Pack it In

19 thoughts on “Pack it In”

  1. A couple of suggestions from my Africa trip…

    money belt: you’ve already got it on the list, but I ended up with two: A standard money belt that I used when I was actually moving from place to place (it stayed in the safe when I wasn’t) but much more awesome and “stealth” was the zippered belt I got from MEC (although it’s not on their website). It has a zipper on the inside, all the way around the belt, so it ends up with a tiny one inch pocket all the way around. From the outside, it just looks like a cheapass belt.

    I managed to roll about $600 in small bills into it, and it was totally awesome. Well, except for the people who ended up getting paid in teeny tiny rolled up bills, but hey, currency is currency. Also, it’s a real belt. Who doesn’t need a belt? And better yet, who the hell’s going to *steal* your belt?

    In retrospect, I didn’t really like the regular money belt — it made me sweaty (of course, it was 40 degrees — everything got sweaty) and the bills got all damp. But it was a little easier to access throughout the day — the belt belt you’d really want to be in a bathroom or the privacy of your hotelroom to get into. Unless you don’t mind looking like you’re going to start stripping down in a shop… ๐Ÿ™‚ Generally, for the few days when I was actually doing shopping type things, I’d set aside what I thought I’d need for the day and keep it in a zippered purse that was clipped to my pants.

    The other thing that was absolutely key for me, although I’m not sure how adventurey your trip is, so it might not apply … but rehydration salts. They taste vile, but they took me from “oh my god, I may never leave this toilet again” to “You BETCHA I can cut down that tree!” in about an hour.

    I found that antibacterial hand gel was more useful for me than the wipes — the wipes took up more space, and then you had to find a way to throw them away after. The gel was… just a gel. You can also buy it way cheaper at medical supply stores than at the drug store.

  2. aaand more clogging of the comments: in regards to the credit card thing, my father (currently in Cambodia) let me know that you can call them in advance and let them know you’ll be traveling. They’ll flag your account so that it DOESN’T get flagged for being used overseas. He tends to backpack all over the darn place for about 8 weeks every year, and after a couple of credit card flags in strange places, they finally let him know that they can preemptively “unflag” him. NOW they tell him…

  3. Ooh – good tip on the belt, and the salts. I’m actually a terrible flier (all systems stop for a while), so I’m thinking the salts might help.

    And I generally make it practice to call all my financial institutions. Problem last time we were abroad was that when the police busted a big identity theft ring back home, my card data was in the pile, so the bank canceled my card while I was away – overseas had nothing to do with it.

    Neil’s Visa was actually just canceled two days ago under similar circumstances – stupid identity thievers!

  4. I’m not sure where you’re going for the honeymoon or how long you are going to be gone, but I suggest leaving the laptop at home. Less weight is better when you’re carrying everything on your back. Also, I was paranoid about mine getting stolen when I lugged it all over Europe last summer. It was awesome to have when I was in Prague for 7 weeks but carrying it around sucked. Bring lots of memory for your camera and use internet cafes if you need to check email or whatever.

    I bought a money belt but I haven’t really used it when I travelled. If you are aware and careful with your purse and don’t carry huge sums of money around with you, I don’t think it’s necessary.

  5. I agree on the laptop suggestion, and leave some space on the iPod and then when you’re out of SD cards you just stick some pictures on the iPod and bam!free space and no need to take a laptop with. Besides, you’re not going for an extended period of time, and probably won’t have time to fiddle with the laptop anyways.

  6. The laptop is the XO (“$100 laptop”) which is teeny tiny, under 3 lbs and water/shock/everything resistant. And the iPod is a nano, so not much room for extras on that anyhow. I actually bought the XO partly because it’s cool, but mostly because it seemed like a perfect honeymoon dragalong. Also, erin: we’re going to Morocco for 2 weeks and Southern Spain for 1.

  7. Your bags sound like they’re going to be HUGE! Will you be playing the princess card and getting Neil to carry the heavy stuff? After all, what’s the good of a husband if he doesn’t carry your bags for you? ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Your list looks fab, especially the convertible pants, but you should look at the Dreamhelmet for your next trip. It is a combination sleep mask sound blocking pillow, and has secret pockets which already contain earplugs. Not only can you sleep almost everywhere with it, but the velcro-closable pockets can hold lots of cash and credit cards, and nobody ever suspects. Just take out the amount you need each day. Who would steal your sleep mask? Almost forgot – a free travel stop/alarm watch is now included! Happy wedding – happy trails!

  9. One tip – give your bank and credit card companies a call before you go and let them know that you’ll be using your cards overseas. That way you don’t have to worry about your cards being cancelled because they think there is “suspicious activity” on your accounts!

    You can likely nix stuff like cold medication – if you need it, just pick it up a pharmacy over there.

    We go to Europe 1-2x per year and we have pretty small backpacks – we always make do just fine! You’ll find that you won’t use a lot of the stuff you’re taking, I bet. Every time we go (we’ve been there 8x so far), we pack lighter and lighter. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Oooh, I’m so excited for you!!

  10. Oh, and I presume you’re not taking any full size bottles of stuff with you, right? (like shampoo, etc)

    Only take what you need … liquids add a lot of weight.

  11. You might want to bring Deet to prevent bug bites. Wanderlust on 4th ave carries 100% deet which is a life-saver when we’re on safari in Kenya for 3 weeks. Not a single bug bite.

  12. Lush has shampoo bars which I have found rather handy in camping and traveling situations. Bonus: they are not subject to the liquid sample size rules for carry-on traveling.

  13. I’ve heard that if you call Foreign Affairs ahead of time, you can file your itinerary with them. This saves the hassle of registering with a local consulate on arrival, as well as the requirement to take extra copies of the passport stuff (I was told). One less thing to misplace/ worry about.

  14. -dump the laptop. Too much weight and you can always find a cafe somewhere to post.

    – dump the wipes. My fiance and I found that having one of us carry a small roll of TP with hand sanitizer in the roll (and put in a zip lock baggie) helped in a jiffy.

    – bring a selection of zip lock bag of various sizes (the sandwich size and the big size whenever you want to take some food with you). A small tupperware container (sandwich size) helps for misc gear and food as well.

    – a multitool like a Leatherman, can be very handy, especially when the toilet handle breaks in the middle of the night and your body is kicking your ass. Needless to say, a lifesaver.

    – a trash bag folded up helps in case it rains or you need to seperate your dirty stuff from the clean stuff

    – take a toilet roll (sans TP) and wrap some duct tape around it. Stick it in the corner of your luggage. Use when something breaks, like a zipper.

  15. Hannah: Of course he’s going to carry the heavy stuff! I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Joe: sounds like a cool mask – I’ll have to check it out.

    Crissy: of course it’ll be travel sized everything. And I’ll probably nix cold meds etc. Advil and Immodium are the only two things I wouldn’t travel without, because when you need them, you need them *now*.

    Ellis: Apparently North Africa doesn’t really have the same mosquito problem as Central and South Africa. And I do have a tiny bottle of 100% deet anyhow, from last summer’s camping trip.

    Riann: good call on the Lush solid shampoo – I’d forgotten they have that, and I quite like it!

    Jeremy: good idea re: Foreign Affairs!

    Carlos: I wish we could take a Leatherman, but it’ll negate the whole carry-on thing.

  16. Also – to everyone: yes, we’re packing everything in backpacks, and yes we’re trying to travel light, but this is far from a rugged “backpacking” trip.

    We have a 4×4 and private guide at our disposal for our entire time in Morocco, and a rental car and villa arranged for Spain. It’s actually a fairly well-planned and luxurious undertaking (for what we’re paying for the hotels, etc. I’d be pretty pissed if our toilet handle broke for instance).

    We just don’t want to bring a lot of extraneous crap, since we won’t be in the same place for more than 2 nights at a time.

  17. Yeah, in terms of meds I ALWAYS carry certain ones – aspirin, Gravol and my prescription migraine medication. Never leave home without ’em! ๐Ÿ™‚

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