What to wear/pack...Part 6

May 27th, 2008, 08:50 AM
  #41  
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One of the ways to make room for purchases you've made while away it to get rid of things that you no longer need. I already mentioned the books that I left behind. I also threw a few things away:

empty Chance perfume bottle
tiny bit of leftover Dove soap
razor
nearly empty tube of facial moisturizer
nearly empty tube of micro scrub
shower cap (this was disposable one that I'd kept from a hotel stay)

This left room in my "wet" ziploc for a duty free purchase that I'd been planning to make: a bottle of Chanel #19. It's difficult to find in the U.S. these days, and I didn't want to come home with any forints, so I used a combination of forints and AmEx to purchase a 100 mL bottle of eau de parfum.

I'm wearing some right now. A very nice summer scent.
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May 27th, 2008, 09:04 AM
  #42  
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Remember upthread where I mentioned that shoes are the way to a woman's heart? Imagine how happy I was to find reasonably well-made. reasonably stylish women's shoes for reasonable prices.

I bought (all at a store, though I visited more than one branch, called Humanic, which is apparently based in Austria) the following:

Black leather mid-heel slingbacks
Bone leather mid-heel slingbacks (identical style as black)
Brown leather d'orsay high heels with a strap across the instep
Black/glitter peau de soie d'orsay high heels

All four pair cost a bit under $200. So, that's great, but now I've got to get eight, count'em, eight pairs of shoes home. And it's not like my feet are tiny: I wear a U.S. 8.5 (a 39 or 38 in Europe).

I wore the boots (along with the sleeveless black knit dress and black cardigan, so that was one fewer item of clothing in my suitcase) on the plane, and the flip-flips went into a side pocket (which I normally leave empty).

But that still leaves six pairs of heels to pack, along with all those clothes. And that mystery item that nobody's mentioned yet.
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May 27th, 2008, 10:44 AM
  #43  
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So, there I am, huddled over my tiny little suitcase at 5:30 AM wondering how the heck I'm going to get it all in (and telling myself that I'm a dimwit for having stayed out until well after 1:00 AM, but we won't go into all that right now). Now I don't actually have to fit it all into the tiny suitcase, because I could actually pack my backpack much more fully, but I want to. Just because, you know?

And this is where an understanding of just exactly how much space there is inside of shoes, and just exactly how compressible fabrics really are comes in very handy.

Remember all those panties and stocking (they're actually opaque tights, by the way, not sheer nylons) and slips? Well, each and every one of those items finds a place in the toe of one of the shoes. In some instances the toes are too small to accomodate, say, an entire pair of tights, so the other end of the tights gets tucked into the toe of the shoe's mate, and the toe shoes are then wedged together toe to heel, and the pair tucked into the bottom of the suitcase. By the time I was done I had basically "paved" the bottom of the suitcase with pairs of shoes, and tucked whatever bits of lingerie that hadn't fit into toes into the little spaces created by the heels and so forth.

On top of this very, um, dense layer I laid my other items as usual (I don't fold or roll or anything like that), and finally topped the whole thing off with my mystery item: my pillow. It's latex foam rubber and very compressible, and it always fits. Always.

So I zipped it shut, showered, ate breakfast, packed my food and my backpack, and bid adieu to my lovely lodgings. I took the metro and then a bus to the airport, which took me a bit longer than a cab would have but was very easy (bags still very manageable) and $30 cheaper.

My flight home was uneventful, unless you count getting trapped in an elevator at PRG. The guy who was with me pried the door open and we climbed out (it wasn't that bad, only about a foot up). Good thing I was wearing practical shoes and had manageable luggage! Next time I might have to shimmy out the top of the elevator and crawl through air ducts...
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May 28th, 2008, 06:52 AM
  #44  
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FAQs for men...

Q: Do you go to all this bother to pack light when you're traveling with your husband, Therese? I mean, he's a big healthy guy and he won't mind taking care of your luggage for you, right?

A: Yes, he's a big healthy guy and doesn't mind lifting luggage. But what if he gets sick or wrenches his arm or breaks his leg? Then I'd not only be dealing with my luggage but his. My rule for travel (and life) is hope for the best and expect the worst.

Q: But if he's such a big healthy guy then how on earth does he manage to pack carry-on only" My DH is 6" tall and his shoes are so big that it's all he can do to get one pair and a sweater in his carry-on.

A: Not only is my husband tall, but he's got disproportionately long limbs (his jacket size is a 42 long). So neither his clothes nor his shoes are anywhere near as small as mine.

And yet his clothes also fit just fine into a carry-on. All the same techniques are used, including packing things inside shoes (really, really important when it comes to packing for men).

Q: Any other specific tips for men?

A: If you're taking dress shirts and usually get them done at a laundry (as my husband does), ask them to fold them instead of put them on hangers, as they'll stay nice and tidy in your suitcase. You can fold themself, of course, but in my experience very, very few men really know how to fold. My husband is really hopeless.

Q: You wear a lot of dresses and go to some pretty fancy places when you travel. Does your husband take a sport coat or blazer? How does he pack it?

A: Yes, my husband always take a sport coat if there's even the slightest chance that we'll be going anywhere nice. There is no such thing as "dress code" of any sort in Europe, and although people may tell you that people are dressier in Europe than the U.S. it's not really the case (in my experience). It is true that people in cities (in both Europe and the U.S.) tend to be a bit dressier than people in the suburbs or the country, and since so much European travel involves cities we're often left with that impression.

So my husband wears a jacket in Europe in exactly the same context that he'd wear it here in Atlanta, and that's pretty often.

And it's no trouble whatsoever to pack, as it doesn't get packed: he wears it onto the plane and then stows it overhead (on top of a carry-on).

Q: Do you help your husband pack?

A: Sometimes.

Q: Does he have any special clothes for travel? Groovy pants that zip into shorts? Microfiber quick-drying underwear?

A: No. He wears exactly the same clothes at home as he does when traveling (just like his wife).
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