What are the must haves when you travel? These are the first things I put in my bag!
San Francisco is about 10 to 15 degrees cooler than Eugene in the summer. It was weird packing jeans and sweaters and jackets, I had a few doubts along the way, but I put my faith in the forecast and did it.
So, happy I did! The mornings were chilly, afternoons sunny but not too hot, and the evenings were perfect.
The best thing I had this trip was my big fat leather tote bag. I could take off my sweater and stow it away and still have room for lots of souvenirs, plus a picnic lunch. I’ve nicknamed this bag the Tardis!
Hawaii anyone? It’s more like Hawaii everyone! Why the rush for the 50th star on our flag? It doesn’t hurt to have the #1 movie of the year, set in Hawaii and starring George Clooney. Well played, Hawaii Chamber of Commerce!
Guess what? Us too! Yay!
This means packing. My Achilles heel.
Here’s the plan: Mix and match outfits geared for weather and activity.
I’ll let you know what worked and what didn’t when we get back.
When last we left our intrepid teen adventurer and his anxiety stricken Mother, we had figured out the air travel, passports, talked about getting a temporary international cell plan, and which stalking…er, tracking apps were my favorites.
Which brings us to packing. Those who have read this blog for a while know of my past packing disasters and the effort I’ve made to reform my ways. One of the advantages of having male offspring is they are uncomplicated creatures, regarding fashion anyway. It’s jeans and t-shirts. Boom, done! He allowed one addition, that of a dress shirt for a fancy(ish) dinner he had planned for he and his girl. (AW!)
We decided it would make it easier going through customs, and he could skip the baggage carousel altogether if he just took carry on luggage. So we bought him an inexpensive 20 inch roller suitcase for clothes and he had a back pack for his laptop and books. He had access to laundry facilities so he only took 5 days worth of clothes.
That’s my best packing light tip. Always figure out where the laundromat is or stay in an apartment that has a washer/dryer.
For toiletries he only took his 311 kit and went shopping when he ran out of something.
Buy a plug adapter kit.
All the countries have different plug-in portals because the household voltage is different. If you by a kit like this you’ll be all set for several countries. The guide in the lid will tell you which one you need plus there are online guides you can consult.
All of Kellen’s chargers for his phone, computer and electric razor ran between 100 and 240 volts so he could get away with using just the smaller country specific adapter. Had they been been just 110 volts he would have used the large transformer plus the adapter.
Well, I’ve been yammering on about plugs and packing so I think, to keep things tidy; I’ll talk about money conversion apps and other money related solutions in Part 3.
Oh how the righteous have fallen! I’m ashamed to say I’ve reverted to my old habits. Last time I packed to travel my dopp kit was a mess, not only that, I packed a bunch of stuff I didn’t use; to the tune of almost 2 lbs! Shame, shame, shame. Below is a photo of what I took on our weekend getaway to Las Vegas.
Click to get a better look.
First off: Things I didn’t need.
My entire brow kit. I’m a fan of tidy eyebrows but really the whole kit?
Two foundations? Liquid and powder?
Two blushes? Powder and stick? Uh, Kath? Are you MOVING there?
The fake eyelashes were fun, however ultimately nonsensical. Also, have you ever tried to take off fake eyelashes at 3 a.m. after, well…a few drinks?
Ahem… moving on.
Full size makeup remover and cotton pads? My face wash doubles as a make-up remover, that’s why I buy it
All those makeup brushes, the full packet of bobby pins, and full size scissors.
As you know, full size anything is a packing light no-no.
I suppose it’s time to back the truck up (I’ll need a truck if I insist on taking all this crap!) and re-acquaint my self with packing light.
Here’s the after photo:
Click for full size
Remembering my own advice about travel sizes and travel bottles plus taking only things you’ll know you’ll use, it’s much more manageable don’t you think?
Oh and the little red Victorinox Swiss Card? It has scissors, tweezers, a light, and tools you can hand to MacGyver so he can break you guys out of the bad dude stronghold.
Armed with 20/20 hindsight and a load of information here is my Europe trip packing re-do.
A few things first.
July 2009 in France was very warm, about 90+; in England it was much cooler with a little rain. If I had my way I’d go back earlier in the year, but, to make this re-do legit I’m going to pack as if I was going the same time of year, schizophrenic weather and all.
I’ll try to include many of the same clothes from the first time or things I had in my closet but did not make it into the suitcase do to idiocy on my part. If it’s a new item I’ll let you know. We had a washer/dryer in our apartments so I’m keeping that in mind too.
The first step is to think about what you’ll be doing. Are you there for work? A wedding or other family event? We were sightseeing.
How I thought I’d be taken for anything other than a tourist is beyond me. Though next time I’m gonna be that super cute tourist!
Loose fitting is the key here. Makes the inevitable “plane bloat” that happens about the 3rd hour of the flight much more tolerable if you’re not being cut in half by the waistband of your pants. Also, if you dig the nice warm socks out of your carry on and wrap up in your pashmina or sweater you’ll be cozy and warm.
Several articles I read prior to going to Paris said Parisians don’t wear shorts. It’s true, all the Parisians I saw were not wearing shorts as they were all on their way either to or from work and no doubt (like in the US) are not allowed to wear shorts to work. All of the people I’ve met from Paris who were on vacation in the US were wearing shorts. It’s 93 degrees out, wear your shorts!
For dinners out I took a different dress, I liked it fine but I cannot believe I didn’t take my “miracle dress!” I’ve told you about this dress right? I call it my miracle dress because I bought it after I had my youngest son. It fits me no matter what! I bought it at Ann Taylor Loft 13 years ago. Pretty awesome, right? Next time for sure! Also, my snugly cardigan sweater and ankle strap kitten heel shoes.
This is what I call my Mom uniform. It’s a wraparound tissue weight sweater and black pegged pants. I’m performing the dance of the flapping chicken for you so you can see the bottoms of the sneakers. The stripes wrap all around! I get complements on them all the time.
You see how I could mix and match all of this stuff lots of ways?
So that’s what I’m packing for Europe when we do it again.
Next time little things that make a big difference when you’re traveling.
Q: What is a Dopp Kit?
A: The Dopp Kit was designed by Jerome Harris in the early 1900′s for his Father-in-Law, Charles Dopplet. The term was later used to describe the shaving kits issued to G.I.’s in the Second World War. It is now a registered trade mark owned by the Samsonite Company.
The “dopp kit” has become a generalized term for a man’s travel shaving kit, plenty of women have adopted the term to describe what they take when traveling too.
Wouldn’t it be nice if I could be happy with the few items my husband takes?
Here is what my husband takes when we travel:
shampoo (2oz go-toob)
body wash (2oz go-toob)
a small vial of Advil
toothbrush/paste (travel size)
after shave lotion
Sometimes he’ll bring hand sanitizer or cologne. That’s it, he’s all set!
I’d like to whine about the un-fairness of it, but I have only myself to blame.
Remember when I confessed to bringing full sized shampoo and conditioner bottles on our trip to Europe? I can only plead my case by admitting that when packing I’m always wondering “what if.”
You’ve been there right? “I’ll take it just in case.” So you throw it in thinking, It’s not going to take much room, and soon your lugging around 10 pounds worth of cosmetics that you don’t use.
I devised a plan to take ONLY what I knew I’d use. It’s not going to be as carefree and easy as my husband’s dopp kit, I’m a girl, and girls’ have stuff; lots and lots of stuff.
Yes, I do need the exact brand of shampoo and conditioner, face wash, and moisturizer. My complexion is temperamental to say the least, but lugging around my 24oz bottle of Purity Made Simple was not an option.
And lets not forget your local Target, or Grocery or even your Salon. Keep on the look out for your brands.
Why not transfer your product into those little squeezy bottles? If collecting travel sizes is not your thing, by all means get yourself some squeezy bottles.
Trouble with those is you open up your Dopp Kit to find they have squoozed all over!
The best thing I’ve tried is GoToobs. They haven’t glooped allover in my luggage and carry enough product for about a week.
The next step was to determine what to bring and only bring what I would use.
I thought about what I do to get ready in the morning; shower, shave, hair, make-up. As I went about my normal routine I set out everything on the counter. As chicks go, I’m sort of low maintenance it turns out.
Here’s the list I use now:
Shampoo/Conditioner (2oz GoToob)
Body Wash/Bath Sponge
Body Lotion (2oz GoToob)
Face Wash (travel size) doubles as make-up remover
Moisturizer (travel size)
Hair Product (travel size)
Face Powder & Brush
Blush & Brush
Eye Shadow Duo & Brushes (2)
Eyeliner Shadow & Brush
Eyeliner Pencil & Sharpener
Brow pencil & Brush
Mascara (travel size)
Deodorant (travel size)
Perfume (travel size)
Sunscreen (travel size) If I’m going someplace tropical I’ll buy a full size when I get there
Toothpaste (travel size)
Comb & Brush (travel size)
If it’s a two week trip I pack an extra set of GoToobs and throw in one more toothpaste.
I don’t take a hair dryer because so far every place we’ve stayed has had one, even the apartments in Europe. I do take my curling iron and my mini flat iron for special dinners out when “vacation hair” is not acceptable. You should practice a simple blown dry style that does not need a lot of time or product. C’mon you’re on vacation!
Next time I’m calling “Re-do” and showing you what I would pack for my trip to Europe knowing what I know now!
So the airline rule (for now anyway) is you are allowed 1 carry-on plus 1 personal item such as a purse. These should be small enough to fit into the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you.
As a chronic over packer faced with her first 7hour flight this meant I should try and squeeze every legal thing I could think of into a backpack. I needed options, lots and lots of options!
Remember, I talked about over thinking and freaking out about this trip?
Yeah, here we are again. I didn’t use half the things I took.
The silliest thing I took was a folder containing about 50 DVD’s.
Because the 11 movies on my laptop and the 3 episodes of my favorite TV show on my i Phone weren’t good enough! I needed OPTIONS!
Most of my stuff just got a free tour of Europe, grinding it’s self into my back with every step I took.
This my is my carry-on now:
It’s a Samsonite brand laptop back pack. Empty weight 2.4 lbs. I got it at Office Max after I got back from Europe. It has so many nooks and storage crannys it’s unbelievable!
The front outside pocket is for your phone, passport, boarding pass, lip balm, sunglasses, anything you need to access quickly.
The main center compartment is for a magazine, business files, your 3-1-1 kit , sleep mask, emergency feminine supplies, e-reader, snacks, camera, extra change of clothes (I usually pack my jammies), warm socks, ect.
The back pocket is super padded and is for your laptop and charger.
Laptop/charger/mouse (if it’s just a weekend trip I leave it at home. I can check my e-mail from my phone)
E-reader/charger (you can have 100′s of books and magazines)
Trip file (confirmation e-mails for hotel, airplane, maps, guide articles, etc) Guide books are a packing light no-no I either photo copy the pages or the guide books are on my E-reader or i Phone
Snacks (though in reality my snacks for a trip are not this virtuous)
Water Bottle (Check out this article by none other than Jason Mraz on water bottles, then check out these water bottles. Next time in Europe I’m getting one!)
My Knit wrap/shawl I bought about 5 years ago at Ann Taylor Loft
undies and bra (Not shown) No, I’m not showing my smalls on the internet!
Hair band (2 for 5$ at American Apparel)
I forgot to show my sleep mask and the feminine supplies. I’m sure you’ll forgive me for that one.
Maggie once compared her carry-on to the Tardis. That’s definitely my goal here.
Other articles you should read about packing carry-ons or what to pack for the plane:
How To Make Sure Flying Doesn’t Suck Out Your Soul
10 Days In A Carry-On
What about you? What’s your favorite thing to take on the plane?
Next up: Just what the hell is a Dopp Kit?