Knitting on Vacation: What to Pack

Spring is here, and many of us will soon head out on fun vacations. You, of course, will take your knitting. What else would you do, sitting in the sun or with a gorgeous view in front of you, and plenty of time on your hands? Yes, you’ll definitely need your knitting. 

What to pack? As a well-traveled, experienced Knitter, here’s my list:

  • Yarn, but not too much. You’ll need enough yarn to get you through your vacation and back, but don’t feel you need to pack enough for the next six months. I am always tempted to pack waaaaay too much, taking up space I could better use for clothes, shoes, or souvenirs on the way back. 
    • Think about how well your project fits your destination. Heavy wool at the beach? Not a great fit, in my opinion. If you’re going someplace warm, light cotton yarns will keep you from sweltering underneath your project and will work best thrown in a beach bag and exposed to sand and water. Going to a ski resort? Pack the heavy wool and let your project keep your knees warm.
    • Can your yarn be replaced? Think about the “what ifs.” If you lose your luggage, spill red wine on your yarn, or some other disaster befalls your yarn, will it be the end of the world for you? Think about taking inexpensive and easily replaced yarn when travelling.
    • How’s your eyesight and attention level on vaca? You’ll likely be on the move (and hopefully, pleasantly distracted) when knitting on vacation, so consider a larger weight yarn you can knit in less-than-ideal lighting and with lots of other things going on. Vacation is a time to zone out, so give yourself that option. 
  • Knitting Needles, But Only What You Really Need. Yes, you need to be prepared. But not for every single project you could possibly make on vacation. Again, check your pattern before leaving town and make sure you have the right size. Believe me, trying to find knitting needles while on the road is difficult and takes up time you could be spending doing something fun. If you’re not sure on what size you need, start your project at home or at least make a swatch. 
    • Circular Needles Travel Better. Remember the time you lost a straight knitting needle in the sofa cushions? It happens. Don’t let it happen on an airplane, in a rental car, or who-knows-where and you can’t find it and can’t replace it. With circular knitting needles, you’re far less likely to lose a single knitting needle and thus ruining your vacation.
    • Airline Travel? Yes, you can travel with knitting needles. TSA says so. I’ve never had a problem in decades of airline travel. Some airlines may ask you to put away your knitting needles during take-off and landing. Be considerate and do so. Do so anyway; these are sharp sticks we’re talking about. Also, I take point protectors with me and use them on the plane when I’m not knitting, just to be safe. 
  • Scissors, but not on the plane. You would think you could take a tiny pair of dull scissors on the plane, but not those sharp-pointed knitting needles, right? WRONG. TSA in Knoxville has taken possession of several small pairs of scissors and a couple of really cute Swiss-Army knives from me over the last couple of years (including the ones with the sweet Edelweiss flowers on them!!!!). But they’ve never even questioned my knitting needles. Go figure. I think you could probably pack a pair of scissors in your checked luggage (the bags you may or may not see again), but do so at risk of losing them. Prepare to buy a cheap pair of nail clippers or something else with a blade once you get to your destination or clear security. Most cotton yarns can be cut with a good yank, just sayin.’
  • Patterns – store it on your phone. Hit the easy button on this. You don’t want to haul around a pattern book with you, and paper copies get lost and damaged beyond recognition. Take a photo of your pattern and keep it on your phone, at least as a back-up. If you need to refer to it while you’re in the air (and your phone is supposed to be off), jot it down on a sticky note or inside a paperback book you also plan to take. 
  • Other Stuff? Keep it Simple. Remember, you’re on vacation! Knitting should be stress free and simply something to help you relax and pass away the time in the airport or just while zoning out, listening to the waves hit the beach. Yes, of course, take whatever stitch holders or whatever you know you will need, but only take what you absolutely must have. Leave the rest at home!

I hope all my readers get to enjoy their Knitting Someplace Special this coming spring and summer! Blessings, Cindy

Cynthia Coe is the author of The Prayer Shawl Chronicles, interrelated stories about knitters and those for whom they knit and love. The sequel to this book, The Knitting Guild of All Saints, has been released! Available in paperback and on Kindle, included in Kindle Unlimited.