Friday, May 30, 2014

What I Packed for Florida


I completely missed the backpacking around Europe experience - I never took a year off of school, and I never even WENT to Europe until I was 35... But I'm still fascinated by the whole experience of being THAT light on your feet - that self-contained.  So when a really nice Patagonia backpack made it into our home, I decided that I was going to give it a try.  At least once, just to know what it's like, I'm going to be a backpacker...

I loved it.  The incredible lightness of putting all of your luggage under the seat in front of you, and being able to walk for miles without wheels, was memorable.  I don't know that I'll ever do it again, but it was wonderful.

There were a few factors that made this possible.  First and foremost, I was travelling for only five nights in the hottest of hot weather, to a casual environment.  Secondly, I was able to do laundry where I was.  And third, I was visiting relatives, so there wasn't any worry that I might forget something and be stuck somehow - there's always something that I can borrow in these situations.


black Patagonia backpack
The excellent Patagonia bag - highly recommended...

I traveled in my usual black ensemble; the Tumi handbag that I'm carrying these days holds all of my odds and ends, making it possible to limit my backpack to just clothing and accessories.


black white and turquoise hot weather travel outfit
Draped cotton cardigan – Velvet, ballet flats – Gabor, white tee shirt – Dorothy Perkins,  cropped pants – Dorothy Perkins, earrings – YooLa,  scarf – Halogen, crossbody bag – Tumi



My wardrobe wasn't quite the colorful, but I couldn't find images of most of my clothes!  But this is exactly the number and choice of items that I took - three lightweight linen dresses, a pair of white capris, and two tops.  One pair of shoes, as well as the ballet flat I wore on the plane, were sufficient for footwear.  I did have two necklaces in my handbag - I wear necklaces most of the time.


bright linen six piece summer travel wardrobe
Yellow dress – East, blue dress – Jaeger, red dress – East, capris – Dorothy Perkins, aqua tank – Not Shy, orange tank – Stefanel


And with short pajamas and some lingerie, I was ready to go...

lingerie, shorty pajamas and a pair of flat white sandals
Shorty pajamas – Donna Karan, sandals – L.K.Bennett, lingerie – Lepel

Looking back:

2011 - Remembering when I bought my most excellent pearl earring: Cool Jewels, Charlotte Santa Fe.

2012 - Fighting with my curly hair was an exercise in Futility, Time Wasting and Fraying the edges of my self-esteem.

2013 - After I built a great navy, red and beige travel wardrobe, I added on Accessories for Multiple European Cities.



NORDSTROM.com


17 comments:

  1. After a trip last fall to the UIK where there were lot of weird weather issues (no trains for 3 days, etc). I thought long and hard about how nice it would be to travel with just a small pack After all, if it isn't hot weather, or you don't spill stuff all over you, what's the problem? And who notices what some random traveler is wearing? If I really did need something I didn't bring, I can always pick up something (a nice souvenir or a thrift shop find, depending on the need).

    I put my theory to the test in early December on a work trip to DC. Trip was 4 days. I wore the same pair of black cords the whole time and switched out two tops, a jacket and a cashmere sweater. Getting on and off the plane with just a knapsack was great! Did the same thing in January to Philly. Of course I wore my winter coat, and I don't' have a need to switch out shoes all the time. I can't travel like this every trip, but when I can I will.

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  3. My daughter and son-in-law, both in their early 50s, travel to Europe for 10 days with backpacks. Judith wears lots of black with a few pretty colors in tops and scarves. They go to a Laundromat halfway through the trip. I suggested CoolMax underwear: can be handwashed, dries overnight and is available in men's underwear. My son-in-law liked these so much he now wears them all through the steamy summers here in coastal SC.

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  4. My husband and I use similar bags for Europe. We just replaced one from Eddie Bauer circa 1985 with one from ebags.

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  5. I love traveling with duffles and backpacks, but the problem I always have with such unstructured bags is that my clothes end up coming out looking all mangled (especially if I stuff shoes in there too). Do you have a secret for folding or rolling your items so they stay contained and in good shape?

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    1. This last trip, I "bundle folded" all of my clothes, and fit them in very tightly near the bottom of my bag so they wouldn't shift around. It was all linen, and it was scorching hot and humid Florida, so everything was fine.

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    2. So pack it tight, got it (thanks so much for the reply, btw!). But wouldn't linen come out looking like it's been slept in?

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    3. After my things hung for a few hours (in the amazing humidity of Florida), they looked fine. I was frankly amazed...

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    4. If you don't have Florida to provide the heat and humidity, hanging clothing in the bathroom while you shower (with no vent fan, doors shut) can help with wrinkles too.

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    5. @CRB - you might want to try the packing cubes and/or packing folders to keep items secure in your unstructured bag. Eagle Creek, eBags, and I'm sure others all have their own version.

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  6. I once spent 2 weeks traveling across China with a group. I chose a backpack while my companions had large suitcases, one woman had 2. My whole experience of the trip was transformed by how mobile I was. I had more time to sightsee, more flexibility and to where and how I got around. I always travel with just a carryon so I thought my experience would be similar but the difference was amazing.

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  7. These days I mostly travel with just a carry on but I think I might have to go a little smaller so that I can fit with the new regulations that say if your bag is teeny tiny then you're guaranteed to have it in the cabin. One recent flight we missed out on cabin space and it was SO annoying have to wait to get it put in the hold and to collect it at the other end.

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  8. Just got back from a graduation trip to Baltimore and then up to NYC. 8 days. I packed fewer clothes/underwear/socks and the clothes worked out fine. But we took the train to NYC and that included buses/subway stairs and schlepping the suitcase and a carry-on with a heavy camera/one lens and a 10" tablet. Surprised that I could lift all of it. But I spent the flight home wondering how to lighten the load even further. So this post was timely. There's got to be lighter sturdy suitcases. And maybe a small point/shoot? My phone's camera isn't enough for what I shoot. And I'm thinking 2 good size books and leave one behind. I look forward to reading the conversation on the issue of traveling like I was 20-something.

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    1. Bobbi, you need to ditch the books and get a kindle, or some type of e-reader. Hubby and I used to pack 3 books each, so 6 between us and then on longer trips we would be looking for swaps etc. Now we have many books in the space of one slim "book", and loaded with a word game for some variety. I love books, but this was the best packing decision I have ever made.

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    2. I do have a reader - a Samsung tablet but I got the big one thinking I'd put photos on it so I wouldn't chance losing them. And the smaller one seemed so small. Maybe I'll treat myself to the smallest e-reader possible. Sometimes smaller is better than bigger. Thanks for the suggestion. As we're just back from a trip I have time to think about it.

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  9. I spent a long Memorial Weekend in Boston and it was delightful. My husband and I traveled with one suitcase (small) which we shared, a hanging garment bag for the things that we didn't want to wrinkle and a tote. Two years ago, it would have looked like I was leaving for a two month vacation. I wore everything except one shirt, which I didn't realize no longer fit. (I have lost 11 lbs and the armholes were HUGE>.) And all this is due to Janice's lessons in packing small. Thank you, Janice! I can't wait to pack for Germany and Switzerland in the fall and to see the envious faces of my fellow travelers as I tote my very stylish, very compact wardrobe.

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  10. My friend and I are planning a Europe trip this fall(destination tbd) and I'm already trying to plan on how little I can take. I've done the backpack thing and like the mobility, but a bad back makes it iffy to carry at times. I also know I'll be bringing back liquor, so for that, I like the sturdiness of a more structured bag. Decisions, decisions....

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