Sunday, May 31, 2009

One bag, one year, one happy girl

Today I made perhaps the most important trip purchase yet: my backpack!! The above will be my "home" for the next year.... YIPPEE!!

I did my travel shopping at Gulliver's Travel, the long-time travel experts locally. What sold me on the store was the truly awesome service from Chris - she must have spent 2 hours last weekend going through the store section by section with me, showing me all the latest travel gadgets, asking questions and giving spot-on advice (even what not to buy).... I feel I have a true travel partner in Chris ;-) Also like their return policy, there was no problem with me taking more gadgets home than I was sure I'd keep; that way I could sort them at home, make final decisions, and return the rest before I go.
When it came to selecting my bag, after chatting for a few minutes, and looking at a couple of bags in-stock, Chris said she thought the bag that would be most suitable would be the Rick Steves' pack. They were out of stock, but from how she described it, I felt pretty sure I would want it when I saw it. Apparently it is the store owner's fav bag and he swears by it. I didn't like the other colours available, so I asked them to put aside a black one when they came in. So, off I went, bagless, and waited for the call....
I got the call on Tuesday that the bag had come in, and they were holding a black one for me, and I said I would be in by the weekend. Then, Wednesday, Chris calls me personally to tell me that she noticed that there was a brand new colour, a nice pale green, that she thought I would like, and said she was holding both for me so I could take a look and then choose. How's that for service? When I went in today I took one look at the "sage" bag and loved it!
So... I bought the Rick Steves Convertible Carry-On Bag. It was even on sale, for $149Cdn, instead of $165, perhaps because it's on sale on Rick Steves' site; considering shipping and exchange, I got good value. The bag looks more like a backpack than it does in the picture, perhaps because it's not stuffed to the hilt. But I like it that it's on the classy side, and I can do a quick switcheroo with the straps and walk into a hotel with more of a suitcase look than straggly backpacker.
I was doubly lucky when I went in today as Chris was there, and she helped me with a few additional purchases. I was most impressed that she remembered what I had and hadn't bought on my previous trip, and checked in with me on several things. Awesome! Chris is one smart lady. And she's funny too...
At some point, I will try to list what I'm packing, but here are few of the other travel gadgets I have waiting to be packed for my trip:
  • Rick Steves' Civita Day Pack - I actually had this already from a PBS membership drive
  • Rick Steves' Super Size Micronet Travel Towel
  • universal (flat) sink stopper
  • clothes line
  • teensy keychain flashlight
  • teensy first aid kit
  • a few personal safety devices: a purple rubber wedged door stop shaped like a foot, a bright yellow emergency whistle that can be heard from 1km away, and a door/window alarm (not sure if I'll keep the last item or not)
  • a couple of combination locks
  • 3 pairs of incredible dry-in-a-minute panties - they cost about $28Cdn but they are as light as a feather (and, yes, that's all I am taking in that department)
  • suck-out-air clear plastic bags to squish clothes
  • eye mask and ear plugs
  • passport size round-the-neck waterproof swimmers case
  • a RFID Blocking Card Case - believe it or not, there are hacks who sit in piazzas and use wireless devices to steal your credit/debit card information while you walk by or drink your beer - this little case keeps 'em safe
  • super thin clear emergency poncho
  • the cutest little purple and lime green plastic spork and spoon that look like beetles
  • a roll of 10 TowTabs - about the size of a roll of Mentos
  • alarm clock
  • a couple different money belts - including a neat one that looks like a belt (similar to this one)
  • a bunch of black mesh zipper bags
  • NOTE: all of the above take up no more than a case of beer

I've also been learning all about the world of travelling with one bag.... Here are some of the resources I've come across:

2 comments:

The Flying Pinto said...

How exciting!! I'm looking forward to following you on your journey...I found you on twitter...I'm going to follow you: ) Great blog!

Check out my blog, http://www.theflyingpinto.com/ I do interviews with inspirational people who have something to do with travel or the airline industry...let me know if it's something you might be interested in.

Cheers!

Roberta said...

Thanks!!! Yes, will be exciting! Am checking out your blog now...