I have a confession to make. I brought too much stuff! I’m usually an advocate of packing light, but knowing we were going to be renting apartments for a month at a time and not living out of suitcases I justified bringing too many clothes and toiletries. The 30″ rolling suitcase has been a detriment! When we leave for Europe we will definitely be ditching the 30″ and both of using one roll-aboard and one carry on each.
Thankfully I brought my own shampoo and shower gel; hostels only provide soap. Not having a home to go back to I brought the toiletries we had on hand. At the local grocery store I happened to notice that it would cost $7 to replace my brand of deodorant!
One of the most helpful things I packed was something I threw in at the last minute because I didn’t know what to do with it! This 12-feet extension cord has been handy at all of our accommodations because the electrical outlets are never convenient for plugging in and charging our phones and iPad.
The other night my 2 wooden clothes pin came to our rescue. Our $20 corner room at the Blue Sky Hostel had three windows in it: one to the bathroom and 2 to the corridors! (It was near the bus terminal and airport and I had asked for a quiet room so this room didn’t have any exterior windows!). The bathroom light was on a motion detector to turn on automatically when entering the bathroom and was malfunctioning – randomly turning on and shining brightly in my eyes while laying in bed. I don’t know how, but Steve used the clothes pins to secure his windbreaker to cover the window! We slept fine that night – well, almost. It wasn’t the light that bothered us, but squeaky door hinges and another unidentifiable noise echoing through the building. What would I do without him?
I like to use the packing cubes in my suitcase and always pack the same way so I know where my things are! Here’s a list of what I’m carrying other than clothes and personal toiletries:
Wireless keyboard (extra batteries)
Cords, earbuds, etc. all in one zip bag
12′ extension cord
2 wooden clothespins (great closers for bags of snacks and ground coffee)
Swiss Army knife
Emergency kit: band aids, moleskin, emergency supply of duct tape wrapped on a plastic straw, small scissors, anti-itch crime, antibiotic cream, emergency ice pack, ear plugs, face mask, safety pins, Blistex Lip Medex, essential oils, tweezers, wet naps, ibuprofen and Pepto-Bismo
Bicycle cable with combination lock (to lock my bags together and to a piece of furniture in the hostels)
TSA approved locks
Travel toilet paper
Antibacterial Wipes (in a Ziplock Baggie)
Notebook, pad of paper, pens
Business cards (Meet You in the Morning business cards with my blog address and some that have our photo on it and say “Native English Speakers” in case we resort to looking for students to tutor!)
Zipper coin purse – easy to pull out and carry in my hand for bus fare and small purchases
Wrist wallet (hidden under my long sleeve and containing my daily spending allowance)
Money belts (The emergency stash. I keep money in several different locations!)
Fake wallet with an assortment of cards and a few bills and/or coins to hand over if necessary.
Headlamp and a tiny flashlight (even though I have a flashlight on the iPhone)
Cross body purse – not too big, but with enough compartments I know exactly where everything belongs
Roomy cotton cross body bag to sometimes carry the purse and
Sarong – not just a swim cover but doubles as a blanket and robe
Nylon zippered duffle bag serves as a laundry bag and an emergency carry-all bag
Carry on each and a 20″ quad-wheel roll-aboard and 30″ quad-wheel suitcase
We buy large bottles of water to refill smaller plastic bottles of water which we replace every few days.
At restaurants I sometimes keep that sugars they give us for our coffee to use at the apartment making smoothies. Oh, and I keep the extra napkins and plastic ware too.
One thing I wish I brought was my small sea salt and pepper shaker as the apartments don’t have many seasonings or condiments.
Remember, packing light is liberating! One does not have to be like the Boy Scouts and be prepared for everything!