Genealogy: Travel checklist—Optional bring-alongs

Genealogy: Travel checklist—Optional bring-alongsMBy Barry J. Ewell

The following is a suggested packing list that I have use in my travels.   It’s foundation is from Rick Steves, a well known travel host for PBS.  I have found Rick Steves’ council and ideas to be on target and well thought out.

The list will vary somewhat if you are going to U.S. destinations versus other countries, usually Europe.  Pack light and only what you need.  You will be grateful each and every day of your trip with lighter luggage.

  1. 1. Picnic supplies:
    1.  Bring or buy a small tablecloth to give your meal some extra class (and to wipe the knife on), salt and pepper, a cup, a spoon, a washcloth (to dampen and store in a baggie for cleaning up).
    2. A plastic plate is handy for picnic dinners in your hotel room.
  2. Packing cubes:
    1. These see-through, zip-up mesh containers keep your clothes tightly packed and well organized.
  3. Clothes compressor:
    1. This handy invention — I like the one by Pack-Mate — allows you to pack bulky clothes (like sweaters and jackets) without taking up too much space or creating wrinkles.
    2. Simply put the item in the bag, roll it up to force the air out through the one-way nozzles, and pack it away.
  4. Nightshirt:
    1. Especially for women.
  5. Light warm-up suit:
    1. Use for pajamas, evening lounge outfit, instant modest street wear, smuggling things, and “going” down the hall.
  6. Spot remover:
    1. Bring Shout wipes or a dab of Goop grease remover in a film canister.
  7. Sandals or flip-flops
  8. Slippers:
    1. I bring comfy slippers with leather bottoms on winter trips — great for the flight and for getting cozy in my hotel room.
  9.  Inflatable pillow:
    1. For snoozing on the plane (or “neck nest”).
  10. Pillowcase.
    1. It’s cleaner and possibly more comfortable to stuff your own.
  11. Hair drier:
    1. People with long or thick hair appreciate a travel hair drier in the off-season, when hair takes a long time to dry and it’s cold outside.
    2. These are generally provided in $100-plus hotel rooms.
  12. Hostel sheet:
    1. Hostels require one.
    2. Bring your own (sewn up like a sleeping bag), buy one, or rent a sheet at hostels (about $4 per stay).
    3. It doubles as a beach or picnic blanket, comes in handy on overnight train rides, shields you from dirty blankets in mountain huts, and will save you money in other dorm-type accommodations, which often charge extra for linen or don’t provide it at all.
  13. Tiny lock:
    1. Use it to lock your backpack zippers shut.
    2. Note that if you check your bag on a flight, the lock may be broken to allow the bag to be inspected.
    3. You can improve the odds of your lock’s survival by buying one approved by the TSA (Transportation Security Administration, the agency responsible for airport security).
    4. While you’ll unlock the TSA-approved lock with a combination, security agents will be able to open the lock without damaging it by using a special master key.
  14. Small flashlight:
    1. Handy for reading under the sheets after “lights out” in the hostel, late-night trips down the hall, exploring castle dungeons, and hypnotizing street thieves.
    2. Tiny-but-powerful LED flashlights — about the size of your thumb — are extremely bright, compact, and lightweight.
  15. Radio, Walkman, MP3 player, or recorder:
    1. Partners can bring a Y-jack for two sets of earphones.
    2. Some travelers use micro-cassette or digital recorders to capture pipe organs, tours, or journal entries.
    3. Some recorders have radios, adding a new dimension to your experience.
  16. Adapters:
    1. Electrical plugs.
  17. 17. Stronger light bulbs:
    1. You can buy these in Europe to give your cheap hotel room more brightness than the 40-watt norm.
  18. Office supplies:
    1. Bring paper, envelopes, and some sticky notes (such as Post-Its) to keep your place in your guidebook.
  19. Small roll of duct tape:
  20.  Mailing tube:
    1. This protects the posters and prints you buy along your trip.
    2. You can trim it to fit inside your backpack (though this obviously limits the dimensions of the posters you can carry).
  21. A good paperback:
    1. There’s plenty of empty time on a trip to either be bored or enjoy some good reading.
    2. If you’re desperate, popular American paperbacks are available in European airports and major train stations (usually for more than double their American price).
  22. Insect repellent:
    1.  Especially for France and Italy.
  23. Collapsible umbrella:
    1. I like one that’s small and compact,
    2. Sturdy and well-constructed enough to withstand strong winds.
  24. Poncho:
    1. Hard-core vagabonds use a poncho — more versatile than a tarp — as protection in a rainstorm, a ground cloth for sleeping, or a beach or picnic blanket.
  25. Gifts:
    1. Local kids love T-shirts.
    2. Gardeners appreciate flower seeds.