Pretty much as soon as you start reading or talking about travel, you come upon packing tips.

I’ve read some tips I learned by living and was happy to see are on the web I once also read some that I wish I could tear off of the web as they were clearly written by a non-traveler who clearly just happened to be assigned an article. I’ve found some that although written with a tone of authority, were not my own experience in my 20s and definitely don’t apply to more mature women (or to men).

The posts tagged as “packing” here are either my own personal experience or those of people that I know know how to travel. As with all of my writing, I write only what I know to be true.

My Safe Skies Cable Lock finally failed

Nothing will change that I loved my Safe Skies Cable Lock — but sadly, I now have to report that this lock has failed me. It reached its limit, so I have a use warning for you now.

The lock still looks almost brand new, even after using this lock daily for about 1 year and 5 months and even more when you add intermittent low use, for about 9 months after that heavy use.

However, one day months ago, during the low use time, while sliding the lock open, it failed me and it is no longer usable.

Living the downsize: from 2 bedrooms to 65 liters

This time 4 years ago I lived a typical American life in a two-bedroom condo. It was home to my furniture, photos … two dressers full of clothes…. kitchen full of fine appliances…home office.

Now I’ve virtually been living out of a 65-liter backpack. If something fit into that backpack, I don’t take it with me.

Sometimes I miss my old stuff but If I still had it I would need to still have a place for it to — and I would not have had the freedom to be in whatever country I happened to be in at that moment.

The truth is, we really need very few physical items to be well-dressed, clean, well-groomed, and comfortable. And your perception or definition of “very few items” will even change as you live the downsize.

Buying Peanut Butter in Israel

This is for all the Americans backpackers and other Americans who are traveling to Israel and love our Peanut Butter.

As you shop for Peanut Butter in Israel, you’ll find plastic jars with screw tops like we’re used to in the USA — but you’ll also find a solid plastic contain with either a green or red lid.

It’s not the same as the stuff in the screw-top containers. See how liquidy it is.

A thought about packing light and carrying medications

The other day my friend Rachel called me. She was staying at Ascent as was my backpack (while I traveled more of Israel) and she wanted to know if I had any cold medicine. “Yes, I do!” I replied excitedly. “It’s yours, actually. It’s the same package that you bought me the week we met and you wanted to help me get over being sick. It’s in the original box. You should be able to find it in…” You may wonder why I was so excited that she was asking if I had this. There are several reasons why: 1) I love that I had something to help a friend. 2) I love that something she bought for me turned out to be able to help her or to help her help someone else. 3) There will be two fewer items in my backpack. No matter how light or how small something […]

Identify your belongings in a unique way 1

I bought 3D Slick paint that works on fabric. My intention was to use it on my backpack. But as I started to practice using this paint, decided to give my equipment a nicer looking identification than just my name written in permanent marker

I love that I have a unique identification method. Plus, it’s fun to take an artistic break once in a while.

Pack a sleep mask — my choice is Nidra mask

When you travel, you don’t get to control the darkness in your room. There’s always that gap in the curtains or a room is pretty but not pretty dark.

So I did sought out the best possible mask and best value for the money. My choice is the Nidra Deep Rest mask. Light-blocking, but lightweight. (You know I love that!) MOLDED so it lets me sleep in darkness but be able to open my eyes fully. And best yet, it doesn’t create eyebrow wonkiness.

Ladies… that lace…

Another Packing Tip: Ladies, that lace undie you love… Leave it unless you can weave it. Lace undies are beautiful. They make us feel good. And best for a traveler, they are light weight. However, lace is fragile and the garment won’t last long when worn and washed every two weeks or more as will be the case as you travel. So don’t count on fragile threads lasting. If you bring that lace, be ready with your sewing kit to reweave the pattern or pull the connected sections together. Buying new undies in various countries, especially outside of big cities, is a challenge and sometimes not even possible if your size and shape is not common wherever you happen to be so don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll just replace it. [This post was inspired as I sat sewing a thin bit of lace on an otherwise durable garment that I […]

Shirt folding in under 2 seconds — video by DaveHax

I can’t take credit for this but  I love being able to share any good travel packing tips. It’s pretty amazing. (I also like the shirt packing board that comes in the Travelling Light Shirt Folder by Sea To Summit — a handy packing item/tool for men who travel.) How to fold a shirt in under 2 seconds — a video by DaveHax

Best Travel Spirit Songs

[updated Feb 13, 2015] Every now and then I come across a song that exudes the sprit of travel, puts words to the song of the travelers soul, or just fits a traveling mood.  Last night, May 17, 2014, in a house concert in Austin, Texas, USA, I heard another song like that and realized I wanted to start sharing these songs. So here’s my ongoing blog entry of best travel spirit songs. I’ll add to it from time to time. And if you meet me on the road, you’ll know these are on my iPod. I am opting, for the time-being, to not embed performances on this page as I don’t want to slow the page down.

Pack 4 white skirts? Can’t do. So…

My favorite travel skirt (one no longer sold by Gap) wore out past wearability a month ago and my other tore, leaving me needing to fully replace my travel skirts. Since I’ve been home: I pulled the twin of that favorite skirt out of its Space Bag to bring on my next trip. My favorite was tan. This one, though, is as close to white as possible, without being white. Pulling out the twin of a heavier favorite but now too-worn skirt out of its Space Bag, I found that Space Bag had turned this once light turquoise skirt white. A friend gave me a great wrap-around skirt. It was too long for her, but perfect for me. I love that as I travel, a part of her will be with me. That wrap-around is pure white. Another friend gave me an above-the-knee skirt with a comfy wide elastic waist, saying “It looks fantastic on you; you have to take […]

Rethink your hair brush for travel? Maybe!

This post is likely just for the women out there.

My question to you: how large is your hair brush?

I actually have a larger one that used to be my favorite, but I started using this one to get used to a smaller, more travel-fitting brush.

So, did I take this brush when I went away for a year and a half? Actually, no. I took a much thinner one. I found one that had plastic bristles that wouldn’t ruin my clothing and that took up much less space. (Yes, every centimeter really does matter.) But I must admit that I didn’t like the brush I took.

My best advice to you about packing a hair brush….

Packing the right shoes – I went with Aerosoles

As I packed for my first long-term trip in many years, I pondered my shoe choices. 

At age 26, as I started what turned out to be 3 years going half way around the world, I took one pair of leather sandals that had a good strap over my toes as well as an ankle strap and one pair of sneakers good for walking. (How well I remember those battered dirty sneakers.) Perhaps I had flip-flops. That was it. I liked this packing; nice and light. I’d later bought a pair of hiking boots in Italy. I carried them for 2 years, rarely wore them, and regretted their bulk and weight.

However, when invited to a state dinner, I missed that opportunity due to lack of appropriate clothing and shoes — and I didn’t want that to happen again.

Collapse•it food containers — perfect food storage 3

Fabulous food storage containers for home or for travel. The best space-saving food-savers I’ve ever seen. I LOVE these Collapse•it containers! As you can guess, one reason I love them is that they’re collapsible. But there are so many other reasons. They’re an excellent addition to any home and also work for travel. They are clear. Perfectly clear. You can see what you’re storing. They collapse brilliantly. They fold about mid-way, folding back on themselves. This takes up the least amount of height and gives you a good, usable container. They fold down to about ½ their full height. Their shape provides strength, and lets you get everything out of the container. The silicon walls are thick (but flexible).  They’re safe. They’re  non-allergenic, and contain no toxins, no PBA, no phthalates, no lead.

Zipper Pull Replacements, just $1

If like me, you find yourself needing to replace some zipper pulls on your backpack or other luggage, and you happen to be in the USA, I have a great, inexpensive recommendation for you. Outdoor Products’ Replacement gear 4 Zipper Pulls I found them in Walmart — the box of 4 only cost $1. The plastic pull tab is exactly the size of the original pull tabs on my backpack and the cord is thick. I can now find the zipper pulls on my backpack and open it with ease. I’m thrilled.

Open wine without tools

Sometimes tech-less is the answer. This solution to opening wine without a cork screw or other wine opening tool surprised me. It’s a good thing for every wine-appreciating travel-loving person to know. Mirabeau Wine’s YouTube video teaches us… How to open a bottle of wine – without a corkscrew So long-term travel people, now you can consider giving up your cork screw if you’re seriously looking to cut down on travel weight.

Light-weight pazazz for women’s travel wardrobes

It can be a challenge to pack light while also being ready for the nicer events that come your way as you travel. Sometimes some extra sparkle can help. Strapletz Jeweled Bra Straps offer a nice extra sparkle for woman who can wear a strapless bra, or a convertible bra which has removable straps. The Strapletz have open hooks on each end, and those open hooks need to slide into a fabric loop on the front and back of your bra. If you select a Strapletz Jeweled Bra Strap for yourself as part of your travel wardrobe, remember to choose a design that’s lightest weight and won’t snag your top or dress as you wear it. Stay away from the straps that have Rhinestones or other set “jewels.” Go for the lighter-weight but still snazzy looking plastic-only straps. Having seen the entire line in person, I recommend GOLDEN GIRL- Gold Beaded […]

Sandals or shoes good for travel

I am always on the lookout for sandals/shoes that I might choose to take on a year-long trip.  I intend to add to this post as I find shoes that I’d consider for travel. Here’s my shoe wish list: Good for walking long distances Light weight Packs into the smallest possible space Looks good with a skirt or dress, but not dorky with shorts or trousers (likely not factor for men’s shoe choices) Looks good with shorts or trousers, but not stupid with a skirt or dress (likely not factor for men’s shoe choices) Can stand up to rain or water Can be washed when they get muddy Have traction