I have often been known to produce a “wow” when someone sees my luggage.
For others most people are okay to leave their home with most humblest of supplies. I prefer to be prepared. I hear people tell me that they don’t sweat it as they will buy what they need when they are there. Rarely on a trip do I have enough time to just attend my itinerary let alone to go shopping for clothes or toiletries.
While I get that concept—the logistics have rarely worked in my favour.
I also travel with a good number of electronics and traveling lightly is rarely possible. Here are a most often pack list of my electronics:
- MacBook Pro
- Power Adaptors
- Two iPhones
- Different networks
- Extra video and photo capability
- Power adaptors x2
- Power converters if abroad (at least two—I use to travel with one and north of impossible to get everything powered up)
- Extra photo cards
- Ultra heavy Canon camera—depends for reason of travel I might now always take with me; if I take with me two batteries (always have one powered up and ready to go)
- Extra Apple lighting cables
- See through Bags to hold electronics (which I place in my carryon)
- Portable external drive (if you do video—it is a must for me)
- External drive
- iPad only on a long trip-in case I need something to read and all power is exhausted
I used to carry a portable iron – imagine that?!? Small but heavy…… I decided non-iron shirts are a must. Are they wrinkle resistant—no not really but they don’t look like the wrinkled versions when you pull them out of the suit case. I have found a general lack of irons in Spain… I don’t think it has to do anything with Spain it is just the hotels I have gotten over time.
This is where I get in trouble…. On my long European trip this year (2016) I packed only enough clothes for a week as I had AirBNBs and many had washers and dryers. From my experience it was not perfect and here is why. Imagine getting use to a washer and dryer in each new city you went to—I had what I call 10 base camps—each one was in a different language: German, Italian, Polish, and Czech. And a lot of guesswork as it related to each washing machine and dryer—sure I could have translated everything. But I thought how different can these machines be to the ones I use in English—and as it turned out—not very different. The hard part was not every apartment always had laundry detergent. I being the boy scout (lower case) I was never a boy scout when I was a youngster—we were way too poor. But I anticipated it and brought a very small amount with me. I live near a Laundromat and bought the small boxes.
What do I bring? Well it depends—is it pure pleasure trip (rarely are they ever) or is it a combination. I bring a ton of clothes because I need a ton. In winter it may be a heavy jacket. Yes, Amsterdam, Antwerp, London and Paris in particular in winter are particularly cold.
Late Spring or mid-Fall in Europe are particularly chilly. I thought I would start off in April in Italy and when I got further north the warmth it would be there in May—wrong. It was chilly and rainy almost everywhere I went. I did have a heavy enough jacket. But I had to buy an umbrella—lasted me from start of journey in Napoli in April till end of trip at end of May in Berlin.
Because of my many travels I may have needs other don’t. This list is geared towards Fall, Spring and Winter and less so on Summer as I try to travel as little as possible.
- Lightweight Jacket or a sport coat (great to travel with if you anticipate dressier occasions—I love sport coats because of the many pockets. if you anticipate a slightly warmer travel period; a jacket in colder periods
- Scarf – I bring one year round. When I am in Italy I want a scarf on at all times; in all cool seasons I always wear one
- A pullover sweater if a short trip an additional one if longer time; I bring cotton in cooler periods; wool if traveling in winter
- Two or more pair of jeans (depends on length of visit)
- A more dressier pair of pants
- Long-sleeve shirts I bring non-iron (less than an everyday change—even if light this gets super heavy)
- Short-sleeve – I rarely do this unless it is going to be warmer
- For a shorter trip I bring enough undergarments for each day plus one
- I keep the plus one in my carry on –just in case your luggage is delayed
- Socks – I bring enough for each day plus one and keep an additional pair in my carry on (again, just in case)
- I bring a tie if I know I have a dressier occasion
- I try to bring only one belt (I generally bring two to match the shoes I’ll be wearing)
- I try to bring a nicer pair of shoes
- A more comfortable pair of shoes
- Running shoes
- Running wear and cap
- Slippers (I don’t like walking barefoot in places I am staying)
- I have clothing bags so I can have major categories to place in drawers rapidly
- A plastic bag for dirty clothes
- Sewing kit—I have many an important button come off and I can quickly fix.
Probably many things you pack probably without thought—mine I would say is comprehensive and not exhausting
- Toothpaste – a tend to bring a larger amount depending on trip
- Floss (some countries I have been to this is a rarity—I hate to run out—I keep hearing my dentists ask the question they ask way too often “do you floss”)
- Mouth wash
- Shaving cream
- Electric shaver
- Shampoo (I have been at hotels that have a 3-1 formula) I hate that –and my scalp is way to sensitive for a 3-1 soap
- A small bar of soap (just in case) I am probably the only person on earth that does this
- Facial Moisturizer
- Lotion (larger than travel size)
- Hair gel (larger than travel size)
- Band aide
- Nail clipper
Carryon toiletries (travel size of course)
- Hand sanitizer
- Lip balm
- Allergy med
- Small fragrance (yes, I love fragrance and of course I never wear during a wine tasting event or judging)
On a longer trip I do replenish as anyone would—and can find most supplies and I have found some great things that I love to get each trip like Taft men’s hair gel. I got Schwarzkopf Taft men’s hair gel in in Prague. I took a small gamble and went for the lower priced product. Loved the product quality and smell and long lasting formula.
And lastly because I am James the Wine Guy I always travel with a wine key and Champagne/Sparkling bottle closer; So often so many places don’t have at least a bottle opener—usually the hotel or AirBNB has one when you don’t need one or when you need one your hotel or AirBNB doesn’t have one.
I have had to pace what I might bring back. My luggage is heavy when I leave and heavier when I get back. I have a gift I have received or gifts I want to bring back. I am conscious of it and I try to never bring back more than two bottles of wine in my suite case—actually I should only be bringing back one and if I am buying wine at an airport retailer (there are some good ones—I like the wine retail store in Bari’s airport—mainly local wines.
I have only had to pay for extra heavy baggage this year and that was Air France. I was barely over and the only thing that would bring down the weight is taking a bottle away. When I fly discount carrier (which is rare) I always pay for luggage.
My new suitcase purchased this year just crashed completely. I think the problems began in Florence and I remember the wheels were never the same. Super noisy and it was the extra brutal cobblestone of Florence did my bag in as well as my “comfortable shoes” I took pictures of the most uneven cobblestone of any European city that I have ever seen. My feet, my body and my soul and of course my luggage were wrecked.
Here is picture of my wheel and keep in mind I have had this piece for less than year—what obsolescence—amazing.
I have another Samsonite suite case that still works well and have had for least 3 years.
Travel is great and do yourself a favour—create a checklist before you go. Ask questions of your hotel or Airbnb be you travel (about things you want or need). I would say being less casual about what you bring on travel and being more specific makes you feel empowered—not scrambling for toothpaste on a Sunday where every shop is closed in the European city you are visiting.
I hope you find this article useful—let me know.
Cheers, happy and safe travels to you!
Also, published in my travel blog – James the Travel Guy
James the Wine Guy
Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.
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