We’re planning to ride the Eurostar to London from Paris one day on our upcoming trip. The plan is to get there early afternoon, snoop about, eat Indian food til we explode, stay in a hotel then get up the next day and do one of those hop on/hop off tours until it is time to get back to Paris via St. Pancras station.
Being a packing nerd, I was up for this challenge (I hate carrying a lot of stuff and we’ll need to carry everything with us after we check out of the hotel that morning.)
I so adore this bag. Super comfy to carry, RFID pocket, slash resistant straps and securable zippers. Peace of mind in backpack form. Pretty much when I travel I have a pouch purse for easy storage of coins and phone and then a backpack for the day’s needs. These two together are THE BUSINESS I tell you…
Here’s what I have in my bag:
2. In my dopp kit:
*I found some teeny tiny soap containers at Daiso that hold a Ligett’s travel shampoo bar and my travel sized Dove bar. Moreover, they fit in the travel zip pouch from Ligett’s that you can get perfectly.
3. clothes in zip pouch (just the middle sized one):
**depending on how warm it is, I might just take one merino shirt. They don’t smell generally and if I’m not sweating I probably will be ok. Though I’m a messy Indian food eater, I might need to take another one anyway 😉
But what if you got a free ticket to Vegas (but sleeping is such a buzzkill time waster)!?!? Or a quick flight on a no-frills airline for a family emergency? Or did you get stuck somewhere when your flight was canceled? Quick, versatile packing is a skill that is good to have.
I got the Tom Bihn Night Flight Travel Duffle for more than just minimal travel, but I know it could be used for up to 3 days travel if you are judicious. If I did need to add, the first thing that would go in would be a pair of leggings!
Here is my baseline for a day trip (via plane):
I don’t have much in the way of spare clothes but I do have clean (SmartWool) socks and undies that live in the orange TB Travel Stuff Sack and a long sleeve shirt for layering. I travel with the Ex Officio undies that are super comfy and wash/dry easily just like the SmartWool socks. I could add another short sleeve shirt if I wanted to extend a day.
Otherwise this is pretty much what I need to work and amuse myself for a day or so.
Aeronaut 30 (dyneema with ultraviolet lining): this is built to fit the specs of those cheapo bastard airlines in Europe. I may or may not use them especially since trains are nifty, but carrying less stuff is never a bad idea. I have a terrible tendency to shed things on the road that irritate me (such as umbrellas or the like) by giving them to street buskers or homeless folks so I’m more judicious now about what I take to begin with, conversely, I’m particular about what I wear so I can’t just replace my wardrobe on the road. Now I have a pretty good set of basics that don’t much leave the suitcase; they are easily washed, comfy and very neutral for mixing and matching.
Knitting bag and Travel Tray: I generally have a newer project that I just cast on that is smaller (I really should learn to knit socks soon, they are so nice and portable) as well as my knit kit. The travel tray I leave full of stuff I’m going to want to use in the plane. iPhone cable, iPhone battery, earphones, lip balm, travel alien, etc. I tend to drop things, because clumsy, and this makes it easy to pull out of my bag and keep corralled on the tray or the seat. I use it in the hotel as well as my bedside bag for my necklace or bracelet while I sleep. Very handy.
When empty it squooshes down flat to take up very little space.
robe/kimono/drape-y black sweater: I can wear something like this over jeans, my jammies dress, as a robe sort of thing, as well as another layer Black jammies dress: pretty much if I see a packing list that shows an outfit with shorts and heels, I click away from it. However, I will wear jammies out and about. The thing is my jammies don’t look like jammies much…
Shoes: I wear
Rockport sandals: happily I found a pair of sandals that are tidy looking AND are comfy.
We spent about a week in Panama City, Panama in April. It was hot and humid, but we didn’t venture out of the city, so I didn’t have to worry about hiking boots or mosquitos. I brought several tshirts that wash and dry fairly easily in a hotel room that has a/c and a tidy outfit for a poolside party.
BONUS: both pairs of shoes I can walk in for miles comfortably!
Folding hanger for drip dry items (I know they have hangers in the hotel, but 1. They dont always work outside the closet and 2. I dont like ruining wood hangers with wet clothes. Not good guest behavior.)
Eagle Creek backpack
Black t, pink t
Turns out I didn’t need the rain jacket, but I generally have it in my pack (it’s fairly lightweight) so I didn’t worry about it too much. The rest of the stuff is tried and true traveling gear for me, especially with needing ranges of clothes from an evening reception to slogging around tourist things. I was even comfy on the ungodly flight to the other side of the world 😉
Since I am an unemployed wastrel (with less free time on my hands than I expected what with not having to be across the bay 10 hours a day; sleep, yo… maker faire, yo…job search, yo…) I have been informed that my habillement choices are on the dark side.
I like black. Sure it shows some lint and cat hair, but it also doesn’t show drippings from my lunch or other clumsiness that I tend toward. Also, since I don’t have to be crawling around on the floor fixing network connections that IT should have gotten to in a more timely manner (I think in my previous job, they just assumed I was the IT mascot and I could just get this shite done without having to put in a ticket, so one more thing off their plate, thankyouverymuch.) I can wear skirts now without showing everyone my adorable undies from Target.
So, I have a few skirts (read:more than I have every owned in my life; i.e. more than 2) and I am wearing them.
I haven’t totally reconciled the travel aspect of it. I have some built in aversions to wearing too much of one fabric (jean jacket and jeans at the same time) or not having my shoes match my bag (no, I’m not certain where that came from) or mixing black with chocolate brown…. So I have a few requirements to meet when I travel.
Also, do you know how hard it is to find yoga pants in not black?
And my favorite, favorite shirt is black. So wearing comfy pants and my favorite shirt, and a fleece (which is normally black because wearing a color over black pants and black shirt seems wonky to me) leaves me with… all black. Sigh. Back to square one.
So traveling on a plane with my minimal carryon stuff can be a little restrictive, it helps that I have some stuff that packs down pretty well. Also I found some jeans that I love so they are easy to pair with color (though that rules out my bluejean jacket for me. I can wear it with skirts though, so if I bite the bullet and wear a friggin’ dress, I’m ok. (I’m working on being ok with that.))
Anyhoo, so I am unreasonably excited by road trips now. Mostly because I can have my purse out with gadgety crap and a second bag that I can put an extra jacket in that I normally wouldn’t have room to have with me as carry on AND my little suitcase. (no I will not check a bag on the way to anywhere unless I am just too exhausted to deal with it and still, I will have my minimum requirements with me on the plane so if the other stuff gets lost, it was just gravy anyway.)
Oh the bounty of outfits! (No I won’t wear it all, but it gives me leeway for various activities, spillages, sweatiness and whatnot. Also some things are meant to be worn over each other… like the white tank and the white button down to keep me cool and not fried by the sun outside. Some is just in case, like the nice dress and heels if I go out to fancy-schmancy dinner. Hiking, beach, etc.)
Packing is fun.
You know how some people have gift wrapping rooms? I want a packing room/closet.
It would have my current Stolmen shelves on 3 sides, one wall for framed maps and pictures and a big table with drawers/organize-y things in the middle.
But I don’t have that and my closet is currently is kinda messy, so I’ll just make a list well in advance, put things into a designated bag for keeping them together until the trip, then take over the bed for a while when I do actually pack.
I’ve got my annual trip to Green Bay coming up next week (umm…eeek.) and I need to take more than I usually do. I also think it will be rather nippy this time (last year I wore my jacket liner over a long sleeve SmartWool shirt and was warm enough. Crazy.)
I have a very serious down coat, a honkin’ pile o’ SmartWool things, a wool JCrew rollneck sweater (that I wore in 20 degree weather without knowing it because it is perfect) and snow boots. Actually I have two pairs of snow boots and I’m debating which ones I should take. I suspect I’ll take the lace up ones and use it as an excuse to wear leggings tucked into them the whole weekend instead of proper pants.
There’s a dress involved in this year’s round up so I have to take some girl clothes type things… yuck.
If I use Tex as a mule, I can put more shoes in his bag. I’d check a bag and just use a bigger suitcase, but I’m paranoid about checking bag on the way to a destination. The universe never actually loses your dirty laundry and smelly socks, but crucial items are fair game. (I may still check a non-essentials bag and just rough it with existing things in my carry on if they lose my checked luggage.)
I even have a new carry-on for this trip (yeah, i know I get a new bag almost every trip- but some of them get given away or re-purposed, so I don’t have that much actual luggage. I do sometimes use just bags for short trips.). I found this Lucas lightweight carry-on that is gray with a leaf pattern on it. It had butternut squash colored accents and worked with a lumbar pack I have (that I used for a weekend in Texas when I needed to be hands free as I had borked my nerve in my neck.) Atypical matching luggage, but it met my criteria and kept the inner luggage dork happy.
… until I decided to use the same bag for Green Bay.
I could get away with minimal packing at my grandmother’s because really I end up living in one pair of yoga pants the whole time I’m there (multiple Tshirts, socks and undies) then changing back into the plane outfit that is fit for public viewing. At most you need one of those bags that fit under the seat and a backpack full of gadgets.
But for Green Bay (and especially this year; see above.) there’s no way I could fit all my cold friggin’ weather gear in a small carry-on. So my inner freakazoid went bonkers trying to come up with a “matching” set that would hold enough for 5 days in the cold. It really only had to be a tenuous link, but a link nonetheless. So I went Marshall’s/Ross/TJ Maxx crawling (Marshall’s was the most likely success as that was where I found the original bag.) and I lucked out and found a small suitcase only $10 more than the original that matched exactly. It isn’t a wheelie but I don’t necessarily need another wheelie.
I test drove it last weekend when I stayed down close to the Monterey Aquarium last weekend and it holds a surprising amount of crap (but you have to be careful or they will get crabby on the plane and not let you in and make you check it… it’s a fine line.)
The other thing in my head is a longer trip to the AT. About the same time frame and location as the other with a few adjustment (namely, marshmallows for mama, not eating a group meal and a slower pace with less panic that I was holding up the group.) I don’t regret a thing about the last trip, but I also would like to try a few new things while I’m there and I know myself fairly well, so adjustments will be made.
I’m not quite ready to do 6-8 weeks on the trail and do the entire state yet for a variety of reasons, but I will.
Now, gotta get on the treadmill and also start doing 4-6 miles each weekend day to get ready.
(NOTE: This is for flying. Road trips and train trips are entire 'nother animal.)Weather: I can easily handle a 50 degree range (and even more if I will only be outside for a few minutes moving from car to door etc.) with my standard array of clothing:
a pair of Khakis/jeans
a pair of black pants
several long sleeve quick dry shirts (or short sleeve if in summer/warmer climates)
a light merino wool sweater
a breathable jacket (the same one I wear on the trail)
a scarf (pashmina or the like)
For trips like Green Bay, I allow myself a couple of fun things. This trip I have snow pants (though not totally necessary) and some silly hats to wear.
Function: If I am going to be going to a play or out to a fancy dinner, I tend to pack a nice shirt and a pair of shoes that don't look like I walk 20 miles a week in them and wear my black pants. Its as good as you are going to get with me. Cope.
I end up packing about the same amount of clothes for a weekend that I do for a week or more. I don't know why, but it seems to work well for me. I think its because I can have a choice in what I wear and my inner 2 year old is appeased by that.
Also on the default list is:
yoga pants (can work as jammies, workout wear, warmer weather pants as well as being just plain comfy.)
2 quick dry t shirts (workout clothes, layers, on their own, jammies etc.)
Tools: This is where I spend most of my time thinking about a packing list: the gadgety stuff.
Phone+foldup keyboard+USB charging cable – I have a Palm Centro with the old Palm folding keyboard covers most of my text based needs (email, blogging, writing articles/books (thank you WordSmith!), Twitter, Facebook, banking, misc browsing) and some basic HTML provided I have a web interface I can work in instead of relying on FTP.My phone also has a nationwide plan and is GSM so if I am out of the country I can buy a prepaid card and swap SIM chips.
Camera+charger+multiple cards (I have a small digital that works for everyday photos and video. If I am going somewhere for more than a week, I will most likely bring my digital SLR for some really good shots.)
iPod – model varies based on trip length and availability of wifi and or power outlets.
Solio This can charge my iPod (The nano version can be charged multiple times without draining the Solio and still have power for my phone) I have limited luck with charging it in the sun since I am in airports and in cloudy locations. But when I do road trips, it works really well on the dashboard, hiking has a limited charge time as we are mostly in the trees but it has a charging option so I mostly use it as a spare battery.
Card reader+Cards+Portable Apps– You can use any PC without leaving any of your data on it… and they have Skype in P.A. form now! I also put PDF (password protected) scans of my drivers license, my passport and other emergency information and standard files I use a lot.
USB rechargable speakers I found these a while back. I like them because they sound great, are chargable via mini-USB, and are tiny (they were originally made to go with some Cingular phone that matched its form factor). I don't think they make them anymore, but I love them.
optional: if I am on call at work then I take my netbook, anAcer Aspire One which has my full set of tools on it.
optional: if I will be on a flight longer than 2 hours or if I am visiting my family (i'm a night owl and they aren't), I bring my eReader
Then there's the standard stuff I have in my purse/backpack at all times: notebook, pens, aspirin, etc. Survival gear. There are also some new toys that I am pondering but that will have to be another post… as will the perfect (mythical) travel tool.
Bag Ogio Metro Backpack (mine doesn't have the Firefox on it, but I wish it did)
Clothes 2 short sleeved Tshirts 1 long sleeve Tshirt yoga pants (doubles as jammies) sleeping Tshirt 1 long sleeve heavier shirt* sock/undies Keen shoes plane wear: jeans, long sleeve Tshirt, Eddie Bauer jacket I wore to Green Bay
Stuff Treo + cables etc iPod Touch + cables Belkin power strip (AC + 2 USB ports) Solio + connecties camera + stuff external drive shampoo etc sunglasses Crystal Lite mixes, snack bars, nuts empty water bottle
I'll probably take my Acer, but I really don't feel like futzing around with all the associated angst it takes to get through security and carry all the cables… but given that it was necessary when I traveled last time as I got trapped, it might still be worth it (though the incidence of blizzard is statistically low in Kermit). Also, I have an idea for a TSA safe laptop bag (a two bottle wine carrier from BuiltNY with the center stitching removed. No zippers, no extra pockets and very viewable on security cam.) No decision yet… however, leaning toward YES.