Confessions of a Bookaholic: Summer Longhaul Travel Edition

by Denise D.

Recently, I picked up a gem of a comic collection: Book Love by Debbie Tung. Much like Tung’s Quiet Girl in a Noisy World, this book was page after page of, yep, that’s me. To a T. Whereas Quiet Girl is about the challenges of being an introvert in an extrovert world, Book Love is about the delights and challenges of being a bookworm. One of the challenges Tung humorously addresses is how to pack as a bookworm. A bookworm who prefers print to e-reading.

When the extra suitcase is not an option….

It’s not easy. Tung’s character understandably brings an extra suitcase. Just for books. I tried that. Once. After a library conference in New Orleans. I’m pretty sure that the baggage agents at Louis Armstrong International Airport still curse me to this day. Plus my husband is a minimalist packer, who takes every trip as a challenge to bring the smallest bag possible. After watching him lug my suitcase up the Paris Metro stairs, I swore to change my ways. I may have gotten married, but I was going to carry my own baggage.

And generally, I’m pretty good. I have the clothing and accessory game down to a fine science. I’ve even packed for a trip that spanned the Arctic and fashion-conscious heatwave Paris in one carry-on suitcase.

…and e-readers alone won’t work….

But books are my Achilles Heel. I cannot just pack one. Or two. Or three. What if there are no books in English at our destination? What if, somewhere mid-flight, I realize that I just don’t love my book? How am I going to get over jet lag 3 am wide awake nights on one novel? Yes, I could use an e-reader. But the first time I tried that, it froze somewhere over the Atlantic around midnight. Around me, a quiet, dark 777 snoozed while I quietly panicked with nothing to read. Lesson learned: I can use an e-reader, but I must have a print back-up. Or two. Or three.

…the bookaholic travel strategy

So how does a bookworm with one carry-on sized suitcase pack for vacation? Strategically with lots of planning. Here are a few of my simple tricks:

  1. Paperbacks preferred. (Duh.) One of the simplest rules is the hardest to follow when you rely on the library and love to read the latest. But Sno-Isle does carry paperbacks. So, when browsing, look for the tiny, lightweight books.
  2. Bring books you can leave behind. So, not library books.  But if you’ve snagged a book at one of our Friends’ sales or at the airport, read that book first. And leave it behind, in the B&B common room, on the hotel table, at a cafe, in a Little Free Library. Lighter luggage, a little gift for the next bookaholic traveler and you can imagine your trip continuing as your book travels.
  3. Mix it up. If you read widely, bring a variety of options– historical fiction, suspense, fantasy, classic. That way you are better prepared for your many reading moods.
  4. Think big. Vacation is an ideal time to dig into the big books– classics, fantasy, epic tales– where you don’t have to worry about finishing the last page halfway through your journey.
  5. e-audio, e-audio, e-audio. Although I haven’t made the reading shift from print to digital, I am addicted to e-audio books. Just download them onto your phone and they weigh absolutely nothing. Plus, you can listen while your travel-mates sleep through the flight, drive, or 3 am jet lag wake up.

How about you? How do you pack for vacation? What is on your to-read list this summer?


Summer 2019 Reading (and watching) List

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