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Old 03-20-2009, 02:56 PM   #21
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My wife likes her trench coat, but I alternate between a black leather jacket that is not really that warm, and a long parka that has an inner zipper covered by a buttoned flap.

This olive-green parka has goose down, and really keeps me warm. It's also practical with half dozen pockets for maps, a bottle of water, a minicamcorder, GPS, you name it. I love it for its practicality. Can't recall where I bought it, but it has served me well for several trips.

Note: It does not make me look like Michelin man like some jackets with horizontal sewing lines, if you know what I mean.
Oh yeah, I know. Those jackets are de rigeur around Puget Sound. I run warm, so I haven't been able to wear mine at sea level in many years. Many of the young Asian women around here wear what they term "Puffy Coats" (When they are speaking English). These are down filled long coats with more shape and style than the ordinary mountain parka.

Ha
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Old 03-20-2009, 11:02 PM   #22
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As far as sports jackets go, I've been looking at a few for just this reason (European travel). I'm thinking about a microfiber like Microfiber Blazer: Blazers at L.L.Bean. They supposedly wear like iron, and are hand washable, dry quickly, and can be rolled and packed then hang out without wrinkles. Haven't chosen yet, looking at cost and schedule. But IMO it's good to have one over there. Last time (Roma) I'd have been in trouble without one in a few places we went.
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Old 03-21-2009, 12:00 AM   #23
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Ha, your travel plans sound very fun. I'd say that Latin Americans dress more formally than we do, as well, so the advice for what will work in Spain will also put you in a good position clothing-wise in South America.

Good packing will minimize wrinkles, and small hotels will have an iron and ironing board you can borrow, so that won't be a big problem.

As far as bags, I had the REI predecessor to the one you're looking at, but it was truly carry-on size with the zip-off daypack. Loved it. Great combo. Eagle Creek makes nice ones as well (someone mentioned them above) and I can also vouch for their pack-it packing cubes, which are great.

Finally, Travelsmith makes great travel clothing, wrinkle-resistant and with security features for your valuables.

Have fun!
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Old 03-21-2009, 11:30 AM   #24
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As far as sports jackets go, I've been looking at a few for just this reason (European travel). I'm thinking about a microfiber like Microfiber Blazer: Blazers at L.L.Bean. They supposedly wear like iron, and are hand washable, dry quickly, and can be rolled and packed then hang out without wrinkles. Haven't chosen yet, looking at cost and schedule. But IMO it's good to have one over there. Last time (Roma) I'd have been in trouble without one in a few places we went.
Jos. A. Banks have those as well for less when on sale - I saw as low as $99.
I don't know about being aniti - wrinkle.
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Old 03-22-2009, 07:55 PM   #25
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My wife and I have always used this arrangement: each of us has a common carry-on called "roll-aboard" in the Rick Steves link posted by Caroline, supplemented by a small duffel bag, or a backpack. Both items are small enough to fit in the overhead bin of airliners. They are also light enough so we can hop on trains, buses, metros, or ferries in Europe, carrying one in each hand.

That is what I do also . I love the convenience of this system because then you have a backpack for day use . I usually hook my backpack onto my suitcase handle for rolling it through the airport . I also roll my clothes to prevent wrinkles . By the way sounds like a great trip ! Samba your way through South America !
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Old 03-23-2009, 07:47 PM   #26
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Ha, check out this cool microfiber blazer from travelsmith.com, a great source for travel clothing.
Men's Hybrid Travel Jacket at TravelSmith Outfitters. - TravelSmith
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Old 04-12-2009, 09:01 AM   #27
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I am an old fan of Rick Steves. I think he may have gone soft since he's by now, family man, soft and rich and middle aged. But the "pack light" gospel in the old days was basically use one (yes, just one) convertible backpack -- suitcase. I have an old Eagle Creek that works, but has to be checked luggage. When I fly, I try to put everything into a carry on sized daypack (book bag). Yes, you have to pare down what you bring, but it can be done. Rick's (and other's) advice to pack your bag and then walk around your block carrying it (not rolling it!) for an hour or so is good advice .. you might decide you can do without some of the crap you thought "essential." But hell, if you are a wealthy traveler and can hire sherpas to tote your steamer trunks, bring the whole f-----g wardrobe, I don't care.
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Old 04-12-2009, 01:26 PM   #28
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Rick's (and other's) advice to pack your bag and then walk around your block carrying it (not rolling it!) for an hour or so is good advice .. you might decide you can do without some of the crap you thought "essential."
It is true that Rick's criteria is that you should be able to carry it on your back for long periods. However, why deny yourself of one of mankind's greatest invention, the wheels?

That said, the fewer things you bring, the better. Of course it doesn't matter to people who take packaged European tours that take care of all baggage transfer, from the airport as well as to the hotel rooms at each nightly stop. At hotels, I have seen older couples bringing huge old-style suitcases that made me cringe imagining myself lugging it on a Eurail train or through a city metro.

Still, we have not been able to pare down to one tiny carry-on due to our travel tending to be during cooler or cold periods of the year. Rick also advises people to wash their own clothes and hang in the hotel's bathroom to dry. I'd rather bring enough for a daily change through the trip, and for a 2-3 week trip that adds up quick when one brings warmer clothes. Perhaps we could look for local laundromats, but when in foreign lands that can become a hassle, and takes time from other more leisurely activities. One goes to Europe for a vacation, and not to do laundry! Of course it is not a problem money cannot solve, such as paying hotel laundry charges, or throwing away your dirty clothes (hotels charge more to wash underwear and socks than mine are worth), but it goes against my frugal nature.

More than size, Rick's criteria is about weight: a 20-lb limit. I started to bring my laptop on recent international trips. It lets me look for info while on the road, and has proven useful. However, it quickly convinced me to get a smaller and lighter unit. But my just-purchased 13.3" laptop still weights 4.4lbs, without its power pack. An excuse to get a netbook? Economic stimulus, anyone?

Gee, all this talk about travel makes me itching to go. I may need to get off this forum to go look for travel deals.
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Old 04-12-2009, 07:20 PM   #29
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My wife and I are experienced world travelers now living in Mexico. What we've found is that paring down the amount of stuff is hard but invariably liberating. 2-3 pair of lightweight Patagonia capilene or ExOfficio underwear are key - enough for a year-long round the world trip. Ditto with one or two capilene under garments.

A lightweight cashmere or hi-tech sweater (ExOfficio or Travelsmith) will do for more formal places - no need for anything bulkier.

As for luggage, a carry on back pack like the Rick Steves or Eagle Creek is great, with an ultra light weight daypack (Eagle Creek) or the like. Total weight including the luggage should be under 25 lbs. (we spent five months in Asia with 22 lbs. each and wish we'd brought less). Wheeled luggage is a nightmare in Asia, on any sort of public transport or on rough surfaces (so, anywhere outside the first world).

Internet cafés are everywhere once you leave the U.S. so no need for a laptop. In fact, try your best to avoid bringing anything that plugs in. If you're traveling for a very long time and can't live without, an Asus EEE PC or other subnotebook at around 2 lbs. may be worth it.

There is a wonderful book, The Practical Nomad, by Edward Hasbrouck, that really helps if your plans are going to take you away from canned tourist routes.

Have fun!

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