Packed vs. "All Packed"
I think one of the hardest things about traveling is knowing what to pack, and what to wear. I don’t know about you, but I HATE hauling my luggage through airports. The biggest challenge is packing enough clothes, but not so much that it is dragging you down, literally. So, without having accurate futuristic weather details, I packed for 4 seasons. My big green Go Lite coat rolls up into a little ball, like a sleeping bag. It has 800 grams of thinsulate so it does a pretty nifty job of keeping me comfortably warm. I also packed few light jackets. I wore all them during my trip. I also packed my Under Amour gear. I wore them every day. It would be cold in the morning and then it was really warm by afternoon. When you are doing walking tours, you really need to be prepared or just suffer.
There were mornings that I had up to seven layers on. I wore both of my light jackets at the same time, and had on a vest, shirt, Under Amour. Seriously. The great thing is you can easily peel off layers. The sucky thing is you have to then carry all your clothes. By the end of the trip I had that part solved. I had a bag that doubled up as a backpack. The only place I have ever seen these bags are at raves. That’s where I got the one I was using. I only took two pairs of shoes. One black. One running. I packed my glasses inside the shoes for extra protection. I also thought ahead and packed a zip lock bag of Truvia, and a few dozen packets of Coffeemate creamer. I knew there was going to be coffee, but I didn’t know how they served it. Lucky for me I packed it because the coffee there was super strong and no Truvia or creamer. I also packed my Starbucks travel mug and I took my water bottle. Both of these came in handy while I was abroad. My water bottle was continually filled up with Coke by the flight attendants, and then I used my karabiner to hang it on the seat in front of me so my travel tray didn’t have to be down. They need to make those seats with cup holders, not using the tray. You can’t fit a laptop and a drink on those trays, at least not in economy.
Another smart idea, was packing a multi-plug power adapter. I had many devices that needed charged. I also had two travel converters, which came in handy. To stay organized, I purchased one of those jewelry clear envelope hangers and used it to put all my “things”, which included many double A batteries, contacts lens things, cables and adapters, a lighter, medications, dental floss, … you get the idea. The thought behind this is I could easily locate whatever “thing” quickly and it would pass through security very quickly and easily as it was x-rayed. I also kept copies of important documents in one of the pockets. Those included passport, drivers license and the back of my credit cards if I needed to call them in as lost/stolen. Never copy the front of a credit card. The bank can always look you up by your social security number if you don’t know your account number. You should also know what travel benefits you have through your credit cards. When I was flying back from NYC, my cell phone and iPod were “lost”, they were actually stolen. If I had put that on my American Express, it would have been totally replaced at no cost to me. So far, I have found that American Express is the premier company for travel benefits. Who doesn’t want to be treated with priority status? Airport lounges are super nice, but at a price. My United Plus card has good benefits as well, which I use when I can’t use my AMEX.
My last thing to remember when packing, is my USB foam fan. It runs on double a batteries or plugs into a USB. You might get hot in your hotel room (or on the airplane when they shut off the air), and I have yet to find a hotel that provides fans. It’s a really small thing that can make a big difference. I never really figured out if being packed versus all packed was different. I think it is more of a yes or no, you are packed or you aren’t.