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  1. #1
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    Longer-Term Travel Tips?

    Im heading to France this summer for two months for a writing residency, and am happily tinkering with my packing list. It occurred to me that the TB community might have great tips and/or hacks for longer-term travel.

    In this particular case, Ill be staying in one place for the entire time (with a few weekend trips), so Im especially interested in little extras that make a place more of a home-away-from-home, but any general tips you have for more mobile long-term travel would be welcome, too!

    (Related to this question, Id love to use my A30 as my main bag, though Ill probably end up supplementing with a small, 15L backpack. But there are a few things - a yoga mat, neck pillow - that Id really like to take, and Im thinking of checking a bag for the first time inwell, maybe a decade! Any thoughts on this mini-dilemma?)

    Some things I'm considering:

    • A container for keeping makeup items tidy, rather than keeping everything in my toiletry bag
    • More in the way of "facial treatments" (masks, etc. that I use once or twice a week)
    • The above-mentioned yoga mat
    • A dedicated alarm clock (I don't like using my phone but do when traveling for shorter periods)
    • More generally, packing clothes for "mixing and matching," whereas I usually plan my packing around "outfits" and re-wear them as needed.


    How do you pack differently when youre going to be away for more than 1-2 weeks?

  2. #2
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    I would check a bag for a trip of this length. I have traveled abroad and stayed for 2-6months at a time. One of the things I would do is make sure you have an unlocked gsm cell phone. You do not want to rely on a U.S. carrier for two months. Get a local sim card as soon as you arrive. Look at PrePaidGSM.net look at the national tab under EU for France. You can see what is available for you. If you do not have an iPhone for face time download skype and WhatsApp. You can talk on WhatsApp for free. Of course, the other party has to have WhatsApp on their phone. I pay a yearly fee for Skype and call for free to any phone in U.S. and Canada. You can add credit to call which is very cheap on Skype or if the person you are calling has Skype the call is free.

  3. #3
    Forum Member kathryn's Avatar
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    This sounds like an amazing trip!

    Quote Originally Posted by caitirilt View Post
    Im thinking of checking a bag for the first time inwell, maybe a decade! Any thoughts on this mini-dilemma?)
    Based on the situation you describe, you should definitely check a bag, both for the extra homey items you want to bring and for the delightful souvenirs you will certainly be bringing home! Since you'll be in just one location while you're in France, no need to worry about being mobile with all you possessions every few days as many of us are on vacations in Europe. Stash the suitcase you'll check under your bed, and then forget about it until you're packing to go home (and filling it with wine LOL). You can use the A30 for any overnights you may take while in France.

    Quote Originally Posted by caitirilt View Post
    • A container for keeping makeup items tidy, rather than keeping everything in my toiletry bag
    • More in the way of "facial treatments" (masks, etc. that I use once or twice a week)
    • The above-mentioned yoga mat
    • A dedicated alarm clock (I don't like using my phone but do when traveling for shorter periods)
    • More generally, packing clothes for "mixing and matching," whereas I usually plan my packing around "outfits" and re-wear them as needed.
    • Travel Tray would be perfect for this, IMO
    • In your shoes, I would take the opportunity to buy some facial tx in France, though you run the risk of falling in love with something you can't get back at home (ask me how I know)
    • I have a travel yoga mat that provides grip, but no cushioning, and you could definitely use something like that, but as I said above you should probably check a bag anyway, making it possible to bring your regular mat
    • I only ever use my phone for this (both traveling and at home), but before I had a smart phone I'd just pick up a small, basic alarm clock from the travel aisle at Target (and replace it the same way when I lost/broke mine). They typically take one AA battery that lasts for months.
    • You may have done this already, but Google, and search this forum as well, for capsule wardrobe. I've found this concept enticing, though I haven't managed to put it into full practice at home yet.
    "I'm more of a creative problem solver with good taste and a soft spot for logistical nightmares. ― Maria Semple, Where'd You Go, Bernadette

  4. #4
    Forum Member Muni_Jedi's Avatar
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    For something like a yoga mat I would just purchase upon arrival. Yoga is wide spread and it may save you some packing angst to not have to find space for it.

    I don't know how heavy a sleeper you are but this alarm clock is very small and has served me well.

    As for packing for more than a week or 2 I don't change the clothes packing as laundry becomes a necessity. However, I do include more personalish items to make the place I'm staying more homey. I might include analog photos to put up or other luxuries I may exclude on a short trip.

    I can't help with the masks or make up as I don't use them.

  5. #5
    Forum Member kathryn's Avatar
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    @Muni_Jedi that alarm clock is adorable, and almost makes me reconsider no longer carrying one when I travel
    "I'm more of a creative problem solver with good taste and a soft spot for logistical nightmares. ― Maria Semple, Where'd You Go, Bernadette

  6. #6
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    Since you are staying in one place, checking a bag would be fine. But you still need a bag for side trips.

    What I would do is pack my A30 and then put it into a larger bag for checking.
    Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers. http://www.1bag1world.com

    Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kathryn View Post
    • In your shoes, I would take the opportunity to buy some facial tx in France, though you run the risk of falling in love with something you can't get back at home (ask me how I know)
    I'd love to know if you have any favorites! And thanks for the capsule wardrobe tip, I can see the hours falling away (pleasantly)...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muni_Jedi View Post

    I don't know how heavy a sleeper you are but this alarm clock is very small and has served me well.
    Nice! I use this one, which I really like.

  9. #9
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    Wow - two months in france in the summer sounds absolutely lovely!

    Like the other people posted - I would definitly bring a check in bag since you are staying in one place. The extra room will come in handy on the way back I'm sure!

    On a practical note (this is based on my working in france 2007 so it's probaby changed but may be worth looking into): you probably know all this - but I can recommend to bring stuff like nyquil, neosporin etc. (or your nationality's drugs of choice) if you use it. It is all pretty much available in France, but they will have different brand names and I always wonder about dosage etc.

    Also back in 2007 you could not find dryer sheets in Paris except for speciality stores (also not many driers so made sense I guess) so I used to pack some of those.

    Other that that I'm sadly not much help - I tend to not bring much at all. (But then since I am Swedish I can pretty much just hit up an IKEA anywhere, pick up a few things, and feel like home instantly ).

    Although - Last time I stayed gone for 4 weeks for work in one place I did wished I'd brought my pillow (tempur) with me. The hotell pillows killed my neck, so I ended up buying one there.

    Enjoy your stay!

  10. #10
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    +1 BYO pillow
    Plus I always travel with a pillowcase or two from home. The fabric/smell is familiar and you can use the pillow cases as dirty clothes bags on the way home.

  11. #11
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    + ditto on BYO pillow, I am pickier now than I used to be an allergic to down pillows. I'd say a blanket but that would be so bulky, so maybe a shawl that can double as a throw? And I love the idea of bringing a few pictures. You could always buy frames once you arrive. When I used to travel weekly for work, I brought a small tri-fold picture frame made of leather, that was easy to set on the nightstand in my hotel room.

    For 2 months (how lovely!) I'd consider taking fewer outfits and plan to buy 1-2 while over there, both as mementoes and because I would personally be bored wearing the same outfits for 2 months. But maybe bring an extra pair of shoes? Say, hiking shoes, or dress shoes, depending on how you will be entertaining yourself.

    I would bring a full supply of any prescription meds, and perhaps your doctor will write you a "just-in-case" Rx of antibiotics. Yes, there is health care in France, but on the off-chance you are ill on a weekend, or far from a doctor, it might be nice to have the option. By the same token, I'd keep a first-aid kit handy with over-the-counter remedies, in case you are under the weather and just don't feel like looking for a pharmacy in your new neighborhood (or don't yet know people who will run that errand for you). You might also write down the location of the nearest hospital to where you will be staying, and ask colleagues for a doctor recommendation. Just my two cents, I am a little paranoid like that!

    When I lived in Spain for 3 months, my roommate went to a nearby thrift store and bought a bike for the duration, then sold it back when he left. Great workout and commuting option.

    My mom has done something similar as she frequently visits Stockholm for extended periods. For small kitchen appliances and the like she stops at the thrift store to see if they have what she needs, before buying new. Might also be great for outdoor gear, should you need it. (Not sure if this is applicable in France?)

    Have a fabulous trip!!
    Last edited by haraya; 04-05-2017 at 09:59 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muni_Jedi View Post

    I don't know how heavy a sleeper you are but this alarm clock is very small and has served me well.
    Are you sure this is the alarm clock you use? It says there is no alarm feature.
    Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers. http://www.1bag1world.com

    Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

  13. #13
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    I don't know that I'd bring a minimal amount of toiletries. I lived in what I considered a non-touristy neighborhood in the 15e of Paris in 2012, and I had a Sephora and a Kiehl's within a couple blocks. I was there for about 6 months from January-June, and I brought way too much stuff. I found the pharmacists very helpful, as long as you can speak a little French. And, at least in Paris, there are plenty of inexpensive places, e.g., Monoprix, to shop for things like a yoga mat.

  14. #14
    Forum Member Muni_Jedi's Avatar
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    Perhaps I linked the wrong product 😕. I have a very similar product that includes an alarm.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muni_Jedi View Post
    Perhaps I linked the wrong product 😕. I have a very similar product that includes an alarm.
    Could you look at it to get the exact name and model?
    Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers. http://www.1bag1world.com

    Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

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