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:
- Gulliver's Vacation Checklist
- Gulliver's Packing Hints
- Rick Steves' Packing Light and Right - includes Rick's Packing List and a Packing List for Women
- 6 Essential Items To Pack If You Want To Meet The Locals
- Onebag.com - a whole site dedicated to the "art and science of travelling light" - including a cool annotated packing list
- The Universal Packing List - Generate a custom packing list for any journey!
- 10 Multi-Use Items You Should Consider Packing
- 18 Things You Don’t Need on Your Packing List