What to Bring Along
In general, try to pack LESS rather than MORE.
Why less? Two big reasons.
1. You will frequently move your luggage from place to place: across airports, curbside to transportation, lobby to hotel room and back again, etc. (Note the word “lug” is included in the word luggage.) It gets tiring. The less you have with you and the lighter it all is, the less effort is required.
2. Most things you might need can be acquired at our destinations. We can easily make time for a stop at a drug, hardware or grocery store during any of our trips. You also have free time to browse for an extra warm layer or second pair of sunglasses or anything that might come up. Don’t feel like you need to bring everything with you for all potential situations. It’s unnecessary.
With those two points in mind, we offer the following advice.
Clothing. Think "layers", match everything, and simplify.
You don’t need to bring an outfit for every day of the trip. Instead, think in terms of temperature and activities. What would you need to wear for a day walking in the city? A day hiking on the moors? A blustery ferry crossing? A cozy afternoon knitting workshop? A few items, appropriate for many situations, are your best bet. Pack 2–3 tank tops or short sleeved shirts, 2–3 long sleeved shirts, 2–3 pairs of pants, underwear and socks, 1–2 layers for warmth (i.e. sweater, fleece pullover or vest) and one very nice outfit in case we have an occasion to dress up. Add in a favorite, comfortable dress or skirt if you like. Instead of a big coat, bring along a light, weather-proof jacket. In moderate weather, it will be sufficient by itself. In cold weather, simply add an insulating layer underneath to keep you toasty. Gloves/mittens, a hat and a scarf/wrap/shawl are helpful for moderating temperatures and stuffing into a bag for an impromptu pillow. If all your items are color coordinated and can be worn together, then every single item included in your luggage will be worthy of the space it takes up. Don’t forget your bathing suit (if appropriate)! And keep in mind that you’re likely to pick up one or two garments along the way. Allow room for such additions.
Skimp on shoes.
If possible, take only two pairs – one for comfortable walking and one to wear with nicer outfits. Your walking shoes need to be appropriate for a range of surfaces – from city streets to the grass, mud and gravel of a farm visit. If you just to have more shoes, that’s certainly alright. It’s a trade-off. More shoes equals less room for other things.
Pack and prepare minimal amounts of toiletries.
Don’t bring a 12 oz. bottle of conditioner if you’re going away for a week. Buy travel size offerings of your toiletries or purchase some 4 oz. empty travel bottles. Fill and label… and you’ve just saved space and lightened your load! Hairdryers are available at every hotel, either in the room or by request at the front desk. If you like to use a loofah, scrunchy or wash cloth/face cloth, be sure to bring a favorite one with you. FYI, you’ll sometimes have to unpack and show any liquids (plus gels, lotions, lip balm, etc.) while going through security at the airport. To make the process quick and easy, pack them in a clear, zip-lock bag and keep in a handy location in your carry-on. As you approach the security line, pull out your zip-lock bag, place in the bin, then pop it back in your bag on the other side of the screening. Well done, you!
Yes, you need an adapter.
Different regions of the world use different types of plugs for electrical devices. Pick up an adapter ahead of time, or at any airport. These days they are very inexpensive. Be sure to check you have the correct adapter for your destination!
Carry-on luggage is essential and should be packed with “essentials”.
We always recommend you fly with a carry-on bag that fits a fresh set of clothes, a few toiletries, medications, chargers for any electronic devices, and whatever else you would need in the first 24 hours at your destination. If for some reason your baggage doesn’t arrive, you’ll have what you need until the rest of your things catch up with you.
Bring along an extra fold-out bag or duffel.
Time and again, we’ve seen people buy more than they can fit in their luggage on the return flight home. Plan ahead. Find a collapsible bag and tuck it into your suitcase. As you travel, you can fill it with goodies purchased along the way. Or, conversely, leave sufficient empty space in a larger suitcase for the same purpose. Or do both. A tote bag with extra goodies can easily be passed off as your personal item with your purse tucked inside it – just make sure it will fit under the seat in front of you.
Share the load. Traveling with a roommate, partner or friend(s)? Collaborate! Pick one person to pack each item of essential gear that all or both of you can use. Consider sharing items like electrical chargers, adapters and battery packs, a luggage scale, fold-out auxiliary bag, etc.