Packing Creative Extras: 2007
While we're fanatic about packing light, we all slip a goofy little extra in. Which soothing, handy, or fun packing extravagances can you justify?
Read the Distillation: Best of Packing Creative Extras, 2005
- Please don't post questions here. Use our Travelers Helpline.
my wished for extra item
My extra that I longed for was a diary or notepad to write down my days adventures.
mesa, az USA Wed 12/26/2007
Point and shoot Digital Cameras have become ultra light, ultra compact and increasingly inexpensive. I carry one for those times when you ask a stranger to take a photo of the two of you. I used to carry a disposable 35mm camera for just that purpose. This new way you can email pics home while you travel! It also comes in handy in situations where carrying a flashy camera isn't safe. (Carry both - depending on circumstance) You can even get keychain mini cameras that are reasonably good or at least good enough to email impromptu photos back home.
Canada Thu 12/13/2007
You can get neat compasses as souvieners. We got some to bring back at Kew Gardens. The are on key rings and have a d-ring hook so you could clip them on your day pack.
Charlotte, NC USA Mon 12/10/2007
Jason, Atlanta, you rock! I just got back from Rome-- 4th time in six years, thought I knew Rome like the back of my hand-- at least twice I just about lusted for my compass-- brainlessly lying in my desk drawer, pointing to magnetic north, back in Illinois. Pack a compass! Mine cost less than $10 (maybe $20 now).
USA Sun 12/09/2007
A compass in your daypack
Pack a compass! I just got back from a 2 week trip to Paris and Amsterdam and the compass I had was the most valuable piece of equipment I had. It was a fluke that I even had it packed but it turned out to be the MVP of the entire trip. Not as much an extra as it should be a necessity.
atlanta, USA Thu 12/06/2007
Socks for Slippers
To save on packing space, I found a pair of thick wool socks also work great for slippers. Happy travels!
Philadelphia, Penn. USA Tue 12/04/2007
Homemade individual city information booklets
I recently planned a 5-city trip to Italy. The RS guide was indispensible, but I also needed my own resources. As I searched the Rick Steves pages and many other online resources I assembled a myriad of helpful tidbits for each city, including restaurant reservations, train connection advice, sites and shops to explore and other details. I copied them all into my word processing program, made the type size compact and then printed them out. I also printed out the hotel and tour reservation confirmations and pertinent information just about that city. I found 5 different color cover stock papers labeling each one with the name of the city and folded the whole stack (in sequence) in half then stapled the top (short side of the papers) twice. Now I had a booklet of personal information in one place, to be tossed or deep-stored when I left the city. No more flapping through dis-associated papers!
Redding, USA Wed 11/28/2007
Tips from a French
If I may give my French point of view on what to bring here: - a pashmina-type scarf is definitely a great idea; especially useful as a light blanket. After being stuck under strong A/C in french trains (painful cause I had sunburns), I never forget mine now, and it also gives a classy note to a black outfit - the suggestion of bringing small things from home to give away, whether sweets or small "typical" objects, is a great one ! I always remember with fondness an Australian couple who gave me a small kangaroo pin because I helped them in the street in Paris; they had a full bag of it to give away. It's perfect as a friendly gesture to locals, an original, cheap and easy way to say thank you! - you can get most of your usual products (shampoo, moisurizer, etc) in any supermarket in Europe. If you're going to any city, there's no point in bringing everything from home, it's more fun to just go to any shop and take some risks ! And don't hesitate to ask locals to help you figure out the labels, especially young people: we all learn english at school now, so most people under 30 you meet know basic english, and they usually are eager to practice english ! Of course this works only if you shop where the locals shop, if you go to more expensive places, chances are only the salesperson will be local...
Paris, France Tue 11/20/2007
Hi! I found some fold-up travel slippers at Macy's. I took them in my purse. My feet travelled in style on a long flight to London. Used them in the hotels, too.
Toluka Lake, CA USA Sat 11/17/2007
Convertable FirstAid Box
I agree with the previous poster - those small compact J&J First aid boxes fit a lot of little extras and make a great travel-kit for extra sample size items. Im not sure people want to smell like baby powder all day - I put a small "shampoo bar" of soap in there instead. Amazin what all fits in there!
Newport BEach, CA USA Thu 11/15/2007
Blankets purchased on board the Aircraft meet Fedral safety Standards for flame retardency in case of Aircraft Fire. Store bought blankets will not meet these standards. When washed in fabric softener, this will increase their flammability.
Canada Thu 11/15/2007
First Aid Kit
I am a Medical First Responder/EMT. First Aid Kits should contain First Aid items only. Symptom relief drugs or your medication is fine. In an emergency, you want a Kit to contain certain emergency things and not a bunch of "other" things to sort through. Seconds can count. Any questions, feel free to PM me on the Traveler's Helpline board.
Canada Thu 11/15/2007
First Aid Kit, Dry Shampoo
I am surprised I haven't seen this use for baby powder listed here--a dry shampoo. For the uninitiated, all you do it sprinkle baby powder at the roots of your hair and either brush it or rub the roots until you can't see the powder anymore. It's great for extending the time between washes when your schedule is tight. My other tip is a really comprehensive but tiny first aid kit. I started with a Johnson an d Johnson bandaid kit that I got in the travel section at Target. It's a little bigger than the size of my palm, and white plastic. Since I was traveling with a group, I added some things that would have been extravagant if we weren't splitting them up, but here's my list--a tube of Advil, from the checkout section of Target or Walmart, contains about 10 doses; a couple of disposable thermometers from Big Lots, moleskin, a couple of anti-gas Rolaids chews and 2 doses of Pepto-Bismol in tablet form, a small sewing kit (the brand is Baumgarten's, it's really compact), a couple of individual packets of dental floss (I also use this first aid kit for backpacking--in the event someone gets a large wound in the backcountry, it can be sewn up with the sewing kit and dental floss), a single-use tube of Krazy glue (for large cuts that would not need stitches--it's the same stuff they use at the hospital), two single-dose packets of No-Doz, a couple of cough drops, and a travel version of Airborne. Also in the kit are the band-aids that come in the box. All of this fits (with some effort) in a box that is 1" tall, 3" wide, and 3 1/2" long. It was so useful in Europe that I keep it with me all the time now.
Walnut Creek, CA USA Tue 11/13/2007
L'oreal makes a paste-type foundation that dries to a powder finish. If you usually use powder, this is something that won't crumble on your trip. It isn't a liquid either, so you don't have to include it in you quart size bag. Also, it has a mirrored compact (rare these days)so you don't have to rely on good lighting in your hotel room, and is a flat rectangle, so it doesn't take up any extra room.
USA Tue 11/13/2007
I bought a package of Nice n Clean moist wipes at Target for $1. These came in totally useful every day of our trip. We used them to wipe our hands after riding the Metro in Rome. After holding onto the bars of the train, the first thing I wanted to do was wash my hands.
Also very useful for wiping up messy Gelato from your fingers and hands.
These small packets take up no space in your daily use bag, and there are tons of uses. They are antibacterial with a moisturizer, so you don't need hand cream after using. Much easier to use for cleaning than a dry tissue or napkin.
IL USA Sun 11/11/2007
I found a small fleece blanket for $8 at Walmart to take on the plane. It rolls up and fits into a carryon without taking up much room. Will also work great as a plane pillow. :)
Santa Monica, Ca. USA Sat 11/10/2007
Indispensible items on our recent 7 week trip to England, Greek Is and Turkey:
Zip lock bags from mini (for scarves, spare toilet paper rolled tightly, dried fruit & nuts for snacks, tickets and small souvenir items for the albumn at home) medium (to separate undies for easy packing and recognising, sox, tee shirts) large (for sweaters, dirty laundry, husband's tees, dirty shoes) clear plastic sleeves for documents and papers to be retained, keeping maps dry.
Magnifying glass for small print maps, good earplugs for noisy hotels and planes, sample size toiletries (in checked luggage) to be discarded en route as used (my long-time coloured hair doesn't respond well to hotel shampoos!), wet wipes for makeup removal and hand cleaning, Panty liners are great for long haul plane trips and general hot weather freshness. Round flat pill container with triangular divides and swivel lid for earrings and chains, empty 'sipper' bottle to be refilled with 'safe' water at breakfast or from large (much more economical) supermarket purchased water bottles. A thin (mine was parachute silk) fabric duffel bag that rolls up very small into a little sack was invaluable for carrying extra purchases, food, disposables, apart from the small daypack. Post it notes to mark pages in your guide or map book and reminders/notes in your journal, small spiral leaf notepad for notes, reminders, lists, apart from the trip journal, and several pens in several places! .
Auckland, New Zealand Fri 11/09/2007
Folding travel alarm w/light
If you want an travel alarm that also gives you the temperature and works in Farenheit as well as Centigrade, plus allows for the 24-hour "military" clock, try the Ultra-Slim one at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $9.99 (use one of their coupons for greater savings).
I've had mine for a while and the button battery works great. The clock face lights up and doubles as a small flashlight in a pinch. Plus it's not much bigger than a credit card and folds flat, weighs next to nothing, but is sturdy because it's metal. It's a Sharp brand - see below. The store carries it in silver, baby blue and pink.
FL USA Thu 11/08/2007
Love the idea about taking Handi Wipes as they are thin, but work well and will definitely dry quickly. Sounds like I should just put a few in my travel bag right now!
USA Wed 11/07/2007
Pack Handi Wipes dish cloths for a really soft and larger wash cloth. Also, they dry really fast!
Ft. Lauderdale, FL USA Tue 11/06/2007
all in one flashlight/alarm clock
We both have an alarmclock/flashlight from Brookstone. Light and small. Press to illuminate time. Has a sensor that makes the bottom come on as a flashlight when you lift it off the endtable etc. Great for use at night without waking your partner Uses 4 AA batteries and lasts well over a month with constant use. o/a $30.
san diego, ca USA Sat 11/03/2007
I have been saving foil packs of lotion and perfume samples for travels. They take up no room at all. A great travel tidbit!
Portland, Maine USA Wed 10/31/2007
I bought a package of Ponds cleansing & make-up removing towelettes, and repackaged them in small ziplock bags. I would use one to remove makeup at night, wash my face in the morning, and then in place of a washcloth in the shower. They worked great, and was also nice to have in my purse to freshen up after bike rids, tube rides and plane rides!
Chicago, IL USA Sun 10/28/2007
Lotions, space savers and ziplocks...
I purchased little cosmetic jars from the Container Store, and used them for my medicated face cream and lotion. I reapplied both fairly frequently on the plane to keep my skin from drying out. I am not a light packer, but managed to pack for 19 days (8 days of business, 11 days of fun) in a 22inch carry on, thanks to two space saver bags for bulkier items (a sweater, t-shirts and a fleece and a raincoat)! I packed everything else in my suitcase in ziplocks- Everything was easy to find, and had plenty of bags for dirty clothes in the end.
Chicago, IL USA Sun 10/28/2007
Baby powder will prevent or eliminate the odors in shoes. A small container can be purchased in promotional products area of supermarket. It's cheap and takes little space in luggage. It works wonders with a sprinkle in offending shoes each night or morning.
Moscow, Idaho USA Thu 10/25/2007
packing creative extras
We did a month of europe on our own with car rental, no hotel reservations etc. I packed a couple of bags of the local candy (dum Dum suckers and saf-t-pops) We gave them out to the people that helped us when we got lost or just for the fun of giving them something from america. The people really seemed to enjoy this. They couldn't get over that we thought about passing out something from our home town. We also packed choclates from the same candy factory. We gave those to the hotel keepers and maids.
Ney, Ohio USA Thu 10/25/2007
Baby Powder--A Travel Must Have
I sprinkle a bit of baby powder in the laundry bag to keep things from getting to smelly until they are washed. Keeps the entire suitcase nice, too!:)
RI USA Thu 10/25/2007
Just remember, if you bring your own blanket on board the aircraft, it may not be Flame Retardant. In case of a Fire, the material will melt onto your skin, if it is not specially treated. Especially don't bring a blanket that has been washed with fabric softener as it will add to its flamability.
YYZ, Canada Mon 10/22/2007
I ALWAYS suggest packing a pashmina style scarf as the uses are great, much like the sarong. I've used mine as: 1 - a scarf (obviously) 2 - a wrap/shawl to dress up an outfit or to cover the arms in religious locations 3 - rolled up to make a pillow on the bus or train 4 - light blanket on airplane 5 - wrapped around a pillow in a Paris hostel that did not offer pillowcases
Sacramento , CA USA Thu 10/18/2007
I recommend packing at least 1 (if not 2) books of matches in your carry on, even if you're not a smoker. Coming out of the airport, many smokers will have had their lighters confiscated and being able to offer them a match gives you the opportunity to interact with locals and other tourists. Another use for the nonsmoker is in public restrooms to aid in "clearing the air".
Sacramento, CA USA Thu 10/18/2007
I bring a container of unwaxed dental floss. Use to put a laundry line up in your room in the evening to dry clothes that you wash in your sink. My clothes are almost always dry the next morning. Don't need to worry about scissors or a knife for cutting it down, just use the cutter that comes in the package.
Canada Thu 10/18/2007
Backpack with bladder
I brought a daypack with a 3 litre bladder (camelbak-type) on my summer trip, and it was the best idea. I had plenty of water for the whole day, the water kept my food cool, and no lugging around bulky water bottles...
Best of all, I didn't get stuck paying 2 or more Euros for a tiny bottle of water!
Winnipeg, MB CAN Wed 10/17/2007
Re: pedicure flip-flops
If you mean the paper-thin disposable kind, do not wear them by the pool-- they become EXTREMELY slippery when wet! I found that out the hard way, wearing them at Gellert Baths in Budapest-- almost fell several times.
NYC, Thu 10/11/2007
packing extras - compression bags
we used compression bags from REI and they worked nicely to allow us to keep our more bulky items, i.e. jackets, well compressed.
san diego, ca USA Wed 10/10/2007
Packing creative extras
A harmonica, if you have the gift, is a brilliant way to give something back by way of music, when locals have done you a kindness/shared hospitality.
Toowoomba, Qld Australia Mon 10/08/2007
I purchased a pair of light flip flops from a beauty supply store (the kind used after a pedicure). They worked well for community showers and took up very little room.
Fenton, MI USA Mon 10/08/2007
I was sorry I didn't have earplugs. Rick was brutally frank about the noise in the hotel in Florence. It was too warm to close the double paned windows and the noise was too much! Bring earplugs just in case.
Fenton, MI USA Mon 10/08/2007
Pack your own wash cloth and kleenex. I simply cut up some old towels and packed them in baggies.. tossed before we returned.
Olympia, Wa USA Thu 10/04/2007
Best of Packing Extras
Pack your own Kleenex!! There will be none in your hotel rooms. Second trip to Europe and found bringing my own Kleenex to be a lifesaver especially after both my husband and myself caught a cold mid-trip.
Laguna Niguel, Ca USA Wed 10/03/2007
Just bought vinyl ponchos at the dollar store 2 for $1.00. Even if they get ratty after the trip, I won't feel bad throwing it away.
PA USA Sun 09/30/2007
In your sink laundry
Traveling light with a backpack only this past August was brutally hot. Washing clothes in the sink worked great with the packets of Tide. If you use the same liquid detergent from home, it takes just a tablespoon full per washing. So take a small bottle, and figure a wash every two or three days. To help drying time, ask the Host or front desk for a small fan, and you will be assured of dry clothes by morning.
Marietta, GA USA Sun 09/30/2007
To answer No Name Pa, who said why would you buy 18 washcloths. Well they come packaged that way. You get 18 for $3.99. I also believe he stated that they were so nice that he would NOT discard them. He was just sharing a tip.
USA Sat 09/29/2007
Wash Clothes & Wet Ones
You can get wet ones in a flat package for easy packing to take for travels.
Minnesota, USA Sat 09/29/2007
Why would you buy 18 wash clothes.You only need one, which barely takes any room. Throwing stuff away is such a waste.
PA USA Thu 09/27/2007
We had read that hotels do not carry washcloths in Italy: before we left, we bought a pack of 18 from Target ($3.99) with the intention of discarding them. They pack well - flat. Would end up not discarding them: they will go with us this year to Spain.
St. Paul, MN USA Wed 09/26/2007
After both backpacking holidays and business trips through Europe, here are a few of my tips:
1. PACK LIGHT. Worship the "1 person, 1 bag" mantra. There is no sense in bringing 10 items you "might need" when you can buy the 1 you actually must have in Europe. People have somehow survived there for thousands of years... you can too.
2. COMPRESSION STRAPS. These light nylon "belts" are cheap at outdoor stores and are endlessly useful: compressing clothes, strapping items to a backpack, a makeshift rope, etc. But pack several... your friends will constantly need to borrow them.
3. ZIPLOCK YOUR PASSPORT. While the passport ink itself should not bleed, the stamps in it often will. A simple plastic bag will keep things dry.
4. KEYCHAIN LOCKS. Coiling simple keychains through your zippers will discourage pickpockets, and you never have to worry about losing a key or forgetting a combination.
Dallas, TX USA Tue 09/25/2007
My wife reminded me of another really creative trick we do. We keep a small database of mailing addresses for family, relatives, friends and work associates. Before we leave on a trip, we print the names on adhesive mailing labels, you know, the standard 8x11 sheet with about 30 labels per page. Makes mailing postcards home some much faster and easier.
Lawrence, Ks USA Mon 09/24/2007
Computer Screen Privacy
Anyone who carries a lap top or uses a computer will like the 3M Privacy filters. Helps keep wandering eyes off your private information!
YYZ Toronto, Canada Tue 09/11/2007
We bring a list of email addresses so we can download photos and email "instant postcards" from Internet cafes.
Bremerton, WA USA Tue 09/11/2007
Toilet paper or moist towelettes can be used for anything! Stomach Relief caplets for the occasional food experiment gone wrong. Body scrub will get your feet and skin extra clean when you've been traveling for awhile.
Arlington, va USA Mon 09/10/2007
Packing on the cheap
I don't recommend this method to pack and travel, but I did find it interesting.
Use your shopping opportunities to buy products you need and will use and enjoy, rather than just buying "tourist gadgets." You know the rule: "Take half the clothes and twice the money."
Remember the man who filled his suitcase with clothes from the Salvation Army and the local Goodwill store. When something became dirty, he left it, and used that suitcase space to carry items home. If you like this idea, plan carefully.
Burbank, ca USA Fri 09/07/2007
B Team Socks and Underwear
I have the pleasure of traveling to Europe about 2-3 times each year and have been doing so for about 11 plus years. B Team Socks and Underwear are the items you need to replace or repair so, lighten your load as you travel. No need to repair them, toss them in the trash. Never real sure about the recycle thing with Europe. The new Dri-Fit, Cool Max material is the shirts to pack. Light weight, Fast Drying, Easy to Care/Clean. Anyway leave the A teams stuff at home. Happy Travels.
Pittsburgh, PA USA Fri 09/07/2007
Taking Good Care of My Travel Clothes
Hi, I always take a sewing kit with extra buttons and a tide stick when I travel. If I pack light, I need all my clothes in working order as I have to stretch them as far as possible. :) Happy trails!
Santa Monica, S. Cal USA Wed 09/05/2007
shower caps for shoe bags
Use motel shower caps for shoe bags. When they get stretched and dirty, then there's no guilt about tossing them out.
Portland,, OR USA Wed 09/05/2007
Dr. Scholl's Foot Odor/Athlete's Foot Spray: You can use this for the obvious reasons, but they also work wonders when you spray them into your shoe at the end of the day to absorb moisture and odors. Because its essentially baking soda, you can use them to absorb moisture on just about anything else including your clothes (but hold clothing at a distance so as not leave white streaks on them). If you are on the go and don't have time for laundry and just want to freshen up your clothes or get rid of some of the smells, just spray some of this stuff at them. I never travel without a can. Put them in your check-in baggage though as I think aerosol cans are still forbidden in your carry-on bags.
San Leandro, CA USA Tue 09/04/2007
On th other side of the spectrum, baking your shoes in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, then reducing to 200 degrees for 30 minutes does the trick for me.
RICHMOND, VA USA Tue 08/28/2007
Packing extras - several
1) Personal business cards, not necessarily your work cards. Give away, or put names of new friends on the back to carry home. 2) a small canvas shopping bag, carry during day instead of a backpack; lighter, holds purchases, raincoats, lunch, but rolls up small to pack when traveling. (I still have a small duffel for travel days to hold cameras, fragile items, etc.)
Lawrence, KS USA Tue 08/28/2007
Foot oder in Shoes
Placing you shoes in the freezer will get rid of foot oder.
USA Sat 08/25/2007
Bringing your own headphones on an airplane
Thomas, you can buy adapters for your headphones so they work in the airplane jack.
This is one example of an adapter. It's only $10.
CA USA Fri 08/24/2007
Hi! I've read but haven't posted until now. I don't travel a great deal but I decided to stick carefully to not carrying any liquids, creams or gels. I know the airports will let you carry in small amounts but I don't want to be in line at security and find out they've changed the guidelines. Shampoo: J. R. Liggets bar shampoo - I use the 3.5 oz size which is quite good and lasts a long time and I have shoulder-length hair. To hand wash clothing I use a bar of laundry soap called Zote. It comes in a large size but I cut off an appropriate chunk and put it in a zip lock bag. Makeup: use the wet-dry variety. I found one made by Palladio. You can use it as a dry powder or dampen the sponge and pass over the powder to make a 'wet' foundation that drys immediately. Mascara: use cake mascara! I went on line and finally found one by La Femme cosmetics. Tooth powder: Eco-Dent -it's powder, not paste or gel.
Houston, TX USA Fri 08/24/2007
powdered milk, tp, small soaps, wash cloth
Seems unnecessary but tp, soap, and washcloth are still a must when traveling in europe as about only 50% of public toilets provide these. powdered milk as fresh milk for morning cereal is difficult to find unless you buy at grocery stores daily. even McDonalds does not sell milk, go figure.
walnut creek, USA Thu 08/23/2007
thermal picnic carriers
Trader Joes has cheap thermal handel food bags that you can fold flat and place in your suitcase. Great for packing picnic fixins or your to go sandwich baquette for meals.
USA Thu 08/23/2007
Other use for hand sanitizer
On our trip to Austria, Czech Rep and Germany in July, my nice Ecco sandals began to develop an odor. I used a Q-tip to apply the hand sanitizer to the insoles at night and it worked great!
Lafayette, IN USA Thu 08/23/2007
Spot remover/ WC tip
A Tide stick saved my light colored jacket from a huge coffee spill. Just follow the directions. Have .50 euro coin in a pocket/purse in case you need it for the WC/toilette.
Columbus, OH USA Wed 08/22/2007
I buy the compressed washcloths..just add water and you have a full sized washcloth..They are inexpensive when purchased at the dollar store..easily packed..colorful..just leave them behind when you move on..
Lexington, Ky USA Wed 08/22/2007
travel must haves
tampons. do not expect to find your beloved tampons whilst travelling. travel toilet seat covers and travel toilet paper. again.. i'm very serious. more about the travel toilet paper. it's so handy. ipod extend battery. if you have a tri-band phone. call your phone company have them unlock it and buy a sim card (usually $5) abroad.
LA, CA USA Sun 08/19/2007
Wal-mart crappy luggage
There are many other problems with luggage bought from Wal_Mart. last year I bought a set of 5 for my trip to Europe and 2 things failed:the handle and one of them got like a rip along the inner side.I was lucky because i was able to return them, he he 90 day return policy. But not being able to use the handle was one of the worst things can happen to your luggage. I got a wheeled backpack luggage now with a detachable daypack .
USA Sun 08/12/2007
Response to space bags
"Use Ziplock instead of Space Saver (Save money) Erin, save money next time and get a 3 gallon zip lock bags instead of space savers. They do the same job and its a fraction of the cost." I don't believe they work the same way.Space bags have a valve which allows the air to come out.the zip lock bags don't have that.How to you get the air out? Part of it will come back in if you leave the ipper a bit unipped.Space bags are nor expensive now days.Ebay them and you might get a deal.
USA Sun 08/12/2007
This may be old and frequently said but I think it bears repeating. If you rent a car it's a must but very handy even if you don't - a compass and magnifying glass. The European road maps have very fine/small print.
Woodstock, GA USA Sun 08/12/2007
A piece of cloth
My 'creative extra' was a washcloth.
Go ahead, I know, laugh.
But I'll give you a few reasons why it was very effective.
-It made my body soap last longer, -it was a better alternative for my skin than those scratchy fabrics you encounter in the EU,
and I used it to remove excess water off my skin after bathing - thus reducing the amount of water on my towel & time spent drying it! (that reason alone made it worth bringing)
Seattle, WA USA Sat 08/11/2007
Mil Spec Rollie Luggage.
The soft plastic wheel designs used on almost all rolling luggage sets are inadequate to handle real world travel. The solution is to hacksaw off the old wheels and axle tabs, leaving the base. Then fill in any open space with an epoxy filler for a flat surface. Buy and mount a pair of hardware store, bolt on, fixed caster wheels. These are rated up to 70 lbs. each. Spray paint them black if you want. The wheels are bolt and nut replaceable once they wear out. My original wheels blew out 300 yards from the train station in Florence Italy. The hardware store replacements are going strong after 30+ miles of towing on the streets.
Springfield , OR USA Thu 08/09/2007
rolling bags that fail
If you purchase good luggage, you get good luggage, if you buy rolling bags at Wal-Mart, you get crap. why go thorough all that changing of wheels? What a hassle! Spend some money on good luggage, or take a backpack!
USA Thu 08/09/2007
My favorite personal headphones came in quite handy and found a lot of use on our trip to Spain and France. I used them instead of the cheap, uncomfortable ones provided on airplanes, tour buses and museum listening devices. (However, when using one of the two-prong stereo holes on airplanes will result in sound in one ear only.) Just make sure you don't foget to keep your earphones when retuning the listening device at the end of the tour!
Also, a simple stereo cable would have been nice to have to be able to play my i-pod through the music system at our resort.
Cupertino, CA USA Wed 08/08/2007
I am not recommending that anyone bring wrinkle spray on a trip... but, if you must, do NOT pay full price for it. It's just diluted fabric softener--very diluted. I make it for home use by putting 2 teaspoons of liquid fabric softener in a 16 ounce spray bottle and filling the rest with water. Shake well and spray. For traveling, figure out the proportions for whatever bottle you are bringing. Put in the fabric softener, but don't add the water till you get to your destination.
St. Paul, MN USA Tue 08/07/2007
Pack a dozen twist ties! Pushed through the opening of two zipper pulls and twisted tight you have a nice low-tech way to keep a bag closed from casual thieves. They're easy for airport security to remove if necessary, and the loss of a twist tie is no big deal. They work better than expensive locks that broadcast you have something worth locking up.
Boston, MA USA Mon 08/06/2007
Use Ziplock instead of Space Saver (Save money)
Erin, save money next time and get a 3 gallon zip lock bags instead of space savers. They do the same job and its a fraction of the cost.
USA Mon 08/06/2007
Space bags! Every year when I go to Europe I bring three space bags (buy at target) They require no vacuum and allow you store your used smelly things in an air tight bag and compress your cargo on the way home- making more room for things you pick up along the way. You just roll the air out of the bags and save a ton of space.
selden, ny USA Sun 08/05/2007
I recently found Splenda in a tablet dispenser at my local Walmart. Around $4 for 200 tablets.
Missouri City, Texas USA Tue 07/31/2007
I always take a handful of Splenda packets, but discovered in England that the B&Bs sometimes have a small plastic dispenser for sugarless sweetener pills, found near the sugar. I bought one for myself at the local store.
Napa, CA USA Sun 07/29/2007
How to pack light for jewelery.
Last trip to Europe I came up with the idea of packing one omega and a few pendants for dressing up. That was it for jewelery beside ear studs. Was enough and worked great for packing light.
Fargo, ND USA Sat 07/28/2007
chapstick for stuck zippers and a shoeshine!
Any zippered carry-on is made better -- and will last longer -- by lubricating the zippers. To do this, a common chapstick rubbed along the length of the zipper works like paraffin. It's also great for a quick shoeshine and will protect the leather from moisture just as it does your lips.
Lancaster, PA USA Fri 07/27/2007
No Splenda in Europe
I usually pack Splenda packets when I travel in the US, but I was extremely grateful that I packed about 40 of them on my 3 week Europe trip. The only artificial sweetener available was saccharin based.
Arnold, MO USA Thu 07/26/2007
I pack my earrings and other very small items in round, plastic containers which fly fishermen (people) use to store fishing flies and lures. I have several of these that are only about 15cm across and about 2 cm across. Each circular shaped container has about 12 individual compartments and each one has its own separate lift up lid.
Guelph, Ont Canada Mon 07/23/2007
Contact lens solution
Bring extra contact lens solution. My bottle leaked. I could not find solution for hard contacts in Florence. And selection for soft contacts was very limited.
Yorba Linda, CA USA Sat 07/21/2007
My new favorite
My new favorite "extra" is Preparation H wipes. I pull a few out of the larger pack and put them in a ziploc bag. While they come in handy for their intended purpose the aloe and witch hazel in them also soothes dirty, swollen feet and freshens a jet-lagged face.
CA USA Fri 07/20/2007
Febreze is my best new travel find
When in England and not able to access laundromats as much as I'd like, I discovered Febreze to both freshen clothing overnight and remove some wrinkles. Once home, I found an inexpensive. 2 oz spray bottle at WalMart and now have included Febreze that way in my one quart TSA approved for carrying on board bag
Acworth, GA USA Thu 07/19/2007
Free 3 oz bottles
I get my 3 oz bottle for free by asking my pharmacist for 3 oz sized new prescription lotion bottles. You can easily fit 5 of them in a quart-sized zip lock bag since they are "squarer" in shape. Then, if you use the contents completely, just throw them away and get new ones the next trip. If I go to Europe, I like to take concentrated detergent and fabric softener for hand washing my clothes when I've the chance.
Acworth, GA USA Thu 07/19/2007
When in London, drop by your local pharmacy (Boots is a common one) and buy some boxes of tylenol/aspirin. They were pretty cheap (amazing since everything else in London is so pricey), and come in handy blister packs that you can slip into your daybag. The cobblestone streets wreak havoc on your legs and feet! It may not seem luxurious, but it really does help and you get to have fun looking around a London pharmacy while you are there!
WA USA Thu 07/19/2007
Speaking of Fabric Softner Sheets
I pack in a zip lock bag a bunch of cheap fabric sheets. You know, like Bounce brand, but get the 99cents version because they have more perfume. I put a handful in a zip lock bag, and then as my clothes need freshing up, I can take 1 sheet and put in under the clothes (in the drawer or suitcase) or even in the pack cubes. The suitcase smells nice and there's no liquid to worry about.
In addition I pack 2-3 extra Zip Lock bags, ranging from the quart to 2 gallon. The 2 gallon can be used to hold soiled clothes and the quart to hold left over foods to snack later.
USA Wed 07/18/2007
Just returned from three weeks in Greece. Our favorite creative extras were a sturdy mailing tube (bought a couple ink drawings along the way and had it filled with loose items like socks and undies on the way over), jumbo ziploc bags (filled with cans of olive oil and dirty clothes on the return home), individual sanitary wipes, and a stash of Splenda because artificial sweeteners are a rare if not non-existent commodity there.
danville, ca USA Mon 07/16/2007
Coffee Mug, Lined Paper, Pillow case
I take my coffee mug. It is fairly heavy with a cat on it. Nothing special bought it at the Good Will a few years ago. When I am spending long time in France sometimes I just want to wrap my hands around a solid coffee mug. They don't sell those in France. The closest they come are fragile little tea mugs.
The funny thing is now that life keeps me on this side of the Atlantic, I drink my coffee out of a french "bol" just to connect me in a small way.
I also take spiral notebooks (lined paper is not sold in France).
I have started to also take a allergy free pillow case (my sinuses don't like dust mites)
Olympia, WA USA Sun 07/15/2007
Bring a Night Light
I like to bring a night light. For safety, not scary monsters! Sunbeam makes a tiny flat photocell LED night light that is no larger than the size of one plug in recepticle. You can get them for a buck at the $ store. They are cheap enough that if you forget it, it's no big deal. It's better IMO than leaving the light on all night and having to block the crack at the bottom of the door. I pick one up ATP (Across-the-Pond) with the correct plug so I don't need an adapter.
YYZ Toronto, ON Canada Sun 07/15/2007
For those of you who wish to use all natural items (myself included! ;), here are some of my faves:
1) organic hand sanitizer (scroll down toward the bottom) - http://yhst-74174172543537.stores.yahoo.net/nourish.html
2) Badger sunscreen - http://www.badgerbalm.com/pc-372-6-spf-30-for-face-body.aspx
3) Essential oil perfume (in solid & oil form) - http://www.countryrosesoap.com/cgi-bin/mivavm?Merchant2/merchant.mvc+Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=crsoap&Category_Code=oilperf
4) Tea tree (or Rose) Cleansing Pads - http://greenridgeherbals.com/index.php?i=cleansers
5) Castile Soap (for laundry, hair, spot removal, dishes & body wash!) - http://www.countryrosesoap.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=crsoap&Product_Code=LCS1&Category_Code=lcs
Uncle Harry's Tooth Powder (& other oral care prods) - completely nontoxic!!
E-mail me if you'd like more suggestions! I'm very sensitive to chemicals, so I've searched far & wide for every imaginable natural product!!
Yardley, PA USA Fri 07/13/2007
TP, hand sanitizer, and sunscreen
I took a small package a kleenex to use as toilet paper when it wasn't available in public bathrooms. Also I was glad to have my tiny bottle of hand sanitizer. And, even on the riviera sunscreen was difficult to find and expensive.
Chandler, AZ USA Wed 07/11/2007
When I want perfume for a few nights I take the small perfume lotion that you can get just about anywhere. Avon is great as well. Just ask your friendly Avon rep for a few freebee perfume packs. They are small and square. You can test them out before you go to make sure they go with your body chemistry. Also CVS/Walgreens type stores sell the mini travel spray for perfume that women can keep in there purse. They are usually no bigger then a tube of lipstick and you can refill it over and over and even bring some cologne for your husband.
Newport Beach, Ca USA Tue 07/10/2007
no more liquids!
eco-dent tooth powder is the kind I bought. Wholefoods had several brands to choose from. I also found stick sunscreen.
Houston, TX USA Sat 07/07/2007
perfume without the bottle
When packing for Spain last year, I wanted to bring perfume for the few special nights out, but didn't want to bring the bottle. I took a few cotton balls, sprayed them heavily with my favorite perfume, then sealed the cotton balls in an empty film canister. To my surprise it worked very well.
Lincoln University, PA USA Thu 07/05/2007
You can get perfume samples in foil packs to take on trips. Try your Avon lady or perfume counter at Nordstroms/Macys for some. :)
Seattle, Wash. USA Thu 07/05/2007
Even smaller than binoculars, a monocular. Mine is from Eagle Optics, which may be a local company. All I see on it for a label or brand name is "Insight." I have used it for stained glass and gargoyles, and it is quite satisfactory.
Stoughton, WI USA Wed 07/04/2007
Wipes and liquids - carry on
I always keep the following in my travel bag:
1. A "refill" package of Scrubbing Bubbles disinfectant wipes - to wipe down the bathrooms, phones, and TV remotes in hotel rooms.
2. A travel pack of flushable moist toilet wipes - just in case the public toilets are out of paper.
On my recent trip to Europe, I also took Shout wipes, nail polish remover wipes, and make-up remover wipes. I put them in my carry on, and I didn't have anyone question them.
For the liquids, I went to the local beauty supply store and purchased clear 3oz. bottles. I used them for my shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel. I put these in a quart-size zip-lock bag along with my hair spray, Tide stain stick, and packets of Woolite.
I didn't have any problems getting through any of the airport security checkpoints.
Boca Raton, FL USA Wed 07/04/2007
I always take a small set of light weight binoculars with me for viewing gargoyles on tops of cathedrals, the details of stained glass windows, etc. Being able to see the detail in art and architecture makes it worth the additional weight. I would welcome comments on types or brands of light weight binoculars.
West Linn, OR USA Tue 07/03/2007
last summer Darth Vader and I traveled through Europe. My nephew stuck his one of his action figures in my daypack and as it turned out made for some pretty funny pictures. Now everytime I travel Darth Vader travels with me. May The Force Be With You As Well!
Atlanta, ga USA Sun 07/01/2007
I always carry a few empty plastic film containers. They're great for small souvenirs (seashells from Montenegro, ticket stubs rolled up, etc). They also work great for earrings and other small jewelry, one day's worth of soap or lotion, a tiny personal pharmacy, small sewing kit, or a collection of the best coins to take home (set them aside on day one and spend the rest before you leave). Perfect for anything small, and won't attract attention.
Houston, TX USA Sat 06/23/2007
sample sizes of cosmetics
I dont wear much makeup when I travel, but I do like to take some cosmetics with me. If you use a specific brand of cosmetics from a department store, like Macy's or even Sephora, go to counter and ask for samples of what you use. Most will give samples if you regularly purchase from them. I did that at the Dior counter at Macy's and got samples of foundation, lipstick, moituriser and face wash, body wash, and eyeshadow.
boston, ma USA Wed 06/20/2007
Jeane, we have done that. We also save the little bag of goodies they give you with purchases...perfect for traveling.
USA Wed 06/20/2007
Take along a few dryer sheets. They freshen the air in your hotel room! I find many rooms will have a musty smell - I stuff a dryer sheet in the air vent (if I can reach it) and all the new air is wonderfully fresh!
Littleton, CO USA Wed 06/20/2007
High snack prices in Europe
Most of europe snack prices are double US normal prices and 5 times Costco !! I travel light but still pack couple big bags of Costco Trail Mix. When you see the 1L (pound )small bag of "crisps " you will remember this tip.
USA Wed 06/20/2007
Shout stain wipes and other wipes
I have carried the Shout wipes for several years now and we go 2x a year. TSA has never questioned them. I just put them in my ziploc bag to be sure there is no problem. I aslo carry hand wipes and glasses wipes too.
Charlotte, NC USA Tue 06/19/2007
Tide Stain stick and TSA
Please note that TSA has seized the Tide sticks in the past, due to the cleaning compound in them. It seems to depend on your individual inspector, but I'd check the TSA website before packing.
Portland, OR USA Mon 06/18/2007
"Shout" brand comes in little sealed packets. The tissue paper is moistened with the stain remover. I will be curious to see whether they actually are allowed in my carry-on bag- to be proactive I am putting them in the ziplock baggie. But the products work the same. I like to keep one or two in my day bag for when I inevitably spill gelato or espresso on myself!!!
USA Mon 06/18/2007
After a very smelly bus ride from Spain to France a very close friend of mine gave me fantastic advice. She traveled all through South America with a scent stick. I have no idea where she bought it in the states, but it was a chap-stick sized tube that when you opened the cap was peppermint scented. It was meant to ease nausia, but she said she used it when stuck on smelly buses. I now travel (by bus not by plane) with a small bottle of lavender oil just for this purpose. I plan on getting myself one of those peppermint stick things when I'm back in the U.S. this fall.
Madrid, Spain Sun 06/17/2007
tea tree a treat for feet
Try tea tree powder inside the shoes--even more refreshing than baby powder and tea tree is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral. Lush sells it and probably other organic-type shops.
Palo Alto, ca USA Thu 06/14/2007
Another Powder Fan
Sprinkle powder in your sheets if you don't have AC. It will keep you cool and dry all night!
Littleton, CO USA Thu 06/14/2007
Great Stain Remover
Don't forget to bring a 'Tide Pen' stain remover. Takes up no more room than a ball point pen and is invaluable at removing stains (especially red wine :-)
Seattle, WA USA Thu 06/14/2007
A little extra something
The absolute BEST thing to pack if you are traveling in a hot climate(especially the tropics) is a small container of baby powder. It absorbs moisture and has a pleasant but not cloying or over powering scent. It also cuts down on chaffing and can be your best friend between washings or showers.
Redmond, Wa USA Wed 06/13/2007
Another Powder Idea
I think powder will work great in my walking shoes, too. Fresh feet after walking all day on tours!
Oregon USA Wed 06/13/2007
While traveling in the heat of summer last year with our kids we took along the individual packages of crystal light and koolaid that you just add to a water bottle. These really helped when our water bottles became luke warm. It is much better to drink flavored warm water than non flavored. This helped keep everyone hydrated.
Woodinville, WA USA Fri 06/08/2007
We always take a top, twin size sheet. It folds up quite small. We've used it for a picnic blanket, a beach blanket, a sarong after shower and towel for swimming.
Littleton, CO USA Thu 06/07/2007
Toilet Paper Saves the Day
To make sure that I pack light (and because I REALLY don't like European toilet paper!), I always include at least one roll of toilet paper per person, per week in my travel bag. I simply stuff the cardboard core with small bubble wrap and/or delicate items and then the core and bubble wrap (along with rubberbands) can be used to protect the bottles of wine that I bring back. Plus, if I don't use all the toilet paper, I don't feel bad about leaving it behind (pardon the pun!).
Gurnee, IL USA Thu 06/07/2007
TP for Travel
I take out the tp roll, fold half the tp and put it in a sandwhich ziploc. It fits nicely in the front zip pocket of my day bag for handy use.
Rhode Island, USA Thu 06/07/2007
Zip Lock & non-prescription meds
Pack ziplock bags for damp wash cloths, clothing, socs, underwear, souvenirs, snacks & small items. You will no doubt find them very useful on your journey. And best of all they take up virtually no space. I also advise foreign travelers to pack non-prescription meds. Aspirin, allergy meds, upset stomache meds, sleep meds...I have seen people struggle with finding familiar products abroad. It can certainly make your travel more enjoyable.
Louisville, KY USA Tue 06/05/2007
CPAP Machines and Medications
I've traveled (a lot) with a CPAP machine for the last 5 years, plus refrigerated (on frozen gel-packs in a small travel cooler) medication. Packing light is not an option for me anymore. :(
Rule #1: NEVER check items that are essential to your well-being. I've had lost luggage (e.g., Miami to Prague) flight delays, etc. I view my CPAP and medication as slightly less important than the air I breathe. Sleep deprivation isn't the issue: if you have obstructive sleep apnea you risk cardiovascular incidents - ESPECIALLY when stressed by long flights in cramped seats. Don't take the chance: you're suppose to have fun on a vacation, not risk your life.
Rule #2: Get a note from your physician on stationary and make copies. Put them in zip-lock bags in the same bag as your CPAP or medications. My physician's signed letter says, "Please let Dr. Greenwald travel with whatever medical devices and medicine he wants" and that works (sometimes I have to get a supervisor). Tell your physician to keep the letter as generic as possible; some screeners don't read English.
Rule #3: Never let them even open your bag unless you are present. I've had screeners open my medical equipment bags and upend them!
Rule #4: Security in the U.S. is the worst. The TSA is an absolute joke (I'm a security specialist; believe me or not - I don't wish to discuss it) and staffed by undertrained incompetents, so you sometimes have to go the extra mile to help them along. ALWAYS expect to be searched, so add that into your schedule.
Rule #5: I always tell the screeners that I have a CPAP machine and medication. Most TSA X-ray operators know what a CPAP machine is. In Europe, I've found the phrase "medical assistive device" to be helpful, but I've never had much of a problem in Europe compared to the TSA.
Rule #6: I ALWAYS ask the screeners to put on a fresh pair of gloves when they search my bags. I have no idea what germs they have from going through the previous person's underwear. They usually are happy to comply. Make sure you see them change the gloves - they sometimes lie (or don't understand).
Rule #7: Whenever I have any problems I always ask for a supervisor. There's no point arguing with the lower level screeners who are poorly trained and have no discretion.
Rule #8: Take your time! Our natural inclination at a checkpoint is to hurry, so this is hard advice for most to take. Rushing with medical devices and medicine is NOT a good idea! Remember: you didn't invent the screening system they use, and you are not responsible for holding up the line if you need the time. Don't waste time, but don't feel like you have to go faster than your comfort level. Don't get stressed out and hurry and make a mistake that could cost you your health.
Of course, always be polite, never deliberately cause a problem, never lose your temper no matter how outrageous their actions, never lie to them, etc. Common sense stuff, but I've seen otherwise normal people do strange things while stressed out by travel.
Steven J. Greenwald
North Miami, FL USA Tue 06/05/2007
momentos for new friends
Make a few mixed cds of your favorite music from back home- obscure local bands, or even just your favorites, to give as tokens of appreciation to new friends and people who are exceptionally kind during your travels
Toronto, Ontari Canada Tue 06/05/2007
Try minimus.biz for travel sizes. They have 3oz bottles, small packets of detergent, and tons of small toiletries, and much more. They do not have everything, but prices are good, and they have some things I cant find at department stores. You can also order a few packets of something instead of a whole box. I got individually wrapped packets of hand sanitizer and water flavoring for .9 each.
Evanston, IL USA Mon 06/04/2007
You can kill two birds with one stone if you pack one of those round, flat stoppers which are actually intended to be used an an aid in opening the screw-tops of jars and bottles: open your mineral water, then do your hand laundry using the same doohickey.
San Francisco, CA USA Mon 06/04/2007
Liquid bandage is a great thing. Works great on small cuts and scrapes (has an anticeptic) and is also good for mending those nylons that get a hole.
Williams, Az USA Sat 06/02/2007
packsafe for TMB in earlier post
for TMB re pacsafe I don't know about the mens wallets but I have several versions of their bags and purses including a travel safe. I like all of them. I do believe they make mens wallets. www.pacsafe.com
williams, az USA Sat 06/02/2007
I bought a Pac Safe money belt for my first trip to Europe back in 2003. The main selling points for me were 1) the "cut-proof" waistband (it had a small metal cable in it) and 2) the waistband's clasp, which seemed sturdier than other brands.
I've used it for a couple of trips, and it has begun tearing out in the pocket area. The small plastic waterproof pouch got pretty scrunched up over time. Also, the metal band may cause an airport metal detector to go off, thus forcing you to remove it for inspection.
Since mine is wearing out, I recently bought the Pac Safe neck pouch to use on my upcoming Euro trip in July. I figured I'd give it a try, since I'm kind of tired of reaching in my pants to take out money, cards, and ID...
Ridgefield, WA USA Sat 06/02/2007
Travel Toilet Tissue
More in toilet tissue: Several weeks prior to leaving for Europe my wife and I save last the quarter inch of the toilet paper on the roll. If you fold the remaining roll and then remove the cardboard tube, you can easily place the toilet tissue in a snack sized baggie. We have used this cheap and easy method for years with great results. My wife even keeps one in her bag when we are traveling in the US.
Hartford, CT USA Fri 06/01/2007
Stuff for Scrapbook
On our first trip to Europe, I took 4-5 large freezer zip-top bags. Along the way, I labeled each bag with the city or attraction, then put ticket stubs, postcards, business cards, any flat paper goodies, etc. in the appropriate bags as we went along. When we got home and I was putting the scrapbook together, I had all the stuff I'd saved, and I didn't have to try and remember which came from where.
USA Fri 06/01/2007
Travel Size Face Essentials
Maybelline makes samlpe size cosmetics for those who don't want to worry about leaving their face essentials behind when they travel.
Cali, USA Wed 05/30/2007
I pack a few sheets of Shout ColorCatchers so that I can wash light and dark clothes together in a washing machine and not worry about the colors fading on the whites -- plus I don't have to worry about what the water temperature really is. And I don't have to do multiple small loads.
Auburn, WA USA Wed 05/30/2007
partially full bottles
Laura Great idea but don't forget that unless those bottles and tubes are sized 3 oz or less they need to be checked. The screeners don't care if they're partialy full.
York, PA USA Tue 05/29/2007
An Alternative to Cosmetic Samples
I am going to Europe in the fall and I am saving my almost finished cosmetics to bring with me on the trip. This way I have all of my favorite brands with me and I will just throw the empty containers away when I need more room in my back back.
TX USA Mon 05/28/2007
The one carry-on rule for the UK (and Paris) only applies if you are flying out of one of those airports. We are flying out of the US and into the UK and then our return trip will be out of Frankfurt. So we may take one carry-on and a personal item.
USA Wed 05/23/2007
Just remember, Michelle and others, that when you use a Internet Cafe or any other public computer you have NO assurance of security of any type. All of your passwords, email, etc., could be open to someone else if the computer was set up to capture that info.
Centennial, CO USA Wed 05/23/2007
Carry on bags at UK airports
If you haven't been to the UK since last August, be aware that they are being very strict with carry on bags. You are allowed only one carry on bag and that is all, not a purse or laptop case and another bag, you can not even carry a pillow with you unless it fits in your bag. My husband and I had to leave our pillows behind this past April because they wouldn't fit in our bags. It was amazing at the number of bags under the tables that people were not allowed to carry through, including lots of laptop cases.
Atlanta, GA USA Tue 05/22/2007
EMAIL yourself your schedule + passport
EMAIL a copy of your itinery and a copy of your passport to yourself. If you cannot access your email from any internet cafe, set up a free one on yahoo or hotmail. That way if you misplace your paperwork or your passport gets lost or stolen, you have an electronic backup copy. Internet cafes are all over Europe and at most hotels.
Anaheim, CA USA Fri 05/18/2007
SKIP FEBREEZE! Use Fabric Sheets
Skip Febreeze!! I pack in a zip lock bag a bunch of cheap fabric sheets. You know, like Bounce brand, but get the 99cents version because they have more perfume. I put a handful in a zip lock bag, and then as my clothes need freshing up, I can take 1 sheet and put in under the clothes (in the drawer or suitcase) or even in the pack cubes. The suitcase smells nice and there's no liquid to worry about.
Anaheim, CA USA Fri 05/18/2007
I take little packages of kleen-x in my purse and suitcase. I don't always find tp in the powder room when I'm abroad. Works great when I can't find napkins for food on the go, too.
New Mexico, USA Thu 05/17/2007
THE tool for romantic picnics
Pack a "hobo tool" from WalMart or some sports store near you IN your checked luggage. Not as a carry-on,it Will be taken away from you at any US airport. But...this thing is wonderful. We just got back from our honeymoon in France and Italy, and we bought groceries and wine in almost every city, packed them in the small RS Civita backpack, and had a picnic lunch--romantic and fun! This tool has a knife, spoon, fork and corkscrew that all fold up together--we couldn't have pickinicked without it! :)
Houston, Texas USA Thu 05/17/2007
Travel Size Toilet Paper
Now you can get travel size toilet paper. Small rolls wraped in plastic. I can't remember the brand, but it is a known brand. I find this is a must to bring TP when traveling! It fits very well in a purse or day bag.
Austin, TX USA Thu 05/17/2007
Travel Size Toilet Tissue
You can simply prepare your own roll of toilet tissue. Campers/Hikers have done this for years. Simply attach the first piece with glue and carefully wind around a popscicle stick. Store it in a zip-top re-sealable bag. Buy a fairly good quality brand of tissue so that it is strong enough to wind up without perforating.
YYZ, Canada Thu 05/17/2007
facial and wash clothes
I buy the dry facial cleansing cloths by Ponds or Olay to take for washcloths..then discard after every use.
Linda M. McDade
Pensacola, fl USA Wed 05/16/2007
God Save the Sun Screen!
If you're traveling during winter season, bring your own sunscreen. In Bath this past winter, I went into a store looking for sunscreen. The sales girl looked at me like I had horns in my head! I tried to explain that harmful rays can filter even through winter clouds, but she and her co-workers weren't having any of it. Some apothecaries do carry a tiny selection of sunscreen off season, but they're much higher priced than during the hotter seasons. Definitely best to bring your own.
Pacifica, CA USA Tue 05/15/2007
Creative Extra caution
I liked the idea of taking my own corkscrew UNTIL the security guy in Chicago showed me the 1" blade in the bottom which I hadn't even noticed! Unacceptable to take on the plane so my $10 new corkscrew had to be left behind - now I will check for blades!
Encinitas, CA USA Sat 05/12/2007
Try consignment stores for sample and trial sizes of make-up and perfume. I find lots of Clinique, Estee Luader, and Lancome.
Keizer, OR USA Mon 05/07/2007
Best shoestores ever, if you have normal or wide feet. I try to visit them in every town. You can always ask at your hotel or at a restaurant, preferably a woman, not a man. Women always know the location because shoes are a universal language. The only drawback I have found is that most Deichmanns do not accept credit cards.
pacific grove, ca USA Thu 05/03/2007
Traveliing with College Kids
I'm an art professor and have started leading art tours for college and high school students. My best advice? The Money Belt!!! I absolutelty insist that all my students have one. We have a little orientation where I go over some safety and anti-theft tips and I have yet to have a student get anything stolen. Another tip: I scan everyone's passport and save this along with student contact info to a USB drive to carry with me. If anything does get stolen, we have all the documentation for the kids. I also laminate a sheet for everyone with all the hotel contact info, my cell phone number, and the current euro to dollars ratio.
Berrien Springs, MI USA Tue 05/01/2007
For Christine: German equivalent of Payless
Christine, I used to live in Munich and have been back a couple of times since. CLothes aren't as cheap there as in the US, so you may not see Payless-type prices (esp. with the weak dollar). But try Deichmann (I think they're in Munich's Olympiakaufzentrum mall and Kaufingerstrasse, in the pedestrian zone). Hope that helps! Happy shopping.
Mass. USA Tue 05/01/2007
Shopping on the cheap?
The German Equivalent of Payless! What is the name of this store? I love to buy things in Monoprix (Paris), but I have had difficulties finding equivalent low-price stores in other EuroCities. We will be in Munich and Vienna. Cheap shoe stores sound great, and I'm looking for Target/Payless shoes/Kmart/etc. European fashion is about 3+ years ahead of mainstream America, so it's a good buy...especially when it's cheap. (I am looking for stores in the main part of town because I'm going with a group and have to follow the leader.)
USA Mon 04/30/2007
No wonder I'm so tired
How's this for a creative packing extra: a pedometer. It may sound silly, but I always wondered how many miles I walked in Paris in one day, and now it's kind of fun to know. And it's tiny, so my carry-on-only-footloose travel is not in jeopardy.
Atlanta, GA USA Sun 04/29/2007
If you're into traveling with samples try thrift stores. Sometimes when hotels change name they pass on stock to thrift stores. Often I see bundles of descent brand samples from better hotels for sale there in bundles for dirt cheap.
Or, if you're a frequent flyer and don't use the samples you have provided to you...Consider collecting them up and bringing them home to donate to homeless shelters, orphanages, or whoever might need them. Flight Crews have been doing this for years. Considering how many crews and how often we travel...that's a lot of soap!
Toronto YYZ, Canada Sat 04/28/2007
Casey, I live in Texas too, and love the Container Store! Great items for travel there. Your suggestion about using samples for travel is great. I do that too. And like you said, no bottles to carry back. Not only you can get samples for hair products, but make up samples are great too. I wear very little make up, but sometimes when traveling I do go to places where I should dress up more. You can get make up samples through Avon, Mary Kay and just about anyplace. When I get samples in the mail I save them for travel. And it's fun to try samples!
Austin, TX USA Fri 04/27/2007
Sample packs of Shampoo/Conditioner
I am leaving in about two weeks to Europe for the first time for about 12 days, and my friend gave me those pouches of shampoo and condition that you tear open, like a sample you might get in the mail, to take along. That way I can just throw the foiled packs away after I use them, and have a little more space for souvenirs on the way back. You might try Sally's Beauty supply or ask your hair salon person for samples...I also purchased Rick's moneybelt and love it!! The Container Store has alot of good things for traveling, Wrinkle Free spray for clothes, folded-tote like Rick's that you can clip on your day bag, which zips up so when the tote bag is being used, the smaller zipper bag the tote comes in can be used to store something!
By the way, you guys are all great! I have learned alot of usefull tips for my trip, hope to bring more when I return from my trip!
Houston, TX USA Thu 04/26/2007
Bag slip there is also a rubberized snap on strap they come in different widths to accomodate the strap size - they hold the bag very well - I bought a combo pack of 4 sizes use them all the time found in travel section atWalmart - Target etc.
USA Wed 04/25/2007
Bag Slipping Off Shoulder Problem - Solved
In February 2007 Steve from Virginia mentioned a bag strap slipping off his shoulder. Steve, I suggest you sew a large button on your jacket shoulder to provide a "stop" for that strap. Keep on Traveling . . .
Houston, TX USA Tue 04/24/2007
My Faves are: Fold up bag Liquid Bandaid Super Glue Paracord Ziplocs & Zip ties
USA Tue 04/24/2007
Bubble Wrap for Travel
I have seen bubble wrap bags at the packing store. You put your item in the bag and it seals shut with built on adhesive. Great for travelers!
Denver, Co. USA Wed 04/18/2007
My wife and I are going on a Rick Steves tour of Village Italy this year. I have to take my CPAP machine with me. I plan to use bubble wrap to protect it in my carry on bag. I also use bubble wrap to protect my camera so I don't have to carry a camera bag.
Murfreesboro, TN USA Tue 04/17/2007
My daughter and I traveled for 8 weeks in Western Europe and Czech Republic. Each of us had the Rick Steves' 21-inch Roll-Aboard and each a small 2 compartment day back pack.
The problem I see with a larger suit case....more difficult geting on and off trains...heavier...the larger the bag the more one wants to stuff into it.
Even for checked luggage I would stay with the 21-inch.
We mailed packages home in order not to carry purchases around with us.
Good luck and enjoy.
Antioch, CA USA Sun 04/15/2007
Rick's luggage vs. other brands
I ordered by mail Rick's carryon with weels. I am considering sending it back, and that's why. I know for sure that all my stuff won't fit in it if it is unexpanded. In fact, I might have a second bag with me because I meet up with my mother in Europe and plan to bring a few things for her, and also I plan on shopping for clothes in Paris. And in this case I would have to check it in. And if I do that anyway, I might as well get a bigger size roller suitcase so that I won't have to have two pieces to check in instead of one. Can someone recommend another brand of weeled suitcase that is larger than Rick's and good quality?
Concord, CA USA Sat 04/14/2007
Taking too much
If you can't fit all your stuff in Rick's bag, you are taking too much stuff. I'd reassess what I am taking and keep the suitcase. You can do without much more than you think.
Charlotte, NC USA Sat 04/14/2007
When in Rome-bring a compass
A compass is a must when trying to navigate Rome's tiny crooked streets. We spent a great deal of time backtracking and trying to find our routes on a map. While we found some wonderful places for gelato while lost, a compass would have reduced alot of frustration.
USA Fri 04/13/2007
Has anyone had any good results with the Pac-Safe wallets. They have a chain (like a truck driver wallet!?) to clip onto a belt loop. Wondered if anyone else uses these - or if the chain is more noticable than just hiding a regular wallet deep inside a secure-travel-plants pocket? (Id of course use an RS money belt too!) thanks!
CA USA Wed 04/11/2007
Love Rick's bags...
The one we have used the most is the large non-rolling bag that can be carried as a "suitcase" with a side handle or worn as a backpack. Honestly, we almost always wear them as a back pack, so I'm not sure how valuable the "convertible" function is. But the bag is well made, well designed, doesn't have lots of annoying sections that limit flexibility, and if not unzipped for extra room is definitely carry-on friendly. I've taken six month-long trips with it as my only bag, and it works just fine.
USA Mon 04/02/2007
The rick steves convertible carry on
Has anyone here used the rick steves carry on bag?I have his moneybelt and civita day bag and and they are great products I would like feedback on his cary on bag
new york, ny USA Sun 04/01/2007
My husband and I have used our Rick Steve's convertable bags for 20 years (more than 40 trips!). They are wonderful and still look new. Light weight, strong, and comfortable. I wouldn't use any other bag.
Charlotte, NC USA Sun 04/01/2007
medical machines & packing
My husband and I both have C-PAP machines. Our Dr.wrote us a prescription for our having them. Airline allows you to keep them with you as well as 1 carry on piece of luggage/person. Our machines automatically changed electricity type, but take a plug in adapter. One of the airport inspectors almost destroyed 1 of our machines while taking it out of the bag to inspect for contraband or whatever, as our units are not fastened to the base. Luckily we were able to grab it before it crashed onto the counter. Do not let them handle unless you are right there. The Rick Steve's carry-on bags are great. Have a wheeled unit as well as a backpack version. Our son travels internationally frequently and he only carries what will fit in his American Tourister version of the Steves backpack carry on. He has had it since 2000 and it has traveled many miles. Friends have even borrowed it for air travel and loved it. The Steves packing cubes are good for keeping things organized.
Crawfordsville, IN USA Sat 03/31/2007
another idea if you can not find the small frebreeze is to buy a small travel sized spray bottle and fill it up with freebreeze. this is what we do
USA Tue 03/27/2007
Travelling with CPAP
ALWAYS carry your medications and medical devices on board the aircraft with you! This is the number one rule of travelling smart! Not to mention common sense! CPAP machines cost at least $1000 CAD for a cheap one and most health insurance will only cover this cost once per number of years. In short, it goes missing and you are in BIG trouble! Lost baggage claim allowances are a very minimal amount and you will simply come out on the losing end of the stick! Or even if it doesn't go missing, how about a nice 48 hour delay? That's one or two nights without a proper recouperative sleep. Jet lag and sleep deprivation? Not the best way to start a holiday!
ON Canada Tue 03/27/2007
Traveling with CPAP
I've traveled with my CPAP machine without issue. I did attach a note from my doctor explaining what it was and I did bring it as part of my carryon. My only horror story of sorts is that that while in Belize, there were frequent power outages - usually occurring at night, so I still had many sleepless nights even though I was well equipped.
San Jose, CA USA Tue 03/27/2007
I guess I am one of the lucky people who have never had a problem with checked baggage, but I always place my CPAP and equipment in my checked baggage. I put the cord, hose, mask, etc. in a large ziploc bag so everything is visible to inspectors. Very important--don't forget the power cord!! Last trip to Germany, I realized the cord was back home. Luckily the cord for my razor worked. Oh, don't forget a plug adapter.
USA Sun 03/25/2007
As a Flight Attendant who also uses CPAP I would suggest the following: Bring a note from your Dr verifying that you require the CPAP machine for medical reasons. With that in your hands you should not encounter any problems. Personally, as a Flight Attendant with Sleep Apnea, here in Canada, Transport Canada requires me to lug my CPAP with me on overnights. And, if demanded, provide readings from it to prove that I use it regularily. (Pretty tough to evacuate a 747 in under 90 seconds if you are sleep deprived!LOL) Also, bring your CPAP onboard just as you would your medications. It's pretty expensive to replace and a nuisance to be without!
ON Canada Sat 03/24/2007
Due to recently diagnosed sleep apnea, I now have to travel with a CPAP machine. Does anyone have an tales to tell of travelling with one? I have heard horror stories of people who have attempted carrying them vs checking them, only to be detained for hours and have airport security take apart the machines, and then having to replace broken machines. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
editors note: All questions must be posted to Travelers Helpline
USA Sat 03/24/2007
Wrinkles No More
Most hotels will supply an iron. Ask at the front desk. The wrinkle spray sounds like a travelers dream come true!
Colorado, USA Sat 03/24/2007
I went to the store to find the wrinkle release stuff, and found it next to the febreeze just as was mentioned in the last post. They did have a small "travel" size but it was 4 oz. Is it available in a smaller size? and if so, where?
USA Fri 03/23/2007
I don't like to pack cheap clothes when I travel in Italy; everyone dresses up there and then I end up feeling like a frumpy american. So I pack a few nice outfits--which can mean wrinkles. But this last trip I bought a wrinkle releaser that you spray on your clothes and then smooth out with your hands. It really works. You can find it in the same section as febreeze.
Chicago, IL USA Sun 03/18/2007
I use smaller travel sizes
What I do for fitting all of my items in a quart bag, is I get the 1 or 2 oz bottles of the items I like. I can fit that way, 2 bottles of my shampoo and 2 tubes of toothpaste, a small spray bottle I emptied and put my hair spray/gel in. Most places I am happy to buy products there, but there are always a few things I prefer from home. If I use smaller, I can stuff the bag more - I use a ziplock bag - and don't have to worry about the requirements!
chapel hill, nc USA Fri 03/16/2007
To Emma, visiting cousin
Emma, both of my international trips have come about because I was visiting a cousin! Is this cousin in the military? If so, then have you considered mailing some of your stuff to him/her before your trip? (First ask if your products are available on base, and if they are, send some money so those products can be purchased before you arrive!) There is a flat rate box available at the post office, if your products aren't available on base. (Actually, it is a great box to send treats to friends or family in the military - esp. if the person is in a war zone. It doesn't matter how heavy it gets, it stays the same price!)
I didn't use the flat rate, but when I visited my cousin in Japan, I ended up shipping all my dirty laundry home so that I could carry on the tea set and plate I bought for family home on the plane.
Actually, now that I think about it - my parents and I shipped all the glass stuff we bought in Venice home. It was a little expensive, but totally worth it in that we didn't have to worry about it in our bags the rest of our trip. Our enjoyment of the trip was worth the extra cost.
DuPont, WA USA Wed 03/14/2007
Packing light for 3-week trip to Germany in summer
Emma: Look over the tips in the "Packing Light" section. You need to decide what you're most comfortable in. Since you're staying with a cousin, it should also be easier to shop at the supermarket and malls. Does you cousin have (or have access to) a washer & dryer? That would be extremely helpful!
Summer clothes are light no matter if they are dressier or more casual. Try taking 3 "bottoms" (pants, capris, skirts, shorts, etc - whatever you typically wear) and 3 "tops" to mix and match. Also take sandals & flip-flops, plus some comfortable walking shoes, maybe a very light cover-up like a big-shirt or a light shawl for going out. Three sets of undies is really all you need, plus some lightweight sleeping gear. I'd also take a comfortable lounging outfit, for just hanging around the house or apartment. If you want, you can buy some of this clothing in Germany - they have great stores - and that lightens the load! [I take a long sarong-style skirt, black or dark capris, light color long lightweight pants, plus 2 cap-sleeve t-shirt tops, short-sleeve pretty shirt, tank top and big shirt, & one-piece dark swimsuit that I can wear with the big shirt and the capris or pants, as a different casual outfit, if needed. Also big sleep-shirt & loose shorts for sleeping]
Wear one outfit and pack the other two - fold what you can and roll the rest. I use a lightweight rolling backpack as my carry-on and a very lightweight messenger-style bag as my personal item (with a small purse inside, plus snacks, empty water bottle to refill past security, book, etc)), but you can also use a non backpack type roller and some other "personal" item.
One thing I always carry is a very lightweight tote bag with shoulder straps and a zipper top, so I can check the carry-on if needed, and use the tote bag as my carry-on on the way back.
Good luck and have a great time!
USA Tue 03/13/2007
I'm going to germany this summer for 3 weeks to stay with a cousin, so she'll have many of the cosmetics well need but we have 2 layovers one in chicago and one in milian ($500 tickets thats what you get) and im so wprried about our luggage getting lost and all the rules about what we can bring on and what we cant. I want to carry all of my lugguge on- i need tips!
pgh, pa USA Mon 03/12/2007
I've been reading people's posts about the new liquid rules, wondering what I'll do when I travel this summer. I hate to check my bag b/c it's been lost before, and I can't risk losing important toiletry items. On the other hand, if an over-zealous security officer confiscates anything from my carry-on I'm up a creek.
I'd love to be able to pop into the nearest chemist to buy what I need. Lots of people have allergies & chronic illnesses, folks. We aren't picky for fun; sometimes it's a real health issue. So these new regs really do create a problem.
I think I'll borrow Erica's idea to print the website regulations out to show the agents! Good suggestion!
puyallup, WA USA Mon 03/12/2007
Lins - hope you have a great and lucky time in Vegas.. but be forewarned, the security there seems to be the grumpiest on the planet! Give yourselves time to get through the security. The security guy was quite rude to my mom - we had free upgrades to first class, and over the loudspeakers they were asking people to take off their shoes. When she got up to security (where they were testing out a new machine), the guy yelled at her that no one told her to take off her shoes.
I think if I were going back home from Vegas - I'd check my bags just to avoid the liquid issue, or since I would be going home, dump what I have left. In general, I KNOW that there are stores, etc. that carry the brands I need, but my time is valuable too. Plus, if they don't carry my particular brand of shampoo, hand cream, etc. I am totally up a creek - I have sensitive skin, and a change of anything can sometimes be painful! I suspect that my next trip to Europe will mean a checked bag just because of the liquid issue.
DuPont, WA USA Sun 03/11/2007
a roll of that plastic wrap, to wrap your liquid shampoos, etc.
USA Sat 03/10/2007
I put a small heavy plastic baggie in my money belt, cuttin it down to size. being as i carry my important stuff on me at all time.
USA Sat 03/10/2007
Ok friends, what's the big deal about bring all these bottles with you to Europe, They have everything there all the brand names, I know, because my sister loves to shop & when we were in Europe 2 years ago. We shopped in 8 cities while we were there.
USA Sat 03/10/2007
Id agree that a little frebreeze works well - but rather than take that big bottle - but some in an empty-travel size hair spritz-thing (reuse or empty and clean out a new one).
USA Sat 03/10/2007
I enjoy making small watercolor sketches as I travel. I bought a folding plastic portable WC palette that holds 12 half pans of WC. ( I also make my own half pans with tube paints, letting them dry completely) This kit comes with tiny brushes, but I shortened handles of a couple of favorites sizes bought at a craft store. At REI I bought a plastic, leak-proof 2 x 2 in. diameter jar, holds about 1/2 cup water, unscrew the lid and go to work. A small piece ( 8 x 10) of absorbent cloth for a rag. I cut my favorite sheets of WC paper (heavy is best) into 5 x 7 inch pieces, plus a piece of stiff cardboard (matboard) for a support while painting. large rubber band holds the paper onto the board. All this fits into a nylon pouch from an office supply store, the type with 3-holes (original use is holding pencils in a notebook) and a zipper. This kit can go into my day purse. ( For a lot of money you can buy a travel kit with built-in water container.) In a pinch, I have purchased a childs WC pan set in other countries, that with a ball point pen and a sketch book is workable too! Happy painting!
Tucson, AZ USA Fri 03/09/2007
Fresh clothing tips
I like to pack a squirt bottle of Fabrize fabric freshener. It saves on a lot of washing if your clothing isn't soiled. Just hang clothing in the closet, bathroom or wardrobe over night, spritz it with the Fabrize and repack in the morning. While a bottle of Fabrize may be a bit akward in shape, it packs well amoung your clothing, try storing in a zip lock bag so if there is an incident, it won't go every where in the suitcase!
Lostine, OR USA Fri 03/09/2007
I always bring a tiny flashlight with a key ring attached. I clip my hotel key to it and then when it's hard to see the keyhole, I have the flashlight handy.
It is also useful in hostel dorm rooms if you need to do anything after the lights have been turned out and others are sleeping.
Plus, you never know when the power may go out, or just a lightbulb may go out in the bathroom and the hotel slow to respond.
USA Thu 03/08/2007
Hi, i've been reading everyones comments about having bottles confiscated.i'll be travelling from the U.K to Vegas in a few months. Just wondered if these confiscated bottles were in carry on luggage or checked in luggage?
Also, if anyone is travelling to the U.K and are concerned about what toiletries you are able to get here have a look on www.boots.com this is probably the largest chain of chemists, you can get pretty much anything in the way of toiletries from here and they have branches in most towns.
And about laundrettes (laundermats ?!) they are quite few and far between as most people have washing machines at home but most large supermarkets will have dry cleaners inside, look for sainsburys, asda (walmart) and tesco.
Leicestershire, U.K Wed 03/07/2007
Shoulder Bag / Jeep & Eastport baby bags
I got a very nice rugged, medium-size black Jeep Traveller diaper bag in black (no way can anyone tell it's a diaper bag!) that is just right for carry-on stuff. It cost $15 at Wal-Mart.
I think Jeep might make a smaller one, but Eastport has a Baby Messenger bag that would be perfect for camera and equipment. Check it out - it's only $20:
USA Mon 03/05/2007
Pacsafe bags a little extra security piece of mind
I just purchased a pacsafe day bag for my trip to italy in Sept so I'm breaking it in and thought its a little wide it has great security features. Its got wire meshing on the bottom inside the material and the strap have extra security features like a clip to lock in onto a chair and to lock the zipper. Also has security tabs over the pockets on the inside of the bag and a place for a water bottle. A little pricy but worth the extra security.
Also when I travel I pack extra large zip lock baggies great for snagging food from hotel buffet for later. And extra zip ties.
Flagstaff, az USA Sat 03/03/2007
RE: Shoulder Bag
Bob - wow, Walmart diaper bag, who would have thought?! (and affordable too!) I'll have to go check out the possibilities over the weekend. Thanks for the suggestion.
Susan, that helped a lot. They're so cute and sporty - I may pick this one up what with the # of reviews I've read on it on ebags!
San Diego, CA USA Thu 03/01/2007
The best camera bag I ever had was a WalMart diaper bag! Waterproof, padded, cheap and who would steal it? I still carry my digital camcorder in it.
Seattle, USA Thu 03/01/2007
RE: Shoulder Bag
Hi Grace - check out the Donner Bag from Overland Equipment - it is roomy enough to hold your camera and lens, along with some film, and extras for the day, plus it is made for us short girls! You can find it online at their site, or retailers like REI. Hope this helps.
Roseville, CA USA Thu 03/01/2007
Does anyone know of a good bag that will fit a small SLR with one zoom lense? I have the Nikon D50. I was thinking about the Civita daypack. But then reading about using Civita daypack with some discomfort worries me since I will most likely be carrying it all day and I'm trying to aim for both comfort and security. I'm also fairly small framed (5'1", thin) so I really can't carry anything overly heavy.
San Diego, CA USA Wed 02/28/2007
I have a pair of Keen's; Bronx. I do enjoy wearing them when I am on a long walk or hike. However, they are chunky looking and look odd with capri's, shorts or skirts. I have a pair of Merrel's, which I love. They are so comfortable. I can wear them to work, where I stand most of the day, and my feet are not tired after eight hours. My advice is, if they feel good after working all day, then they are the right shoe to take on your trip.
USA Mon 02/26/2007
I have used the RS Civita bag and have found it uncomfortable for all day use. I have tried to carry it on one shoulder and although it works, it is still not the best solution. I recently purchased a baggallini messenger bagg. It can be worn either to the front or the back. It is not as big as the Civita, but it will hold everything I will need during a day out. It has lots of slots and zippered compartments to hold all my stuff. One added advantage of this bag is since most musuems make you carry your pack this bag can be worn to the front, therefore, I won't have to carry it. I can wear it and have both arms free.
USA Mon 02/26/2007
Back pack versus Healthy Back bags
Friend of mine tried the one strap healthy back bag and did not like it. I put my valuables in a neck pouch, and my journal, water, guide book, even my heavy old camera in a Civita. If a thief really wants any of that stuff...go for it, buddy. In really crowded places like a subway train, I take it off and carry it in front of me anyway.
Stoughton, WI USA Mon 02/26/2007
Ive been using one of the many great DayPack/backpack from Northface. They are water resistant (and proof in some cases)... are well designed for extra shoulder pad and padded on the back. I used it all over Germany last summer and now its my Laptop-bag for work! I will use it for my RS-Scandinavia trip in May. Its very rugged. While its not as small as the Civitas- its still small enough to be a personal carry on item and load up with heavyier electronics/books etc. The Civita is great in that its so compact for packing - but for all day comfort and fuller range of use - I like the Northface. Lots of styles and pocket configs to choose from in the book-bag size.
Newport Beach, CA USA Sat 02/24/2007
Civita day pack
An older model Civita pack has served well for several years as my main bag on short trips. It's very sturdy, light, and easy to pack. It would probably be an excellent day bag for anyone who wants to carry a bit more (jacket, guidebooks, snacks, etc.).
NC USA Fri 02/23/2007
Civita day pack
Thanks Steve, that's exactly the feedback I was looking for. I should look for a bag that is meant to be on one shoulder. I don't want to use a backpack for the security reason.
kamloops, B.C. Canada Fri 02/23/2007
Civita and money belts
My thoughts about the Civita day pack (I have one) and any backpack: Carrying it on your back is not very secure if you are going to be in crowded places. I tried wearing it with just one strap over a shoulder and it kept slipping down. I was CONSTANTLY hiking it back on to my shoulder - turned into a real pain in the you-know-what.
Money belts are the only way to go, in my opinion. The do get a little damp if worn against your skin, but the peace of mind is worth it.
Richmond, Virgin USA Fri 02/23/2007
Civita day pack
We are touring Italy, Greece and Turkey end of March. I am ordering the Civita day pack and the money belts from RS store. Wondering if anyone has used this day pack and if it is a good one to buy. Any comment is appreciated.
kamloops, B.C. cabada Thu 02/22/2007
definitely the best
the selection of toiletries, clothing, and shoes in europe is definitely more exciting than in the u.s. i buy most of my shoes in germany, at the german equivalent of payless ( i like to have lots of shoes and don't always look for highest quality, just for fashion and comfort), and they are a constant talking point wherever i go. today i am wearing a pair of sequined ballet flats that are comfortable, cheap, and german. so don't worry if you can't take certain things--unless you are going to a very isolated place, you can buy what you need and consider it a useful souvenir.
pacific grove, CA USA Wed 02/21/2007
Europe has the best
I agree with Paul n. Sara. Many of the wonderful products you buy in the high end stores are mostly made in France, etc. I failed to take a moisturizer last trip and bought one in a drug store and it's now my favorite. Can't get it here in U.S. so I plan on stocking up next trip.
CA USA Wed 02/21/2007
Please also remember that you can leave it all at home (TSA leaves it up to indiv airports to decide what should be allowed--that's why they are called "guidelines") and you can buy what you need in Europe.There are stores everywhere and as many products as in USA. After all, there are more Europeans than Americans and they have just as much money,if not more than we do.
Paul n Sara
USA Tue 02/20/2007
Please do remember that you can always empty the hotel bottles and pour in your own shampoo and conditioners. I also can't use the hotel shampoo. Salute, Lisa
Austin, TX USA Sun 02/18/2007
I would be EXTREMELY irritated if my 3 oz bottles were confiscated. I can't always do the hotel shampoos... they can be havoc on my hair and skin (including hives). I will be printing out the TSA guidelines next trip, to show a security person if they object. Otherwise, I might just have to check my bags - which I am reluctant to do.
DuPont, WA USA Sun 02/18/2007
It's always a good idea to call the airline before you fly. Packing policies change all the time. People who have special medications have more of a challenge. :)
Los Angeles, CA USA Thu 02/15/2007
Just today (1/13/07), I had my several 3 oz clear plastic bottles confiscated by TSA in Boston who claimed (incorrectly) that the posted rules say that the bottles must be marked with consumer packaging labels which indicate what is inside. I had previously used them 5-6 times in the last month.
Boston, MA USA Tue 02/13/2007
A great website for packing is www.onebag.com
The founder, an engineer, is a business and pleasure traveler who typically carries one carry-on bag everywhere.
He offers lists of clothing, documents, tools, electronics, etc. and lots more.
Anyone who travels light may be interested.
USA Sat 02/10/2007
Alternative 3oz containers
I have used "other" containers for my face wash, face lotion, and contact solution. Two were clear film canisters and one was a clear plastic eye dropper kind of bottle. On one trip they all were confiscated. TSA said the bottles had to be marked although the web site doesn't say that. I changed to marked bottles from hotels, etc. for my own liquids.
Allen, TX USA Fri 02/09/2007
An Extra Bag earns its keep
I totally agree. I have a tote bag with long shoulder straps and a zippered top so nothing falls out. It's from a museum in Helsinki and I fold it up in my carry-on any time we travel. It's a great "extra" to have and has saved the day when my old carryon ripped a zipper and we ended up having to throw it out. I just transferred everything to my tote and my large, very lightweight messenger bag from Holland that I carry as a "personal item" but holds a weekend's worth of stuff.
USA Sat 02/03/2007
An Extra Bag earns it's keep.
Purchase Rick's pocket tote (Yes, right on this site!). I found it indespensible. You can fold it up and clip it on your bag when you set out for the day and open it up whenever you need it. If you pick up souvenirs throughout the day, or decide to buy some groceries for an impromptu picnic; you are covered with the pocket tote. I used it for a beach bag, to carry shower supplies down to a shared bathroom, stash dirty laundry . . . the list goes on and on. On my return flight home I checked my backpack and used the tote for my carry-on. By the end of a five week trip in the hottest european summer on record, I really didn't care if the stuff in the backpack got lost, so I just loaded up the tote with all the souvenirs, precious film, my travel journal, and headed home worry free. I cannot say enough for the conveniences of this bag.
Toledo, oh USA Fri 01/26/2007
Paint brushes to carry on
Brushes are OK, but the paints should go in the 1-quart ziploc back with the other less-than-3-oz liquids, gels & sprays.
USA Thu 01/18/2007
Paint Brushes in Carry on
Hi Maggie, I haven't had any problems carrying brushes in my carryon. I've brought wooden handled and plastic ones. I also have carried on brushes with built in water reservoirs (minus the water) with no problems. I haven't traveled with the long handled acrylic brushes - I don't use the long length so I chop off the extra to save space. They allow plastic knitting needles so to my thinking brushes fall in the same category. But I'd first try with cheap brushes in case you hit a TSA agent who is in a bad mood. Hope this helps!
NY USA Wed 01/17/2007
Does anyone know if I can bring paint brushes in my carry on? I'd like to paint while I'm out travelling and I'm not sure about the wood or plastic handles being a problem. I looked on the travel regulation pages, but I only found 7 inch and under tools were OK (like a screwdriver...does a brush count there?) and non-flammable paints. Does anyone know for sure?
USA Wed 01/17/2007
I like to reuse the little 3 oz clear plastic flip-top bottles that hand sanitizer comes in. I get bottles complete with sanitizer inside two for a buck at dollar stores. They are sturdy, see-through and flip-top so no messing with lids to drop in the shower! I only fill the bottles 3/4 full (for expansion/contraction onboard the aircraft) and back it up with a zipper-seal type bag. Works for me!
YYZ Toronto, Canada Fri 01/12/2007
-pack a language-
I just read a great slogan on a flyer related to packing - "pack a language" there are these cool Language Cafes that I learned are being offered at the travel center. I know from previous experience that knowing a language is definitely a necessary component for enjoyable traveling experiences. Safe Travels!
Seattle, WA USA Wed 01/10/2007
Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps
I find this soap is fantastic for travel. It works as laundry detergent, body soap, shampoo and shave cream. Unlike most castille soaps, it's ultra-concertrated, meaning a little bottle goes a long ways. I've found even with my "reactive" skin, this soap is gentle enough to use. It comes in both bar and liquid forms (I prefer the liquid version), and a number of different scents, though none too overpowering. Dr. Bronner's soap are also biodegradable. You can get it at a local natural foods store or the natural beauty section in many larger supermarkets.
Minneapolis, MN USA Wed 01/10/2007
Purell and Airbourne
You can find small bottles of Purell that have a rubber holder around them that will allow you to attach them to a belt loop or purse, etc. When in Europe, I was using my Victorinox backpack that had a small loop on my shoulder strap for my sunglasses. I also attached my Purell. Whenever I thought about it, I'd put a small squirt on my hands, esp. after using a handrail, etc. Not that I am paranoid about germs, but I have gotten sick on vacations before and don't want to repeat the process. I kept a bigger bottle back in the hotel and would refill it at night.
Of course, this was before the 3 oz limit.
I also pack Airbourne. I usually take one at home before leaving for the airport, and one after my arrival, while unpacking and settling in to the hotel. Friends have scoffed at its effectiveness, until I was the ONLY one who didn't end up with a mild cold and sore throat (can't say it was allergies, as I'm the big time allergy sufferer!)
DuPont, WA USA Sun 01/07/2007
Instead of packing a normal terry cloth (slow to dry) face cloth when I travel to places that may not supply them, I pack a "J-Cloth"-type of cloth. It dries even more quickly than microfibre, and I can dispose of it at the end of its use.
Kingston, Ontari Canada Sat 01/06/2007
unmarked liquid containers
Yes, I have recently used unmarked 3 oz containers which were purchased as part of a travel kit set (3 bottles in a plastic case. Each bottle is clear or translucent so they can see inside the bottle). I put them into a ziploc along with a few other things and had absolutely no problems when traveling from LAX to Philadelphia and from LAX to Taiwan. In my opinion the most important thing is to have it in that 1 quart ziploc bag exactly as TSA desbribes and always remove the entire ziploc bag and put it in a bin (like a laptop) before sending through screening. I think it let's them know you know what you are doing and not trying to hide anything. If this is not done, then you could have the bag searched (I have seen this happen to others) and that introduces delays as well as makes it more likely for a tsa screener to disallow liquids you can bring on.
Hope this helps
USA Sat 01/06/2007
a silly question about containers
Has anyone actually traveled lately using unmarked 3 ounce bottles, as opposed to the travel-sized bottles already made and filled with shampoo, etc. I'm just wondering if it would be a better idea (and less guessing for security) to use bottles that have obvious manufacturer labels on them, as opposed to plain bottles. I found 3-ounce bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and bath soap at Wal Mart, but I'm worried about them leaking and would prefer to use my little Nalgene bottles.
USA Sat 01/06/2007
Empty travel-sized bottles and other containers are sold just about everyhwere! I've bought them at Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, the Dollar Tree and also at our local outdoor shop. Try either the travel supply areas or the camping areas.
Also try Magellans on-line (www.magellans.com). And the Container Store really does sell these items! Look at them on-line:
USA Tue 01/02/2007
Try home organization/storage stores. That is where I get mine. They usually have a great variety from 1/2 oz to 4 oz usually located in the personal or bathroom organization aisles! Art supply/craft stores in the paint or beading sections are also places that you can find all sorts of storage containers. Also sports stores usually carry these. I cut off a chunk of castile soap (laundry) and keep it in a mini Altoids tins for my trips. Be creative, it doesn't necessarily have to be a purchased bottle/container.
Minneapolis, MN USA Mon 01/01/2007
Small toiletry containers
Sally Beauty Supply stores (retail-open to the public) have great 3 oz. small containers for packing shampoo, etc. Best of all they are leak proof and only cost about $1.00
Hope this helps!
Lewisville, TX USA Mon 01/01/2007