Packing Light & Right with Sarah Murdoch

Packing Light & Right with Sarah Murdoch

So, today what I’m going to be
demonstrating is sort of a philosophy of mine, and I think it’s a philosophy that
Rick would share as well, about how to pack, and pack light, and pack the things
only that you really, truly need. So what we’re going to do is, I’m
going to go through all of the bag options, I’m gonna go through clothes, I’m going to go through electronics, all of
the things you might consider bringing with you on your trip. One thing I would like to say, first of
all though, is that, as a tour guide, I’ve been working for Rick for about 15 years,
and packing has become something of an obsession for me. I know it sounds a little bit strange,
I’ve even started to blog about it, and a lot of things today that I’m going to talk
about you can see on my website, its I’ve
written in-depth articles on all of the different topics I’m going to talk about
today, so. Also a packing list, you’ll be able to find on that website. You can
find on Rick’s website at, his version of the packing list, as well. We have slightly different views, but I
think that it’s nice to compare the two and come up with your own list of things
that you want to do. So this is my, almost, 16th year of
tour guiding for Rick Steves all over Europe, working on guidebooks, working on
blogs. I’m an architect as well, and a mom, and I think the mom part is the most
important, because I know how to be prepared for almost every occasion, and I
hope that in the packing today, you’re going to learn a thing or two so that
you can always be prepared in your packing. So this is the bag that I’m going to
show you today, and we’ll talk about bags briefly in just a minute, but what I want to start with is philosophy. First of all, the philosophy for this
talk today is packing light. Pack light, pack light, pack light. Tattoo that on
your eyelids, please. Remember, pack light. And the one thing, if you take only one
sentence away from the next hour, what I want you to take away is, “nobody ever
said ‘I wish I had brought more.'” That is not a thing that has ever
happened, nobody has ever said that. So, what you should do, is pack to the
absolute least that you can possibly manage. What I am packing to here today is 16
pounds. 16 pounds total, and the reason that that is the number, the magic number, for me is that a lot of airlines in Europe choose that as
their target number. 8 kilo is the most that you can carry on. So carry-on is the other main important
topic we’re going to talk about today. Everything we’re talking about today is
not about check bags, we’re talking about carry-on items. The reason you want to carry on is
pretty easy, people lose their bags. And this happened
to me recently, I had three or four people just in the fall season on my
tours lose their bags. And the problem with that, is that they spent two or
three days wrangling with airlines, and debating
with airlines, and trying to figure things out. And in in one case, at great expense, they had
their bags delivered to them at a later point on on the tour. So what I would think is better for
everyone is just bring only what you can carry on. Don’t look at the restrictions
from the airline as being something negative, think about it as something positive,
something that’s helping you to actually restrict what you bring. Now, the first time I went to Europe I
was 11 years old. I went with my parents, it was in the eighties, and my bag was
bigger than my own body. it was, I would say, about this big, it had
a leash like a dog, and I could actually have ridden it had I wanted to, it was
so huge. And of course, because I had a bag that big, I filled it. I filled it
with everything an 11 year old could possibly need. I put in stuffed animals, and books, and
everything like this, not thinking, “oh well I don’t really need all that stuff,”
and probably half of it I never even used, because I was too busy traveling.
But that was kind of the way of things back in the eighties, if you traveled
back then you probably have the same bag. And in fact, bags have changed even just
in the past 15 years since I’ve been doing this job for Rick Steves. The bag
that I started out with, it was a Rick Steves bag, I just took on a trip with me
last week and it was too big to get on the carry-on of the airplane. So, even just in the last few years, the
airlines have gotten more and more strict about the size. But that’s great,
because that means that you don’t need to carry as much with you. So look at the restrictions as being
your friend, not your enemy. So that’s what we’re going to really
talk about today, is how to get the most that you can out of the small amount of
space and weight that you have allotted. A lot of people who are on my tours, and
there’s a few in the audience today, think of me as Mary Poppins. Now you know
Mary Poppins, right? The reason they think of me as Mary
Poppins, is that my bag has so much in it that they never seen me in the same
outfit twice, even on a 15 or 20 date tour, I have a new
outfit on every day, and that may seem impossible, but it’s absolutely possible.
And that’s what I want to show you today, because what I’m going to tell you, is
that you don’t need to bring less things necessarily, it’s just you need to pack
smart. Less is always better, of course, as I said you can never bring too little in
a certain sense, but I think that if you want to bring a variety of things, you
can maximize your space and your weight, by paying attention to the size and the
weight of the things that you bring. So let’s get started with some of our tools,
shall we. First of all, my most important tool in
this endeavor is going to be my scale. This is a little product you can get at
a bunch of different places, I think Amazon carries it, and this is something that you take, and
after you’ve packed your bag fully, you take it and you strap it to the top
handle, you latch it on like so, and then you pick it up, and then that’s going to
tell you exactly how much it weighs. And like I said, most airlines, they say
the max is eight kilo or more or less sixteen pounds, okay. That may not be the weight that you
need to pack to, because here is my personal suggestion for you, don’t pay
attention to that 16 pounds, make that your maximum, but every person in this
audience can lift a different amount. I’m six foot two and not a small girl, I
can easily live 16 pounds without a problem. A lot of you in this audience may not be
able to do that. Consider the fact that when you get on the airplane, what’s the first thing you have to do
with your carry-on? You have to do this. Can all of you do that? Can you hold it
like this for five minutes while somebody jockeys around all the
other luggage in the overhead compartment? Can you do that? That’s the question. So
that is the number one question you need to ask yourself. Don’t wait and say, “oh it’s 16 pounds, I
can manage it.” Pack it, pack everything that you need, and then lift it over your
head and see if that’s even a possibility. If it’s not a possibility to
lift it over your head, then you know you need to reduce. One of
the tactics I like to do, is to pack my bag about, oh I don’t know, two or three weeks ahead
of time, this is how specific I am, and then I have my best girlfriend come
over a few days later, and we go through everything. We take out every piece of
clothing, every toiletry item, everything. And she critiques it, and she
says, “you don’t need that, you don’t need that, you don’t need that.” So, that means that even somebody who’s
been doing this professionally for half of their life, still can take stuff out
of the bag. So that’s a tip for you, that there’s
always room for you to take things out of your bag and keep the weight light. So that’s going to be the philosophy
we’re going to employ. Now, to kind of make it all work, I suggest you use this. This is a packing–or a kitchen scale. This is just something I found in my
kitchen, it’s for flour. I think it’s a wonderful little thing that you can use
to be sure that everything that goes in your bag doesn’t weigh much. If you’ve ever been into hiking, or
camping, backpacking with exterior frame backpacks, you probably know how to do this already.
You weigh everything, because every single thing you put in there counts. So this is how specific I am. I weigh
everything that goes in my bag, and I write the weight on it in a Sharpie. All of my clothes, all of my everything
that goes in there. And what that does, is it helps me make some really easy
decisions. If I have a range of things set out that I’m trying to thin, I can
just check the weight on each of them and the heaviest things go. It sort of, like, takes the, the decision
out of your hands. You don’t have to be the one who decides what to take out, it’s
the weight that’s deciding for you. So this is a really handy dandy thing,
you probably already have one in your own home, a little kitchen scale like
this, that you can use, that you can get started with. So that’s a little bit about my
philosophy, pack light pack light, pack light, carry-on only, bring
only what you absolutely positively need, and remember that nobody ever said that
they wish they would have brought more. Nobody has ever said that. And remember
that you can also buy things that you’ve forgotten when you arrive at your
destination. All over the world, you can buy clothes, underwear, shampoo, so
these are the things you can just remember, don’t take any more than you
absolutely, possibly need, okay? So that’s my philosophy. Next thing that we’re going to talk about, is we’re
going to talk about bags, and what bag you should take. The bags, I think, are
important in terms of size because of the changing restrictions with airlines.
So the most important thing you’re going to need to do, is to be sure to choose
something that is up to the current standards of the airline you’re going to
fly on. Now don’t just look at the American Airlines, let’s say you’re
flying on Delta and you’re going to Amsterdam. If you look at their
restrictions, they’re going to tell you that you can carry on something like 25
pounds. Now who in this audience can carry 25 pounds and put it over their
head? That’s actually quite a lot. Some people can, some people can’t. So, what
you have to do is look at the restrictions for your particular airline,
especially the size and the dimension. A lot of the airlines in Europe, the budget
one such as Ryanair, have kind of a little scam that they do. They sell you a
ticket for 10 euros you can fly from Rome to Stockholm for 10 euros, which is
a ridiculous price. But the way they get you, is that you in the fine print, it
says you can only bring a bag of a certain dimension. When you look at that
certain dimension, you probably don’t own a bag of that dimension, and when you
get there you’re gonna find that they’re gonna slap you with the 60 or 70 euro
fee, because your bag is too big. So these are the things you have to be very
careful about. Look at all of the airlines you plan to fly with, look at
their baggage restrictions before you even start packing, and take the
measurements of your bag. The other tricky thing is, that after you pack it,
you need to take the dimensions again. Because, in this particular case, when I
packed this bag it was much smaller, and now that it has things in it, it’s gone up
this way, it’s gotten fatter this direction. So now I have to take the
dimensions again, and make sure that it’s still staying within the restrictions of
the airline I’m flying on. So that’s the main thing that you need to consider, is
it going to work for the airline you’re flying on as a carry-on bag. These
pockets are pretty deadly, but here’s a little trick. If you get to the airline
and you’re about to get on, and they measure and they say, “oh it’s too heavy,
oh it’s too fat,” here’s what I do. I take my bag to the
bathroom, I open it up, and I take out all of my
clothes and put them all on, because they don’t worry me personally, they don’t
have a scale before I get on and say, “oh you’re too heavy”. And what I tech– typically will do, is when I go into the
bathroom and I try to make my bag skinnier or lighter, I’ll take out the
things that weigh the most. And the things that weigh the most are pretty simple; its shoes
and toiletries. I’ll take those out and stick em’ into the pockets of my coat, I’ve even
been known to stick them down the back of my pants, and they can’t tell the
difference, maybe I do have a bottom that big, I don’t know, it’s possible. So that’s
what I do when I–to kind of make that that trick work. So if you happen to be
just slightly over dimension or weight for any of these tricky airlines, I think of
those airlines are going to be tricky with us you just need to be tricky right
back at them, and you can play their game and better than they can play it. So five
shirts, three pairs of pants, four pairs of socks, you can stick shoes down the
back of your pants, wear three coats, wear something as a hat, whatever you
need to do, two or three bras, you know, just put it all on and then you have
nothing left in your bag, okay. So that’s my tip. I really, really would like to
suggest when you’re shopping for your bag, not only look at dimension, but type
of bag is very important. And I have, for demonstration purposes today, this type
which is our rolling carry-on bag. This is the one that most of you will buy.
Most of you will buy a rolling bag with wheels. I personally travel with a
backpack, that is just a style thing and it’s something that I think is important,
and I’ll tell you why. This bag is our backpack, and when you pick it up before
you put anything in it, it weighs nothing. It weighs about a pound, maybe a little
bit more. This bag, without anything in it, weighs three or four pounds right off
the bat. So that’s three or four pounds worth of things I can’t add in here,
because of the fact that the bag weighs a lot. Also consider this, if you pack
this to its full weight, 16 pounds, and you put it on your back and you walk
around, your back might hurt, and that’s actually going to be sort of “bad mommy”
sitting there in your ear saying, “uh-uh, you need to take things out of your bag. It
keeps you honest with weight. The problem with these rolling bags, is that people
just fill them up because you don’t have to actually carry it, except for when
you’re getting on an airplane, or going up stairs, or getting on trains, something
something like this. So it’s very easy to over-pack a bag with wheels. So if you do want the bag with wheels
like most people do, just really be careful about the weight. If you are so
bold as to choose a backpack, as I would like to suggest you do, here’s the
benefit. Think about this; you’re late for your plane, the plane doors about to shut,
you’re running through the airport in Paris yelling to them, “I’m coming, I’m
coming,” you want them to stop. With this, are you gonna make it? Or are you gonna make
it with this? You’re gonna make it with this more likely, and that’s why I love
this. This is so much easier for going up and down stairs, I will tell you that
almost all of my groups in Venice come up to me at the end of the day and say,
“finally I understand why you carry a backpack.” And it makes sense, because Venice has about 5,000 bridges going from island to island, and when you’re going
up and down stairs all the time, dragging something with wheels is much
more difficult than just being footloose and fancy free with a backpack. So if you
can deal with a backpack, I would highly suggest giving it a try. Here at our showroom, you can put one on
your back and you can walk around with it and test it to see if that would work
for you. Even just try a backpack in your own home that
you have, put 16 pounds in, and walk around the block and see if that’s even
an option for you to carry on. So that’s going to be your first decision, what
kind of a bag are you going to choose. At Rick Steves we have three different
kinds, actually, we have a third one I don’t have here today ,which might be the
perfect for the undecided. If you can’t decide based on things I just told you,
we have another one that is a rolling backpack, so it has all of the benefits
of the rolling bag, but it also has backpack straps so you can carry it as a
backpack in the moments that you need it. It’s also slightly lighter, so that’s
something to consider for those people who can’t quite be in one camp or the
other, you can choose the one that is the
hybrid between the two, okay. So that’s kind of the big bag choice that I would make.
The next bag choice that you’re going to need to make, is your day bag. Your day bag
is the one you’re going to actually have on your body more often, this is the one
you’re going to be dragging behind you a few days, every few days, you know. This
bag is the one that you’re going to have with you constantly, all the time. This
particular one that I like to use is called the Velocé for iPad. And this is a
nice small bag, it doesn’t take up much space. It has a wonderful little zipper
that unzips along the side here to give you extra space if you happen to
purchase things, not that you would, but if you did you have a little bit of
extra room to put things in there. I also like this because this is a bag
that is a messenger style bag. Now men are looking at this going, “that’s a purse.” No,
it’s not a purse, it is also a man bag, and I want you to love the man bag,
so please love the man bag. Here is how you carry this bag when you are in
Europe. You carry it across yourself like this, and the reason you carry it across
yourself like this is that this is the most comfortable position, first of all, look
I can just kind of chill and put my hand like this, so it’s a nice place to rest
my hand. But I’m also holding onto my bag so that anybody who might want to steal
from me will think twice. Okay, I know I’m a very
large woman and kind of scary looking, but it is also nice that I have my hand right
here, because I’m keeping anybody from approaching my bag and trying to put
their hand in, ’cause my arm is already over the top, okay. That’s one reason I really love
messenger style bags, they’re really nice for security purposes I also like them
because they’re always right in front of you, and the other reason is something
you may not know. A lot of museums these days will not allow backpacks in, and it
doesn’t matter the size of backpack that you have, it could be a big backpack
such as the carry on one, or it could be a small one, the one like Rick carries
here, which is just a tiny backpack. These are the same size, but at museums throughout
Europe, they look at this one and they go, “oh that’s a backpack, go put that into
the depository, oh no that’s a purse, that can stay on you.” So this is why I
suggest for all travelers, men and women, to think about a bag like this, a
messenger style bag, because you don’t need to check them when you go into
museums, or churches, St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice for instance is another situation
like that. What’s the logic? Now you may think, “well seems like a very silly sort
of rule because this is the same size as this, why would museums care?” The reason
they care is that, think about this, you’re in the Louvre, and you’re standing around
Michelangelo’s slaves, and you’re enjoying looking at them. When I’m
looking at them like this, with my hand on my bag, I know where my bag is. If I’m
looking at them and I have a backpack on that’s extended out, oh I don’t know,
probably this far, and I turn around to talk to the person I’m traveling with,
that backpack could very well whack that piece of art and knock it over. There have been a
lot of things in the news recently about people who have scratched paintings with the same thing, with a backpack or some other item they didn’t notice, they
accidentally scratched a painting. So a lot of museums are very cautious now about backpacks, because you
are not aware of where they are on your back–on your body. Also with this, think
about this, if you have a backpack on your back, it’s very easy for somebody to
come and open it up and take things out, and you might not have ever noticed. If you are
really, really concerned about the idea of a bag like this, if it’s not going to
work for you at all, get yourself a backpack, but please think
about the ways you can carry it. You can also do some trickery, like I was talking
about before. Here’s a little trick I teach to a
lot of my tour members, my male tour members. If you’re going into a museum and you
want it to be considered a purse, and not a backpack, you can make the strap as long
as possible and then carry it like a purse, like this, and carry in front of
you. Because that’s all they really want to know is that you’re looking at where
your bag is, and your bag is not in a place where you can scratch things. You can
kind of argue also that it’s a man bag, don’t you suppose, does that look like a man bag,
I think it does little bit, right? One thing I’ve had a lot of men do on my tours, is
that they have gotten into Europe and they have a big backpack, they’re getting
really annoyed with the fact that they keep being asked to check their bags.
They’ll go and they’ll buy one of those cloth shopping sacks, have you seen those? I
think people from Seattle know what those are. A little cloth shopping sack,
you can buy them for a couple of euros from any grocery store in Europe, and
then put your things in that and carry that. They will allow that in any museum
or church. So it’s a little game, I know that sounds funny, but that’s an easy way
to solve that problem. If you really like backpacks and this works well for you, great, just put a little, kind of, fold-up
sack in here that you can put this into, and you can put on your shoulder, okay. Little trick that will work for you,
it works for my tour members and I think it’ll work for you as well. So that’s
sort of the idea behind bags. I would say choose one back–bag that is your
carry-on, and choose one day bag. And try the things you already have, before you
just go into your closet say, “oh I’ll take ones that I bought 20 years ago,”
just keep in mind that all those regulations for carry-ons have changed,
and make sure that the one you have is up to date for the travel, whenever it is
you plan to go. So that’s a little bit about our bags. The next thing we’re going to talk about is what is inside of my day bag. The day bag, I think, is one of the most interesting things that I have here to show you today, because this is all the stuff you need as your survival gear. And we’re going to go through a little bit of what I have in here, so you can understand what a guide needs to be prepared. So I’m gonna move this bag over a little bit. I like to think of the guide bag as sort of the
Girl Guide bag. I think some of you might have been in Girl Scouts, so you know what I’m talking about – “Be prepared for anything.” And this bag truly keeps me prepared for just about anything. It’s not very big, but the thing about today is that
electronics are making it very easy to be prepared for just about anything, in a very small space. So this is a bag that keeps me prepared for anything that might happen with my tour members, anything that might happen on
the road. And I’ll just go through and show you all of the wonderful things that
keep me on my feet, sometimes for 12 or 13 hours a day, no problem at all. So the
first thing I wanted to show you is how this bag sort of works. We have a nice
little flap, an organizer for all of my pens and notebooks, a place to put my
glasses, and then I have sort of a little pocket back here for miscellaneous
things. I like to put a little sheet in here that tells you who this bag belongs to, with my phone number on it in case it gets lost or stolen, I can eventually
get it back, even if I just get the backpack. That worked by the way, I put
this in here and my son used this when we went to Disneyland and somebody
stole the bag and they took the money out, but then they returned it with the
contents, everything else was in there, we just wanted his stuffed animals. So be
sure to put something in your bag like that, that just basically says, “here’s my name,
my phone number, and my email, if this bag is lost or stolen, please, this is where
you return it to.” If you lose your money it’s okay, as long as you get the day bag back.
So that’s the most important thing is having a little tag there, and then your
things that you need just to grab whenever you need them quickly. I like to
put a little bit of change in some of these pockets too, and my money, just for the day. I think
Rick showed you a little bit earlier about the money belts, which is this little
doo-dad here. We all love the money belt, right? Yes? Oh come on, you love the money
belt, it’s so sexy, you know. Couple things about the money belts. This is where
you’re going to keep your most important documents, so this is where you keep your
passport, your credit cards, the bulk of your money, your reservations.
Now, it is not worn like so, right, is this how you wear it? It’s a lovely accessory,
like a fanny pack, right? No, this is not something you’re supposed to wear on the
top of your clothing, you’re supposed to wear it underneath your clothing, that
way nobody will see it. I’ve seen people wear these in all different ways, some
people like the ones that go around their necks, but those ones you can
easily see because you can see the strap. And the idea is, you wanna fool people who
might want to steal from you into thinking you don’t have anything on you.
So this is the best way to keep things safe. You can wear it like this, which is
how it’s intended to be, because think about it, what’s the most sensitive part of
your body? It’s your tummy, if somebody touches your tummy, you’re gonna feel
that, and that’s why we want you to keep it here. If you don’t like it here, you
can also put it so it’s behind you, back here. Now on a dress like this, I
would put this on and it wear underneath my dress and I would just keep it there all
day. I would take all of the money and the things I’m gonna need for my day out, and
put them into the zippered part of my day bag, so I don’t have to go and get
into this during the day. Some people will say, “oh I would never take my
passport with me,” but you should know that in Europe it is required that you
have ID on you at all times. So it is, in theory, something you must have on
you so just do it, just keep your your money belt on you at all times. It’s
much safer than leaving it in a hotel room. I actually have people often leave
them in the safes accidentally, because they forget they put them there or they
forgot the code for the safe. So lot less hassle if you just keep your money belt on
your body at all times. The nice thing about the money belt though, if you get
used to it and you have it here for, let’s say, three weeks every day, you feel
like you’ve grown a pot belly from all the pasta and gelato, right. At the end of your
trip you stop wearing it when you come home, and you go, “ooh I just lost 10 pounds.” Feels nice to have a little flatter
belly. So it’s kind of a way of tricking yourself into thinking that you lost weight. So this is the major thing you have to remember, I think it’s Rick’s top
tip for travel, wear a money belt, always have it on you, keep only your most
important things in here. The things that are not in the money belt, a little bit
of money for your day, maybe even a credit card, something like this, you can
put into one of the pockets here for easy access throughout the day, so you
don’t have to kind of unclothe yourself to go ahead and pay for things, that’s
what I would recommend. So that’s– This little zippered pocket is the place I like to
keep all of that sort of stuff. In here I have my glasses, and my glasses come in a
nice little case, but inside here I also usually have my prescription. I highly
recommend bringing your prescription with you. You don’t have to have it in
paper form, just photograph it with your iPhone, or whatever your camera you have
with you, and then you have the prescription in case you lose your
glasses. As a little tip for packing, I like to multitask with my glasses. These are the kind that turn into
sunglasses in the light. Not a lot of people like these, I know, but I like them
for travel because then it’s only one pair of glasses that I’m bringing. I don’t
need to bring a pair of sunglasses in addition. So just a little packing light
tip, if you’re in the market for new glasses, get the kind that turn into
sunglasses in the light, it really has improved my quality of life for sure
while I’m on the road. In this little pocket here, I have a few fun little
things. I have a stick that is sunscreen, this is really nice to have around when
some days you wake up and it’s cloudy and then in the afternoon it’s really
sunny, so there’s a way to be able to have your sunscreen with you. Also, this doesn’t count toward your
liquids and gels on an airplane. I’ve never had anybody have a problem with a
stick like this. I have a little spot remover, it’s like a tide stick, it’s
the same sort of idea. These are wonderful for people like me, who are
very sloppy, because I obviously love to eat pasta, and when I do I get it all
over me, and this is a nice way to kind of scratch away all the problems. The
other thing that’s nice is you can be a hero to other travelers in restaurants. When you
see somebody who’s slopped all over themselves, you can pull out your
stain stick and go make some new friends, so, I’ve made a lot of friends that way. I
love to carry a little notebook like this, and I learned this from Rick, this
was a little Rick thing that I learned while working on research with him, was
these little Moleskine books like this. These are an awful lot of fun. I just get
the kind that has nothing in them, and I keep them for sketches. If I have a
few minutes, I’ll sit down and I’ll do a little sketching. Uh, you can take glue
dots, these are just these little kind of dots, and you can stick them in here to
put tickets in, you can make it sort of a little small scrapbook. Stick it in your
pocket, they’re so tiny and lightweight you can put them pretty much anywhere.
So they’re just fun as a way to keep a little bit of a scrapbook as you’re going, write
down the time that train departs, that sort of thing. So a pen or pencil and a
little Moleskine book are a nice thing to have. I love to carry a Sharpie,
because you never know when you need to permanently mark something. If you need
to write your name on something, Sharpie’s are very indispensable. And then I also
love to paint, and I found this recently at a shop in Venice, it’s a
paintbrush that goes into its own little tube, like that. So I keep that with me
and a little paint set, so if I have a few minutes, and I’m sitting around, and I
need to waste a little time, I can do a little sketching and painting. So that’s
just a specific thing to me that I enjoy doing. Alright, so on the inside of this bag,
we have some other basics that I like to carry with me. An umbrella–I love red by
the way, when you have a choice of colors to buy, buy red and here’s why-I
forget stuff. I have left probably two thousand umbrellas all over Europe. Not a
problem, as it turns out, because what happens in Europe, if you don’t have an
umbrella and it starts raining, these guys just sort of pop out of the stones,the
cobblestones, and they have five euro umbrellas, and the people in the audience are nodding,
they know, they’ve seen this before. If you travel through Europe, all of a
sudden, in front of you there’s somebody with with a five euro umbrella. So you
can either buy one ahead of time, or you can keep five euros in your pocket when
it looks cloudy, and as soon as it starts to rain just buy yourself a little
umbrella and stick it into your bag. This is a nice one because it’s red and it says
Rick Steves, which is kinda cute, and it will keep you dry and you will not lose
it. And this is the main problem for me, is that I lose them all the time. So
red is a great color for anything that you know you’re going to lose easily. I
like to keep snacks in my bag, I go to Costco before my trip and I grab a
few different things, beef jerky, goldfish, things like this, because you just never
know when you’re going to be a little snacky. I have to tell you a little bit
of a secret shame of mine. When I’m packing this for the airplane, before I
get on the airplane, I usually have junk food that I don’t eat typically like
whoppers or something, and a People magazine, ’cause, you know, sometimes you have to kind of be
a little bad, treat yourself on a plane. So any of the food or the, you know, reading
material that would be a little bit too fancy for normally just go for it. When
you’re on a plane you got 12 hours to kill, just have a good time, and bring yourself some
snacks and some junk food reading material. In my bag, I also like to keep a
pair of headphones. These are headphones that I absolutely adore. if you’re gonna
splurge on a couple of items for your bag, I think headphones are well worth it
because of the airplane, of course. These ones have a lovely silicon gasket, and
that silicon gasket fits right into your ear and it just sort of cradles your ear so you
don’t even feel them. These are really expensive, they’re about a hundred bucks,
but I’ve had them for about a year now and I’ve never had problems with them.
The reason I love them for tours, if you’re going on a tour, is that most tour
companies these days have these transmitters that you wear, and you plug
in headphones to them, and you listen to the guide speaking in your ear, which is
lovely, the problem is that the earbuds that
they give you are really hard, and uncomfortable, and ugly, and they’re just,
they’re awful, and the sound quality is terrible. So if you bring your own
headphones that you can’t even feel in your ear, it’s gonna really increase the
quality of life on your trip. So something if you want to splurge a
little bit, these Bose ones I think they’re called soft comfort or something
like this, you can find them at Target these were a wonderful purchase, and I
really have enjoyed those. So a lot of the products, by the way, that I
mentioning today, if you go to my website you’ll be able to see there’s a list
there, so it’s, and you’ll see that I have some of
these things listed. So I love the headphones, you may have a pair of
headphones you love at home already, some people love the over-the-ear ones. Just
think about that when you’re going to museums, audio guides, guided tours,
sitting on the airplane, you’re gonna have headphones on a lot so be sure that
you have a really comfortable pair before you leave home. In this bag, also, I
carry my extra weight–or extra layer of warmth. And you’re going to see one of
the tips from my clothing, is that I really love to have clothes that you can
layer. I don’t bring a lot of things, but I wear things that can kind of
complement each other, and things that can be layered to keep me extra warm. So
this is just something I got at Costco, and you can get them at Eddie Bauer, LL Bean, a lot of these same places, it’s a little down vest. Really simple down
vest, it has its own little sack that is attached to the back. And this is just my nice
little extra layer of warmth if it happens to be cold. And I always keep
this in my bag, because you just never know when it’s going to get a little bit
chilly. This is the thing that can be at the bottom. It doesn’t weigh anything
also, so I just stuff it into the bottom of the bag and I forget that it’s
entirely. In my bag I also have my phone, and I also have my iPad. This particular
bag was designed for an iPad, and I really like the fact that it is has a
pocket in the back that is padded. If you want to look here, you can see that it’s
got a pad here, and it’s got a pad here, and it’s got a little Velcro strap that
goes over the top to make sure it doesn’t slide out very easily. So that’s
a really nice feature of this bag, you can just pull your iPad out and you got
that right there. Red, do you notice, there’s a theme here,
because I lay my iPad on beds, and I go and I pack my things up, and I have
almost left it a few times. I got this beautiful blue color when I first bought it
’cause I love blue, it’s my favorite color, and the first hotel I stayed in, guess
what color the bedspread was? It was blue, and I walked out of the hotel without my
iPad. So I bought this–once I realized it I went and got my iPad and bought a new
one in red, in the most obnoxious color possible, so that I would be sure never
to do that again. I’ll talk about electronics in the next segment, so you
can I hear more specifically why these are the ones that I choose. But these
stay in my day bag with me all the time. You may notice I don’t have a camera. No
camera in here. I used to carry a camera for many, many years. I would carry the
big one with all the lenses, I would carry little snapshot ones, I tried every
camera there was, I even chose a film camera to bring with me because I like
arty shots, that was maybe about ten years ago I bought that with me. It was a lot
of fun, but it weighed so much that I hated to bring it anywhere. I didn’t like bringing
it to museums, or any place because it hurt my shoulders. I have completely done
away with bringing a camera. If the camera is important to you, then be sure
to bring it, but I find my phone shots are equal to any digital camera that I
have. The other thing I love is taking my phone and automatically uploading them
to a cloud service such as iCloud or the Kindle Cloud, and from there people at
home can see what I’m doing. it’s a really easy way to do it. You can also take
those photos, if you take them with an iPhone, and share them with other people who
have iPhones as well. You can do an Air Drop, so if you take a picture of somebody
just met on the street, you can send them that photo instantly, it’s sort
of a fun thing. So for me the versatility of a smartphone camera far
outweighs the sort of technical quality of a better camera. If photography is
your life and your passion, bring your camera, but just consider that you’re
probably gonna have a hard time checking– going carry-on versus checking. You’ll probably
have to check your bag because most of those cameras weigh a couple of pounds
each, so you’ll have to take something major out
of your bag to be able to fit that stuff. So I’ll leave that up to you, but
this is more or less my kit. So that’s what’s in my day bag,
the one thing that you might also not see other than a camera, is a water
bottle. There are wonderful water bottles you can purchase, the last time I
purchased a beautiful water bottle I lost it within about 10 minutes of
getting on the plane. So I don’t do that anymore, I just buy a water bottle when I
get to Europe. I go to the store and buy the one that has the nicest
shape that will fit in my bag, and I just pop it in there, and if I lose it it’s
fine. I try to bring a water bottle to you fill up as I’m going, certain places
like Italy for instance, there’s always a fountain out somewhere, so I just buy
a water bottle locally, one that will fit nicely in my bag, and that’s how I work
with the water bottle. So that is what is in my day bag, and I think that’s
probably about all that you would need in your day bag as well. Alright, the next thing I would
like to talk about today is electronics. Electronics are a lot of fun to play
with, and I think that we’re all a little too fond of our electronics – what do you
think? I have two children at home and my children and I — it’s always this debate
about the electronics. I sit around and tell them, “Get off your electronics!” as
I’m texting on my phone — you know, it’s sort of one of these horrible, “Do as I
say and not as I do” sort of things. But I love the fact that electronics have
truly changed the way that we travel. The way we travel today is so much easier. You might have noticed if you watched the
earlier segment about a day bag that I didn’t pull a book, a Rick Steves
book, out of my bag. Now, I probably should have because sometimes I do bring them.
If I do bring a Rick Steves book with me, what I’ll do is I’ll cut it up into
pieces. This is something Rick taught me 15 years
ago: I cut out the chapters that I need, and I put them in this little
handy-dandy binder so I only bring the piece of the book that I want. That’s a really good way to go about it.
However, the easier way to go about it is to buy an e-book and to bring a tablet
with you. There are so many different electronics that you can bring with you,
and the problem with them is that if we’re packing light, that can become a
problem in and of its own self because of all the cords and things that you
need for all of your electronics. So this is what I actually bring — this is
absolutely everything, and I keep it as simple as possible. What I have chosen
after doing a lot of different trial and error is: an iPad and an iPhone. I have tried
all different smartphones – Samsung ones, Androids. I have tried Kindles. I have
tried everything, and the reason that I’ve come to this particular combination
is that these two talk to each other, and I really like that they talk to each
other. I like the size for me because I can
easily see things, and they both have a slightly different function. Both of
these have cell phone compatibility in them. This has a chip and this has a chip.
They’re both American chips, but I use them in Europe. I have a plan with
T-Mobile that has a wonderful feature: in Europe you can use your phone and it’s free for data, and it’s free for
texting, and it’s $0.20/minute to call from anywhere to anywhere, which is
a really really good deal. So if you plan to be in Europe for more than a month, I
would consider switching your cellphone provider, because this is a really big
benefit. Consider that AT&T, for instance, they offer, I think it’s $100 just to have a little bit of data. And have you heard those
stories of people who go to Europe and they turn their cell phone data on by
accident and they come home with a $1,000 cell phone bill? It’s
serious, and it’s a real thing, and it happens. So what you need to do before
you go and use your cell phone in Europe is call your provider and check and see
what it is that they have as far as policies abroad. I don’t think I’ve
seen a policy as good as T-mobile in terms of a U.S.-based company. I keep my
same cell phone number when I go to Europe. People who are in Seattle who
want to call me — my phone will ring in Europe as if I was down the street from
them. However, that means that when I’m in
Europe, people can call me whenever they feel like it… which sounds neat, but on the other hand,
some people don’t understand the whole nine-hour time difference thing. I was
in Turkey last year and my dad called me I think three times at 2:00 in
the morning — so just consider that if you keep your same phone number: that means
that everybody can call you, and maybe that’s not what you want. So I’ll leave
that up to you. It is possible, if you don’t want to get a new plan from
someplace like T-mobile, you can get a chip when you get to your destination. I
have a plan through Vodafone with an Italian local chip. The reason I use that
one is if I’m in Italy exclusively for a month or two, I like to have an Italian
phone number. People in Italy don’t like calling an American phone number. You can imagine it costs them €1/minute or something to call my phone, and costs them a couple of Euros to text me. So it’s much cheaper when I’m in the same country for
a long time. So that’s the caveat I would have: If you’re going to do a
multi-country trip, you’re going to be gone for a month, think about changing
your U.S. provider to something more Europe-friendly If you’re going to be in one
country exclusively for a month or two, I would recommend getting a local chip, and
many of those local chips allow you to do a pay-as-you-go system. My T-Mobile
chip doesn’t do pay-as-you-go but it’s a month-to-month. The Vodafone is, I think,
€15/month for a basic service and the chip only cost me €50 to start. So for
€20 — 20 bucks, more or less — you can have a local number, which might
work well for you. My tablet also has a chip in it, and I can
use that in Europe for free with my T-Mobile plan. Yeah, having a local provider has not
worked out so well for me. The chip that I had from Vodafone cost me a fortune. It
was €20/month, and when I left Europe – err, left Italy, it was €6/day. That was a fortune, and so I stopped using it. So, think about that:
you really have to research these plans carefully. So, I just have the same chip in
it. It’s pretty slow, I have to tell you — it’s not really the best Internet ever.
But it’s fine. I can check my email, I can upload pictures. It does kind of basic things for me, and
that’s fine. And then I use it on the Wi-Fi at the hotel when I arrived and as
Rick has mentioned in some of his talks most of the hotels do offer free Wi-Fi
service these days. So that’s what I try to do, is to use the combination of the
chip and a combination of the Wi-Fi. One other thing you can do — not to get too
technical on you — is that you can use your phone to broadcast a Wi-Fi signal
to your tablet. So, if you don’t want to buy a tablet that has a Wi-Fi or cell
phone connection, you can actually turn this into a hotspot. It’s just a setting —
you just hit “go” and it gives you a signal that you can broadcast over to
your tablet. So that means that when you’re choosing a tablet, if you’re
buying one, you can buy a Wi-Fi-only version, which is significantly cheaper
for many people. So you might consider doing that. I do that all the time with my
children with their tablets. If I’m in the car and they want to check
something on their email, I’ll just broadcast a signal to their tablets, and
they only have it for as long as I want. So if you’re taking kids on the road,
that is a really good tip. Get them tablets that don’t have a cell phone signal,
and then you cut off the signal when you think they should be done. So that’s what
I would like to suggest. What I have on each of these is this is my principal
camera. I use this as my camera, I use this as texting, phone calls. And then my
iPad I use mostly for reading books. This is a wonderful way to read books.
You can get all of Rick’s books on here, and this weighs a heck of a lot less
than a big stack of books this tall. So, all of the books on here. You can
access email. Somebody on a tour of mine recently put together a whole slide show
of our tour at the end of the tour. It was a lovely thing. They took photographs
all through the tour, put it up on iCloud, constructed a nice slideshow, and the
last night dinner had a tablet and set it on the table, and everybody got to
watch a slideshow of our adventures together. So there’s a lot of wonderful
things you can do, so this is a great splurge if you don’t have one already. You can
get tablets as cheap as 50 bucks. A Kindle – the cheapest is Kindle HD –
is $50. That’s a really great investment to save you a lot of weight,
and also provide you with some convenience. Some other things I would
recommend: I bring a backup battery now. This I learned the hard way. This was a very sad moment for me. My
phone died last year. The battery died, and I was really stuck, especially
because I was running a tour, and responsible for 30 people, so what am I
going to do? I can’t make phone calls! I ran into a technology store and I bought
this, and I just plugged it in and kept it constantly plugged into my phone, and
it gave my phone at least two more — two more weeks of life, which was enough to
get me by. This is great if you ever forget to charge your electronics, or you
have multiple people in a hotel room and you have only one outlet. You can plug
this in — somebody can plug in their electronic to
this, and they can charge both things at once. Then you put this in your purse,
then you can charge it whenever you need to. And these you can get in all different
charges. This has one full charge of a cell phone. You can get ones that will
charge three times if you load it up. So, it doesn’t weigh much, I would say
probably weighs maybe three ounces — two or three ounces, and that’s well-worth
the space in my bag, just as sort of an emergency back-up. Now, I’m talking about
all these different electronics, and one thing you might wonder is, “Well, how do I
plug these things into the wall? What about the whole — converter,
or plugs, or all of these different strange things?” First of all, in Europe,
this is what a plug looks like, okay? It’s these two round prongs. You’ve probably
seen this before. At home, of course, we have the little blades. So what you need
to do, first of all, is convert the type of prong, alright? Get a new one. Don’t
rely on old ones. If somebody who went to Europe in 1982 says, “I have one of those
I’ll lend you!” don’t take it from them, because the prongs are different size
now. They’re a little bit skinnier, so be sure to get a brand new one. This is an
iPad charger that I just bought because I’m there so often I decided to get the
local one instead of having the adapter. But if you just want to get something
with the adapter, we sell this for just a couple of bucks — buy two or three of them.
They’re really useful. If you lose ’em, it’s okay. If you want to be really nice
and help somebody, you’ll always see people desperate for these in Europe, so
have a pocketful of them and make some friends while you’re on the road, because
everybody wants these, and a lot of people leave them in hotel rooms. But
you just pop it on the end of your electronics, and there you go! You got the
local type of prong. This is not a current converter. This is
a prong converter. A current converter is something that changes the American
current in your electronics to the European standard, which is different. As
I understand it, any electronics that are being made now: this is not a problem. I
can’t guarantee that what you have and what you’re going to take with you is
something that won’t explode when you plug into the wall. And in fact, curling
irons, hair dryers — even today — I have people on tours who regularly blow the
fuse at hotels because they brought the wrong one. So, if you’re going to bring any
electronics, be sure to read your labels and manufacturer things first. But I have —
my understanding is that current converters are something of the past. You should be able to plug your
electronics directly into the wall, but please read your directions. Google that
for the particular product you have ahead of time and make sure. So this pretty much should be all you
need. Rick sells a great little one that I love. This is the British adapter, and
you can plug in the American side here, and then if you’re not in Britain, you
pop off the top and you can just pull out the bottom the adapter and now you
can plug it into the wall. And why I love this is: we have a plug here — you can plug
in something with your regular American prongs, and it’s got a USB port on the
bottom. And that’s what we’re always fighting over, who gets to charge their
electronics first. So this way you can — somebody can be charging their laptop,
and somebody can be charging their iPhone or whatever else they have. Notice
I don’t have a laptop with me. Now this is a very personal thing. Some people
love laptops. I think they’re far too heavy. I’ve tried everything, I really have. and
I’ve done it all for you so you don’t have to do the same things that I did. I
tried netbooks, I tried laptops, I did all of these different things. They just weigh
too much. I don’t want to have anything on my body that I can’t carry for 12
hours at a time, and that’s why I’ve gone to this tablet-sized sort of thing. So I
would highly discourage laptops, unless you absolutely need it for work. It’s
going to weigh you down, and it’s going to be a lot of headache. And the other
problem is, if you bring a laptop, what are you gonna do? You’re gonna be on that
laptop. Are you supposed to be on that laptop when you’re in Europe? No, you’re
supposed to be out enjoying the sights. So all of these electronics I’m showing you, I’m showing you
as tools. Please don’t look at these as being the entertainment, because you’re
paying $10,000 to go to Europe, and if you’re paying that much,
please go and enjoy Europe, rather than sitting around blogging about it — or you
know, organizing your photos, or what have you. You can do that stuff on the plane or when
you get home. So that’s one of the reasons I really discourage laptop use,
is that most people who bring them end up working, and a lot of times they’ll
work at their jobs when they didn’t really need to. So leave the laptop home
if you can, and just go with a tablet or a phone, or some combination of the two.
My last little electronic I wanted to show you is something — completely you
don’t need it — but it’s a nice little luxury. I have a lot of fun with this. This is a Bluetooth speaker. It weighs
almost nothing — weighs, I don’t know, maybe two ounces, three ounces? And this is the
loudest speaker you will find. I love music, and it’s one of the little things
I like to do. It’s a trick for making hotels feel like home. Because, consider: I’m in a hotel
room three months a year. Sometimes only two nights at a go. So when I get into a hotel room, the
first thing I want to do is to make it as homey and comfortable as possible. So
I like to put on a little bit of music at night. I’ll just turn this on and it
has a really good quality of sound and somehow just having the music that you
love the most playing in your room, sometimes I’ll buy flowers of a scent
that I really like — something like that to make it feel a little bit more like
home, because that is my home on the road. So for me, music is my thing. If you like
music as well, this is a great one. This is from a company called LON. There’s
another one made by, I think, Panasonic. It’s a little one that clips on your bag. So
this is a fun extra. You don’t need it, but consider it if you’re really into
music. It definitely helps to make things feel a little bit more comfortable. And
to wrangle all of these electronics, I recommend finding little sacks like this. Rick has a couple in the bag — if you
get one of these bags, they’re just little mesh sacks that you can stuff. I
like this one because it has a little zipper on it, and it’s got a clip at the
top, so I can clip it inside of my bag, and I have all my electronics in one
place, and I can just grab the end of this and pull it out and find my
charging cords and all this kind of stuff. So, find some sort of sack that
works for you, for all of your electronic cords and chargers, and keep them in one
place, because that is a sadness that I don’t think I see in any other way: is
tour members leave the hotel and go, “I left all my chargers and chords! What
are we going to do?!” And I just want to assure you, if you do
that — if you leave your chargers and your cords accidentally in a hotel room, which
you very well may — consider that there are electronic stores in Europe. They’re
all over the world. In fact, you can find Apple stores just about anywhere. You can
replace all of these things. Because we think we love our cell phones?! You ain’t seen nothing. You should go to
Europe. They love their cell phones even more. So I recommend doing that to be
able to wrangle through things. So that’s my recommendation as far as electronics
goes. Next we’re going to talk about
clothes — this is kind of the fun thing — and toiletries. I’m gonna start off with
toiletries, and I’m going to kind of go through those quickly, and show you a
little bit of what to bring. Toiletries are very personal, and toiletries can
take up a lot of your space and time so I’m going to show you just my idea of
what you should bring. Men, of course, this is my where you might want to drift off. I’m sure you won’t want to bring the
same toiletries that I’m bringing, but I have to tell you once I get to clothes
and things, honestly, men and women have very similar things as far as what they
need in their bag. So this is where I get to the big bag, and the first thing I
want you to notice about the big bag when I open it up is how it looks pretty
organized. This is something that I have really become a devotee of, and it’s the
packing cube idea, okay? So, Rick sells these. A bunch of
different companies do, too. These are nice because they’re sized to fit inside of our
luggage. And what I do is: I choose a cube for each type of thing that I want to
have. So my shoes go into this pocket, my tops are in here, my underwear and other
kinds of things go in here, and then in here I have my toiletries kit — and it
all is like a puzzle, it just fits in there. And if you look at that and think, “I
could never be that organized,” let me tell you that my eleven-year-old son
does it all the time, and he’s a pro at this. So if an eleven-year-old can do it,
I think you can do it too. So this is how we’re going to get
organized. Toiletries kits come in a variety of different sizes. This one is
kind of a nice size because it has lots of space and it has a little hook that
you can hook up and hang onto any kind of shower rod or anything like that, and it
has a nice mirror in case there’s not a very good mirror in your hotel room. In
the pockets I have all the basic things. Now remember that with the toiletries
kit, you cannot carry it like this on the airplane. You have to take all the
liquids and put them into a Ziploc bag, so just remember that when you’re
getting on the plane: separate your liquids out, put them into a Ziploc, put
them into your carry-on bag in an easy place to reach. You can separate those
out. Once you’re rolling in Europe you can just organize it like this. What I have in here is: I have shampoo
and conditioner, three ounces. I have searched everywhere for the perfect
containers — still haven’t found the perfect containers. I love the ones that
had these suction cups you could stick to things, they were so cool, but then I
left them places because I stuck them to things and then I forgot them. So yeah, these
were just cheap ones from Target. I just look in the travel
section and see if I can find the coolest-looking container, and I reuse
them. Three ounces is your maximum — bring the maximum amount. Don’t
bring the whole bottle, though, because consider you don’t need it, because the whole
bottle is going to take up too much space in your bag anyway, and you can’t
carry it on. So, three ounce maximum, refill as you go. I often use hotel shampoo. It’s
fine. I use hotel shampoo also for washing clothes. If I need to wash my
underwear or my bras or my socks I’ll just do a little bit of washing
with the hotel shampoo and the sink does just fine. You don’t need to bring a
separate travel wash if you don’t want to do that. Also in here I have my
pills in a little Altoids container. I don’t know if that’s technically legal. I
know you’re supposed to keep them in their original pill bottles, but what I
do is I photograph my prescriptions with my phone, so I do have a
prescription with me, and then I just keep my my medication in this little tin,
and keep it in my bag. It’s just handy and quick. I carry a comb and sometimes I’ll
just crack the comb in half I only need half of it, that’s how specific I am
about packing light. I don’t need this part. I’m just gonna
break it off and take the other half. So that’s something you can decide if you
need that. I carry contacts that are dailies. This is a really nice tip if you
wear contacts. The dailies are wonderful because you don’t need to bring any of
the liquid — the solution — with you. You pop them in and then you take them out and
throw away the end of the day. They’re so comfortable, I love them. This was the
best solution that my optometrist came up with, knowing what my lifestyle is
like, and it’s really changed the way I do tours, so I highly recommend that. Face
cream — I recommend face cream for men and for women. I know that sounds funny, but
if men can get in the habit of doing this it’s really good for you, because in
the morning get out of the shower just get in the habit of putting on face
cream. You’re going to be in the sun a lot more than you’re used to, and you
won’t even realize it, and I see so many men out there with red faces at the end
of the day, and I see some women in the audience nodding. Get in the habit of
getting a sunscreen to put on when you get out of the shower, and that way, you’re not going to have that problem at
the end of the day. Put a little bit of face cream on. It’s not a beauty
treatment. It’s to keep you from getting a nice sunburn or red lobster look at the
end of your trip. So I like to choose a container that is really flat, so I’m
almost more concerned about the container than the type of lotion. It has
to have some sunscreen protection in it, but a nice, flat, easy container that’s
under 3 ounces — ’cause that’s your maximum. And of course, I carry disposable razors
with me, and these are kind of a big problem because razors are very
expensive. I don’t like to bring one so I bring the cheap ones and just throw them
away as I go. You can also buy razors when you’re in
Europe, as well. Something that is kind of an extra, if you want to have more of a
particular detergent: I found these at a travel store. They’re little sheets of
laundry soap. It’s about enough in each sheet to wash one
pair of underwear, but it’s nice and quick and it’s an actual proper laundry
soap, so, kind of a little camping trick there. And then of course you’re going to
have your toothbrush and toothpaste. Look at the drugstores for the biggest tube
of toothpaste you can, because toothpaste comes in mysteriously small quantities,
and I don’t understand this. Have you noticed that? It’s crazy, they come in
like, less than an ounce. It’s 0.8 oz is the biggest container I’ve
been able to find. So look and see if you can find something that’s closer to
three ounces, or bring a couple of different toothpaste tubes with you. You can buy exactly the same toothpaste
that you use at home in Europe, so that’s the other trick: just bring a tiny one
and then to bring a full-size one, get one from a pharmacy when you get to Europe. I
bring my own floss from home. You can also buy this in Europe. So if you’re out,
you can certainly go and find the same product that you use at home, they have
it there. This is my toothbrush. I love this. It’s a sonic toothbrush. Cool, huh? Yeah. I love
this thing. I have really bad teeth and a regular little folding travel toothbrush
has just not done it for me, so I found this little one. I can’t bring my
Sonicare, it weighs too much. It’s a big beast. This is just a little one. It’s not
as good as a real Sonicare but it’s not bad, and it was only about 15 bucks.
It’s been running on the same AAA battery since February and it still works. So, I love it
and I suggest something like that if you have really sensitive teeth or
particular needs. That’s a great — a great find, and lots of travel stores carry that.
As far as makeup goes — now this is the part where the men can take a
snooze, unless you’re into this, I don’t know. I love this base makeup. It’s called
BareMinerals and it’s just a very, very simple powder, and a dermatologist who was
on tour with me once gave me a good tip, which is that you can use this as a
sunscreen as well, because it’s SPF 30. So that’s a great way to start. And then I
also have products that don’t come off. I have waterproof mascara. I have “ColorStay”
lipstick that never comes off. It’s 12-hour, it’ll stay on your lips — and that
is true. I have tested it. And then I also have a little thing of perfume in a
little roller like this, and just a tiny little eyeshadow for when I’m feeling
frisky, if I wanna feel pretty. It’s nice to take a little bit of makeup.
I don’t wear a lot of makeup typically, but when I’m in Europe sometimes I like
to feel fancy, and if I want to feel fancy I like to have the equipment to do
it. So that’s pretty much the bare-bones thing. After traveling with a kit
like this for — oh what? 15 years now? This is what I use at home, too. I don’t use anything else. I actually
live out of my little toiletries container in my own bathroom, because
I’ve gotten so used to the fact that you just don’t need as many things as you
think you do. You get used to this lifestyle after a while. We’re gonna take a look now at clothes. Clothes are very subjective, everybody here has a different opinion about what to
bring, everybody’s a different shape and size. The first thing I want you to know
is, do not buy new clothes. Do not go out and buy a TravelSmith whole wardrobe.
You choose whatever it is that you want out of your own closet that works for
you, and that will be fine. The problem with these travel clothes is
that they’re expensive, and they generally make you look like you’re
going on a safari in the Gobi Desert, right? You do not need the vest with many
pockets, or the SPF 50 hat, you don’t need that stuff, and you’re gonna look pretty
silly if you’re going to Europe wearing that stuff. So if you are going on a
safari, please by all means, go buy that stuff, but generally most people don’t. So
please dress the way you would dress at home. It works fine, you probably already have
things that’ll work, but dress light, pack things that are light. I am such a nerd
about this that I actually sew my own clothes, this particular dress I made
myself, because I could not find material that was light enough. So you’re gonna
see in here that there are some pretty light things. I weigh things in this scale,
and I write on the tag in sharpie how much it weighs, and it helps me make some
decisions. First thing to look at is what goes in
the little lingerie sack. Pajamas, that’s up to you, what you wanna do, a little
light weight pajamas. Pleased do bring pajamas, even if you don’t wear
pajamas normally, some people don’t. Just sayin,’ you never know when you might
have to leave your hotel room, share a bathroom, something like this. Bring
something to sleep in, just sayin.’ You’re gonna want to bring underwear. I bring–
this is the sexy part of the show–I bring lightly underwear that are made of
mesh, and I don’t do it to be sexy, I do it because they are made of mesh and
they dry really quickly. I can wash these in the sink, and an hour or two later they’re
completely dry and ready to go. I buy these from the clearance rack at
Nordstrom Rack, that’s why they’re crazy colors, because
I’m just going to use em’ when I’m traveling, and they usually get so trashed
when I’m traveling that I throw them away when I get home. So buy things that
are really lightweight like this, and don’t take up any space. I take a minimum
of seven pairs of underpants, because nothing will make you feel more
disgusting than disgusting underpants. And the way I like to do things is I’ll
take my underpants in the shower and wash them while I wash my body. So that’s
a good tip, to be able to keep up with your underpants and your bras. I usually
bring about three bras and I like to bring a bikini with me, which a lot of
you would disagree with me on this, but I bring a bikini because a bikini can
double as underwear and bra when you’re washing everything else, right? Also if
you’re going to Europe this is what everybody is wearing, they’re wearing
bikinis. This particular one is made by a lingerie manufacturer, and is built like a
bra. So this is something to consider if you’re in the market for a new
bathing suit, get a bikini. And I know all you women are looking at me saying, “I’m
never wearing a bikini,” yeah well you should try it ’cause if you have a one
piece on on the beaches of Europe you might look a little strange. People in
Europe tend to wear bikinis rather than one pieces, so if you’ve ever
wanted to try a bikini in your life, now is your opportunity. And remember
that the eighty five-year-old woman sitting next to you in a bikini is not at all
self conscious, so neither should you be. So please, try the bikini if you’re at all
in the mood. Socks, I bring with me, I love these ones
from Costco, I bet you half the audience is wearing these, you know these
socks, merino wool socks. I bring one pair of very warm, soft socks so that I can
wear them on the plane and anytime it’s really cold, that really helps. And then I
bring just really lightweight little socks like this. Three pairs that wash
and dry really quickly. I like black socks, because you can tuck them in and you
can make them kind of disappear underneath the rest of your clothes. So
that’s what I like in my sack of lingerie. Then, let’s talk quickly about the
trickiest subject. And what’s the subject you all want to know about? What shoes am I wearing. I know this is such a pain. Here my shoes, and I’ll even take off the ones
I’m wearing. And these three just came off the plane, I’m not even kidding, and the
people who went on tour with me this fall can testify to the fact that these are
actually the shoes I wore when I was on tour with them. So these three
pairs, this one here are called Asics Metrolytes, I bought these all by weight. I searched
on the internet, and I looked for the weight. I know you’re laughing at me, but this is
where you’re going to waste the most space and weight in your whole bag. Some
shoes weigh as much as a pound per shoe, and if you’re up 16 pounds total,
that’s a big portion of your bag. These ones way about five ounces each. So I
Googled them, I found them, I really like them, they’re super lightweight and they’re
pretty supportive. To make them extra supportive, I purchased Superfeet. Which are these nice insoles
that have a hard arch. They’re really helpful, and these ones are very light
and comfortable. I have been very happy with these sandals, which are Earth
sandals. You don’t need to get the same sandals, but the idea behind it is,
black tennis shoes, brown sandals. When you have something like this, you have
something to go with everything you own. I try to go with brown shoes and black
shoes, maybe two black shoes, one brown shoe, something like this, and that way it
coordinates with everything you buy. Even men, I would like to really suggest you
bring a lightweight pair of walking shoes and a pair of sandals of some kind. You never know what the temperatures are going to be. It’s especially nice if
you have sandals that can go in water. I don’t love Tevas, but a lot of people do,
and those are a wonderful shoe to be able to wear hiking, and wear in the water, and
be very versatile. These ones are new favorites of mine, and people all over
Europe are wearing them right now. They’re Sketchers, and they’re a memory foam sole,
they’re super comfortable, it’s like walking on marshmallows, and this
particular model looks pretty nice, it looks sort of dressy, I wear it with
skirts and dresses. I hiked up to the top of a castle in Sicily wearing these and
they had a better tread than my tennis shoes. So this is a really nice pair.
Skechers makes them in a whole bunch of different styles for men and for women,
and everybody’s wearing them in Europe right now. They’re super light, very
comfortable, and supportive, and they’re pretty inexpensive too, I think they run
about 50 bucks, so that’s a good idea for shoes. Now none of these shoes may work
for you guys, but all of them might work for you. The problem is, shoes are really
specific to you. Try bunch of different things on, go to two different stores, and
be sure to buy your shoes at least two weeks ahead of time. You need to put them
on, walk, and walk, and walk, do at least two or three miles in them to make sure
that they’re going to be perfect for you. I would wear them every day for at least
two weeks before you leave, because nothing is sadder than having really
unfortunate sort of blisters on your feet, so be sure to do that. Alright so let’s take a look at our
clothes inside here. And again, this is something that is very particular,
everybody’s going to have a different idea. In the top section, I have a cashmere
cardigan. I love cashmere. If you’re going to splurge on something, make it a
cashmere cardigan or something like this because this is a really wonderful weight
for keeping you warm. It doesn’t weigh anything but it’s extra super warm, so I
suggest that, just a simple black cardigan, never goes out of style, you can
wear it a bunch of different ways. I sometimes bring this one instead, this is
a white one, depending on the time of year, with shorter sleeves. So something to
go over the top of an outfit to change it up. Sometimes I’ll bring something
with short sleeves if it’s summertime, This has little pockets in it, and the
idea here is layering. I’m gonna show you in a few minutes how you can layer things.
As far as what’s in here, I have two long sleeve shirts, I have two short sleeve
shirts, I have a couple of a tank tops in here, and the point of this is that I can
put things on underneath, and I can layer them in different ways, and get a lot of
different looks out of my clothes, and I’ll give you a sample in just a second
about that. So that’s kind of what I choose. If you notice, I choose a lot of
different punchy colors too, and that’s because after awhile you’re gonna get
really sick of your clothes. Your clothes you’re gonna be so boring to you.
Sometimes what I’ll bring is, bring half of what I think I need, with the idea
that I’m gonna go buy something. You will buy something, won’t you? I think you will.
So prepare for that, just leave space in your bag, and assume you’re gonna go
shopping and buy something fun and take that home as a souvenir. So maybe take
half of the amount of clothes I’m suggesting, with the intention of going
shopping when you get there. January and July are shopping months in
Europe because that’s when they have sales, so some people will bring a
totally empty bag with them and come home with a totally full one, that’s another
way to go about it, so it’s up to you how you do that. This is a lovely packing
folder that you can get, Eagle Creek sells it, and this is for my flat folds, my
pants, and my dresses. Inside here, you’re going to see that I have two or three
pairs of pants. I have two crop pants, I have one skirt, I have a dress with a
kind of bright pattern that matches all the other things, has blacks and browns
in it. A pair of Capri pants, jeans that are lightweight, now jeans you may be
surprised to see in my bag. You love your jeans, do not tell me you don’t love your
jeans, you love your jeans. I love my jeans, and I’m comfortable in
them, so don’t leave them home, take them with you. I know they weigh a lot, but how
many times can you wear these without having to wash them. Be honest, c’mon, a lot, you can wear these a lot, and you can just kind of spot wash them, so
really it’s not so bad. Take them to the laundromat every couple
of weeks, but spot wash them otherwise. These ones have ankles with zippers
that you can roll up and you can turn them into Capri pants. So something like
that is very versatile, even though it’s heavy it’s very versatile. And then just
some nice beige pants, linen. I like beige linen because it kind of goes with
everything. So these are just some basic ideas, you can dress this up however you
want to do. So you guys want a little fashion show? Let’s do a quick little fashion show, and then I’m gonna show you some
luxuries. A couple of different ways to make things look different, as I was
showing you I have some nice short sleeve things such as this, you can take a short sleeve and put it
over the top, and looks a little bit different. And then you can put on a
scarf, and now it looks a little bit dressier, right? Something a little bit dressier.
I’m wearing a dress, a lot of people don’t love dresses, I love dresses, and
I’ll tell you why. Dresses can be worn in so many different ways. Right now, if you
can see, I’m gonna come in front, you can see that I’m wearing leggings underneath
my dress because it’s winter. In the summer, I can take these off. I was in the Roman
Forum recently wearing this outfit, and it got to be 80 when it started out
fifty in the morning, so I actually took off my pants in the middle of the Roman Forum, because it was hot, and then I went and I had a little sundress on. So you can
really dress these things up in different ways when you wear a dress. Here’s another funny little trick, you
can take pants and you can turn your dress into a shirt. There you go. So now I’ve
taken the same piece of clothing and I’ve turned into a few different outfits.
You can take something like this, a little drapey top, and you can tie it this
way. You can take a cardigan and put it over the top and button it up, so that this
looks–you know you don’t see this top at all, you just have the skirt below. So think
about different ways that you can layer outfits, and you can turn a dress, or
pants, or a shirt into several different outfits at once. That’s kind of the most
important feature. Like I said I love cardigans. Cardigans are really nice
because you can kind of wear them as a jacket, but like I was saying before, you can button this all the way up to the top with a neck like this, and suddenly this dress has
turned into a skirt. So different ways you can layer things. Think about that and make a strategy before
you pack your things, that way you can pack less. In terms of skirts, bring skirts.
Skirts are great, dresses are great. Natural air conditioning, think of it that way. Also shorts are not really great in
Europe. You can bring them if you love them, bring them, but not a lot of people
actually wear shorts in Europe. Women tend to wear dresses, so I would
recommend that, just because it’s a lot of fun to look a little bit more local and a
little more fancy. Europeans tend to dress up a little more than we do. So
that’s what’s in my bag, and I think in this bag you will find all of the
clothes you might need, your own version you can make up, but it’s to your own taste,
this is a sample of what I like to bring. Now luxuries are something that you might
consider. I have some luxuries in here I like to call “the bag of nope.” Don’t bring
these with you, you don’t need them, you don’t need this. Travel clothes. Do you know
how much these weigh? These weigh more than two pairs of jeans. They don’t look like
it, they’re travel clothes, but these things are made of such incredibly heavy
materials that they–don’t bring them. There’s no reason. Sure they
don’t wrinkle, but they weigh too much. What else should you not bring? Don’t bring this. I know you, the “ooh” and “ahh,” you don’t need it, it’s because every hotel room has this in it, you
don’t need it. Don’t bring this, ladies. Oh I know, deep sigh. Get a new haircut if
this is really important to you. This is a bad idea, you’re gonna blow the
circuits in your hotel this way so much, and you don’t have time for this. Try to
do your hair a different way and leave this at home, please give it a shot. You don’t need this. This is old. Please
bring a current guidebook, don’t check it out from the library, don’t bring one
that’s 23 years old, bring current information, that is much better. You
don’t need this, you don’t need any American money, they
don’t take it in Europe, you have to leave American dollars home. Bring local
currency. A lot of people don’t know that, it’s absolutely true. You don’t need
this, even if it might look good on you, because look, my tiara broke when I
took it. Don’t bring expensive jewelery and fancy things with you, you
don’t need it. Do not bring this. You don’t need a Swiss
Army knife, and it will get confiscated because we’re carrying on, remember,
you’re carrying on. You don’t need it, and you don’t need this. A big fat book that
you meant to read but you never got around to before you went to Rome. Leave
it at home, get books that are on the internet and read them on your tablets.
You don’t need any of these things, and look at all the weight these
things are taking up it’s just ridiculous. Camping gear, you don’t need headlights,
things like this. Leave it at home. You’re gonna find
plenty of these things in Europe. And also don’t bring this, you don’t need
this. Leave the full size containers at home
and get the travel size. So that’s something you don’t need, but what if
there is something that you would like to bring? I have a few ideas. Let’s say
you pack to 15 pounds. What are you gonna do with that extra pound? I have an idea. I
have a bag full of fun things. You could bring flip flops, really great if you’re
going to the beach. You could bring a cup and a water heater if you like to
have tea in your room, which I do. You could bring high heels, which are an
awful lot of fun. You could bring, oh I don’t know, if you had a couple of pounds, a
dirndl. I brought this one once, what you think? Looks great, right? If make space I’m gonna
bring this baby if I’m going to Oktoberfest. It’s about priorities, so
make your priorities. If those are the things you want to bring, by golly you
should bring them, just make them a priority. But if you’re gonna ask me what
is the one luxury item I don’t leave without, I’m gonna show you now. I
will not leave without this one, and it increases my quality of life so much, and
you’re not going to believe it’s in my bag, this is under sixteen pounds. This is
my luxury item here, full size pillow. Nothing makes me sadder than hard
pillows, and the pillows in Europe are so hard, and in such strange shapes. If I can
have my down pillow that’s nice and cozy with delightful drawings by my children on the
pillow case. This is my security item, it makes me feel so cozy and happy that it
can turn any hotel room into a home for me. This may not be your cup of tea, you
may not want drawings by your kids on your pillow, you might want the picture of
somebody on here, I don’t know, but if you don’t want this, there is probably some luxury
item that will make you feel more comfortable as a traveler, and that’s the
important thing. Save a little bit of weight for yourself, save a little bit of weight for
something that’s going to make you feel good about the traveling that you’ve
been doing, okay. So this is how I live on the road, no joke, you can ask people in
this audience who toured with me. Thank you for watching what’s in my bag, and I
hope you have a wonderful trip, and good luck, and remember what do we say nobody
ever said? I should have brought more. Happy travels everybody, thank you.

19 thoughts on “Packing Light & Right with Sarah Murdoch”

  • Instead of a skirt, ladies can choose “skorts” which look like skirts but have shorts inside. These are more comfortable because, unless you’re wearing a long skirt, skorts feel less exposed and you don’t have to bring extra undergarments needed for lightweight, flimsier skirts, like the one shown on the video. You can do sportier things, like riding a bike, without committing the style sin of wearing shorts in Europe.

  • Overall a useful video, however I have a couple of comments to make as a European, who has travelled fairly widely around the continent.
    1. Not all European countries are the same. Don't assume a "one size fits all" mentality. There will be vast differences between what you need to bring to the UK vs the Baltic vs the Med.
    2. Everyone in Europe wears shorts when the weather is nice! Please feel free to wear shorts!
    3. Wear whatever swimsuit you fancy. One piece, bikini, tankini. No one else cares, others will be wearing a variety and you may as well feel comfortable.
    4. Please don't believe that every one is wearing those Skechers shoes. They are absolutely not, nor were they in 2016 when this video was uploaded! If you like them, by all means get them, but don't do it because you think they are all the rage in Europe. You would be better with a casual understated pair of trainers, a loafer or deck shoe. Or even folding ballet flats.
    5. Pillows are hit and miss in hotels around the world. In my travels in Europe and other continents, the "European" calibre of pillows is not noticeably inferior on average.

  • Women dont wear shorts in Europe…? I wonder where in Europe you have traveled? We wear shorts the whole effing summer!!!

  • I can't lift 3 lbs over my head. I have health limitations. Yeah, I can't carry a backpack at all. I have to have a suitcase with wheels.

  • You are wrong. I am on a year long gap year, currently in Australia. I was in NZ and will tour SE Asia and then Europe. I can't tell you how many times I have said, "I should have brought more'. I am sixty nine and carry many meds and a cpap machine, but I should have brought more. I have a carry on and a backpack and my cpap machine. I should have brought more.

  • With all the hype about packing light and only using carry-ons, pretty soon the airlines are going to start weighing and charging for those also.
    Some charter airlines are already weighing carry-ons with a max of 15lbs. Also when you are on a tour bus or any kind of public transport for a whole day unless you have laundry facilities how often would you wear the same outfit??

  • I've been trying to find the Royal Back Pack, and have been unable. Please give me the website address, or tell me where I can purchase it. Actually we want three.

  • If you need to buy something while in Europe be aware that the stores have limited hours of operation. Some countries such as Germany are only open Saturday morning and most stores are closed on Sunday. So it isn't always that easy to buy the things that you use.

    Also many items easily available in USA stores are only found in very specific European shops. For instance I had a sore throat in Belgium a couple years ago. Cough drops were considered a medical item and I had to wait until the actual pharmacy opened. That surprised me. I don't know what all of the countries in Europe are like but I try to take whatever I think I might need rather than be stuck without.

  • i did walk up with a full size sherpa blanket. wrap it around my neck and tell them "this sir is an oversized SCARF". it was a LIE. it was a 4 lb blanket throw that i wanted to take back to school. as soon as the plane took off, I wrapped myself up and had a cozy flight.

    the last 4 trips i was on i told myself "damn it. i needed more".

    in america they don't weight our carryons. i pack easily 25lbs. i have to sit on it to close it. but i'm high maintenance

  • One more tip to add regarding the Sharpie. I roll some duct tape around one end of the sharpie in case I need duct tape for anything. I have used the tape over the years too!

  • Put your iphone on Do Not Disturb, and state the specific time i.e. 10pm-7am so you won’t get calls. The good thing is that if it is an emergency and someone calls repeatedly in a short amount of time, those calls will get through ok. Also it doesn’t override the alarm.

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