Donald and I have just returned from what is, and probably always will be, our trip of a lifetime.
This was a trip planned to celebrate our anniversary. Married 33 years on May 11.
We left Boone on May 4, spent four nights in Amsterdam, took the train from there to Paris and flew home on May 18.
You know how some days are just better than others? We had two full weeks of better than usual days. We laughed. We explored. We ate. We took pictures. We got lost and laughed some more.
Some trips can be fraught with incidents beyond your control that can change the atmosphere from good to bad (or sad) in a quick minute. We had none of that this trip, thankfully.
Because when I've traveled in the past, dragging luggage around has been the one thing that has disturbed me no end, I was determined to not have to deal with all that this trip. And Donald agreed. We challenged ourselves to No Checked Baggage.
And no laptops.
Two small carry-on bags each.
That was it.
And we did it without any problems.
Truth be told, next trip there will be things we took this trip that we will not take next trip.
For me - for one thing, it will be those extra cosmetics. I'm not a bit better about my skin care routine in Amsterdam or Paris than I am in Boone.
Instead of three pairs of black pants, I'll take two.
I packed 5 white shirts and two black shirts. That worked out about right.
For the flight I wore, as usual, a casual little black dress with pockets. It's comfy and has become my "go to" travel dress. I highly recommend it. It's by Betabrand. A silk jersey wrinkle resistant perfect little black dress. https://www.betabrand.com/womens/dresses/wrinkle-resistant-silk-jersey-sweatshirt-dress
And I packed one additional little black dress - similar to the one mentioned above.
Another option, if, like me, you have a fondness for little black dresses, is take only these. I have done that in the past and honestly, it's my favorite way to go. Casual black dresses are comfy, always in style (everywhere), easily packed AND can be found on sale all the time. Dress them up and change the look with a scarf. Scarves are the best thing in the world for traveling in all manner of ways. One is that they're a great accessory and if you lose one it's not going to break your heart like it will if you lose that sentimental necklace. (yes, this happened - years ago - I still can't talk about it without crying and it happened almost 40 years ago).
I now take no jewelry other than what I wear on the trip and will wear every day. Minimum jewelry.
Also - and this is hard for some people - minimum shoes. I took one extra pair which probably I'll leave home next time. Yep. ONE pair of shoes. It took me a long time to find the (for me) perfect travel shoes. They're Keens. I have them in three colors, but the red ones are the ones that go with my red, black and white travel palate. (I also pack slippers and I slip into them while flying - heaven!).
Keen's Sienna Mary Jane Canvas.
Everyone has a favorite comfortable walking shoe and this is mine.
Pack your undies, jammies, and some tights and whatever meds you'll need. Just take what you really can't live without and do it sparingly.
Cardinal Rule - Leave room for souvenirs for the return trip. I've been known to ship home a box or two but that cuts down on my souvenir (and eating!) money, so I've tried to become a little more practical about that.
I have a lightweight, scrunchable, packable raincoat that I take.
And instead of packing books, I take my Kindle Fire which is loaded with books and acts as my computer.
And I always take a hat. Always.
Peter Grimm is my favorite hat source and they have sales ALL the time.
And I always take my reversible wrap. It works like a little blankie on the plane, and is my go to item with everything.
All that said - this is who you'll see if you bump into me while I'm traveling.
Coffee, camera and cape close at hand.
Having to choose between a purse and my camera for comfort - camera wins every time. I have a little undercover travel pouch with a small elastic strap that hooks onto my bra that I keep cash, ID, and one credit card in.
So that's it for packing.
I'm going to be writing about our trip and posting pictures, so if you're interested, please check back here.
First up - Amsterdam!
And don't forget a good travel blankie and pillow for the plane! They weigh nothing and will strap onto your carry-on.