So, I went to New Zealand for two weeks. What did I bring?
A good travel uniform. Mine is a base layer of black cotton leggings and close-fitting tshirt under a skirt and sweater. On the way out, the skirt was the Calliope from Athleta, with my Victoria’s Secret wrap sweater. On the way back, I had new stuff: a Villa skirt and Bliss hooded pullover from Icebreaker. (Note that there was cashmere or merino involved in both; I cannot recommend wool enough for temperature regulation and comfort.) On both days, my Cole Haan Air Tali flats did airport duty, and were replaced with a pair of slipper socks on the planes. In this uniform, I’m warm, I’m not tugging at my clothes, I am comfortable enough to sleep, the fabrics breathe, and there are no TSA security issues with any of my clothing.
A good carryon bag. I used my Timbuk2 Scrunchie Tote — my gym bag, normally — and it was fantastic. Timbuk2 makes good shit, man.
Scott e-Vest. On the plane trip over, and on the many days I spent wandering New Zealand, my vest prevented me from needing to carry a bag. Camera in one pocket, wallet in another, phone in a third, and there are still 19 left… It’s a seriously elegant piece of travel gear, one which ensures that everything you need is where you need it, reduces what you must dig through your bag to find, and makes airport security a breeze – put the vest in a bin. Walk through the metal detector. Put the vest back on.
The airplane sleep trifecta: An eyemask, earplugs, and a memory foam neck pillow. The pillow is bulky in your carryon, but oh-so-worth it. Add in a shawl/wrap from my collection, and I have quiet, darkness, a pillow, and a blanket that smells like home.
iPad. Movies, tv, music, audiobooks, ebooks, games, and the internet. It really is magic.
My camera kit. The Olympus E-PL2, a micro four thirds body with the 14-42 kit lens and a pancake wide angle, a spare battery, battery charger, and a 32gb SD card. If you take joy in photography, I cannot recommend enough having a camera that makes you happy.
Grid-its. Bwhahahahahaha, cable management. Never again. These things are friggin’ magic.
Packing bags and envelopes. I used the Eagle Creek packing folders, in 15 and 18 inch sizes, and assorted mesh and drawstring bags. My carryon was filled with small plastic and cloth zip-shut bags, each containing some different collection of necessities. Packing was a dream. Like the grid-it, I wouldn’t do it any other way ever again.
The Jimi wallet. For daily use, this isn’t near big enough for the myriad cards that live in my wallet. But for travel, it holds cash, a hotel key, three credit cards, and my drivers license, all with ease. And it fits in a pocket smoothly and securely, can be lanyard-ed, and generally rocks. Everything I need and nothing I don’t.
And what did I wear? For professional wear, I chose dresses. Simple, feminine, formal enough, and easy. I packed two from Boden, and one from Athleta, and spiffed up my Athleta travel skirt with a more formal shirt, belt, and heels. I also brought two pairs of trousers and some work-weight tshirts, which I paired with the two cardigan sweaters I brought along. In addition to my travel uniform, for sightseeing, I brought lightweight hiking pants and a pair of jeans, along with a handful of tshirts and tank tops, a black hoodie, and the outer shell from my Columbia parka. I lived for two weeks in three pairs of shoes: My silver Cole Haan ballet flats, a pair of burgundy patent leather mary-jane heels from Target, and my Earth shoes. Not a blister to be seen… and the skinned knee is entirely the fault of slippery Wellington sidewalks, not the silver flats.
What do I wish I’d had? Sunglasses. My business cards. Another sweater or sweatshirt. A paperback book for the no-electronic-devices parts of flying. My Tom Bihn iPad bag. With the exception of the sweater and paperback, those were simply things I forgot to pack.
That’s about it. I did a damn good job for myself on this one.