Friday, January 11, 2019

How Low Can I Go – 10 Items for a Weeklong Cruise

I have long been an advocate of packing light.  It has saved me more headaches than I can count.  There have been times when I decided it was necessary to take a little more “just in case” and I always regret it.  Everything from broken wheels and handles to carrying my bags up stairs or over cobblestone streets has taught me that less is more. 

My usual go-to for travel anywhere is a rolling backpack and a tote.

 I can easily fit all that I need in them for my trip, but both are still lightweight enough, that if I must, I can actually pick them up and carry them.  Not checking luggage at the airport and getting on and off trains and buses is so much easier with just the 2 bags.

Now, I’m getting ready for what is called a Barefoot Cruise and need to rethink what packing light really means.  With only 10 – 12 passengers, small cabins and very little space I want to make this as simple as possible.  This will take a little bit of planning, but I love the thought of doing something in such a new and different way, it makes it feel like it’s even more of an adventure.

So here is my packing list - 2 swimsuits, 1 pair of shorts, 1 skirt, 1 dress, 2 t-shirts, underwear, flip flops and hat.  Just looking at that list gives me a bit of anxiety.  Is it reasonable to take so little and still be comfortable?  Aside from a small bag of essential toiletries – shampoo, deodorant and sunscreen what else do I really need?  If I were packing for a regular trip, I would take all the same things just more of them. 

What I will do is plan very carefully, exactly what those 10 items are. 

I will make sure that everything is lightweight and can be washed out by hand if needed.  The t-shirts will serve as swimsuit cover up as well as a nightshirt and it all must match.  When I look at it that way it doesn’t seem so bad, in fact it feels rather freeing. 

I do want to test my theory, so for my next few short trips I will try to pack this way and see how this works.  I will find out if there is anything that I can’t live without before I get out into the middle of the ocean where I won’t have access to anything.

When I was in my 20’s it was nothing for me to throw my swimsuit and a change of clothes into a bag for a quick trip.  But now that I’m in my 60’s my travel style has changed dramatically so this will be very enlightening.

I know this isn’t something that would work for everyone but the fact that it has peaked my interest tells me that I need to try it.  I would much prefer the focus to be on the experience as opposed to the things. 

I’ve been writing about independent travel for many years now and this may be my biggest challenge yet but I’m excited to try it. 

Are you a light traveler or do you like to take whatever you think you will need?  What are the biggest drawbacks of taking too little or too much?  Share your stories and join the conversation!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Every Great Journey Begins with a Bag


I travel for work and for pleasure, so my bags are always packed.  I want to be ready at a moment’s notice to go anywhere.  I keep a separate supply of my travel essentials so all I need to do is add clothes and go.  


It doesn't matter if it is a short day trip, overnight, a weekend getaway with friends, or a month-long holiday, I take the same basic supplies and always have everything I need.


You must have the proper luggage for each type of trip you are taking.

For my short trips and overnighters, I use a tote.  It is a fantastic carry-all for planes, trains and automobiles.  It has multiple zippered pockets to help me stay organized, big roomy interior and a great luggage handle sleeve so it doesn't slide around when I put it on my other bags.

Instead of carrying a regular handbag, I like to use a small crossbody bag that easily tucks away under my jacket or sweater.  It's stays secure and is small enough to tuck into my tote.


My favorite carry-on is a rolling backpack.  I love how lightweight it is but still has plenty of room for storage.  The first time I started using this was after the handle and wheel broke on my bag while I was traveling in Europe.  This bag makes getting around on those beautiful cobblestone streets so much easier.  Even fully loaded, it is light enough for me to carry.


I also keep a collapsible day pack with me.  It’s perfect for day trips or as an additional bag for those times when I need some extra space.  It is ultra-lightweight and folds to the size of an envelope. 


If I need more space or am checking luggage, I use a basic spinner suitcase.  It is spacious and easy to maneuver but still small enough to use as a carry-on.


These bags are all lightweight and versatile for all my needs.  I have taken them on longer trips and not had any issues at all.  They are all outstanding, and I don't travel without them!