the next day. I always like a challenge so I gave it a shot. I don’t think that they realized that I’m a little, um, specific when I pack. I had such a lot of fun showing people my way of creating a Mary Poppins-style backpack, and I guess the audience did too because I’ve been asked to do it again and again. My nutty packing style is even posted on the Rick Steves web site as their packing video. Pretty exciting. And totally not something I expected to have anyone take interest in. People who have seen the video recognize me at events and ask me packing questions, occasionally questions about my underpants, which kind of makes me giggle. What a funny turn of events in this strange life of mine.

All of this is to say that I am thinking about packing right now, as I often am at this time of year. I take off for Europe in 2 weeks, so I need to get on top of this packing thing. Seeing as how I need to pack everything I need for 7 weeks in a small, carry-on bag, I am a stickler for size and weight in all things. But I also don’t scrimp on the things that make me feel at home in my travels.

Over the next two weeks, I’m going to try (notice I say TRY) and blog about my thought process concerning packing. Hopefully some of it will be interesting rather than just sounding crazy. Because it is, I totally own up to it. But, as in all things about me, I hope it’s the good kind of crazy.


Sarah Murdoch is a tour guide and guidebook writer for Rick Steves Europe. Her blog, Adventures with Sarah, focuses on packing tips, travel stories and advice for planning the best trip possible.

2 thoughts on “Packing

  • Scott Greenwood

    Hi Sarah, thanks for all the tips. I’ve passed them on to Facebook friends etc. Just thought I’d add to the ‘less liquid’ tips for carry-on and (if you haven’t heard of them already) suggest instead of toothpaste, carry a box of toothpaste tablets from LUSH. LUSH toothy tabs are not paste. They’re little tablets you nibble at to bits then they make a foam in your mouth and brush as usual.,en_CA,sc.html I took them with me to Italy on my Rick Steves Italy in 17 days trip and had no probs going through Heathrow, or Rome airports. For guys, they also make a shaving foam/face cleanser called ‘Da’ Fluff’. Not a gel, not solid. It has the texture I guess of a pumpkin pie filling ( I guess) and I was not questioned about it either. Small and travel size too. I also bought a ‘Scrubba’ via the Earth Easy web site which did a great job on my handwashing clothes. Better for socks and undies, but I even did my jeans once and some shirts. Never had to pay for laundry my whole trip and a lot easier and less messy than washing in the sink. All the best.

Comments are closed.