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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Packing for a Trip by Margot Justes

I don’t think it’s a secret I love to travel, and given an opportunity I could live out of a suitcase, and really would love an opportunity to do just that.

I tend to travel light, I’m not as young as I used to be, and lugging heavy suitcases is a pain, literally and figuratively. I have an expanding suitcase, that for some strange reason is fully expanded on the way back. I pack carefully going, and not so carefully coming back. That is the suitcase I take for trips that are two weeks long, give or take a day or two.

I have two grandchildren, and I bring back a few souvenirs, but am careful what I buy. Books tend to make the top of the list, history of the area visited, local artists display their works around popular tourist areas, and I tend to gravitate to that, of course t-shirts and hats, Italian espresso cups; all that takes space.

I also have a gigantic purse that could pass for a suitcase, and put all my essential information in there, a passport, travel information, and anything I can’t do without should my luggage get lost. I’m allowed a carry on, and that is packed with my lap top, camera, Kindle, a spare change of clothes, travel book, and the allowed make-up accoutrements, along with anything else I’ll need.

I never, never put anything valuable in my suitcase that the airlines will handle. I don’t travel with a lot of cash, and many credits cards. I take two credit cards, only because should something happen, I have another options. I keep the telephone numbers of the cards, and use the hotel or cabin safes. It is not full proof, and I’m sure if anyone wanted to break in-they would simply destroy the safe-but it keeps the honest people out.

I have a daily budget, the rest stays in safe, and I only take one credit with me when touring, the other one remains in safe. Money belts work well, and I have a small comfortable purse that goes over my shoulder, the purse is in front, so I can see it at all times, and I hang on to the straps. Best advice, is pure common sense, be aware of your surroundings.

Over the years, I have bought clothes that I can roll easily and that takes up less room, and of course there are shoes. I love shoes, but have learned to pack them sparingly; one good pair of walking shoes, that will go with everything I brought with me or not. Gym shoes if on a cruise, because I love to walk on the jogging deck. Notice I said walk-I do not run or jog-I walk, and one pair of dress shoes. A pair of dressy black pants, and a couple of sparkly tops, and by the way, I roll them up too.

I don’t pack an outfit or two for each day, I pack mix and match outfits, and always remember there are laundry facilities in hotels and cruises-should the need arise. The laundry prices in hotels tend to be expensive, but in an emergency, it’s there. I also remind myself how much airlines charge for overweight luggage. If you cruise enough, and join their frequent cruising club, eventually you’ll get a laundry allowance or discounted prices on board ship.

I have seen people bring a few suitcases per person when boarding a ship, and always wonder where they are going to put all that stuff-the cabins are tiny.

Margot  Justes
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A Hotel in Bath
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