Travel Gear updates

Things change, people change, hairstyles change… here are some of my latest tweaks to my travel gear:

I posted earlier about this but I changed out my compact daypack from the Sea To Summit to the Lewis N Clark. Super comfy and easily gotten back in the stuff sack.

Backing up my iPhone for when I didn’t have a connection always gave me much anxiety, then I found the iFlash Drive. It worked pretty well for several trips worth of photos and files (I tend to put my iPhone pics into an overall trip folder, then in day folders to help the slow transfer). But it was a bit of a flaky app, and it required a WIN machine to do updates to the hardware. If they changed it while I was traveling it was just broken. Sigh.

So I found the Linsam Wireless Flash that sets up a wifi network (securable with password), let’s you put 2 SD (1 regular, 1 micro) cards in it and you can stream video from it. Very fancy. I also got a case for it, but it isn’t as necessary since it is low profile and fairly sturdy.

There are times when I just go super minimal and want the tiniest stuff there is. Philips Ultra Slim Multiple Outlet isn’t the tiniest, but it is super slim and I can tuck it into a side pocket without bulk.


I still have my Sea to Summit travel wallet in my international set, but I’ve got a smaller coin purse that is still RFID protected for shorter trips. I just put my passport card, my Sapphire Card and some cash in a Travelon Daisy Coin Purse. It has a handy clip on it for attaching it in my purse /daybag or my jacket pocket and it is much smaller profile for just regular noodling about.

Deodorant: I really do like the crystal deodorant, but sometimes I need a bit more. It lasts for about 20 hours on me in light use territory. But I didn’t love most of the form factors of regular deodorant. Even the travel sizes eat up too much space in my dopp kit, so I melted down the last of my deodorant (paper cup with a baggie around the bottom to prevent spills, 11 second blasts until melted) poured into an empty baby lavender lotion stick. Peeled off the labels and then put the deodorant label on the stick.

The Great Railway Bazaar quote

My favorite part of the audiobook 😉

“The wind, rising from the harbour, which was lead grey and pimpled with drizzle, blew into my eyes. I was squinting with the cold I had caught when the first September chill hit London and roused in me visions of palm trees and the rosy heat of Ceylon. That cold made leaving all the easier; leaving was a cure: 

‘Have you tried aspirin?’ 

‘No, I think I’ll go to India.’ “

Vacation in a vacation

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’ll be carrying my Pacsafe Slingsafe 300 GII and my pouch purse

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:
1. umbrella
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 😉

4. Travel electronics:

All told it weighs about 5 or 6 pounds, (more with a water bottle in there). I’m ready for London!

SIM gadgety thing

Since I’m getting ready for Paris, thought I’d make certain that if I need to get a SIM there for my phone, I’d have a decent place to store my home SIM. I also dig the credit card form factor so I can store it in my travel wallet.


  • Compact, slim design that will fit in most wallets for optimal portability. Convenient screen cleaner with a microfiber cloth to remove debris and clean dirty surfaces
  • MicroSD/TF Card (up to 32GB) reader and storage bay. SIM Card ejection tool and storage area for swapping and exchanging SIM Cards
  • Backwards compatible with USB 1.1. Supported Operating Systems: Windows XP or later / Mac OS 10.0 or Later / Linux 2.4 or later
  • USB Micro-B for sync and charge of mobile devices, at USB 2.0 speeds (up to 480Mbps)
  • Compatible with Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 Edge/S6/S6 Edge/S5/Grand Prime, Note Series, G4/G3, Moto G/X/E, Nokia Lumia Series, Android Micro USB Port Devices and Dual Sim Smartphones

Organizing my travel stuff day

(I swear this is not a shrine to Tom Bihn 😉 )

Bags (from left to right):

1. Pacsafe Citysafe CS300 GII Anti-Theft Backpack

2. Tom Bihn SideKick and Tom Bihn Daylight Backpack

3. Tom Bihn Co-Pilot

4. Tom Bihn Synapse 25

5. Tom Bihn Aeronaut 30

On end: misc Tom Bihn stuff sacks

Below, right: Tom Bihn Night Flight Travel Duffle sitting on top of sunset orange Lug Puddle Jumper
In an effort to curb my wants for MOAR TRAVEL STUFFS I decided to gather my travel gear together to clear out any unnecessary duplication and be ready for my next trip.

I used a shoe organizer on the side of a portable coat rack to corral travel wallets, travel pill carriers, wet kits (liquid shampoo etc), dry kits (shampoo bars, toothpowder, etc), packable purses or day packs, and journals ready for filling with adventures. 

(I don’t have my travel clothes hung up here as I have a good amount of wool based stuff so I keep them in an air locked bin with cedar and lavender to discourage the critters. )

Also, very important to leave space on top of a bin for a cat to crawl in and not wreak total havoc. 🙂

Do you fly Spirit airlines?

They recently changed their personal item size.
For Travel April 4, 2017 & Beyond:

Personal item (e.g., purse, small backpack, etc.): Dimensions must not exceed 18 x 14 x 8 inches (45 x 35 x 20 cm) including handles and wheels.

So a good portion of those underseat wheelies touted as Spirit friendly seem to be out of the running. Though it looks like Boarding Blue is on  top of it! their updated BoardingBlue Spirit Airlines Personal Item Under Seat bag meets the specs (don’t expand it though, it will exceed the measuring box).

Features (from Amazon’s website)

  • size-Zipped-In : 16″x12″x8″ ideal for Spirit, Frontier, Jetblue, America Airlines
  • Multiple pockets for travel accessories, including charger, Ipad, water bottle, ticket, etc
  • Friendly Reminder: Please Do NOT Pack Too Much. Or It may cause the bag oversized.

It’s rare that I actually need a wheelie these days. I tend toward a backpack unless I’m carrying a laptop or changing terminals (flying through DFW or ORD etc. Oh and there was that RIDICULOUS trek through IAH coming back from Uruguay and walked several miles to the customs line and back to my connecting flight. Normally walking isn’t a problem, but after a long sleepless overnight flight I was pre-caffeine and crabby.) 

I still use an American Tourister Atmosphera Tote I got years ago that does fit under the seat and is pretty good for regional jets, but it wouldn’t work if I needed to fly Spirit. Here’s a later version sold at The Mart of Wal

Non-wheelie options:

Of course you could go with a messenger bag or a backpack:

5 Cities | 16 Inch Carry On Hand Luggage Flight Duffle Bag, 2nd Bag or Underseat, 19L $ – this one specifies it works on Spirit.

Uniqlo | 3 Way Bag $ – I have this bag and I really like it. It’s somewhat deconstructed, and several folks on youtube use it for ultralight travel.  Here’s Packing Lite’s video

Mochi Things | Travelus Multipurpose Bag $$$ – I have a similar bag called an “overnight” backpack but I use it for week long jaunts. I also keep it loaded as I have elderly grandmothers and never know when I need to jump on a plane to get back home. Mine was about $30 on

I always think ultralight packing is always the way to go, but changing bag dimensions was a pretty irritating move on Spirit’s part :/

Anyone flown on Spirit lately? How did you pack? 

Prepping for Paris!

Ever since college, when I studied in Paris for my French degree, I’ve managed to make it to Paris just about every 3 years by hook or by crook. Sometimes that meant eating more ramen than was to my liking and forgoing the things that make life fun, but saving for retirement *and* travel is necessary to me. I just skipped movies and dinners out.

During the aughts I couldn’t maintain the 3 year plan so I went other places like St Martin and Hawaii with friends and mileage points, but couldn’t quite swing Paris. 

And now, FINALLY I am able to get to Paris later this year! (Cross your fingers that the current regime doesn’t blow up the planet before then!) I’m reviewing options for places to stay, organizing passport / visa details, looking around to see if a travel SIM or just an international plan with my wireless provider will do, and generally tweaking my travel wardrobe for optimal comfort while not looking like a hobo in yoga pants.

Alien and Eiffel Tower
Alien and Eiffel Tower!

So excited!

New travel day pack!

Recently I sold my Sea to Summit daypack, which served me well, however it drove me bonkers by not going back into the sleeve nicely. (Truly a personal issue… it’s a great daypack.)

I found another ultralight pack nosing around a drugstore and it passed the “go gently into that good storage case” test. It’s the Lewis N Clark electrolight pack. They also have ultralight compression micro packing cubes and dopp kits which I also tested out and loved. REI  has almost the exact same micro packing cubes in grey if you want to use your dividend there 🙂 

NOTE: to all the Tom Bihn afficionados, the micro packing cubes work perfectly in the Night Flight Travel Duffle center section for packing as well, but, I digress…

The shoulder straps are nicely lined with a bit of a grippy material which helps when you are wearing a Patagonia slippery down jacket. The material isn’t shiny, but has a gloss to it while still feeling a bit velvety. I toss it into my one bag carry set up and can use it as a shopping bag or a plane stuff bag while I’m in the air.

I’m ready to go test this out on a trip now!