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Report 926: My Dream Trip To Italy and France

By BGE from Fox Creek, Alberta, Canada, Spring 2005

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Page 5 of 38: Packing Light? Sure, sure...

photo by BGE

Travel guides and things

After hauling out all of my luggage, a 20” rolling carry-on, a 24” rolling bag and a 26” rolling-but-too-huge bag, a very roomy garment bag, 3 duffle bags and a tote, I realized that buying this matching set of American Tourister on sale for 50% off was an ok purchase, but the bags are way too heavy for this trip, when I’ll be schlepping my own luggage from here to there and back again!

I honestly spent some real time thinking about buying another much lighter bag, then discarding that idea as just adding yet another piece of luggage to my ever-growing collection. I decided to go with the tried and true 20” rolling carry-on and the 24” rolling checked bag.

Packing and preparing for a trip is a really enjoyable thing for me. The anticipation and the joy in the trip itself is spread out over a few weeks preceding the actual departure, because I leave the luggage open on my guest room bed as I begin to stockpile my necessities.

Part of the enjoyment for me is in the accumulation of tickets, travel adaptor plugs, waist pouches (none of which I've ever used, because they just feel sooo uncomfortable to wear), lists of medications and other can't-live-without items. Then, I lay everything out on the bed in my guest room, so I can take a good look at what I've chosen and make sure I've taken the right things, while paring down the non-essentials. This is another way of making a trip a reality for me.

My final packing list looked like this:

1 – Black light-weight long wool blazer – perfect!

1 – Black gabardine blazer with caramel pinstripes – never wore it

1 – black casual pants - wore these lots

1 – caramel casual pants – ditto!

1 – yellow chino pants – I felt like a tourist in them - I wore them once

1 – black turtleneck sweater – BIG bonus... shoulda had 2

3 - white T-shirts – perfect! I wore them lots

1 – black T-shirt - could have left it behind

1 - multi-color striped shirt (matches all pairs of pants) – perfect!

1 - black sweater set, with caramel trim – perfect, again

1 – white hoodie – see yellow chino pants above

1 – housecoat, lightweight – good choice

5 – pair socks, 2 black, 2 cream, 1 brown – perfect!

1 – pair Franco Sarto black dress shoes w/ Cuban heel – NOT comfortable walking shoes... BIG, huge ouchie!

1 – pair flat caramel leather loafers – worn twice

1 - pair of NEW Aerosoles - the dumbest thing I did

I also took:

1 - travel umbrella – there was one in the rental, so next time I'll not pack one

1 - digital camera and 3 memory cards – two was enough and next time, take my laptop

1 - cell phone and charger – the single most cinsistently annoying part of my trip was my total frustration in not being able to get reliable cell service

1 - small binoculars – forget it! They were a total pain to carry around and I never used them.

1 - compass – maybe, if I’d been going out in the wilderness - never used it

1 - sharp kitchen knife – not needed - both rental kitchens were fully equipped

2 packs of Post-it notes – great idea!

2 pens - see above

Because of my food allergies, I also packed:

- 35 small Ziploc baggies with my homemade rice/fruit/nut cereal mix - great idea!

- 1 bag of soy milk powder, to get me through til I found liquid soy milk in the carton - small soy drinking boxes a better idea, but not necessary, as I found soy quite easily in the grocery stores

- several baggies of macadamia nuts, cashews, almonds and dried cranberries for emergency snacks - excellent!

This extra food added considerable weight to my large bag going over. However, coming home, I'd eaten most of it, so there was extra room for packing my treasures!

As well, I read a packing list on a travel site and added in a few extras:

1 - small sheet of bubble wrap for packing wine – used it to bring my Vinsanto home in my carry-on

3 - small Ziploc bags – not used

1 - large green garbage bag - not used

Several safety pins - not used

8 photocopies of my passport - great idea! Used them lots

A list of credit card numbers and emergency contact phone numbers - not needed, thank goodness!

A copy of my itinerary in each bag – this is a winner! I didn't need it but can see the value of taking it

I also made small luggage cards for inside both bags with the name of the apartment managers in both Florence and Paris, as well as their phone numbers and the address of the apartments. In case the airlines misplace my luggage this card may save a lot of hassle when connecting me with my luggage.

Know what I discovered?

This is definitely NOT packing light! I will most certainly leave some things out next trip. I should have left a few of my clothes at home, as well as some of the food, because it was readily available in Esselunga and other shops in the areas where I stayed.

(*Note to self: All 3 pairs of shoes were completely worthless to me. I will make sure to have a good pair of “comfortable walking shoes” for my next trip… like my new GEOX!)

On this trip, I desperately wanted to avoid that last-minute rush and panic thingie that I often find myself doing, so I booked off work 4 days before I was to leave, foolishly thinking that THIS way, I’d be ready in lots of time. After arranging for my plants to be watered by my oldest grandchild, my business to be run by my oldest child, my house to be checked every 2 days by my oldest friend, my paper delivery cancelled, my home placed on the RCMP patrol list (insert deep breath here) and my bank accounts and Visa cards to be covered for whatever amount of money I need whenever I need it, I was ready for my most amazing adventure!

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