“Pack It Up, Pack It In”
So, wondering how you pack everything you need for a year into one backpack? Some people find this process challenging and stressful….but I LOVE IT! Travel stores are like Disneyland for me. I can get lost in the isles of water filters, country guides and travel toys for HOURS. (I got offered a job during my last escapade at Adventure 16.) There’s, of course, a lot of research that goes into picking each item that claims precious space in my pack. Learning how and what to pack from the process of trial and error is not fun when you’re abroad, which is why I put together my packing list after my last trip. But I’ve made a few upgrades since then and wanted to share three of my most recent travel trick discoveries….
Silk Sleep Sack: Oh man. THIS is a luxury. If you’re staying in hostels, you should have *or make* a sleep sack. You can make one by just sewing two sheets together or you can pick one up at any travel store. Many hostels charge you for renting sheets, and you can save cash by bringing one of these. They also keep you safe from “suspicious” sleeping quarters. You don’t want to hear the stories of the things some travelers have “caught” in hostels. *cringes* I also jumped in mine on long train rides, while sleeping in stations/on ferries and stuffed it as a pillow on bumpy busses and the like. So my starchy cotton one worked swell, but it wasn’t the most comfortable, it didn’t keep me warm and it took up a lot of space in my pack. Solution? The Silk Sleep Sack. *rolls eyes in ecstasy* Silk insulates you better, cleans easier, takes up NO space at all in your pack…and FEELS absolutely incredible. Yes, it’ll cost ya about 40 bucks more than the cotton one, but if you’re doing serious traveling, it’s totally worth the cost for the extra comfort and added space in your pack. (You can order one from REI online.)
Super-Absorbent Travel Towel: Most of my toys revolve around saving space in my pack, as this one does. You can get one of these towels at some travel stores and they usually carry them at those fun high-tech stores like Brookstone. Regular towels take up a LOT of space in your pack, take forever to dry and start smelling rank fast. These special towels are super-absorbent, are super lightweight, and dry super fast. I got the smaller sized one in green (try to avoid white completely when it comes to packing) and tried it out yesterday after my shower. I give it four stars *out of four*.
Chaco Sandals: Traveler or not, these are the BEST sandals on earth. You have to have a bit of an arch to wear them, but I guarantee if you CAN wear them, you will LOVE them. They have them everywhere in Oregon, but you might have to do a little searching in other parts of the nation, and you can always order them online. And once you have them, you are automatically in part of an elite group of Chaco lovers. When you see someone else on the street wearing them, make sure and give them the “Chaco nod” acknowledging the finest of taste in footwear. You really have to try them on to appreciate their value, but these sandals work for beaches, showers, water, and won’t even slip when you’re hiking in mud. Perfect for traveling.
This time next week, I’ll be in Guatemala. This recent realization kept me rolling ‘round in bed last night in nervous excitement. Funny how all of a sudden it just hit me. It’s like this whole last three months, of packing, organizing and arranging…was like chugging up that slow slope of a roller-coaster. And I just got to the top…and now I’m lookin’ straight down, throwing my arms into the air and filling my lungs up for one hell of a scream.