Part One covered WHAT to pack, avoiding typical tourist clothing traps, and escaping the pitfalls of over-packing. Today we're covering HOW to pack it all and by further request, Part 3 will cover the Men's Edition of what to pack.
The essential luggage pieces to cover almost any travel scenario are:
- 24" to 27" expandable wheeled upright
- 20" expandable wheeled carry-on
- boarding tote
In case you're wondering about what luggage to invest in, my favorite brand is Briggs & Riley, not that they even know I exist. They have a lovely life-time guarantee. No matter what happens to your bag, your fault, my fault, nobody's fault, they repair it. If you're fast, you can score that great little Boarding Tote for less than $100. It's been discontinued, which is a shame. My 20" carry-on that you'll see in the video is a Tumi I picked up on a great sale and it's been a champ.
The above three items have been my packing best friends for many years.
(Above are the versions currently available.)
- The absolutely indispensable - Eagle Creek Packing Envelope. Purchase the size that will fit in your smallest suitcase. Mine is an 18".
- Eagle Creek Packing Cube. It's double sided, with one side lined to hold wet or dirty clothes. Comes in half and quarter sizes as well.
- Tri-fold, vinyl covered, hanging toiletry kit. Counter space can be hard to come by in some hotel bathrooms, so the ability to hang your kit and have everything handy is crucial.
And now I'm proud to present... my hands!
True traveling nirvana. Now back to the show...
Am I serious about the snacks? Definitely! Just a few energy bars, an apple and sandwich. It's a long flight! Airport food can be fatty and expensive. And you REALLY don't want to be stuck buying the limited airplane offerings if you're not flying at least business class. You'll also notice I didn't put in any water. Can't get past TSA with it unless it's sealed so purchase it after you get through security. But definitely get some! Dehydration makes jetlag much worse.
In your toiletry kit you should pack:
- TS body wash or bar soap & net scrubby
- TS shampoo and conditioner (don't count on each hotel having them)
- Body butter (never leaks, unlike lotion, and a little goes a long way)
- TS hair gel (or whatever product you use for your simplest hairstyle)
- TS toothpaste & floss
- Nail file or small nail clippers
- A few Q-tips
- A few band-aids for walking blisters
- Razor & TS size shaving cream
- Small pkg of powdered laundry soap. These are easy to find at a laundromat or drug store. Even gas stations! I few sprinkles in the sink and you'll have clean undies & socks.
- In addition to this Stila Combo-Eye pen and mascara that you saw, I carry one other eyeshadow (a cream bronze that goes with everything) and SPF tinted moisturizer. You can add in concealer, blush, and lipstick/gloss, but traveling is not the place for your red-carpet face. Fresh and simple is easy to do and looks best in pictures.
- Supplies to deal with your monthly friend if necessary.
- Any medications you're currently taking, including for seasonal allergies. Germany & Switzerland will be in full pollen bloom!
- Imodium - for undesirable food episodes. (Hello - oysters in Belgium!)
- And finally, my Super-Duper-Jetlag-Slaying Travel Cocktail... Benadryl and Excedrin. The Benadryl taken at night helps you sleep in the new time zone, and the Excedrin in the morning wakes you up and takes care of any little headaches from the jetlag or unfamiliar bed. Take that combo the first few days and before you know it - you'll be acclimated! If you already use sleeping pills, then take those instead of the Benadryl. Better traveling through chemistry, I say!
- If you don't freeze easily, you can eliminate the sweater layer. The pashmina & lightweight trench will have you covered.
- Someone asked about an umbrella. Sure, TS sized ones are easy to pack but for me they often end up never leaving my hotel. Invariably, it'll be sunny when we head out and won't rain until later. My trench keeps me from getting soaked.
- Make sure your camera is charged & the memory is clear!
- Make sure you have your passport.
- Pack AT LEAST the day before. It'll help you remember things.
- Check in online, even if you don't print out your boarding pass.
- I sometimes get asked why I don't take a purse to "hide" my camera in. Because a purse is a bigger target than a camera! In one fell swoop everything could be stolen, not JUST my camera. The neck pouch I discussed last time keeps everything tucked away and I just watch out for my camera. I'd hate to have it stolen but it is much easier to replace than my credit card and ID.
- Have a flexible itinerary. It is smart to plan out what you'll be doing and where you'll be staying on your trip, but take your guidebook with you so that if something catches your eye or a local refers you to something, you can make a little detour.
- Pack a deck of cards in your carry-on. Because when you travel... you travel! If the plane is delayed, don't stress out. Things will happen. Reservations will be "lost", trains will be missed (are you catching all my personal experience here?) and it's ok. It's an excuse for another round of cards, or another chapter in your book, or more people watching.