Packing Like a Pro

Hurricane Laura coming ashore

As wildfires force evacuations in California, and Hurricane Laura flattens parts of Louisiana, here are tips for any sudden move because of weather events or the Corona virus, ( as well as for professional events and vacations.)

Guest post by Jennifer Harnish, Head of Rehab at the Carroll Center for the Blind, Newton MA

Referred to in my new book When You Can’t Believe Your Eyes: Vision Loss and Personal Recovery Chapter 11, “Hosting and Being Hosted”

Jennifer: I take responsibility for my own careful organized packing choices so I don’t have to rely on my hosts.

Key Items

~ Have addresses and phone numbers of your hosts easily available to share with transportation provider or enter into transit apps, or to make calls

~ Pack an extra cane, extra eye glasses, toiletry bag, charging cords and extension cord, bump dots, protein bars, medication sorter, bag with simple first aid and common medications, Small electronics, special book player, with extra ear buds, and phone battery charger.

Other top items:

~ Ziploc quart size baggies for toiletries (and minimizing what I bring) so that they are easy to grab to take into the bathroom.

~ Dedicated suitcase every time I travel with good pockets to separate items like everything needed at bedtime in one pocket (evening meds, sleep clothing, special book player, snacks.) Items typically needed for any trip but that are solely dedicated for travel so that you are not constantly repacking and unpacking (Hannah: Packing cubes separate different kinds of clothing into zip bags, some in bright colors.).

~ Feminine hygiene products for same reason as the basic meds. Having such items permanently stored in my favorite roller bag means I am not trying to remember everything each time I travel.

~ Non-iron clothing that does not need to be hung up and that can then just remain in my suitcase. I tend to roll together single outfits or use those bags for individual outfits including underwear so it is easy to grab what clothing I need.

~ If there is an occasion, or I have to make a presentation, I put my whole outfit on a hanger. Then I place it in a garment bag or trash bag and fold it into the case. The jewelry and lipstick, or tie and dress socks can be put in a pocket of the outfit or speared onto the hanger in a baggie.

~ When packing at the end I ask a hotel staff or friend or family member to do a quick visual of my room for items I missed. The one time I didn’t do this I left my bluetooth keyboard and one snow boot behind!

More reminders for emergency evacuation from California Fire:

Here are the 6 P’s–

• People and pets.
• Papers, phone numbers and important documents.
• Prescriptions, vitamins and eyeglasses.
• Personal computers, hard drives and disks.
• Plastic, credit cards, ATM cards and cash.
• Photos, and irreplaceable memorabilia.


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