A travel writer confesses to breaking her own rules and tips

Confessions from a travel writer: I’m not as perfect as my blogs may imply!

No doubt with a book called Naked in Budapest you could assume my confessions will be racy – sorry to disappoint you but these confessions are about packing and any ‘racy confessions’ will stay in my travel memoir – not this blog.

So, confession #1

Despite having written a few really popular and helpful blogs about packing for travel and another about carry-on luggage, or for cruising,  I occasionally fail by not reading my own words of wisdom, and if i do, not heeding that voice in my head that says “Heather, I hope you are listening (in this case via reading’) to yourself”.

My recent trip to the USA saw me break my cardinal rule of don’t take anything for ‘just in case.’ and although I think I wore everything once, there was too much in my bag.

I guess swimming gear doesn’t really count – its hard to use  what we Kiwi call ‘togs’ for anything else but in the water or poolside. (mine were only worn twice, once swimming with the Florida manatee and a very quick dip in the Pacific, despite the heat)

A soiree in Atlanta
A soiree in Atlanta – at the Coca Cola site

Confession #2

I’m now gathering things together for my trip to the Rainforest World Music Festival (#RWMF) and already I know I have way too much to even choose from.  So I’m taking myself in hand by writing this confession and hopefully shaming myself into taking what I need – not what I want, or think I want. I will also, this time, reread my helpful packing tips!

One of the issues around packing decisions is the variety of activities we often have to do in one trip.

The USA trip saw me attending a convention, a couple of parties, shopping, hiking, exploring tourist places and checking out restaurants.

My August trip to the music festival, in Malaysian Borneo, also has its challenges: a fancy dinner reception, surviving the photographers mosh-pit, planting a tree as part of ‘greening the festival’ – possibly in a mangrove area, attending performers’ interviews, meetings with tourism officials, exploring Kuching, AND spending part of my significant birthday in a drumming circle.

So, once again, many occasions, and very hot weather, meaning I need to think layers and interchangeable tops and bottoms and colours that mix and match.

Now to choose what makes the last cut! ( and my next blog will be from the annual Rainforest World Music Festival)

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Now to choose from too many items!

 

Photo of the end result for boarding tomorrow … red bag for checked luggage, plus my carry-on and personal handbag (combined they weigh just under the 7kg rules – and the ‘handbag’ could be put into the grey carry-on which is mostly my electronic gear: of course NONE of which I needed when I first started travelling :):)

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Travelling with carry on luggage only (7kg)

AirNZ's black plane in Christchurch, NZThere is an art to travelling with only carry-on luggage . . . which for most international airlines means a seven kilogram allowance. (just over 15 pound).

One way is to travel for just a few days, but most of us want to be away longer than that. My next trip, to Australia, will be for three weeks and to get a cheap deal I opted for a seat and carry on luggage only. Then comes the question, what to pack?

Maud Parrish (1878-1976) in her book, Nine Pounds Of Luggage, said she travelled around the world with approx. 4 kilo of luggage and a banjo – quite a feat – I take more than that and, no banjo!

Friends tell me I travel for a year with less baggage than they take for a weekend! I also know if I’m driving from A to B to take more as I have the space for all those ‘just-in-case’ items – that mostly never get used of course. When I unpack from any travel I always note items I didn’t use or wear: a good reminder for the next journey.

IMG_20150125_151732But back to packing – it’s the extras that weigh so much: necessary extras such as toilet-gear, camera gear, Kobo,tablet, chargers, leads, and of course footwear.

I either only take one or two pairs of shoes – in this case, wearing my Teva’s and carrying a light pair of sandals for evenings. I’m also taking a selfie stick for the first time as, also for the first time, I want to create some Vlogs (Video blogs) or at least some snatches of video to include in my blogs.

Seems my bag will be7 kgs exactly
Seems my bag will be 7 kgs exactly – even with a couple of copies of my book for gifts

Luckily our neighboring country (Australia) is in the same southern hemisphere as New Zealand so only need summer clothing this trip. Despite many people thinking these two countries are very close, my flight will actually take four hours – so not close. (Comparison distances – London to Athens is 3 1/2 hrs; Los Angeles to Miami, Florida is about 4 1/2 hrs)

Remember, most of the people you meet will never cross your path again so, there is no need to impress with different clothes daily.

So what can you jettison? Firstly, get rid of everything you take ‘for just in case’.

Think about where you are going when you pack your clothes and be respectful in your clothing. Even if you don’t approve of, or understand the cultural norms that may, implicitly, ask you to cover up, remember you are going because of its difference. If it was the same as home you may as well stay at home, it would be easier and cheaper!

Jewellery, take the absolute minimum (same for makeup) I wear small earrings and a gold chain, and of course, like most travelling Kiwis, my bone carving or greenstone pendant. Sometimes I buy a couple of cheap fun pieces in the county for a change.

So it the odds and ends to sort first, then decide on the easy bit – clothes.

On this trip I have 5 tops and 4 bottoms – mostly all able to be mixed and matched. Plus of course, underwear, a hat, and a light scarf. As I write this I’m wondering about swimming gear – so need to consider that before l leave in a few days.

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But, most of all throw out all your worries and problems about yesterday and tomorrow, they weigh far too much to be of any use to you today: totally unwanted, and unnecessary, carry-on luggage.

See another blog about packing here

 

How to pack for plane travel: top tips for carry on and checked luggage

Packing is always an issue when traveling and this is one of my top-read blogs: I hope it helps you too.

Kiwi Travel Writer talks food, travel, and tips

Friends tell me I take less for a year of travel than they take for a long weekend. So, what have I learnt that they haven’t?

Well usually I use a backpack and carrying that ensures I look after my back – I want to keep travelling so health is important. I also love a backpack as it leaves my hands free for everything else and there is no way it can be left unguarded as a suitcase can.

Sorting my carry-on bag .. electronics, valuables.

And, whether I take a case or backpack, my carry-on luggage is a small wheelie-backpack as that has all my valuable documents, medication, camera and electronic gear in it and fit airlines weight and size regulations.

However, even I make mistakes; this blog entry could be called ‘packing confessions of the kiwi travel writer’ as on a recent road trip to…

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