Being away from home doesn't mean that you have to "rough it," as you would backpacking in the mountains. Before you leave on your trip, consider what comforts of home you'd like to bring along with you to help soften the impact of travel. Your travels will be more relaxing and fun if you attend to your creature comforts.
Is It Worth the Additional Weight?
Ultimately, you will be the one carrying your own suitcase, so think carefully through all the items you decide to pack, including those that are on your "comfort" list. Make each take-along pass the test of being really necessary and worth the added weight in your luggage.
If you are planning to take five pairs of shoes, four belts, and four jackets, put all of these together in a shopping bag and carry them up and down your stairs at home a few times. Then eliminate any items you determine to be unworthy of the additional effort. And a portable clothes line and a small container of dish detergent to do your wash mid-trip will allow you to pack fewer changes of clothes.
Include your choice of essential electronic devices. Laptop or tablet. Phones and chargers. Extension cords and adapters. And perhaps a small Bluetooth speaker to keep the music going.
Will It Increase Your Comfort?
What you choose to bring along for comfort will largely be a personal set of choices. Just think of some of the small items that make your life easier and more comfortable at home.
At a minimum, pack:
refillable water bottle,
tissues and wipes,
sweater or jacket,
collapsible shopping bag and daypack,
antihistamines and painkillers,
a second pair of comfortable shoes.
Will It Prepare You to Keep Going Despite the Weather?
Be sure to bring a small umbrella to carry with you every day so you will be able to keep going, rain or shine. Even rainy days are important days during a trip. And there's no real reason to be stuck indoors if you arrive well-equipped.
Plan Ahead to Lighten Your Load Mid-trip
When coming up with your creature comforts list, include items that will enable you to lighten your load. Taking a "mailing kit" will preserve your freedom to enjoy the fun and discoveries of shopping the markets and galleries, shops and artisan displays.
In your pouch of mailing supplies, include a roll of wide tape, scissors, and a marking pen. Then, as you add bulk to your bags, you will be ready to pick up a box from the local post office, fill it with anything you won't be needing during the remainder of your trip, and mail it all to yourself back home. The pleasure of "mailing home the weight" is twofold. You will have greater freedom to shop and lighter luggage too. And the cost is considerably less than the fee for an overweight suitcase when you are flying home.
Be Prepared for Picnics
Last, but not least, bring along items that will allow you to create a pleasurable picnic. Eating in restaurants for every meal can be expensive. And the specialness will wane if you are forced to eat every meal out. Much better to have the option of inserting some picnics into your days, here and there.
Take along plastic or paper plates, and real (lightweight) silverware. Also, bring a corkscrew for the wine, and a sharp knife for the bread and fruit, salami and cheese. Add in cloth napkins, a supply of paper towels, plastic glasses for wine, and zip-lock bags for leftovers.
And there you have it... Instant picnic! Put your picnic equipment in your day-pack, then head to an outdoor market or a deli and a wine shop for goodies. Find yourself a shady bench in a park, possibly beside a fountain... Or set up your picnic on the balcony of your room. Then enjoy... and congratulate yourself on money saved, and memories made.
Carolee Duckworth is an avid traveler, an experienced trip designer, and co-author (with Brian Lane) of the book "Your Great Trip to France: Loire Chateaux, Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy & Paris," now available on Amazon. For more tips, and to view videos about making travel more fun, visit http://www.YourGreatTrip.com. Join our list as a Great Trip Travel Insider to receive a complimentary copy of "How to Pack Like a Pro" and periodic emails with helpful travel ideas, tips and updates.