Sunday, March 7, 2010
Travel Tip #1: Pack Lightly (Carry-On)
I learned over the years that going on a trip, whether long or short, can have it's hindrances. It doesn't feel nice when you are constantly attending to your 10-piece luggage set with the worry that the set might get separated.
You wouldn't want anything like that holding you back when you're trying to see the world. You might end up missing a lot. And I don't mean your luggage!
It feels kind of Zen to travel with your bare essentials. In my younger, hobo years, I managed to lug all I need in one carry-on backpack. These days, I made concessions and included a little bit more for preparedness sakes. I'm up to one carry-on backpack AND one suitcase.
The less-is-more approach works well when it comes to travel. It helps that in this day and age, our lives are more portable and easily compartmentalized that anyone can go on walkabout with some style.
Let's start with the carry-on, and the tips on loading it. In the past, I had a tendency to pack my whole life in the carry-on, for fear of it fated as the only possession I will have in this world. I still hold that philosophy true, just in case a situation arises that I have to hobo it again, I'm well-prepared. Even though I managed to loosen up on some things, these items can still be found in my carry-on:
1.) Dopp Kit
A long-forgotten term for your toiletries kit. These were given to young men when they were about to come of age. I stock this kit up with deodorant, a razor, a toothbrush, shampoo, and other things I need for my personal grooming. You can load it up with whatever you want. It's totally interchangeable. If you have a favourite body wash or shampoo that you can't live without, just fill them into those travel size bottles and leave them in your kit. Always keep your kit stocked in case of a last minute excursion. That way your toothbrush, your razor and your herpes medication, are the last on your mind since the kit is easily packed.
2.) Emegency Socks
A friend of mine had a locker full of these for, "just in case." It actually rang true. There ARE situations when your feet call for them. Planes tend to get chilly on the dogs, hotel room heat systems can fail, or that dark alley that you find yourself turning tricks in at night may be a little moist. Cold wet socks WILL be the death of you. Be prepared for, "just in case."
So you sleep in the nude? Even better! Move on to #4! For the rest of us prudes, read on. In case your luggage becomes misplaced, or you become a perpetual couch-surfer, have some comfortable clothes to sleep in. It will give you some reminder of home, and back to your creature comforts, even if only for a night.
There is never enough water to go around. We should always drink more than our recommended intake of water. Everywhere I go, I ask for more to drink, and to me, it feels like water is being rationed. When on the road, I'm thirsty. When on a plane, I'm thirsty. And so on and so forth. Also good for splashing your face when there is a need to feel refreshed.
5.) Set Of Leisure/Workout Clothes (optional)
In case your time without luggage is extended, but you still need to get a sweat on, or you need a second set of outerwear. Remember that you still have your travel attire as a standby, and you should be able to wear that anywhere (with the exception of the gym.). I'll explain later how you should dress when going on walkabout.
THINGS NOT TO PACK ON YOUR CARRY-ON
Extra sets of things above - Honestly, less-is-more. It brings me piece of mind knowing that if I'm missing one item in my pack, it can be easily replaced. If you bring more of everything, it will end up being more to lug around and more to worry about to replace.
An alarm clock - Really, most modern hotels and inns provide an adequate wake-up call, when requested. If not, the crackhead bum in the alley you're staying in, will provide you with one. Either way, you're set!
Pictures, keepsakes - Like George Clooney said in that fucking movie, "Get some Gingko." Reminders of your loved ones and little trinkets can stay home. Pictures can be stored online in many email servers and can be retrieved from virtually everywhere. Be tech savvy, and keep everything portable.
Here's a link to some other travel tips among other things:
I didn't include my, 'Travellin' Scotch,' in my carry-on. Of course, we need some booze should the occasion call for it. And of course, it's optional.