Well, we are finally leaving for our honeymoon in 2 days. (See previous post.) We have a weekend of packing ahead of us.
My new backpack. We decided to go with backpacks instead of suitcases. We'll be getting on and off a lot of busses and trains, and I'm not good at running for trains dragging a wheeled suitcase. Also, in some cities we'll only have a couple hours to explore and backpacks are easier to shove in a locker at the bus station than a big suitcase. Both our backpacks come with detachable day packs, so we have convenient smaller packs for our hiking days.
Clothes. Backpacks plus a 50-pound weight limit for luggage make for some creative packing. (Although if my backpack weighs anywhere near 50 pounds I won't be able to carry it.) Which shoes do I wear and which do I pack? Do I really need all these toiletries or can I buy some along the way? I am not a light packer and this is becoming quite a puzzle for me. We had to decide on the style of clothing we'd be wearing ahead of time, even before I bought my backpack, since dressy clothes need more space than casual clothes. (Comfortable walking clothes plus one or two decent outfits for the occasional nice dinner. Nothing that requires a garment bag.) We are one of those couples that matches, albeit unintentionally. It's disgusting, I know, but bound to happen when your casual wardrobes consist of jeans, cargo shorts, and the same spectrum of t-shirt colors.
Books. We have guidebooks for 5 different countries. Plus we need books for regular reading on all those planes and trains. Yes, we can buy some along the way but we'll each need at least one for the first 11-hour plane ride. My book of choice is Altared, a paperback long enough to read for a couple days but not so big it won't fit comfortably in my carry-on.
Passports. We planned an entire European vacation without valid passports in hand during this passport drought. We figured the expedited fee into our travel budget, and once we got around to applying for them (mine was lost, Mike's needed to be renewed) we had them within 4 days. It's still taking several months to get a passport in the regular way, and in October you'll need them for flying from Mexico and Canada. If you're planning an international trip next year, apply for your passport today!
Snacks. I have a food allergy so I'm bringing my own hot cereal and breakfast bars. Lunch and dinner is usually easier than breakfast, and I have little cards printed out in German and Polish that explain the food allergy to waiters. I showed the Polish card to my Polish cousin (we're staying with him in Zakopane!) and he said it's an excellent translation that makes the problem very clear. I was relieved to hear that. He gave me the words for some foods I can definitely eat and some I definitely cannot. But he also said bringing my own cereal is a good idea for breakfast.
Gifts for my cousins in Poland! Dropping everything to make houseguests feel welcome is a big tradition in the town they live. But it's also expected that those houseguests bring gifts in return for the hospitality. (Just in case they read this I don't want to mention what the gifts are!)
That's a lot to cram into a backpack that I'll be lugging around for 3 weeks. Luckily the Polish cousins are the first stop on the trip, so we can unload the gifts to make room for souvenirs.
Vicky's going on vacation too at the end of August, so it will get quiet around here. But I'll be taking notes on anything wedding related I see. Keep planning!