Hello All!! We're just settling in to Bamberg, Germany after a week on the Romantic Road. We'll post more soon on our new digs. In the meantime - enjoy this un-paid commercial message:
This is the blog post where we shamelessly plug some of the items for sale in our Amazon Store. But, we didn't put them in the store just because we hoped to make a nickel from the sale, we put them there because they're things we're using right now on our Slow Travel Trek (or very similar to the ones we have) and think that others might find them useful too while traveling.
- We like to cook, which is a good thing because if you're traveling for an extended time you'll save a lot of money by eating in. When I cook in someone else's kitchen, I can make do with whatever pans are available, a tiny cook top or even a crooked stove, but I want a GOOD knife. As long as you're checking your luggage you can pack a scimitar if you want but, this paring knife, that a friend gave to us before we left, is a great alternative. Also great for carrying in a bag for picnics.
- We have two really light and compact market bags (ours are ChicoBags) that Ella loves to clip on her belt when we go to the grocery store. The first time we went to the market I forgot them and also forgot that you need to pay for plastic bags in European grocery stores. I suffered the wrath of the security guard and the checker as I reached for the bag myself. Now I don't leave home without my Chicobags.
- Even if you're not taking your laptop with you (which I'd suggest, but I'm an internet junkie) take a flash drive, hell, take two -- they're small. It's great to have when you go to internet cafes. We load photos on it to upload to our Flickr account or to email to friends and family. We also use it to store document backups (see item #5).
- Take a pair of barber scissors. My grandfather was a barber and I have a pair of his scissors -- probably the same pair he gave me haircuts with 40 years ago. Now my kids are getting travelers haircuts with them.
- Make color copies and scans of important documents -- passports, driver's licenses, prescription drug information. Laminate the hard copies and take them with you (leave a set with a trusted friend too as a back up). I also have the digital scans stored on a server that I can access from anywhere and they're on my trusty flash drive. Can you say anal-retentive?
- Take an overnight bag or backpack in addition to the steamer trunk. We set up a longer term home base -- an apartment in Krakow or Belgrade -- and take overnight trips from there. Make sure you have smaller and lighter rolling suitcases, or if you prefer, back pack style bags, so that you can be more fleet of foot on these jaunts from your new home.
- If you can afford it, Splurge -- get a Kindle! We couldn't afford it and this was another awesome gift, but think of the extra shoes Brenna was able to bring by not having to pack all those Michael Chabon books. We wish we had four Kindles so that we wouldn't have to argue about who gets it next.
- We have a Flip Camcorder and we love it. I did however get it right before the Flip HD model came out and now I have some big time HD envy. We made a decision to go this journey as digital nomads, so we're incredibly laden with gear. If I were simply traveling for the wonder of it and not videoing, photographing , blogging, etc. I'd just take the flip and a still camera.
- The oh-so-obvious MP3 player. When you tire of Klezmer music in Krakow you can listen to Ben Folds or Van Halen. We have iPods and a Zen Stone. iTunes is so easy to use, but I'm often annoyed by their proprietary copy limitation BS, get a Zen Stone and download the MP3s from Amazon -- play YOUR music wherever YOU want (not where Apple decides).
- Traveling with children? I kid you not, Ella brought, Jeero, her Ugly Doll with her and couldn't be happier about it. We're happy because he's light as a feather, squishes into any suitcase and he doubles as a pillow on overnight trains. Bring something that reminds you of home -- wherever that was.
- Actually 10.5 because you don't really pack this in your luggage, so it only warrants half a point. Open a Flickr account to share your photos, and if you want to post your Flip videos, try a Vimeo account. "What about YouTube?" you ask. In my opinion, Vimeo video quality is better, the interface looks nicer AND it's more of a community based platform. There are other photo sharing websites, but I'm partial to Flickr, it's the one we use. Remember when our parents used to bore friends and neighbors with scrapbooks and slide shows in the basement? Now we can bore them on the internet -- Web 2.0 style!