Friday, November 8, 2013

Documentation, fake jewels and ruthlessness make for savvy packing


Nearly everything you might forget can be easily purchased, usually cheaply, while on holiday. So don't stress.
This ship stateroom may be furnished with duty free 
beverages, so avoid bulky, heavy bottles in your baggage. 
Pick up a bottle or two of wine at your destination.


REMEMBER, the globe is shrinking with technology and travel advances.  You're not visiting a remote planet.
You're probably going to Paris, Rome, the British Isles, Mexico, China, South America, the Caribbean, or to visit relatives or friends, possibly one of our delightful U.S. destinations. Maybe a cruise.
ALL OF THESE places have markets, shops, convenience stores! Don't pack bottles of liquor when you can purchase duty free on the plane, or buy your wine on the ship or a supermarket. (Not at the hotel -- way too expensive.) Buy a wine package on the ship to save money.  They won't let you cart your own on board -- they want you to buy theirs!
As you pack, think about each item you put in. Evaluate its usefulness and importance. Do you really need it? Can you pick it up there?
As a trip ends, Cookie sorts, sifts, decides what to toss.
Here, she'll give away a cheap cooler used for picnics.
 * THE INCREDIBLE BULK.  If you forget something, you can buy nearly everything you might need -- from razor blades and tooth paste to cosmetics.  You'll pick up freebies from the hotels and ships -- shampoos, lotions, etc. Your bag will get heavier; don't load yourself down.  If you stick to one loosely packed Pullman per person for check-through, plus your carry-on (backpack for Keller with his laptop in the padded center), you won't be weighted down. Save room for small gifts -- coffee, tea, jam, cookies. Toss or give away small, junky, bulky "unnecessaries" you've collected before flying home. Buy one nice item for yourself -- a flat scarf is easy to pack but if you can't resist the fun pair of shoes on sale in Italy, have the store send them home. I've never failed to receive anything I've bought this way.
Fake pearls, a compact but pretty top, a sport coat and tie
dress Keller and Cookie up for a night on the town in Las Vegas.
* AVOID TAKING the family jewels.  Sure, you can use the hotel and ship safes, or check your valuables with the concierge, but why stress?  No one will care if you don't wear your Mikimoto pearls or your grandmother's diamond bracelet. Have fun.  Bring attractive costume jewelry and you won't agonize if you lose something. Never bring your favorite anything on a trip.
* COPY  YOUR PASSPORT, visa, driver's license and other valuable documents.  Put them in a separate place from your carry-on original documents (inside a book or your laptop bag, somewhere you'll remember.)  Keller also uses his Droid
Take a few tops out -- no one notices wardrobe repetition.
to photograph our critical paperwork, including our airline confirmation numbers, cruise boarding documents and passport main pages.
* DON'T DOUBLE UP. Check with your traveling companion and don't duplicate items you can share --  tooth paste, deoderant, vitamins, pain relievers, etc.
Again, it is essential to be able to carry your own stuff. Period.  You can't always get a porter in a train station.
* ALL THAT OTHER STUFF.  I just looked at a bag that I still haven't unpacked from the last long trip -- nearly three weeks.
Good packing makes a relaxed Cookie -- with enough stuff to look nice. 
In it, I discovered items that were never used. I'd packed three pair of capri pants.  Two would have been adequate.  A little hair-curling kit was not use at all -- and it weighed two or three pounds.  (I had my hair done once cruising to Alaska and washed and blew dry it the other times in Seattle. Didn't need curlers.) If you have to sit on your bag to close it, take some stuff out!
ON A RECENT trip to Europe, I didn't need any of my electric plug converters and adapters.  Most of the nice hotels now accommodate American electronics.  If you do need a converter, the hotel will likely have one.  So the old adage of "packing, then taking half of the stuff out" might serve me well on the next trip. You'll sleep better with a lighter bag.  I swear by it!
* BE RUTHLESS with yourself.  Think, "Do I really need that extra black shell top?  Will anyone notice if I wear the same swimsuit to the beach or pool twice?  Must I really have three separate formal outfits for the ship's three formal nights? Big bulky sweatshirts and fluffy robes are not necessary.  If it's really cool, I
borrow Keller's sweatshirt and he wears his jacket and sweater. And hotels and ships usually provide robes.
NEXT: Wednesday, a tribute to violinist Robert Sandstrom, left, who mixed it up with jazz and swing, played first-violin symphonic scores, loved Bach, opera, Celtic and more. His memorial service was Monday in San Diego. Bravo, Bob. We miss you.

COMING UP:  Dining on the road and not turning into the incredible bulk.  We offer tips on food and enjoying yourself, indulging without gaining tons of poundage. Remember to explore, learn and live and check us out Wednesdays and Saturdays at:

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