Having just returned from a 28-day trip (San Diego –> Paris –> Amsterdam –> Tel Aviv –> Jerusalem –> Tiberias –> San Diego) my mind is buzzing with all sorts of post-trip excitement. I thought I would share a few of my loosely-related thoughts on packing.
Luggage: I’d give myself a solid B on packing. Although I had the smallest suitcase of anyone else in my family, I think I could have shed 10 pounds off its 39 pounds. My approach was to pack for 7 days, and I hit this mark pretty closely. Still, with 2 dresses, 1 skirt and 4 pairs of pants, I could have pared that down to 1 dress and 3 pairs of pants (consisting of 2 pairs of jeans and 1 dressier knit pant.)
At several train stations and airports, I looked enviously at those traveling with the (newish) 360° spinner wheels. The spinner wheels do not require you to hold the weight of the luggage as you roll it along. They roll in an upright position. Maybe one day I’ll spring for one. But heck, I still remember luggage without wheels, so I’m thrilled that my luggage has any kind of wheel!
Shoes: I scored a perfect A+ for shoes. I have problem feet, so traveling shoes are always an issue. I didn’t buy any new shoes for this trip, just chose from my (fairly large) shoe closet. I did great with one pair of Arcopedico walking shoes (with Lynco orthotic insoles), one pair of Naot sandals, and a pair of knee-high boots that I used to dress up both pants and dresses. To save space in my luggage, I usually traveled in the boots. This worked fine EXCEPT in the Amsterdam train station where I slipped on the marble floors (my boots have leather soles.) The nice lady who helped me off the floor said this happens all the time!
Weather: Packing for a variety of weather conditions is always a challenge. I did great (A+) for the cold spring weather in Paris and Amsterdam with layering of a lightweight trench coat on top of a knee-length sweater. For evenings, I had a scarf and gloves. But in Jerusalem I hit an unexpected warm spell (oops!), which I simply suffered through with jeans and a long-sleeved cotton knit tee. I kept thinking that I would end up buying something for the warmer days, but the opportunity never presented itself (although I did buy a cute straw sun hat!) The problem here turned out to be the inaccuracy of 30-day weather forecasts. What I should have done was look at historical weather patterns for mid-April, instead of relying on the 30-day forecast! Lesson learned.
Purses: I always travel with a cross-body purse. I find them the most comfortable and versatile for travel. To this I added a leather backpack (which I only used on travel days) and a small fanny pack for those long walking days in Jerusalem.
Electronics: I didn’t activate my Android for international use, so I only used it with WiFi. Of course all the hotels had free WiFi (I wouldn’t have booked them otherwise) but surprisingly Paris, Amsterdam and Jerusalem had few free public hotspots. Tel Aviv, on the other hand, has free WiFi nearly everywhere, offered by cafes, restaurants, hotels, etc. If you are standing on the street, and your signal is weak, just move a bit to the left to pick up a stronger signal from another shop!
At the end of the trip, going through the memorized wireless access points on my Android was a bit nostalgic. I kept a few of them on my phone as souvenirs! For example: Aroma.co.il, Aroma-Wifi and Diaghilev.
In addition to my phone, I brought my Mac Air, which is very lightweight. The rest of my family brought their iPads (there were three of them), which is probably a better size for travel, but I don’t own one, so I didn’t have a choice!
What are your packing secrets? I’d love to hear them! You can share by posting a comment below.