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Therese May 26th, 2008 05:51 AM

What to wear/pack...Part 6
It's been a while since I've started one of these threads, but another poster recently topped a couple of the old ones, so I figured I'd do another so that we could all share some info.

This trip took place last week, and was a week in Budapest for work.

Before I get to the packing list, here's some background info. I flew Delta from Atlanta with a stopover in Prague. I've already posted here about how having packed carry-on only saved me a prolonged delay, as the original connecting flight to Budapest had been cancelled and having no checked luggage meant that I could be re-routed quickly to a flight that was leaving within the hour, rather than waiting until that evening. I very nearly took advantage of similar flexibility on the transatlantic leg when it turned out that that flight was badly oversold (due to an equipment change), and had my final destination been Prague I'd have been flying business class across the water (via London). But since I was going to Budapest chose to keep the original routing.

The flights themselves were uneventful: as usual I ate before boarding and refused the meal, instead taking an Ambien once we'd reached cruising altitude and sleeping for most of the flight.

The meeting I attended had a list of proposed hotels, but I ended up going off the list, and rented an apartment instead. More about that later.

I'd checked the weather in Budapest ahead of time. Note that is remarkably unreliable about overseas locations (in my experience) and so I typically use local weather. You don't have to know the precise URL: just use "meteo" and ".xx", the "xx" corresponding to the country to which you're traveling (so .hu in this instance). Even if it's not the original URL for the weather service there it will typically link to it.

So, sunny and warm predicted for at least the first half of my visit.

Therese May 26th, 2008 06:13 AM

"What should I wear on the plane?" is a very common question here at Fodor's, and I think it's a really excellent one, as what you wear can have a big impact on your comfort and health during the flight.

My answer is "pajamas." Not really pajamas, of course, but something you'd feel comfortable sleeping in. For me that's no binding waistband, no shoes that won't accomodate feet that have swollen after a long flight, and nothing itchy. I'm claustrophobic, so often wear something sleeveless so that I can stay as cool as possible in the event of turbulence or lengthy time without sufficient ventilation. But this time I went with sleeves, and it was fine.

So, on the plane I wore:

black and white print geometric print dress (in a stretchy fabric, with an empire waist)
black slip (full-length, which meant no waistband, and in a claustrophic emergency would have provided enough coverage if I had to take off my dress, and yes, I've seriously considered doing this)
black bra
black tights (not control top, soft cotton)
knee high, low heel black leather boots (comfy, and practical in case of emergency evacuation)
silk/wool red paisley scarf (an extra blanket, basically)

kleeblatt May 26th, 2008 06:20 AM

Thanks Therese.

Just back from Italy, I realized there is no way I'll ever blend in with the Italian women.

Most wore close fitting clothes, very stylish with very high heels. Amazingly high heels. I don't know how they do it. Grandmas were even fashionable and wore designer glasses.

Therese May 26th, 2008 06:25 AM

Before I list the contents of my bags I'll describe them. I say "bags" rather than "bag" because I put as much thought into my "personal item" as I do into my official carry-on.

I've described my preferred carry-on bag previously, but hadn't actually gone to the trouble of measuring it's outside dimension until very recently, in the wake of reports that Delta was becoming more careful about the size of carry-ons. So I measured it, and was delighted to find that it measures 19" tall x 14" wide x 9" deep. So no problem meeting mainline carriers' requirements for carry-on. The bag is one that I've used for years, purchased at Target. In addition to the size, weight (it's very light), and shape (perfectly rectangular), I like the lack of internal pockets or dividers (including the remarkably useless "expandable" feature so common these days) as well as zippers that are not directly on the edges of the bag but instead offset to areas that are under less mechanical stress. It is a wheeled bag, so were I going for absolutely minimum weight I might choose a non-wheeled bag, but in this instance that wasn't an issue. The bag is red, which was an unusual color when I purchased it, but is now very common.

I often travel with only a purse for my personal item (or no personal item at all), but this time decided to take a backpack (into which my purse fits). This was a fairly basic Jansport, black.

Therese May 26th, 2008 06:30 AM

Was the Italy trip with your English class again, schuler? Please send my regards.

I was in Rome in February with my mother and had an interesting conversation with an Italian woman while I was there in which she bemoaned the extent to which Italian woman are expected to be so elegantly turned out. We should feel lucky that we live in places where the definition of attractive is not so narrowly defined.

kleeblatt May 26th, 2008 06:38 AM

That's right. We were a group of 18 and everything went very smoothly. My sister-in-law took care of the train tickets, a former SBB employee found the right trains and wagons, Markus was our scout and Margrit spoke perfect Italian. We even met up with a local residence and a few Australian travellers to have a similar type of dinner as in Lisbon. It was another successful school field trip, thank goodness.

MomDDTravel May 26th, 2008 07:44 AM

Thank you Therese :-)

Therese May 26th, 2008 09:27 AM

My pleasure, MomDDTravel. And don't be shy about posting specific queries.

Please say hi to Markus (who bought us all drinks in Lisbon) and Margrit (who, as I recall, came by her Italian by way of falling in love with her native-speaker husband, right?) for me, schuler. Your class is very lucky to have you.

Therese May 26th, 2008 09:42 AM

I mentioned upthread that I brought a backpack on this trip rather than just my carry-on and a purse. The main reason for doing this was that I wanted to bring an item that I've not brought on previous trips, a portable DVD player.

Because I live in Atlanta I fly Delta, and much of Atlanta's transatlantic fleet features personal audio and video on-demand consoles at every seat. Which is great, but means that I'm now quite thoroughly spoiled, and so I was sort of dreading my return 9 hour trip without enough to keep me occupied (as this equipment can't handle the added weight of the units). So I bought a DVD player (a new Sony, with a reportedly long-lasting batter) and signed up for NetFlix (my family already belongs, but my 14-year-old daughter keeps the queue full). Oh, and the NetFlix account will give me a SkyMiles bonus.

In order to maximize the life of the DVD battery you need to use headphones (and of course you have to do so on the plane in any case), and for Christmas my husband gave me a nice Bose noise-cancelling set. They come in a storage case that includes the charger, and the remote for the DVD and an inflatable neck pillow also fit in the case.

And then of course I had my Blackberry and my camera. And all of these items come with chargers and batteries, and in the end I decided to bring them all, largely because I had the space.

This last point illustrates one of the barriers to packing light that I think a lot of people encounter: you will inevitably pack to fill the space you've got. So if you start with a lot of space you'll pack to fill it. I know from past experience that my camera battery and Blackberry will both hold a charge for this period of time, and I've got a second Bose battery that I could have brought along. I didn't know how long the DVD battery would hold a charge, though, so I'll need to figure that out for future trips.

So, to summarize my AV gear...

camera (and battery charger)
DVD player (and battery charger)
Blackberry (and battery charger)
headphones (and battery charger)

Therese May 26th, 2008 09:54 AM

I did have a couple of non-AV "gear" items as well:

toothbrush (AA battery-operated)
flat iron (operates on European current, so no converter or adapter needed)

And I did bring an adapter for my battery chargers, though the apartment had several (and hotels often have them available).

Therese May 26th, 2008 09:59 AM


I don't always bring a travel guide along with me on work trips, but this time I brought two. The first was a DK guide for Budapest that I'd purchase a couple of years ago when I was considering a trip there with a friend. We decided on Italy instead, so I still had the book.

The second was a set of walking tours that the owner of the apartment (who lives in the U.S.) had sent to me, asking me if I'd be willing to leave it at the apartment when I left. Which I was.

And finally I bought a not great but readable book called "Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict" at the airport bookshop.

So, three paperback books in all.

suze May 26th, 2008 10:03 AM

Good point about filling up the space you have allowed yourself.

I don't bring anything electronic, which makes packing lot a whole lot easier to accomplish.

Therese May 26th, 2008 10:09 AM

Absolutely, suze. And I've got a trip coming up in September that involves a leg on RyanAir, so I'll be paring things way, way down for that trip (which is two weeks in all, three cities). Every ounce will count.

MomDDTravel May 26th, 2008 10:16 AM

I am flying on Ryan Air for a portion of my trip. Should be interesting. Plus we are moving around so much it really does make a difference. And no strong dh to give a hand this time around.

Padraig May 26th, 2008 10:24 AM

This would make a great blog!

LCBoniti May 26th, 2008 10:25 AM

I have found your older threads fascinating, Therese, (thank you, Mom, for topping them :) ). Your packing style is very interesting. Looking forward to your suggestions on this new one.

And please do one on your next trip, if possible, because I am really trying to do better on our next trip which will be three weeks, three countries and a local airline.

Too bad I don't live close enough to janisj so I could take one of her packing-light classes . . .

Kristina May 26th, 2008 10:33 AM

Thanks for all the details. I pack just like you do for the most part. I haven't traveled with anything larger than my 22" roll-aboard for years now.

The problem I have is with the weight restrictions some international carriers are now placing on carry-on bags. I went to Thailand last year and Thai airways limits carry-on to a total of 7 kilos. My bag weighs at least half that. I can fit what I need inside no problem, but I can't make the limited weight.

This brings me to another problem. I now have a digital SLR camera with an extra telephoto lens. This takes up a lot more space than my old point and shoot and requires another, special, padded bag (which I carry as my "day" bag). The bag won't fit in my "personal bag" carry on without taking up most of the space. So, on my last trip (to Rome), I had to check the 22" bag, carried the camera bag as my purse, and had a smaller carry-on for toiletries, small laptop (only 2 lbs), book, etc. This wasn't so bad since my travel companions were checking their 24" packed-to-the gills bags anyway.

I'm now going to Paris in October and I'm trying to figure out how I can make it work, carry on only. I <i>might</i> be able to fit the camera bag (it's a padded sling bag)in the rolling bag, but it's bulky.

Also, I noticed you don't have a laptop (and it's accessories) on your list even though you were traveling for work?

Therese May 26th, 2008 12:14 PM

Okay, I'll make a point of posting for the three week/RyanAir trip. And thanks very much for the encouragement with this thread.

And in response to the specific query, no, I don't travel with a laptop. In fact, I don't even own a laptop (and that's why I bothered with a DVD player, as otherwise I'd just have used it to play movies). My trips are typically work, but these days I can carry just about anything I need (including presentations and enormous data files) on jump/thumb/flash drives and use a computer at my destination. And this apartment that I rented not only had its own computer, but said computer was a Mac with a wall-mounted screen and wireless keyboard and mouse. In the end I find that most of my work while on the road is carried out via email, so no need to have my own laptop.

The telephoto lens and its bulky (and possibly heavy) case are problematic, Kristina. Is there any way to avoid using the case? If your trip to Paris in October is on a U.S. carrier you shouldn't have a problem, as you can fit it in a backpack together with your purse.

Very low weight restrictions on carry-on call for extreme measures, including using very lightweight luggage (and by lightweight here I mean something that I wouldn't consider checking, something like a nylon gym bag) and wearing a topcoat with pockets, into which you can slip particularly small, high density items like books and toiletries.

Therese May 26th, 2008 12:32 PM

Just about everybody who packs light knows that the key to your wardrobe is to pick a color palette and stick to it. This typically involves one or more neutrals (black, brown, tan, navy, gray, and white, olive green) but could be something bright, particularly if you were on holiday someplace tropical. For instance, I've used a basic palette of aqua and green for summer holiday trips.

Since this trip was work I chose (huge surprise, here) black. Black might strike some of you as not sufficiently spring-ish for a trip in May, but cities in non-tropical locations typically embrace a dark palette and Budapest is no exception.

I don't like to wear jeans on the plane, but I do often take them with me. They're a bit bulky and a bit heavy, but they can be worn repeatedly and so may be &quot;good value&quot; when it comes to packing light. I don't wear them for work, but I had built in a day extra for sightseeing in Budapest, and didn't yet know what I'd be doing in the evenings.

So I brought:

Black jeans

To wear with them I brought:

White cotton cap sleeve &quot;peasant&quot; shirt
White cotton 3/4 sleeve wrap-style shirt
Black and gray print 3/4 sleeve &quot;peasant&quot; shirt

I just wore the same boots that I'd worn on the plane. Had I planned on doing lots of touring I'd have brought a second pair of boots.

Therese May 26th, 2008 12:49 PM

I like to be as flexible in my wardrobe as I am in my travel plans, and to that end find that it's much easier to go through life dressed a little bit better than the people around me (as opposed to a little bit worse). One very easy way to do this (if you're female) is to wear a dress.

So I packed a lot of dresses for this trip:

Sleeveless knit black sheath
Sleeveless black cotton shirtdress
Sleeveless black &amp; white cotton print, mandarin collar
Sleeveless short crocheted black cotton sheath
Sleeveless fitted black cotton, low neck (fairly dressy)

And of course I had the dress that I'd worn on the plane. Technically I could have washed it by hand, but the apartment had a washing machine. And although I didn't actually need to do laundry this trip I did it anyway.

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