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Friday, November 24, 2017

Travel troubles?

I’ve come to the conclusion (sad) that I don’t know how to pack light. Even if I’m going away for a day or two, my toiletry bag alone weighs a ton. And not because I’m bringing regular sized shampoos and cleansers. I've always admired those people who can just survive on what they've packed into a carry-on bag, even when they travel halfway around the world and through five time zones. It’s just that I have so much stuff that I need (or I think I need!) Now that I’m going away for a month, I’ve had to be really focused on what I need to do and bring, and what to ditch.

When I was young and carefree (in the very distant past), travel meant just chucking a bunch of stuff into a duffel bag and heading for the door. No moisturiser? No problem. Just slap on some hand cream. Not enough clothing? Just turn a scarf into a pareo.

Now that I’m a senior, travel involves a lot more planning. Already I’m missing my bed and pillows, but I just have to remind myself that I’m going to have a great time, albeit in subzero temperatures. I just have to make sure I’m prepared for any eventuality.

Which brings me to my first tip. Get travel insurance. Again, when I was young, the thought of insurance never even crossed my mind. Which is why it cost me a fortune when I had a miscarriage in Disneyworld, Florida (that’s for another post). Missed flights, lost luggage et al didn’t really faze me, I just took them in my stride. Now that the chances of my falling ill (or falling) are greater, and lost luggage would really freak me out, compounded by the fact that I will be away for a month, I figure it’s more than worthwhile to purchase some insurance that’s quite affordable just for some peace of mind that if anything happens, I have some coverage.

Second, pack light. Or as light as you can. Which, in my case, means limiting myself to five sets of underwear, a few tops, three pairs of pants, a pair of boots and sneakers. I’ve brought along enough moisturizer to last a month, and I plan to visit the local chemist to see what latest products they have in skin and hair care to experiment with. My hairdresser from way back gave me a great tip - buy some shampoo in the place you’re staying in. Their water may be different and so their shampoos will be more suited to that water. Makes sense.

Re: underwear, I am bringing along some disposable underwear, just in case doing laundry is not convenient. I like the all-cotton ones rather than the cheaper ones made with some kind of paper. I need to be comfortable wherever I’m going and it’s worthwhile paying a little more for them.

Re: shoes, don’t even think of bringing along new footwear. I’ve heard of friends who’ve worn brand new shoes (especially walking shoes) that haven’t been broken in properly and suffered blisters immediately. I’ve had other friends who brought along sneakers that they haven’t worn in a while (mainly because they haven’t be walking!) only to have them fall apart at first wearing. I’s not fun being in a strange place with no proper footwear and not knowing where to find a cobbler (or even a shoe store!) So I’m wearing my trusty sneakers and taking a chance on the boots that I haven’t worn in a few years. Fingers crossed!

While we’re talking about footwear, I always try to remember some house slippers. If I’m staying in a hotel that isn’t fancy enough to offer complimentary slippers, or with friends and family, I like to bring along a pair of those free hotel slippers so that I don’t have to traipse about in my shoes or socks (or horrors, barefoot!). I just slip them into the side of my bag and dump them at the end of my trip.

My huge toiletry bag is already bulging at the seams!
Note to myself - make a list. Now that I’m older, my memory isn’t what it used to be be. I’ve found myself forgetting things that I would normally have remembered, like phone charger, adaptor, Kindle, some toiletry item. Now that I’m going away for a month, I can’t afford to forget anything, so I have a list. At the same time, I’m trying not to be too anal about it. As long as I have the essentials, I figure I can pretty much get anything else.

Because I have low level OCD (I think), I can’t help but worry that I’ve forgotten something. So every time I jerk awake in the middle of the night suddenly remembering something, I have to quickly make a note of it. Just in case.

Now what’s keeping me up at night is whether I should pack my winter jacket into my check-in bag, or bring it along with me into the flight cabin. It’s pretty bulky (being down) so I don’t want it taking up space in the overhead compartment. But if I check it in and my luggage goes missing, then I will freeze ( to death). I’ve asked friends what they would do and their opinions are split down the middle. I even checked online. Again, split down the middle. I’m going to battle with this conundrum probably till the very last minute. Whatever I do decide, I know I’ll regret it.

I’m stressing about whether I’ve paid all my bills. And whether all my plants will survive. And keeping all my valuables in a safe place. Okay, deep breaths here. I’m trying to remind myself I’m going away on holiday and the idea is to relax and have fun. Hah!

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