As we prep for our trip - my ears have been to the ground for news of gear and products that could make our travel lifestyle easier.
Behold some of my old tricks and new discoveries!
I always travel with body powder (I get sample size bottles of Gold Bond) as a quick fix for moisture issues. It really helps with stinky shoes and sweaty backs AND can even get stubborn sand off your feet. I had not, however, heard of a powder shampoo. Turns out there is such a thing and it actually works! Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo is perfect for transforming that day 3 without a real shower greasy hair into a more fresh smelling and presentable look. Love it!
Wet Ones Wipes and Pocket Pack Kleenex hang out in my purse whether I'm travelling or not but I have found them especially wonderful to have in scary bathrooms and napkin free eating situations - definitely "must haves".
- Our house favorite is from contigo. You don't have to unscrew the top or squeeze the bottle, it doesn't leak, is PBA free, and the top is a built in clip.
Protecting our fair skin is really important and not something to skimp on while travelling. We will bring and acquire the bigger containers of sunscreen lotion - but I've also found a good portable towelette for those times when we forget to bring lotion or need to reapply. We tested the SunX 30+ Towelettes this summer and I'm thinking they will come in handy for faces, necks etc. when we are exposed to the sun but not hanging out on the beach.
An Australian friend recommended these sun hats (Outdoor Research Oasis Sombrero), and although I feel a bit odd wearing them here - supposedly they are a standard wardrobe item down under. She insists that they are less expensive to buy in the US than "back home" and she was stocking up! Who knew?
Travelling light means there will be times when we'll be washing our clothes in the sink. Success in this endeavor comes down to 3 things in addition to quick drying clothes. . .
- stopper for the sink - Any "universal plug" will do - but I've heard that they can be hard to find overseas.
- soap/detergent The "Tide" Travel Sink Packets work pretty well and don't need to conform to the liquids requirements for carry-on luggage.
- a drying system - We got the Rick Steves' Travel Clothesline which is basically a braided stretchy line that requires no clothespins.
Living in Seattle means we are all about comfort and layers - a good fit for travel, I'd say. Conveniently, we have both REI and ExOfficio stores nearby - so I can troll the sales. It is hard to believe that one (carry-on friendly) set of clothes will work perfectly for a Cusco Winter, Great Barrier Reef Summer, and a Mongolian July - but here is what I have collected so far . . .
ExOfficio Storm Logic Coat Love Love Love this coat! It is light (20 oz) but warm, has great pockets, and even folds into a built in stuff sack to become a travel pillow!
Ibex Women's Shak Vest - a soft-shell, stretchy, and less bulky option to the fleece vest. I've been wearing mine for both work and fun for over a year with virtually no wear and tear.
ExOfficio - absolutely the best.
Long Underwear - Lands End Silk
- Women's BugsAway® Baja™ Long-Sleeve Shirt - I bought this on clearance and was then tickled to see primatologist Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas in Borneo wearing the same shirt while hanging with orphaned orangutans in the "Born To Be Wild" movie - took that as a good sign.
- Tank Top with built-in "real" bra - These are great for those of us who need more than the elastic "shelf" provided by most tank tops and want the connivence of an all inclusive lowest layer. I have the Perfect-Fit® Cami but am still on the hunt for a more perfect fit . . .
Also bringing a couple of light cotton T's - just because . . .
Royal Robbins Discovery Skirt (23in) -- Has a flattering fit, just below the knee, quick dry, lots of pockets, modest but still light - seems like a good choice.
ExOfficio Women's Nomad Roll-Up Pant - Had the best fit for me of all the convertible travel pants I've tried.
Women's Go-To™ Palazzo Capri - So comfortable and versatile I wear them to work AND use them as PJs. I think they will be perfect for jumping on scooters and nice enough to wear out to dinner.
BIG QUESTION -- Jeans or No Jeans? Please weigh in on this important decision!
Yes, like "Survivor". I know, it seems a bit gimmicky - but Leah and I both got one for Christmas and have become converts. Here is Leah modeling her's:
Pashmina Shawl / Wrap / Stole - I've had enough veteran travelers tell me that this will be an indispensable accessory (blanket, scarf, pillow, etc.) that I went ahead and bought one. I'll keep you posted on its usefulness during our trip.
I've been testing out a number of different brands and styles and found 2 that top the list (Both Men's and Women's) for durability, comfort, and breathability :
My favorite darker, cool weather sock: smartwool (wool blend)
A great lighter, warm weather option - that feels like cotton but holds up much better and wicks moisture is ecosox (made of bamboo fibers).
Help! I am at a loss here. Can I travel in my 18 year old Sambas?
I don't plan on packing hiking boots and have heard that flip-flops work well for SE Asia, but is there such a thing as an every day sturdy shoe that can look presentable with a skirt and still survive the Inca Trail? I bought these Jambu Cherry Terra Sandals on Sale at REI but am open to suggestions.
What are your favorite shoes?
A valuable piece of advise I received from a travel savvy friend was to "test drive" and "beat up" our luggage before our trip. New luggage becomes a target and untried gear, a liability she said . . . I believe her -- So -- behold our luggage!
- Travel Purse --Pacsafe MetroSafe 200 Shoulder Bag -- Juanchi gave me this for my Birthday and it has been my "go to" purse ever since. It has everything I need -- cross shoulder, medium size, not too many pockets, security features- basically a great bag :-)
- Noah as the big Daddy gets to shoulder the responsibility of our biggest bag. It is flexible -- duffel, wheeled bag, or backpack-- but will need to be checked when we fly. The High Sierra 26 Inch Drop-Bottom Wheeled Duffrite can carry our liquids and overflow items that wouldn't otherwise fir in our carry-on bags.
- Convertible Carry-Ons (can be a wheeled bag or a backpack)
The rest of us have carry-on sized luggage - 2 Eagle Creek bags and 1 Tumi. It was fun to shop Ebay for the best deal.
In addition to a supply of ziplocks, we will be attempting to pack efficiently with cubes, etc. We have a couple from Eagle Creek and LewisNClarke. I especially love the colorful ones my sister sent.
We are looking forward to volunteering and working with children in Peru and SE Asia and wanted to bring along something (NOT candy) to share with them. It helps to have a school teacher in the family. So far we've collected pencils, stickers, and blow up globes.
"Down Time" Gear
E-Readers & Portable Activities
We like that the Nook Simple Touch Reader has 2GB of internal memory and that we can expand that memory with a microSD card (up to 32 GB) -- That’s a TON of books! Noah figured out that we could get FREE e-books directly from the Seattle and King County Public Library and other sites - even overseas (I had my sister in Singapore try it out). We can also share the same book on multiple devises.
A lesson learned from our travel experiences so far - there will be time to kill - so come prepared! A deck of cards is a "no brainer" but here are some additional easy to travel with games/activities that can be pulled out in the airport, train, bus station, cafe, etc.
Rory's Story Cubes and Rory's Story Cubes - Actions
Zeus on the Loose
Apples to Apples
Magnetic Travel Chess
How We Feel About Our Gear at the END of this Trip Will Most Likely Make for an Amusing and Informative Tale. Can You Hang in There Till Then?
We Have Officially Booked our Flights From June 2012 through January 2013 (Peru, Chile, Easter Island, Tahiti, New Zealand, and Australia) with the Remaining Adventures (Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Mongolia, and Russia) to be Arranged as we Go. It is Feeling REAL!
Please Share Any Thoughts and/or Insights! We Would Love to Hear from You!