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.

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 2

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 3

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

Gals, pack clear nail polish 1

Even if you’re certain you’re not going to wear stockings, bring a pair — and help them last by packing a tiny sample size of clear nail polish. These items are well worth the room.

Clear nail polish and the hole in my stocking

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

Tetanus & Travel

Tetanus is not necessarily a required vaccine, but I personally think it can be a wise decision to get one. I did, for Central America. Here’s an article that may help you decide for yourself. How Dangerous Is Tetanus Really? 10 FAQs by James Hubbard, MD, MPH — The Survival Doctor. This article about Tetanus and the debate about getting a Tetanus shot — and many more that may be of help to you are on his website, The Survival Doctor. His survival-medicine website, as he says: “provides general information, not individual advice. Most scenarios assume the victim cannot get expert medical help.”

Fire knife handy on your travels

If you’re traveling to places where you want to ensure that you have fire, you might love this Swedish FireKnife. One of the best knife companies, Mora of Sweden, teamed with the Swedish company, Light My Fire, to create this handy  3.4 oz. (94 g) knife that ensures you’ll always be able to start a fire — as long as you have something to burn. You’ll find it, and other useful travel items here, at Industrial Revolution.

Carrying cables & small tech stuff

As you travel, you’ll find you need a pouch to carry your cables and smaller computer or cellphone accessories. I used a soft zippered ditty bag to keep weight down, but STM Bags just came out with STM Cable Wrap Portable Organizer — which looks promising as a way to keep your cables and chargers organized and tangle-free.

STM Cable Wrap folded

Carry light, give light

I think that we who live in cities, be it on any continent in any city, tend to not realize that there ARE places in the world where there is NO electricity and people do not have light — other than that of the sun. And we who live in cities have so much light in the sky at night that we don’t even realize… how very dark the night really is. Those who live in non-electrified places can wake with the sun and go to sleep with the sun — but there are still issues such as: going to the bathroom before bed or in the middle of the night a mother needing to get up in the night to feed an infant a parent needing to tend to a child a person needing to work until dark and then find his/her way home boats needing to cross a lake or ocean or […]

3% international fee on credit card purchases — not!

This post is for American travelers who plan to use an American credit card while traveling outside of the United States.

It’s great to be able to travel with a minimum of cash in your pocket but did you know that when you use your credit card outside of the United States, you may incur a 3% fee on top of your actual charge?

Perfect travel handbag for women 1

As I was getting ready to travel, I looked and looked for a lightweight, ripstop nylon handbag that would take very little room in my backpack, yet be there for me whenever I stayed put in a town overnight and wanted a nice handbag to carry for the day or evening.

Scosche – Best card reader for travel & all

Every traveler should carry a light, well-made USB card reader that handles multiple formats. Why? Because you are bound to want some of the photos someone takes of you or for you and that person may or may not ever get around to sending them to you. Granted, you still need to get to a computer in order to upload those  photos, but at least you’ll be prepared. Because you may need to copy data from a computer somewhere and this will let you copy that data onto one of your camera’s memory cards, something you’re likely to have while traveling. The Scosche USB 2.0 Card Reader is THE find among card readers! It weighs virtually nothing so its a no-brainer to carry with you daily as I did throughout my trip, and continue to do. It’s compact and the USB connector and cable are protected within the unit so it packs well. […]