Packing Paralysis

Nov 10th, 2007, 01:48 PM
  #1  
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Packing Paralysis

OK, I'm sitting in the middle of my bedroom surrounded by clothes, shoes, books, medicines, water purifying kit, toiletries, magnifying travel flashlight, eyeglasses, travel documents, various electronic appliances, and I'm absolutely stumped...

Normally I can pack in about an hour, whether I'm going to NYC for a weekend or to Europe for a month. But...but...but...this trip is a combination of work and play plus a combination of two totally different weather zones (Nairobi and Amsterdam), and I'm tearing my hair out. I have to take all this stuff I don't normally take because of the work, and I'm going to need some warm (read heavy) clothing, but I have this hangup about using anything more than a 22" rollaboard plus a computer bag that also holds my travel documents, makeup, etc.

I know...it's all about a good basic color palette (I've got that nailed down) and layering, but I swear I'm about to tear my hair out!

Anyone else ever done Central Africa and northernish Europe at this time of year?
StCirq is online now  
Nov 10th, 2007, 02:17 PM
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ST Cirq, don't panic. Do you have a fleece or something similar? It does not need to be heavy, just warm, which is why a fleece is ideal. You will probably be glad of it in the evenings in Kenya - it gets chilly once the sun goes down. That will be warm enough for Amsterdam too, with a good waterproof of some sort, and gloves maybe. You may need a waterproof in Kenya too as it is the short rains season now. Other than that pack what you need for Kenya. If you get really desperate in Amsterdam go to V&D department store or C&A's and buy a cheap something to warm you up.
Lots of people who climb Kili pack for Kili, safari and beach and manage to carry it all.
When we went to Tanzania last February we wore winter clothing, as we were leaving cold Amsterdam, but peeled off the layers on the plane for arrival in TZ. Then did the reverse on the way back, ready for cold wet Ams again.
Have a great trip!
hetismij is offline  
Nov 10th, 2007, 02:43 PM
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Thanks, hetismij:

I know I'm overthinking this, and that's because a lot is riding on the work part of this trip, plus I'm going to miss both Thanksgiving and my birthday at home with my kids, so I'm not quite as carefree about this trip as I usually am.
I actually bought a lovely caramel-colored zip-up fleece today with white trim and zippered pockets that is nice enough to wear to work, in the evenings in Kenya, and for touring in A'dam. I guess I was worried (even after checking the weather reports) that I wouldn't be warm enough in A'dam with that, even with layers underneath. Thanks for the reassurance!
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Nov 10th, 2007, 02:45 PM
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On one of my trips to Kenya/Tanzania, also traveling Nov/Dec (with possible short rains), we were stopping in AMS for 2/days and on conclusion of time in Africa, heading to the Seychelles... extremely different weather. Total 21/days.

I packed mostly for East Africa/Seychelles. For AMS the clothing I wore from NYC where it was cool, added a thermal T, and heavy sweater for AMS. The mid-weight anorak I wore leaving NYC was perfect for AMS (chilly to downright cold) and EA (cool mornings/nights). Everything else worked for both EA and SEZ - slacks, t-shirts, shorts, bikini, pareo - that was about it.

Admittedly, I didn't do it with a 22" bag, but a 26" which was checked and I took carry-on with "stuff" and cameras on the plane.

As I recall, you're considering about 3-4/days for safari, for which you can wear the same clothing as while in NBO, assuming slacks. Even in NBO at high altitude, daytime temps will be mild as at many safari locations; besides NBO isn't a "formal" business environment.

Personally, I'd chuck the idea of the 22" bag and go with a larger (26"-28") soft-sided duffle, preferrably w/o wheels. If taking small planes in EA, while wheels are easy, I've seen too many damaged being squished into some of those small luggage holds on 12/seater planes. Luggage carts are available at all airports in AMS and NBO (at no charge); once in NBO, you'll never have to lift your own bag, anywhere. If you don't have, you can find one for less than $30. Pack a folding bag with which to take your safari clothing, leave the rest back in NBO at hotel... visitors do this all the time.

I go thru this annually to EA (w/ or w/o a stop in Europe), yet still manage to pack it all and under weight.

sandi is offline  
Nov 10th, 2007, 02:49 PM
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I would recomend to bring a hitech goretex "shellish" jacket with you. It weights next to nothing.

It keeps the rain and the wind out, and closes the warmth of the fleece inside. Fleece is NOT wind or waterproof.
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Nov 10th, 2007, 04:57 PM
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Well - I don't beleive in packing in just tiny bags - even if it's only for a vacation in a single climate. I pack whatever I think I'll need. (This dos not incude a terrycloth bathrobe and maribou slippers in a 30" body bag.)

But I have traveled to europe on business/vacation many times and have found that there is no way around a larger bag. Now - it does depend on the business and the activities - but I need to have several suits with matching shirt and pumps, clothes for two evening events, plus all the things for my vacation - plus my computer and current files (we ship ahead as much as possible to the hotel). I'm happy if I can do a 28" with a large carry-on and my computer bag/purse. Every time I've tried to do less I've regretted it - and had to send someone from the hotel out shopping for things that I need - which is just TOO much trouble.
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Nov 10th, 2007, 05:38 PM
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hanks, all:

nytraveller, I don't need anything like formal suits or pumps or evening clothes, really. Just casual business - nice skirt, nice sweater, a jacket, bit of a heel on at least one pair of shoes. I'll be working at the UN Secretariat in Nairobi - people will be dressed all kinds of ways. But I do need to be prepared for contingency arrangements like being asked out to dinner, and I'd like to have something nice to wear to dinner for my B'day in Amsterdam.

I'm making progress. Thanks to all of you.
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Nov 10th, 2007, 06:03 PM
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Sorry, I have no advice for you, but the caramel-colored fleece sounds very useful! What brand and where'd you get it? Good luck packing, I do feel your pain but have no experience in that area...
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Nov 10th, 2007, 06:11 PM
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lvillinois:

The caramel-colored fleece is really attractive and warm, and I like the zippered pockets. I found it at TJMaax, where I went to buy socks. It was only $19.99, and it's really very warm. The brand name is Fox. Hardly haute couture, but it's really classy-looking (and I've owned a lot of fleece items).
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Nov 10th, 2007, 06:15 PM
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WINTER SILKS! Nothing is warmer than silk and it takes up no room...it might be a bit too late for you though.
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Nov 10th, 2007, 06:49 PM
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Hi, Avalon:

No, it's not too late - I leave Thursday night. I actually have winter silks, and my kids, who are both athletes, have those underalls things or whatever you call them, and they are sitting here in my piled-high bedroom along with a lot of other things. Thanks!
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Nov 10th, 2007, 09:13 PM
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I did a Nigeria/Holland business/fun trip. It was Nigeria first, but I routed through Amsterdam. I packed my Holland stuff in one bag and the Nigeria stuff in another. On arrival in Schiphol I checked my Holland stuff at the luggage check room in the airport basement for three weeks and flew off to Africa. I did another three weeks of business in the Hague on my return, and then did a hang out in Haarlem, Amsterdam, and Zandvoort for a few more weeks of fun.

hopscotch is offline  
Nov 11th, 2007, 12:26 AM
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I've just checked the two week weather forecast for you - daytime temps in the second half of the month will be around 8 celsius, nightime around 4-6 celsius, but it does forecast cooler weather (5 C) from 24th. Chance of rain most days.
If you want me to I'll look again in the week, before you leave so you have a better idea of Amsterdam weather.
I still think a fleece will be warm enough for you. City centres are always warmer anyway. I rarely need anything more than a fleece and a waterproof on whilst walking the dogs out here in the sticks.
The fleece sounds perfect btw.

After the summer we've had I could do with some EA sun (or even EA rain), so I'm secretly envious of you, even if it is a work trip.
hetismij is offline  
Nov 11th, 2007, 09:36 AM
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I would bring a larger suitcase, or a 2nd suitcases like a duffle to ride on top the 22"-er.

I would not stress myself to attempt the trip you describe in a 22" suitcase. Plain & simple... you just need more stuff this one time.
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Nov 11th, 2007, 10:24 AM
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Hey St. Cirq, we have traveled to Nairobi through Amsterdam, but it was all for vacation, no work. We have a cheap ($10) nylon style duffel bag that is at the bottom of our suitcase and we used it in Amsterdam and Nairobi to leave clothes that we didn't need in the other place. Like someone else said, it is a very casual dress code.
For the safari part you really do only need one outfit, we pretty much wore the same pants and shoes and just changed our t's. You are in a van/truck, you can't get out so you don't need hiking boots. We pretty much lived in our flip flops, rei pants and a tshirt. It's pretty dirty and dusty out there. Everywhere we stayed could also do laundry for us, so we just did that, it was inexpensive and quick. The major hotel in Nairobi should be able to do the same, I wouldn't bring anything that need to be dry cleaned.
Going to Africa for me was like going to the end of the earth and I too panicked a bit about bringing all the little stuff. They have everything there, just like Europe, in fact we had better Internet connection there than we did this year on the Canal du Midi, go figure! Every hotel/lodge had bottled water, toiletries, bug spray so you really don't need to over pack for those things.
Have a great time, it is an amazing part of the world.
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Nov 11th, 2007, 10:30 AM
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You could send a box of clothes home after Amsterdam (if you don't need the cold weather stuff for the second half of the trip).
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Nov 11th, 2007, 01:19 PM
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LilRicky
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I'm with suze - I ship all the time!
 
Nov 11th, 2007, 01:30 PM
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Actually, we're going straight to Nairobi and doing Amsterdam on the way home, beginning 11/23 for 4 days. And it's looking rather doubtful we'll be able to fit in a safari - if we do it will probably be only one day - because of work schedules.

I did move up to a 26" suitcase and that has solved a lot of my problems. And I found a waterproof hooded Northface shell in one of my kids' closets that I think will work well over the fleece in case of rain.

I'm feeling a lot less panicked today...thanks everyone!
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Nov 11th, 2007, 08:13 PM
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Thanks for the info on the fleece, may have to run to TJ's in the am! Good luck on final packing...
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Nov 12th, 2007, 11:31 AM
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waterproof hooded Northface shell

This is rather over the top for Amsterdam. Dress in layers.

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