On this trip, we’ll be nine and a half hours in flight going over and almost eleven hours coming back. That’s a lot of time to try to be comfortable and entertained.
I’m carrying a lot more on board than I would if I were on a 2.5 hour trip to Cancun. Here’s a list:
Scottevest: This is more to carry things IN than an item itself
iPad 2: Movies are downloaded and ready to go. I also bought a headphone splitter so my traveling companion can be entertained too.
Larabars: Healthy snacks in case my hunger schedule doesn’t match the schedule on board. Plus..airplane food….
Stand and External Keyboard for iPad2: To stand the iPad up for easier viewing, or for typing blog posts if inspiration hits.
Paperback book and Photography Magazines: Reading material is very important. I also have books downloaded to the iPad, but you still need paper for before and after you’re allowed electronics.
Fold Up Blanket
Travel Pillow: (I have high hopes for this new pillow I bought.)
In Flight Kit: I put together this kit a few trips ago and it has served me well.
- Chap Stick
- Shout Wipes
- Pair of Fuzzy Socks
- Mini Mag Light (so you can find stuff when the cabin lights are down)
- Cloth Hanky
- Hand Lotion
- Cough Drops
- Sleeping Mask
- Bleach Wipes
Of course, I’m hoping to sleep quite a bit too. Between sleep, what I’ve brought, and the two meals that will be served on board, I should be to Paris in no time. Right?
Do you have any more tips for me? Tell me in the comments.
This is the part of packing that I really don’t like. I’m not that into clothes even at home, so deciding what to take a trip is something that I can find myself procrastinating until the last minute. Nevertheless, I felt it was important to force myself to think through everything and get it ready.
On this trip, I’ll need a set of clothes for each day. Daytime activities on this trip will be mostly walking around exploring and taking pictures. I’ll keep it pretty simple. I bought some new turtlenecks and fleece tops from Lands End in bright colors. I’ll wear them each day with a pair of jeans. Pretty simple.
It gets more complicated in the evening. Since we’re on a river cruise we’ll have to go to dinner each night and there are only 136 other people on the boat, so it’s harder to fade into the background. I don’t want to embarrass myself. On an independent trip, if you wear the same thing to dinner several times, no one but your traveling companion would notice. Depending on who your traveling companion is they might not notice either.
I’m a big fan of Chico’s Traveler Collection. I have a good assortment of the basic pieces, then a different way every night to make it seem different. Either a blouse, or a scarf or a jacket can make a big difference. Jewelry plays a big role too.
So, what I did was sit down and create seven different outfits (one for each night of the cruise). I took a picture with my iPhone of each outfit. By going ahead and assembling each outfit I was able to make sure I had everything I needed.
As far as the actual physical packing of the clothes, there are many places where you can read about techniques for putting clothes in suitcases. What I did with my evening clothes was make a big stack of them and roll them all together. Nothing I brought wrinkles badly, so I feel confident that this will do the job until I unpack in the cruise cabin.
For my daytime exploring clothes, I used an Eagle Creek Pack-it Folder. Incidentally, I always use Eagle Creek Pack-it Cubes for underwear and socks. Rather than having individual pairs drifting around my suitcase, There are all together and organized.
What is your favorite tip for organizing your clothing for a trip? Tell me in the comments.
To do a good job at packing your toiletries and not end up on your trip longing for a forgotten item requires forethought and planning. Here are a few tips that will help.
1) Pick the right toiletry kit. Since this series of posts is about packing for a trip to France, one consideration is lack of counter space. European hotel rooms rarely have any at all, and our cabin on our river cruise will certainly not have much, if any. So, it is important to have a toiletry kit with a hook so that it will hang on the wall. You can hang it from a doorknob, the top of the mirror, a light fixture or maybe even a hook. Another great asset in a toiletry kit is lot of pockets or dividers so that you can keep everything in the right place rather than rummaging around a big open bag. The toiletry kit I picked for this trip is the REI Ultimate Shower Kit. I recently retired my Eagle Creek Travel Gear Pack-It Wallaby. I would have just replaced it with another Wallaby since it served me so well for so long, but I just wanted to try something new.
2) Small Containers. I hope it is already obvious that it isn’t good packing technique to carry around full size containers of most things. For this trip, I’m using GoToob Silicone Travel Bottles. They are great and squishy and even have suction cups so you can easily affix them to the wall in the bathroom or the shower.
Or, if you want to purchase small sizes of your favorite items and you can’t find them in that section at Target, take a look at http://www.3floz.com/ or http://www.minimus.biz/
3) Planning. I tend to do better if I pack well ahead of actually leaving for the trip. This gives me longer to remember things I’ve forgotten. It also gives me time to really evaluate each choice to see if I really need to bring it or not.
When it actually comes time to fill the toiletry kit I sit and actually imagine the process of showering and getting ready in the morning. As I come to each step in the process I pack the appropriate item. If it is an item that I will still need to use in the days leading up to departure, I put it on a “last minute packing items” list.
I also keep a “need to buy” list so that I can jot down things I still need to pick up (usually at Target).
Unless you’re packing a separate medication / first aid kit, you might also consider including those items in your toiletry kit. Think through some of the ailments that you commonly get either at home or while traveling and bring items to treat them.
Here is a list of the items currently in my toiletry kit:
Enough makeup to make me minimally presentable
Blister Band Aids
One dose of cold medicine (enough until I can find somewhere to buy it if I need it.)
Small Bottle of Advil
Small Bottle of Benedryl
What toiletry item can you not do without? Tell us in the comments.
Ten days from today I am going on the Avalon Scenery for a river cruise through Burgundy and Provence.
I do travel alot. Usually, though, it is to a beach destination. I can pack for a trip like that in my sleep. Packing for a trip like this will require a bit more thought and planning.
So, I thought I would write a few articles about the process of planning and packing for this trip. Maybe you can learn from my experience.
There are a few primary considerations when starting to think about what clothing to pack. Temperature and activities planned are two important ones.
I checked weather.com and it looks like right now in Paris the highs are in the mid 50′s and night time lows are in the mid 40′s. Now, to this Texan, mid 40′s are pretty chilly. For that matter, mid 50′s are sweatshirt and fleece weather.
The dear friend accompanying me shares my enthusiasm for photography. (Although she is actually talented, as opposed to my hit and miss methods.) I’m assuming much of our daytimes will be spent wandering around taking photographs. That means that I’ll need comfortable warm clothes for daytime. I’ll need seven dress up outfits for eating dinner on the boat. That will be the real challenge.
Another challenge to consider is that if I forget something, it won’t be very easy to replace it. When I recently traveled to Oregon for my nieces wedding I was able to just take my rental car over to the local Target store. Along the river in Southern France there may not be a Target store nearby.
So, how will I solve these challenges? First of all, I will start packing today. In fact, there is already an open suitcase in my bedroom where I place things I think about as I think about them. I find that the more in advance I pack, the less I pack. If I pack at the last minute, I feel less sure of my choices, so I tend to bring everything possible.
So, it’s time to start making lists. Do you have any tips for me? Add them in the comments.