A few packing suggestions

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A few years ago, in the August-October ’02 issues, ITN printed “what to take along” lists. I would like to add my two cents’ worth about what to pack for a trip plus offer some trip suggestions. My wife and I can easily travel for 20 days on one carry-on and one small roll-along suitcase each. (Unfortunately, most of our carry-on is now prescription drugs, but that is what happens when you get older.)

• First, I make a list of the people to whom I most likely will send postcards or letters and, using the label program on my computer, print out names and addresses for each. This way, I don’t have to carry another list, plus they go on the cards quickly and are always readable.

I make the number of each that I think I will send, and as I use them I don’t have to remember who I sent cards to. On the remainder of the labels on the sheet, if there are any, I print my own name and address for use in mailing packages, etc., back to my home.

• I pack a broad-tipped felt pen. I like the Marks-A-Lot Permanent Marker. It can be used to make quick signs, mark new luggage tags, address boxes, etc.

• I include four large, clip-type clothespins. They do double duty: I use them to hang up clothes that I wash in the room, and I find them quite convenient for holding drapes shut that don’t quite close and let in a lot of light.

• I put some rubber bands in the same baggie with the clothespins. You never know when it would be handy to have a rubber band to hold things together. Adding some twist-ties also is a good idea. They can be used for more than you think; I once used a stiff one to substitute for a pin in a hinge until I could get a new pin.

• In my shaving kit I carry one plastic spoon to be used to measure medications, mix drinks, stir ice tea, etc. It can be washed, and if it is left behind it does not cost anything and can be replaced easily.

• We have replaced all our electrical appliances with units that work on both 100 volts and 220 volts, so we no longer have to carry along a heavy voltage converter.

Of course, we still need different plugs to accommodate the outlets in different countries. Most travel stores have the plugs, and Magellan’s (800/962-4943 or www.magellans.com) has a great selection. Be sure to get plugs that accommodate the new polarized plugs which have one wide blade. Most of the older plug adapters do not accommodate the newer U.S. polarized plugs.

• I mark a 5"x9" brown envelope with the word “receipts” and use it to collect all the receipts I acquire on a trip. When I get home, I have them all in one place. No longer are some in the pockets of two or three suitcases, in a purse or, heaven forbid, lost. (The one you lose is always the one you need to return a defective item.) It also helps when I am ready to make out our Customs declaration form or the tax rebate form.

• I have generated a check list that we go over as we get ready to go. We finish it as we leave the house and leave it on the table. When we get home, it helps remind us of things we have to undo, like restart the water softener, start the paper, etc.

• I have also generated a form that has all of the necessary information for the local police. All I have to do is fill in our destination and the dates we’re leaving and returning and drop it off at the police station. (If you have an alarm, that should be noted, along with those to contact and who has keys to your home.)

• We went to a fabric store and bought three yards of the ugliest ribbon we could find, something we were sure no one else would want. We cut it into 8-inch lengths and on trips tie it to all our luggage everywhere there is a handle or ring. We also put it on our carry-on luggage and my wife’s purse.

We also purchased luggage straps and put them around our large suitcases to keep the zippers secure from rough handling by luggage handlers. On the straps, I print our last names every 10 inches with a black permanent marker. Our bags sure are easy to spot when they come up on the carousels at the airports.

• By the way, my wife and I have traveled on our own and have found that finding places to sleep and eat is very time-consuming, taking away from seeing the sights. We would much rather leave the planning to someone who knows the areas, the land and the language.

We have settled on using Grand Circle Travel (Boston, MA; phone 800/221-2610 or visit www.gct.com), as it is the most thorough, professional and well-orchestrated travel group with which we have ever traveled.

BILL GOSS
San Jose, CA

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

A few years ago, in the August-October ’02 issues, ITN printed “what to take along” lists. I would like to add my two cents’ worth about what to pack for a trip plus offer some trip suggestions. My wife and I can easily travel for 20 days on one carry-on and one small roll-along suitcase each. (Unfortunately, most of our carry-on is now prescription drugs, but that is what happens when you get older.)

• First, I make a list of the people to whom I most likely will send postcards or letters and, using the label program on my computer, print out names and addresses for each. This way, I don’t have to carry another list, plus they go on the cards quickly and are always readable.

I make the number of each that I think I will send, and as I use them I don’t have to remember who I sent cards to. On the remainder of the labels on the sheet, if there are any, I print my own name and address for use in mailing packages, etc., back to my home.

• I pack a broad-tipped felt pen. I like the Marks-A-Lot Permanent Marker. It can be used to make quick signs, mark new luggage tags, address boxes, etc.

• I include four large, clip-type clothespins. They do double duty: I use them to hang up clothes that I wash in the room, and I find them quite convenient for holding drapes shut that don’t quite close and let in a lot of light.

• I put some rubber bands in the same baggie with the clothespins. You never know when it would be handy to have a rubber band to hold things together. Adding some twist-ties also is a good idea. They can be used for more than you think; I once used a stiff one to substitute for a pin in a hinge until I could get a new pin.

• In my shaving kit I carry one plastic spoon to be used to measure medications, mix drinks, stir ice tea, etc. It can be washed, and if it is left behind it does not cost anything and can be replaced easily.

• We have replaced all our electrical appliances with units that work on both 100 volts and 220 volts, so we no longer have to carry along a heavy voltage converter.

Of course, we still need different plugs to accommodate the outlets in different countries. Most travel stores have the plugs, and Magellan’s (800/962-4943 or www.magellans.com) has a great selection. Be sure to get plugs that accommodate the new polarized plugs which have one wide blade. Most of the older plug adapters do not accommodate the newer U.S. polarized plugs.

• I mark a 5"x9" brown envelope with the word “receipts” and use it to collect all the receipts I acquire on a trip. When I get home, I have them all in one place. No longer are some in the pockets of two or three suitcases, in a purse or, heaven forbid, lost. (The one you lose is always the one you need to return a defective item.) It also helps when I am ready to make out our Customs declaration form or the tax rebate form.

• I have generated a check list that we go over as we get ready to go. We finish it as we leave the house and leave it on the table. When we get home, it helps remind us of things we have to undo, like restart the water softener, start the paper, etc.

• I have also generated a form that has all of the necessary information for the local police. All I have to do is fill in our destination and the dates we’re leaving and returning and drop it off at the police station. (If you have an alarm, that should be noted, along with those to contact and who has keys to your home.)

• We went to a fabric store and bought three yards of the ugliest ribbon we could find, something we were sure no one else would want. We cut it into 8-inch lengths and on trips tie it to all our luggage everywhere there is a handle or ring. We also put it on our carry-on luggage and my wife’s purse.

We also purchased luggage straps and put them around our large suitcases to keep the zippers secure from rough handling by luggage handlers. On the straps, I print our last names every 10 inches with a black permanent marker. Our bags sure are easy to spot when they come up on the carousels at the airports.

• By the way, my wife and I have traveled on our own and have found that finding places to sleep and eat is very time-consuming, taking away from seeing the sights. We would much rather leave the planning to someone who knows the areas, the land and the language.

We have settled on using Grand Circle Travel (Boston, MA; phone 800/221-2610 or visit www.gct.com), as it is the most thorough, professional and well-orchestrated travel group with which we have ever traveled.

BILL GOSS
San Jose, CA