Greetings from home! Yep, I finally made it home. Pilgrimage was awesome, and I’ll be unpacking that set of gifts for years to come. But today I want to talk about some travel tips I picked up on the journey. So, get comfy, grab a cup of something hot – I came from Israel this morning, to 15 degrees at the airport tonight. Brrr!!!! There’s a lot of good practical advice out there if you’re going to do any traveling. Here’s my two-cents worth. Okay, maybe 25 cents worth. It’s long and in two parts. But I didn’t post last Friday. 🙂 The other crazy thing is that I’m jet-lagged. It’s 2 am in Kansas, but it’s 10am in Israel… I’m not quite ready for bed. I’ve also used a lot of links in this to get you to the information. Let me know if they don’t work for you!
You can’t take it all with you. But don’t worry, you really don’t need it all anyway. They have kitchen sinks wherever you’re going. Most hotels also have shampoo, soap, conditioner and lotion, blow dryers and irons for clothing. If you insist on having your own brands, then grab some of those 1 oz travel size bottles and rinse them out to use. I found that hand sanitizer rinsed easier and cleaner than anything else. Empty several of them into a bigger bottle for later use when you get back. I found out that even 1 oz of product is more than enough for an 11-day trip out of the country. Really. And yes, I did shower daily. The picture I use on this blog is recent, so you know how much hair I’m washing, although you can easily tell I don’t use styling product at all.
Luggage. I found the best bags in the world online at e-bags.com and Thirty-One. If you can’t get organized with their stuff, I don’t think you can get organized! I used one rolling carry on and one zip top tote bag as my entire luggage for 11 days. Yes, for the entire trip. I put a smaller pocketed tote inside my zip top tote to keep pens, journals, books, etc. With all the pockets between the two totes I managed to stay organized. No small feat for me! And the larger tote has good sized grommets to hold the handle webbing on it. So, I took a strap and ran it through the grommets and around the suitcase handle. Worked like a dream! It easily slips off the top of the suitcase handle for security, but stays well put when the handle is all the way up. Win win!
Clothes. Less is more. Really. 11 days – four shirts – navy, burgundy and white long-sleeved and a teal t-shirt that I never wore; navy, khaki and gray sacks; navy cardigan; one windbreaker, one navy & burgundy striped scarf. I took lightweight but sturdy pieces that I could wash in the hotel sink and drip dry overnight, and rolled them up to pack and save space. Rayon is usually pretty good for this. I bought mine at JC Penny and Wal-Mart – you don’t have to go to the travel or hiking specialty store for clothing, as I initially thought, and had to return a bunch of stuff. Even though I was traveling to a warmer climate, I took all long sleeves – they can be rolled up. When we left Israel, I donated two pairs of slacks and one of the shirts to a local charity group. I brought home one other blouse besides the outfit I was wearing, and my sock and unmentionables. The thing about traveling is who cares if you wear the same clothes every day? Next trip like this, there will be three tops and two bottoms to rotate with one cardigan and a scarf. That can actually make two weeks worth of outfits. I wore the same simple silver ball earrings every day and skipped the other jewelry. I didn’t miss any of it.
Shoes. I broke down and went to a real running/walking shoe store and let them do their thing. I don’t regret one minute or one penny. I ended up with one pair of black high support walking (athletic/tennis) shoes. My feet were rarely even tired, much less hurting. And believe me, we walked a LOT. Up stone steps. Down stone steps. Up steep hills. Down steeper hills. The rubber tread kept footing secure. The shoes were breathable, so my feet didn’t sweat. The day it rained, my feet got a little damp, but everything was dry for the next morning. Yes, ladies- ONE pair of shoes, and no makeup. Gulp. It was fine!
Odds and ends. I took a roll of scotch tape for the tops to the small bottles so they wouldn’t leak all over the inside of their 3-1-1 quart baggie. I put the tape into a baggie of its own so it wouldn’t get stuck to anything else and make a mess. I needed a plug adapter for the Israeli power. I always pack Dramamine, sunglasses, and some protein bars; a sleep mask to keep the light out, and ear plugs just in case. One packet of Tide travel liquid did all my laundry on the trip. Wash in the sink, rinse and drip dry in the tub – hung on hangers from the towel rack over the tub. I didn’t use detergent every time I rinsed something out, though. I bought a 97 cent travel toothbrush kit and just tossed it before I left the last hotel.
On the bag the travel agency gave me, I put some fun duck tape on the straps and a piece around the bottom of each handle – it stayed on and there was never a question which bag was mine. I used this like a giant purse to carry junk in each day depending on where we were going; the other tote bags weren’t as securely zippered. This particular one was self-storing, to boot. Take a plastic/rubber rain poncho of decent quality, even if you have an umbrella. It may well save your camera and other things. Take a journal and a couple of pens. I wrote over 100 pages and ran two pens completely out of ink. If you choose to set your thermostat in a manner to save our utilities while you are gone, be sure to get a neighbor or friend to go in and reset it to ‘normal’ the night before you return. I didn’t and came home to a 55-degree house, lol. Be sure newspapers are picked up daily and hold the mail.
That’s enough for this one. More to come on Friday! Have a great week!