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« Biking in the Netherlands | Main | BFTP: Lessons learned from bicycling »

Trip preparations

Off early tomorrow morning for a nearly 2 week trip to Europe. As always before I travel, my mind is pretty much consumed by preparations. You'd think after the amount of travelling I have done (53 countries, over a million air miles), I'd be more confident about being organized. But no, my 3am wonderings are usually mentally listing the things I've not packed, the bookings I should have made, the research I could have done.

I apply somewhat the same advice about leaving the house wearing clean underwear since you never know when you might be in an accident and,bring shame on the family name if your Jockeys are not pristine to leaving on an extended absence. I like leaving a clean house, because you just never know if it might be your next of kin who winds up next opening the front door. And no one wants to be remembered as a slob. So I...

  • Have everything thing picked up
  • Floors and surfaces clean
  • All laundry done
  • All dishes washed and put away
  • Clean bedding on the beds and towels in the bathroom
  • Empty garbage and recycling containers
  • Any food that can spoil gone
  • Bird feeders filled
  • Garage swept
  • Evidence of any criminal activities well-hidden (just kidding, Mom)

I would like to think my children can have a realtor show the place the day following the report of my demise.

Packing rarely takes too long. Unless I am speaking and need business clothes or engaging in an activity that requires special gear (hiking poles, bike helmet, snorkel and fins), I always go with just a small backpack and a rollybag*. I recently purchased a combo - a bag with both wheels and backpack straps that has a small backpack that can be attached to it. It survived one trip.

This trip was a challenging pack since I needed to bring my bike helmet and enough clothes to last nearly two weeks since I did not see a good day to do a load of wash during the bike ride. It's a tight pack! I keep watching YouTube programs that promise miraculous packing advice and find myself annoyed at spent time with badly shot videos that only state the obvious. The only hint I have which does not merit its own video is to bring an old washcloth and a Baggie with you since most European hotels don't supply them. 

I have never been a victim of a crime while traveling - knock wood. I owe that, I believe, to never getting drunk and always being back in my lodging before 10pm. I am however bringing a fake wallet ($2 at Goodwill) on this trip. The theory is that if you get mugged, you give the thief the fake wallet with just a little money it while you have your real wallet safely hidden somewhere else on your person. My fake wallet, for authenticity purposes, also contains my public library card and a couple gift cards with very small balances. The thief's disappointment will be palpable. 

And remember Evan Esar's famous words, "A vacation is like love – 
anticipated with pleasure, 
experienced with discomfort, 
and remembered with nostalgia." So true, so true. Now to remember to leave my little Swiss Army knife at home...

 * Johnson's 3 rules of travel

  • Only take what you can carry in one load
  • Always bring a book to read
  • Never eat what you can't translate 


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Reader Comments (2)

I hope you have a wonderful trip! My hubby and I are leaving tomorrow for Europe and will be gone a month. Maybe we will cross paths at some point! Have a safe trip!

April 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPat Hensley

What do I need to do to prepare for a bike ride to Leh Ladakh?

May 10, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterpreeti singh

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