Love Affair with Everywhere: Packing....

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Flag of United States  , Illinois
Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I promised this entry awhile ago (inspired by another travel blog), but didn't actually get around to doing much more than taking the picture (taken while packing for an actual trip) for the entry.

I am often asked, "How do you even pack for your trips?" Those who know me know of my 'weeks on end' trips where I find myself having to pack for the cold and warm, conservative and less conservative societies, business and pleasure, one week, sometimes one month journeys, all in the same bag (I RARELY ever carry more than one piece of luggage). Plus, I really don't like traveling with too much 'stuff' especially when I know I will be moving around.

My preferred luggage brand is Delsey. I have to retire a bag every 14-18 months so I love that they are durable, yet affordable, but not cheap. For a carry on, I love the overhead compartment approved 22" and for a checked bag, I take the 30" (either, or, I don't usually take both). Since I often end up bringing home more than I leave with, I carry my trusty foldable large Longchamp (this also comes in handy in the event I have to make a quick side trip so I don't have to carry my full bag) in the top compartment of my bag...just in case.

My carry on (usually an over-sized handbag--my current fave is convenient for business and pleasure, but still fashionable, large Cole Haan orange saatchel) often feels like it weighs more than my actual bag. I admit, while I do like to travel light, I have a few things I rarely leave home without. Here are some of my travel carry on must-haves:

Passport: This is a given since most of my travel requires me to leave the country. It still amazes me when I hear that only 30% of Americans have a passport. There are two options for US passports; you can order a standard one or one with extra pages. If you have to get a visa for a country, it will likely take up one full page, so if you know you will be traveling extensively over the next 10 years (the life of a passport), get one with extra pages. I have some visas left in my old passport that are still valid (this is why you see two passports in the image) so I carry two if I am traveling to those countries.

Currency Wallet, Travel Organizer, Business Card Case: I travel to some places many times a year and others just once. I carry a receipt envelope to separate and keep the different currencies somewhat organized. I keep cash in USD with me regardless of where I am going along with two credit cards (Delta SkyMiles AMEX and a Marriott Visa (this way I don't have to carry my rewards cards too. However, note that with the exception of the Capital One Visa, most credit card companies will charge you a 2.7% foreign transaction fee) and my health insurance card. I love the Oliver Bonas travel organizer (matches the passport cover two dear friends gifted me once) as it fits a ton of stuff, but still super cute and compact enough for my handbags.  Since I travel for business, I almost always carry a business card case (this one I picked up in Istanbul a few years ago).

Sunglasses by Ray-ban: These or another pair of aviators always accompany me. Always.

iPhone 4s and earphones: This is not in the picture since it is what I took the picture with. I am a big fan of facebook mobile uploads (as any of my fb friends can attest). Unless I travel for pleasure, I don't really carry an actual camera on me. I always take one (here I had the Panasonic Lumix for a quick point and shoot, but now the Lumix DMC-GX1) with me, but don't usually take it out (unless I have a chance to be 'out and about' outside of work) since the iPhone is always with me and takes pretty great pictures (really the only reason I switched from my beloved BlackBerry, and now I am considering the S4).

Nokia phone: I also carry a Nokia basic phone so that I can change the SIM card and have a local number for easy in-country dialing and much cheaper calling/texting rates (it just takes me some time to get used to T9 texting again).

Kindle: Many were surprised when I bought this. I love reading actual books...ones with pages. There is something emotional about actually flipping the page of a book, however, since space while traveling is limited, I decided to get one. I am in love with it, and while I still love reading 'real' books, I love that I can read (with ease) wherever I am, whether it's a 15 hour flight to Dubai, taking the tube to work in London or Millenium Park on Tuesdays in the summer in Chicago. I must say, when I was sitting on a bus in London reading Shantaram on my Kindle and the guy next to me was reading the same holding the 929 page book, I was sold!

Paper and pen: Always! I have a notepad and pen in the Kindle case for any random notes (even though I tend to mostly write on bar/paper napkins). I currently have a brilliantly beautiful, but simple, leather bound black journal with graph paper I picked up at Paperchase at King's Cross/St. Pancras in London. 

Universal Adaptor and chargers for all the devices: I don't think any explanation is required here, but do not travel to a foreign country without an adaptor.

TSA approved 3 oz (100mL) bottles (that fit in one plastic bag): contact solution, Peter Thomas Roth facial moisturizer with sunscreen, The Body Shop citrus spritzer for long flights, extra contacts, hand sanitizer, chapstick and not always, but sometimes I will take shampoo and conditioner with me. I usually just buy it when I get there or use the hotel ones for quick trips, but the rest, I always take with me.

Deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste: talk about travel essentials! Short of a shower, nothing feels better after a plane journey than brushing your teeth!

Sugar-free chewing gum

Olay or Simple facial wipes: These are fabulous. No water required.

Granola/snack bars: I don't eat much on planes and you never know when you will be 'stuck' somewhere without food, so I try to keep a snack or two in my bag.

Scarf: They are fashionable and cute, and since planes are often freezing, they can help keep you warm too! I rarely travel without one (there are many more in my checked bag as well).  

What do you travel with?

Cole Haan:
Oliver Bonas (UK):

instagram: @loveaffairwitheverywhere

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