OR SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL.
It’s simple but you lot won’t like it and it’s non-negotiable!
My luggage rules are strict: one carry on suitcase, a small under-seat rucksack and a bum-bag for ALL trips. I will explain how to make this adjustment in your thinking set on how much to take. I went from minus 40 to plus 40 degrees on my last trip and managed with this small luggage allowance. This takes a huge amount of stress out of the equation and the only way an old bird can manage without freaking out, overtiring herself, making things unmanageable and possibly having things nicked. Trust me it’s much better and super liberating when you accept it. If you want to see general packing lists for Nippy Trips or for Hot Trips
Tiny suitcase, bumbag and rucksack is all you need!
Airlines are strict so don’t try to cheat or you’ll suffer anxiety each time you fly. I flew with six different airlines on my “Big Trip” and had no problems at all. There can be a weight allowance too. It’s generally eight kilos. What! I hear you shout! Believe me, you can get plenty in that case without exceeding this weight. The trick is to take a small under the seat rucksack with your heavy stuff in.
That means all weighty things such as your laptop, iPad, external hard drive, ( for your movies and entertainment ) a camera ( mine’s a waterproof Tough camera great for snorkelling shots ) and chargers of all kinds. It sounds like a small branch of Curry’s but I use every item on each trip and having my nerd bag has saved my sanity on many a leg of my adventures. If you have a Kindle or prefer a proper book that’s obviously up to you.
Remember you’ll have your “wet” bag in there too for showing at security. I’ll inform you on that in a minute! If you’re going on a nippy trip you will carry your coat or even wear it onto the plane and wear all your heavier items. When I went on Trans Siberian Express I was continuing to Vietnam and hotter climes and it still worked.
Meds and first aid.
You old birds will probably have medication you have to take on a regular basis for some horrible age-related malaise, you’ll need that stuff and in enough quantity that if you extend your trip you still have enough (you don’t want to have to come home early because you’ve run out!) Also a small supply of painkillers, indigestion tablets and plasters.
Wherever you go these days you can get practically anything, but these things are handy in your bum bag for the whole trip. I have found that even the most innocuous things give me painful heartburn so I carry tablets around all the time. Eye drops too but they go in your wet bag! Also, lip salve is a must when travelling for the nervous licking of the lips and dehydration, and in the cold, you don’t want chapped lips! Vitamins a must!
Clothing packing in your case
Remember to always roll your clothes. They fit in tighter and creaseless. you also can grab things more easily without destroying the rest of your packing. Realistically you won’t need evening stuff but hard wearing practical gear that you will be able to throw away or give to people along the way. (The managers’ daughter in Hanoi was delighted with my gift of the nearly new furry boots and fleece cardigan that I couldn’t carry down to hot Nha Trang!!) All those furry leggings and thick socks were chucked but my Russian military coat and furry hat were lugged back home. I donated a second furry hat and a packet of Russian soup to my friend Clare who I had met up within Nha Trang for a natter after 15 years!!!!
PACKING FOR MIGRATION FROM COLD TO HOT
Wet bag contents.
Your “wet” bag only needs to have your favourite perfume/cologne, deodorant and tiny toothpaste under 100mls obviously, and an emergency sachet of shampoo, conditioner and face-cream. You’ll buy anything you need at the other end and you don’t need to lug extra stuff around. REMEMBER IF YOU’RE GOING TROPICAL YOU SHOULD PUT IN A STRONG ANTI MOSQUITO SPRAY. This I would get at this end as the ones abroad don’t seem to be hardcore! With all my green persuasions I go for as strong a foul chemical as you can get, lemongrass is good but I’ve noticed not always poky enough!
Jewellery and risk.
All expensive jewellery should stay at home. There’s no easy way of saying this, it can attract unwanted attention and even place you in danger. In Sicily I had my gold neck chain grabbed from my throat and, only because I have sharp reactions, I snatched it back and started bellowing at the top of my voice, the thief was horrified and ran. Nobody came to me to see if I was ok it was incredible and I was only wearing it as my apartment wasn’t ready, so I’d nipped out to the supermarket for provisions. The shock on the first day was huge and it goes without saying this was a knee jerk reaction on my part, it was a really stupid thing to do and the man might have been carrying a knife. I had done this in some kind of primitive mode reaction thingy. So the moral to this story is NO EXPENSIVE JEWELLERY!
LASTLY YOUR BUMBAG. IT WILL HAVE YOUR PASSPORT AND ANY IMPORTANT PAPERS, YOUR PURSE WITH SOME FOREIGN CURRENCY AND EMERGENCY MONEY, YOUR PHONE AND VERY IMPORTANTLY, YOUR DEBIT OR CREDIT CARDS. YOU MUST INFORM YOUR BANK AS TO WHERE YOU’RE GOING AND FOR HOW LONG SO THEY DON’T CANCEL YOUR CARD WHILST YOU’RE AWAY. THE ATM IS YOUR MAIN FRIEND ABROAD!
The Holy Trio
With only this trio of luggage, I’ve travelled for months at a time quite comfortably. Chucking out bits, giving bits away and buying bits as I went along! It’s made for a jolly and light-hearted attitude to material stuff and a burden free and a less stressful way of travelling. From time to time you’ll look a fool but you will know how canny you have been!
AGAIN, YOU’LL FIND THIS HUGELY LIBERATING AND THANK ME. YOUR HANDS WILL BE FREE AND ALL YOUR BITS EASILY ACCESSIBLE SO YOU WON’T GO INTO MELTDOWN AT ANY POINT. THIS HIGH LEVEL OF ORGANIZATION AND THE STREAMLINING OF YOUR LUGGAGE WILL LEAVE YOU SUPREMELY CONFIDENT AND READY TO BE…
……..AN OLD BIRD TRAVELLING SOLO!
OVER AND OUT FROM REBECCA
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