Packing for out-of-season holidays and vacations

sorting my carry-on bag on a previous trip

Taking a break, vacation or holiday – whatever you may call it – in the opposite hemisphere to your home can be an advantage when packing. Out-of-season sorting can also be a pain. For me it’s a mix of both.

Living in an apartment, and with too many clothes, means twice a year I either store, or unpack, my winter or summer clothes. The disadvantage of this is that in our New Zealand winter it’s those thicker clothes that are hanging in my wardrobe (or closet as Americans call them) and I’m needing some summer clothes for travelling in the northern hemisphere – in their summer.

I’m in the middle of this process now, and as I begin to put some light clothes aside, now that it’s mid-autumn, (fall) I’m also considering what I need for 5 weeks of travel in Mongolia and Malaysia – Penang, Sabah, KL, and Sarawak.

This means a shelf in my wardrobe for possibles and/or essentials and, at the end of one railing, coat hangers of the same – possibles, probable, or definite. The advantage for this sorting – about 3 months before my travels – is that, when the time comes to pack my bag, I have fewer options to consider. And, as it will be close to travelling time it will be easier to make quick decisions and of course, not overpack.

On the shelf, along with ‘must take’ items like aqua shoes, swimming gear and sarong, will be a list that I can add to as I think of things. Once again it means my packing will be considered, rather than rushed, and therefore lighter, rather than heavier. As I have said in other blogs about packing, take anything out that has been put in your bag for ‘just in case’.

As always, my travels will be a mix of conditions. Business meetings, a rainforest music festival, Mongolia’s National festival, hiking in national parks, snorkelling at a resort and, exploring city streets and restaurants: my clothes need to be suitable for a range of activities. They also need to be, for me, easily washable in my room. I also expect my check in luggage – on my outward journey – to be 15kgs (about 33lb) or under.

My carry-on bag will have my electronic gear, and e-reader and eye mask, travel docs etc for on the plane, and a few items in case of an unexpected stopover, or for me in this case, a 13-hour layover in Beijing.

So, while Wellington airport is closed because of fog, on this dull day I’m sorting summer clothes for winter travel. Just checked the calendar – it’s exactly 13 weeks today that I fly out, and most of my gear is sorted!

Time to apply for my visa.

 

 

 

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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Packing for a cruise – keep it to a minimum

One of the great things about cruising is that you unpack just once. The only cruising I have done is on a river cruise in Europe, and sailing on private yachts in the Mediterranean and along the Great Barrier Reef. However, in four or five days I will be on the Fiji Princess, a Blue Lagoon catamaran, sailing around some of Fiji’s (mainly Yasawa) islands.

So what to take? Firstly, for the Captains dinner a colourful long dress (although it’s not a need to dress for dinner each night) and swimwear, including sarong & aqua shoes, and I have the basics covered (nightwear and undies too of course). Add a pair of trousers, 2 shorts and 4 tops to mix and match and that’s it.

The extras are what takes up space and weight – toiletries, flip-flops (or jandals as we Kiwi call them) my trusty Teva’s for hiking, sunglasses, a necklace and couple of earrings – plus an umbrella for the sun.

Add my camera gear (spare batteries and charger) my tablet and keyboard for writing blogs and posting photos on Facebook and Instagram, a book, e-reader, sun protection, hat, notebook and pens: that should be it.

Now all I have to do is count the sleeps until I leave New Zealand’s cool autumn for the warmth of Fiji and some boutique sailing. Fiji Princess can host up to 68 passengers; it’s 55 metres and can get into bays and islands that are impossible for large ships. Seems they can get so close to shore, that they can tie to a coconut tree and we could swim to the beach. Sound pretty darn good!

Did I mention, swimming with manta rays? Exploring water caves? Sign-up to have my blogs sent to you by email (above right) and get my blog (s) about this boutique cruise that I’ve been invited to join in the warm Fiji waters.

More packing tips 

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

 

Travel packing list and tips

Packing for Poland
Packing for Poland

 

I’ve written a few blogs about how to pack for travel including one about ‘Far away places with strange sounding names.’ And, one with tips for carry-on and checked luggage  that I’m told has been really helpful.  But I’ve been thinking, as I pack for my next trip, (Poland & Thailand) that perhaps my pick and mix list is my best idea – sort of like the supermarket sweets/lollies section. Chose the flavours you want or need! Here’s my current jelly bean and toffee luggage list:

 

Travel checklist           

  • International plugs
  • Multi plug for USBs
  • Camera (s)
    • Extra batteries
    • Charger
    • Memory cards
    • Tripod
    • Mono-pod
    • Small tripod
    • Headlight
    • Waterproof bag
    • Soft wrap bag for camera
    • Bag for camera gear
  • Small camera
    • Batteries /charger
  • Walkman/MP3
    • leads/headphones
  • Samsung tablet
    • keyboard
    • cover/ leads
  • Phone
    • leads/power plug
  • Solar charger
  • Battery pack for ph/tablet
  • Pedometer
  • Binoculars
  • Toiletries/ 1st aid
  • Medication
  • Towel/Togs
  • Umbrella/Sun visor/block
  • Travel docs/ passport
  • Spare glasses & script
  • Credit cards
  • Journal/pens/address book
  • Kobo e-reader
  • Waist bag
  • Small backpack
  • Map/guide-book
  • Small handbag

I go through my list and strike out the unneeded and mark what I want in my carry-on bag. I recommend travellers make their own list . . . after all, we all need different things for different travels and this time I have three very different trips within the one trip. As you can see there are no clothes on this list as I have written about them in my other blogs.

What would be on the top of your list?

sorting my carry-on bag
sorting my carry-on bag

 

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.

KiwiTravelWriter 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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At the airport – your pre-flight check list

A pre-flight check list for #travel

KiwiTravelWriter talks food, travel, and tips

Travelling? Here’s your pre-flight check list to make the sharing of such confined spaces means we need to be considerate – and we want our fellow-travellers to be respectful too.

It starts at home – before you left home or hotel you put comfortable clothes on and soft socks to wear during the flight and then, items you will need during the flight have been put in a little bag (for inside your carry –on) for at your seat – notebook, pen,  e-reader/ paperback, moisturiser, lip balm for instance.

Of course before you approach the check-in desk you will have your passport/photo ID, and tickets handy and, of course, you will only have the number of bags you are allowed on the flight and they will be the weight permitted.

Once you have your boarding pass, now is the time for a pre-boarding check and some reminders about how to…

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