If you’ve been reading this little ole blog of mine for a while, you know that we own and operate a B&B in southern Oregon – and you know that when we’re not hosting guests, we’re out traveling the world.  We’re learning to streamline and we’re constantly looking for the perfect backpacks.

Anyway,  I’ve also mentioned a time or two that I am surrounded by travelers on a daily basis.  It’s a good thing to meet and connect with so many people; and to learn about them and where they’re going or where they’re returning from.

The Arm Chair Traveler

Some guests have traveled to every corner of the world while others prefer to travel from the comfort of their arm chairs with the occasional weekend get-a-way.  As an innkeeper you might imagine I could tell a few “behind the kitchen door” stories, and you’d be right; although it’s best not to tell too many tales.  But, a couple of days ago I posted a comment on my Facebook page that garnered quite a few responses, some of which were very funny and it got me to thinking about… stuff.

Too Much Stuff

That ever-growing, mostly consuming, “Oh my gosh I’ve got to have that” stuff.  Tell the truth, you’ve watched at least one episode of Hoarders, right? Okay, so I’m not talking about hoarders, but I am talking about stuff – specifically about packing and toting w-a-y too much stuff.

Not that I have all of the answers, but this is what we packed when we spent 3 weeks in Paris followed by 1 week in Washington, D.C. and while we didn’t think we had too much stuff with us, we want to find an even more streamlined packing system.  Those two blue bags are no more.  They tend to be off balance and are constantly falling over.  Does that happen to you?  Does it annoy you as much as it annoys me?

Two continents, Two cities, Two people, Two bags, Two backpacks... and we're off!

Two continents, Two cities, Two people, Two bags, Two backpacks…

The Perfect Carry On & Backpacks

The backpacks go on the plane with us – always – because in our backpacks are all of the things that must stay with us; the things we can’t do without. If you think about it, that’s a very short list and beyond that short list, everything else is totally and easily replaceable.  Truth be told we’re shopping for two new bags (to replace the blue beauties) that we can also carry on with us.  We are – in essence – looking for the perfect carry on bag.  Got any suggestions for us?

Finding just the right bag! Photo credit: www.carryology.com

Finding just the right bag! Photo credit: www.carryology.com

Lighten Up!

Anyway, my point is – lighten up!  I cannot tell you how many of our guests schlep in multiple huge bags – you know the large economy size bag one would pack when relocating permanently to the other side of the world – for a 2, maybe 3 night stay, and sometimes even for an overnight stay.  They make maybe 3 or 4 trips to the car before they finally settle into their room for the night.

She needs a packing intervention!

She needs a packing intervention!

A Lunch Bag Will Do

And coolers… don’t get me started on coolers.  Why do we feel the need to carry a portable refrigerator with us?  Unless you’re headed out into the wilderness for days on end, no one is going to starve on a road trip in this country.  I promise.  And here’s a tip from the innkeeper: if you travel with medication that needs to be kept cool, buy yourself a small padded lunch bag and a cute animal-shaped blue ice pack, it’s so much easier than lugging around a cooler.

So much easier than hauling around a cooler! Photo credit: Packit

Super cute and so much easier than hauling around a cooler!
Photo credit: Packit

Let it Go!

When traveling (and sometimes in life) we just don’t need all of that stuff.  Let it go!  I think it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself.  Ask my friend, Kerri over at Travel Junkies who was an admitted over packer until she started hauling her stuff around Europe for the past 10 months.

Depending on your destination, grab a pair jeans or shorts, a couple of shirts, your toothbrush and call it a day.  Okay, that’s a short list, but you get my drift, right?  Who cares if you’re wearing the same shirt in every photo?  You’re traveling, it’s expected.  And by all means, avoid the “what if” questions.  You know what I’m talking about – what if I dribble on my shirt, so I better pack 10 more, or what if I tear my jeans, so I better take an extra pair?  What if I run out of shampoo so I better pack the large economy size bottle.  You know what I’m going to say next, right?

To read more of my travel tips – with a more serious message – read my post titled, “Educated, not Paranoid.”

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