I recently traveled with someone I’ve known for over 40 years. Defining “known” is the key element to this story.
Known in this story means being aware of; mingling with and sharing some past experiences. Known means being part of a circle of friends, albeit on the fringe. It is a superficial “known”, as in entering a room and having someone familiar to talk with.
I thought I could do it. I thought I could travel with this person and we’d have a compatible and comfortable mutual enjoyment of the trip.
I have always been a very adaptable person; easy going and acceptable of most new things. What I discovered about my 62 year old self is that I’m NOT content going with the flow just to get along anymore; I have given myself permission to put myself first. This evolution of self has come with expectations that I didn’t have when I was 21. With expectations come potential disappointment.
My travel companion planned and booked the trip. My travel companion was older than I and physically less mobile. My travel companion looked for the least expensive options in everything(which normally is a good trait but when traveling I prefer to spend a little more to enjoy myself). My travel companion had no passion to explore the beautiful surroundings we had traveled to. I ventured out on my own on a daily basis but still felt tethered to the travel companion I left at poolside. I didn’t have the freedom or control to follow my own itinerary.
I thought I could travel with just about anyone and find a way to enjoy myself. What I found is that I’m too old to compromise. I expect and deserve to give myself the travel experience I want.
I am planning another trip with a different friend that I’ve known for over 40 years; this time we are sharing the planning and shaping of the itinerary. Ever optimistic, I think I can do it.
It doesn’t matter if I’m heading for an overnite with my sister or a month-long cruise; there are five things that are always part of my trip. If you keep these stored in your luggage you will always be ready to go!
- Spacebags for clothing. The medium and large sizes are perfect for your garments and fit nicely in a typical 21” carryon bag. Be sure to get the kind that expel air without a vacuum. I usually just fill the bag with my clothes and lay on top of it until all the air comes out. These things allow you to organize your clothing for easy unpacking at your destination because you can use one for pants, one for shirts, one for dresses, etc. They protect your clothing from moisture, spills and smells. They are great for separating your dirty clothes from the clean ones when you are packing to go home.
- Hanging toiletry bag. This “go to” bag contains everything I need in small sized containers. It’s always ready to go with my essentials. I just add my makeup bag and hairbrush. When at my destination, it comes out of the suitcase and hangs in the bathroom either on a towel rack or hook. This clears the small bathroom counter for other things!
- TSA approved clear bag for carryon liquids. Invest in a strong clear vinyl bag with zip top and keep your carryon liquids ready to go anytime! These will be less prone to puncture and leakage and because they are more substantial, I find it easy to pull out and put back during the security process.
- Kipling bag. These stylish lightweight bags are made of durable nylon with lots of zippered compartments. My favorite style is the crossbody flat bag with three zippered full sized compartments and additional layered zippers in rows on the front. I can put passports in one section; etickets and confirmations in another. I can keep my currencies separated and allocate a specific pocket for my travel receipts. There’s still room for a camera and phone and maps!
- Packing cube for electronics. Make sure you have all your chargers and cords and universal adapters in one place.
Enjoy your trip knowing you didn’t forget anything because you are so organized!