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A guide to packing for a trip

Pack This! List

I’ll admit it. I’m a procrastinating packer that frequently forgets my pajamas. Or my socks. Or my toothbrush. Or all of the above.

And so I’m delighted by all of the various travel packing guides, apps and old-school lists that are available online. It really takes some of the mental heavy lifting out of packing and ensures that you don’t forget the big (or small) stuff.

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Vacation envy

Kynance Cove in Cornwall is a popular spot for British holidaymakers. Photo credit: David Wogan/Robert Harding World Imagery/Getty Images

Oh, to vacation like a Brit! While most Americans are slaving away each working day, living for an average of 13 miserly days of paid time off each year, British workers are living the life of Riley, basking in a statutory minimum of 28 vacation days and eight public holidays a year, according to CNBC. (I’m not sure who this Riley guy was, but he certainly wasn’t American … wait, stop the presses! According to Wikipedia, Riley WAS American. Who knew?).

Twenty-eight vacation days! More than an entire month! I remember fondly having 20 vacation days back when I was working in London and I remember wishing for more. For more! Oh, the greed! And if you got sick, you took a sick day. No, you didn’t have to use a vacation day for it. No, you didn’t have to cough up a lung on the phone to prove you were really sick. You just stayed home and you got paid for doing so.

These days I have 13 vacation days, about two weeks of sick leave and 11 public holidays, which is considered a fair amount. By all American accounts, it’s nothing to balk at, but balking I do. Particularly when I take stock of the amount of vacation that my British friends get. I see their Facebook statuses. I know the fun and frivolity that they enjoy by virtue of being employed British folk.

They work hard and play hard and take time to stop and smell the roses along the way – and those roses might be in the south of France or off the coast of Africa or somewhere in between. It’s a good lesson for us all.