Saturday, December 29, 2007

Packing Panic

December 29, 2007

Packing Panic

Three days until departure for Bangkok and Kathmandu and we’re going into “Packing Panic Mode.” I’ve made a list and I’m checking it twice. Here are small things on my list that I always pack for an international trip:

  • Silicon ear plugs
  • An eye shield
  • Lots of zip lock bags, all sizes
  • A rubber door stopper for added security in hotel rooms.
  • A large safety pin or a clothespin to fully close the hotel drapes.
  • A washcloth because most hotels do not provide them.
  • A bottle opener and corkscrew. Although I can find these in almost all countries, it’s nice to have one ready for picnics or in my hotel room for a drink before dinner.
  • Individually wrapped chocolates, unless I’m going somewhere really warm. Chocolate or candy is a nice gift to offer to a desk clerk or someone who has been especially kind or helpful. If I am going to be hosted by a family, I always take a gift box of fancy chocolates.
  • Photos of my family, pets, garden, holiday celebrations and home.
  • Doubles of any item I “really” can’t live without -- like prescription glasses or sunglasses, and a copy of my passport, driver’s license, fingernail files, Chap Stick, and money.

The temperature on airplanes and aboard buses can vary from tropical heat to an Arctic chill. You can’t count on finding airline blankets on many flights so I’ll dress in layers for the long plane trip. I’ll also pack a sweater and socks in my carry-on bag.

Good Reading Material. I re-read the story of Anna Leonowens: The English Governess at the Siamese Court that inspired the musical The King and I, starring Yul Brynner. The king who she tutored had 600 wives and 85 children and the members of the British Colony were horrified that she accepting the teaching position to the royal family, because they feared she would end up in the royal harem. Within days we’ll sail along the Chao Phraya River and visit temples and palaces and wonder about the British widow’s life over a century ago (1862) in the country then know as Siam.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Nepal or Bust in 2008!

The Christmas gifts are opened and everyone's happy, so it's time to pack for the next trip. As you -- my traveling friends know -- my favorite gift is a boarding pass! On January 1st, my 19-year-old daughter (JC) and I leave via Thai Airways for Bangkok, where we'll spend 2 days then fly to Kathmandu. Travel along with us on this blog.

What are we doing in Nepal in January? I'll be doing research for my upcoming book: Best Girlfriend Getaways Worldwide, and JC will do anti-trafficking research with Nepalese NGO's.

Our trip will be a true "girlfriend getaway" because our neighbor Mary is joining us and we're staying with another girlfriend who lives half the year in Kathmandu, Olga Murray, the founder of Nepal Youth Opportunity Foundation

Packing countdown. What luggage shall we take? We'll check our roller bags, (I usually travel with one carry-aboard suitcase with wheels) but this trip I'm taking toys and basketballs for the boys and girls at the Nepalese children's homes we'll be visiting. And we'll need extra room to carry home our shopping treasures from the bazaars of Kathmandu.

At my home, packing begins a week in advance. I put lots of clothes on the floor next to my suitcase and begin adding and deleting. Since we'll spend a few days trekking in the hill country, we're packing walking shoes, moisture-absorbing socks, layers of warm clothes and a small backpack.

Next posting I'll tell you what "I never leave home without" and as the departure day gets closer I'll share my "long-flight" survival kit with you.

Please share your best packing tips with me too.
Cheers, Marybeth