Have you ever wondered how we pack for six or more months overseas? I just returned from Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. For this two week trip I packed the same size airline carry-on suitcase and same camera backpack as if my journey was for six months.
THE BASICS of PACKING
Negative Space: We refer to empty space, like inside plastic drinking glasses or shoes or the Italian coffee pot as negative. The goal when packing is to get rid of all ‘negative space’. Fill these voids with pills or extra eyeglasses…. Yes, we are now traveling with our own coffee pot.
PACK THESE ITEMS which you may not normally think about:
Numerous plastic shopping bags: Shoes should go inside these bags for packing into the suitcase. Such baggies are often not readily available.
many other uses
Plastic plates: We designate an ‘important spot’ within seconds of moving into the new rental. These brightly colored plastic plates are where you unload keys, wallet, next town bus tickets, tour tickets etc. Plus, they can double as your picnic plates.
Plastic drinking glasses for bathroom. We do not like using glass in the bathroom for fear of breakage. Plus they serve a multiple use for picnics. (Actually, I do not recall going on any picnics…)
Cloth or heavy duty plastic ‘overflow bag’: When not used, it gets rolled up and stored like a T-shirt. Overflow items for this bag may include leftover coffee, crackers, napkins or TP. Overflow bag is just for short in-between city trips via bus, train or car, not flights or cruise excursions.
Small Sewing kit: Our overflow bag broke and I repaired it with the sewing kit.
Eyeglass repair kit: I have three stored in different luggage pockets. This is not something you want to try and find after you need it. I’m certain I’m legally blind without my glasses.
Spare eyeglasses: Could you survive without your main pair of glasses? Carry spare regular glasses and computer glasses. These get packed inside of shoes to help fill ‘negative space’. If you use over-the-counter reading glasses, pick up several at the Dollar Tree store and place a pair in each piece of luggage.
GPS Device: We named ours “Little Buddy.” Since we are used to Little Buddy and how he operates, it is easier to use than a rented GPS. The rented GPS is one more thing you’ll need to learn and is expensive to rent. My goal is to eliminate as much stress as possible while traveling. Plus with your own, you can keep the stored ‘way-points’ for future use.
Mosquito repellent: I left Venice, Italy with over 100 bites.
Fly Swatter: Seldom will you rent a place with screens on the windows or central air. When A/C is advertised, you feel a sense of relief, until you see it is a single wall unit in the living room and has no chance of cooling the bedroom. Bottom line is mosquitoes and flies get in. Killing them has been an evening’s entertainment in some places…..
OTHER PACKING TIPS:
Be responsible for your own items during travel day. Each traveler starts and ends the travel day with the same items they started with. Switching midpoint or frequently during travel may lead to the dreaded phrase, “I thought you had that…” There should not be more than 4 items each to keep track of, such as: suitcase, backpack, overflow bag and hat.
MISCELLANEOUS TRAVEL TIPS:
What are your favorite or unique travel tips?
I’m hopeful I can gather more travel tips from you experienced travelers…. We are still learning and wish to hear from you. Thank you for any tips you may wish to share with us. We look forward to your input and comments.
Thanks, Harold. I’d surmise that this list of tips is the product of many thousands of hours of research, thought, planning, trial and error, experiences, and fine tuning. Quite a gift for you to compile and publish, actually. Thanks.
Thankyou for looking at our travel blog Dave. We are about to test it out one more time, later this year….
Love the article! We include a cooler bag that rolls up into a travel bag that I often use as a tote/purse.
Happy, stress free travels to you guys!
Great tips! Very helpful, even for domestic trips. Thanks!
Now all I need is a someone to travel with?
Maybe we need to team up… Wanna go to Bolivia? I am very interested in your future travels with your trailer and hope to be able to see it ant talk to you about it. That is a big and brave step and I admire you for it. Good luck to you.