We have now been on the road for 3 ½ years – nonstop – since there is no home for us to go back to. After 1,250 days of travel, you might believe us when we say that we have some experience in packing our suitcases.
Since our last post, a year ago, on what goes into our bags, we have added a few new things. We follow a rule that, when we add a few new items, then we remove a few things. This keeps our bags full, but not over-packed.
LIST OF NEW ADDITIONS
- Slippers! We know most people suggest just wearing heavy socks instead of slippers, but, when you’re in a place with no heat, it’s cold outside, and the floors are just as cold, slippers over those heavy socks are worth their weight in gold. Trust us on that!
- We use a good electric toothbrush in the US, but, when we travel to places with limited or no power supply, that won’t work. The little battery-operated toothbrushes just don’t cut it. What to do? We asked Soheila on our last dental visit in Portland, OR. Clever woman! She gave us this little 2-minute timer.
- The perfect personal bag is what everyone looks for. Beth couldn’t ever find all the features she wanted in a bag: lightweight; the right size; able to fit her small camera easily; pockets with closures for her wallet and her little paper memo book; difficult to pickpocket. She looked far and wide. When nothing materialized, she made her own.
- It’s the little things that are important. For years we had so many rubber bands in our kitchen drawer that the ball we’d made would no longer allow the drawer to close. We underestimated how often we use them. As we travel outside the US, we discovered no one else seems to use rubber bands like we do. So, if you want them, take some with you! We use rubber bands for compressing slippers and other items in the suitcase. When we cook, they’re handy for sealing open bags of food.
- Another item we have taken with us – and will continue to take – (that is never on anyone else’s list) is “calling cards.” We made ours smaller than the usual business cards, with our names, email addresses, phone numbers, and – most important – how to find our blogs. We did the design on excel with 15 cards per sheet, but you could use any program. A copy store printed them on heavy cardstock, and then we used their paper cutter to cut them into individual cards. It ended up costing a few cents for each card.
LIST OF WHAT WE REMOVED FROM OUR SUITCASES
- Rain pants were essential for hiking in New Zealand, and we used them several other places as well. We had planned to bring them to South America, but we knew we’d probably not wear them enough to justify the space they’d take up. We hope it’s not a mistake because, as we write, the rain is pouring down outside.….
- We took combination spoon-fork-knives with us as well as chopsticks. We thought we’d eat more food “on the go,” and they’d get a lot of use, but it never worked out that way. We were also advised to take a water purifier. Even in remote places, it was totally unnecessary for us.
- Joe removed his umbrella from the suitcase. Beth didn’t. Joe reasoned he would just pull up his hood. That worked for less than a month. Joe went in search of a portable umbrella in Cuenca, Ecuador. It malfunctioned on the second day, but he cobbled it back together for now with the help of a twig.
We should note that we’re using the same Eagle Creek roll-ons and the same shoulder bags that we started with 3 ½ years ago. They’ve put up with a lot, and we’re grateful they’re still working well for us. A few clothing items have been retired and similar ones have replaced them. We did “upgrade” to very light SmartWool socks because they dry much faster.
When you have what you need while you’re traveling and not one thing more; when every item is used; your suitcase zipper glides in closing; and your bags can be easily transported by you – then you have achieved the perfect balance.