Ravi and I have never been “light” travelers. Carry-ons only? Who ARE those people? Where do they put souvenirs? Their third pair of shoes? We are, in fact, so in love with baggage allowances that we make a point of getting a specific status with United Airlines that allows us a free third bag and that all bags could be 70 lbs instead of 2 50 lb bags (or 1 50 lbs bag).
So we came back from the US with 8 bags (Ravi and I each get 3, Ellie gets 2), 2 carry ons and 2 personal items. But what the hell do we actually pack in those bags? I know the numerous porters, maxi cab drivers and raised eyebrows from other passengers would dearly like to know.
So here it is…8 bags of stuff
Before we get into the 8 bags, let us start with Ellie’s “personal item” (aka a tote bag) full of things meant to keep her from irritating other passengers on 25+ hours of flying. Things that help me in this mission are books (several Dr. Seuss, Pinkalicious, A Bad Case of Stripes, and at least one Sandra Boynton book), art books (two coloring books, a scribble book with the magic pen that turns the illustrations colors, and a painting book where you only use water to make the pictures appear and then they disappear once the water dries), a magnetic sketch square (not sure what the proper name would be), a lace up board, and (not pictured) the iPod.
Of all of these, the iPod gets the most use. We’re pretty lenient with tv overall (in that we let her watch it…she only watches educational tv like Sesame Street/Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Disney cartoons like Aladdin and the Lion King) but on flights, the rule is that she can watch as much as she wants. It’s the easiest way to pass time, and it’s not like I don’t empathize with the desire to just zone out for lack of anything better to do. On this trip, she discovered a new educational tv show called “Little Einsteins” which features travel, classical music and art…so we downloaded several episodes and she alternated between them and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse primarily.
Ravi and I tend to amuse ourselves with games on our phones, books on our phones, the occasional in flight movie (I was pretty happy with the Japan/Singapore flight which had four movies I was willing to watch) and stuff we’ve downloaded to watch.
We are armed with multiple charging options as the most critical part of keeping everyone happy for the duration of the trip is juice to our electronic devices. The one time it failed (when my laptop died mid flight in Nov 2010), it was horrible. Luckily E slept a lot more back then, but I was bored stiff.
1-2 bags are filled with stuff we took with us, like clothes, shoes, camera equipment, etc. I won’t bother showing you those. Suffice it to say we are overly cautious, and most often have several outfits/shoes we never wear make the trip.
So the remaining 6-7 bags include…
Healthy and Beauty/Medicine—We’ve yet to find replacements for our favorite shampoos/conditioners that we really like, so we tend to stock up on those. Deodorant is another frequently purchased item. Ravi only wants to use a specific body wash that he can’t find in Singapore. Some medications, like Zantac are over the counter and significantly cheaper in the US, so we stock up. Vitamins also are cheaper. We love Aleve Cold and Sinus and usually pick up a box or two. I dislike the q-tips here (too flimsy) so I always get a giant box of them at home. And, considering that this trip would be the last before I have the baby (and lose my free birth control) I also picked up my preferred brand of condom (no unplanned pregnancies, thank you very much).
My “system” for bringing bottles of shampoo (etc) halfway around the world is quite simple. You double plastic ziploc bag EVERYTHING that is potentially messy (food, paints for Ellie, shampoo, etc). Once around the individual item and then once around two or more ziploc’d items. I have had some leakage, but I have never not had it wholly contained, something I feel fairly triumphant about.
This is the final sum total of plastic ziploc bags used for this trip. I know it was over 60 because I went through more than one box. But nothing was ruined, so I’ll call it a win. Some of them possibly could be used again, but I choose not to. I know…I’m bad for the environment. But you should have figured that out when you realize I max out my luggage weight on every trip home.
Books. A somewhat controversial item to purchase/pack as they take up far more weight than we’d like. Generally we restrict it to books for Elanor (and now the baby), but Borders was closing, so we had to treat ourselves as well.
Halloween also means the necessity of purchasing a totally pointless costume as there is no trick or treating (I’ve heard rumors about Jurong near SAS, but have not verified them) and I could be in labor…but it’s my favorite holiday, so whatever.
More junk forthcoming in the exciting second part tomorrow!