So now that you know my whirlwind itinerary, which goes from hot to cold weather in a matter of a day, I do have to spend some time thinking about the issue of packing. I have traveled the world but never have given this much attention to most of my 60-plus destinations. Africa comes to mind as one of the places where you had to plan ahead and follow guidelines for clothes to take. The other trips required some moments for planning but nothing like my upcoming trip.
To pack for a 24-day Around the World Jet Tour is a challenge and one that I welcome for all the pre-trip excitement it brings me. I am a great believer that having something to look forward to is an important ingredient in life, whether it’s a night out with friends, a day trip to the city, a long weekend getaway or a longer adventure like this one.
I have been advised by National Geographic to remember that this is an expedition. “In other words, Mary Jo, leave your fancy clothes at home.” For those of you who know me, this may be difficult. Living on casual Cape Cod I do like to bring my nicer clothes out of the closet when I travel.
I have known about this trip for over a year, so what to take has been in the back of my mind for a while. I have purchased items as I found them and then hand-washed them to be sure they were quick-dry. Now that the trip is only two weeks away, I need to get serious and look at the suggested packing list and develop a plan. Having had so much time to think about this trip, I will admit I did splurge on clothes!
As you already know, the itinerary has us on the plane for many hours at a time and then we arrive to spend two nights at each location. My task: to find a balance between being comfortable for flying and touring and having a more sophisticated look for our luxury hotels and resorts. Don’t worry, I am not bringing any glam or glitter. Okay, just a little splash here and there.
So my colors are black, gray and beige…basic but boring, so I will add coral and lime green accents for a touch of color to pep up the look. Since I need to be prepared for some colder destinations, I learned about lightweight packable insulated coats (can you believe it has taken me this long?) and actually visited stores like L.L. Bean and EMS, not my usual stops. TravelSmith and Magellan’s have also benefited from me.
Shoes…not my favorite article of clothing. Why? I had polio when I was younger and as a result I have two different sized feet (for which I am actually grateful, knowing how others fared from this disease). I wear a 6½ and a 7½, so I must buy two pairs of shoes unless they are sandals or tie shoes, where I try to fit into a size 7 to save money! For this trip, however, I made the right decision and purchased two sizes each of both black and beige GOwalk 3 shoes from Skechers. They are comfortable and I certainly hope they remain so for the duration of the trip. For the evening, flats and sandals are my shoes of choice.
I have two essential gadgets that I never travel without. The first one: my Nook that used to be a book. My second is my Bose headset. If the airlines ever honor the request to allow cellphones to be used on planes, I will be the first to invest in Bose stock!
In planning for this adventure, I have added a few new gadgets. On a recent trip to Tuscany for an Andrea Bocelli concert, I found out I needed to upgrade my binoculars. The ones I took were adequate but didn’t allow me to be as up-close and personal as I wanted to be. The good news…I now have Olympus 10×25 PCI binoculars.
Take a look at what appears to be a pair of sunglasses. Surprise, they also take HD videos as you wear them. They are GoVision Polarized 1080p HD Video-Capture Sunglasses with 15MP Still Camera, Carrying Case and 8GB microSDHC Card. No, I am not being paid to advertise. I just thought they were really cool and might come in handy while I am hiking up to the Potala Palace in Tibet, for example.
Knowing that I will be time zone hopping, I googled “best travel watches” and came up with a site that had choices ranging from $5,000 to $11,000. I think I will just remain confused!
This next item may not have a universal appeal but it is critical for me. I am plagued with a genetic bad back and need all the support I can get while sitting. I purchased a Travelon Self-Inflating lumbar cushion. Not often having had the luxury of sitting in first class, I may not need to use this cushion on the trip but better safe than sorry.
We are allowed one large suitcase and are given a smaller one to be used on some of the internal country flights. We are also being gifted a backpack! This is way out of my usual look but remember, Mary Jo, this is an expedition and not a luxury cruise!
Since we will be constantly in and out of our suitcases, I have decided to pack clothes separated by category in oversize plastic bags. I can then easily pull them out and identify the contents. Thank you, Fran, for my birthday gift. I will bring clothes for one week of daytime and nighttime activities and then repeat and repeat. I am using Travelon Compression Packing Bags.
My daughter, who knows that I like to always look nice and neat, suggested I make an “itinerary” for my clothes so that I know what I will wear at each destination, leaving the guesswork and confusion out of it. I had a good laugh and then, while it may sound OCD, thought I might entertain this idea, knowing that I can always be flexible. Or I could have a group of airplane outfits, touring outfits and resort outfits. The benefit to either plan is I can spend the trip being fully engaged in the experience rather than flipping through clothes.
So now you know that I will be very busy these next two weeks, not only packing but also managing all the other details of being away for 24 days: paying bills, stopping newspapers, finding coverage for my grandchildren’s babysitting shifts, etc., etc., etc. Of most importance is reviewing my client files to be sure that all will be cared for under the competent guidance of Evie, my amazing assistant and friend. Do not hesitant to ask questions about your trip or reserve your next adventure while I am away.
While I am away the office hours will be:
Monday: Evie will answer the phone from home
Tuesday – Friday: Evie will be in the office from 9AM to 4PM.
Thanks for joining me on my trip of a lifetime. Only 2 more weeks. I’m getting crazy!