Friday, April 18, 2008


Just the word "packing" causes me to feel a wee bit stressed. You see there are six of us and last year, when faced with packing for 5 months, it was challenging enough and that was knowing we were going to spend the first 3 months in close proximity to a mall and the All-American Wal-Mart. Part of the challenge was we had no idea where we would be going on outreach. Now we know where we will be living. Still six of us. Not 5 months, 2 years. Thomas tends to be a minimalist packer and I tend to be a "just in case" packer. In the end it is the airlines that set the limit. We are each able to check two bags up to 70 pounds each. For those of you trying to quickly do the math, that's 840 pounds. Sounds like a lot. After all, I could check a few girls. Then there's all the books and school stuff, they're heavy. The next requirement is the size limitations. Our checked baggage has to be 62 inches or less, when you add the different dimensions. Great real life school so I had Adriana figure out the total volume we could check. Didn't you hear her say "Yes, ma'am, I would be happy to do another math problem." No, I didn't either. Anyhoo, that's 82,212 cubic inches. Then Thomas continued the late night math lesson and had her figure how many cubic feet that would be. The answer is 47.576388cubic feet. That's just under 8 cubic feet per person. Obviously we will be stopping way before the kitchen sink! There's always those amazing vacuum pack bags. Quite entertaining to see the huge bag shrink something big and bulky like a sleeping bag into something flat like a pancake. We do each get to take a carry-on along with a purse, briefcase, or small backpack. So if you see me with one of those HUGE purses and we look like we've gained weight, don't be surprised. One of the girls had the great idea that we could each wear several layers of clothes on the flight. It's great to problem solve with our children, we told her to keep thinking. So we are looking for the best luggage at the best price of course. Any recommendations? Also, love to hear from you, if you were us, packing for 2 years of life in the Philippines, what would you make sure to pack?



  1. What airline are you flying that you actually get 70 lbs? I have only been able to get 50 lbs for a couple years now to Africa.

    As for what to pack, I have a belief that local tailors can make most things rather inexpensively. What they cannot do: good undergarmets (these are priceless).

    Other essentials I always bring: silicon spatulas, a couple good kitchen knives, a couple comfort items (for me this includes printed photos to put on walls and a decent pillow), good headlamps.

    Best of luck with the packing!

  2. Pam,
    We are flying Northwest and they allow the additional 20lbs. to some flights which we are blessed include the destination of the Philippines. But on the downside there are certain months that a higher fee is charged for excess baggage and/or overweight baggage going to the Philippines which includes when we will be traveling.

    Thanks for the packing tips. We plan on bringing some photos to make our place homey.

  3. How exciting!! We packed all our books into our carry on, as they generally do not get weighed. Made customs interesting, and for some sore backs but it was worth it in the end. There is no way we would have made weight restrictions otherwise.

    When we packed to go to PI we had NO IDEA how long we would be gone, so we packed like we were never going back home.

    What became the most important to us were things that no matter where we were, brought a touch of familiarity. We had duvet covers, and packed them then bought new blankets to go inside, that way when we set up their rooms it still felt like home. I also brought lots of pictures, and bought frames in Baguio. The little things like that made a big difference. Don't forget to drive around and take pics of your street, ect...Although it may seem silly now, you will treasure them when you are on the other side of the world.

    As for clothing and kitchen ware...I would bring very little. While not the greatest quality, you can pick it up in the market and it is the last thing you care about when living in Bontoc. Or at least I didn't care?

    I agree with Pamela though..splurge on underwear.

    Happy packing!!!!