Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Won't Leave Home Without...

by Christine Wells

I'm packing. Again. Just returned on a 27 hour flight from Orlando a week and a half ago and now I'm off again, this time on a mere one and a half hour flight to Sydney, where I'll attend my second romance writers' conference for the month.

Romance Writers of Australia are congregating at Coogee Beach for four days of hugs, laughs and learning.

And I have nothing to wear.

OK, I do have clothes, but I'd been focusing so much on coping with summer in Orlando, I forgot to shop for winter in Sydney.

Do you ever gaze at all the clothes in your closet, willing something new and fabulous to simply appear? Sadly, this well-formulated technique doesn't work--at least, not for me. Soon, I'll give up and toss the old favourites into my suitcase.

No matter what I wear, there are some things I never get on a plane without--my laptop, a novel and some butter menthol lollies (candy?) in case I get painful sinuses on takeoff or landing.

But it's always that split-second before I put my purse through the security x-ray that I wonder what on earth I have in there, what I've forgotten and what I might have to dash to the nearest 7/11 to buy.

So here are my questions for you all:

1. What do you never, ever travel without? My answer: A book

2. What do you often take but seldom use? My answer: Running shoes. I mean, really!

3. What do you always forget to take and always need? My answer: nail scrubbing brush (especially for beach holidays)

4. What have you left behind in a hotel room? By accident? On purpose?

My Answer...By accident: Shoes; On purpose? Hair products. I'm paranoid about them exploding all over my suitcase and I usually take only a little more than I'm likely to use.

5. What's the niftiest travel gadget/product you've found? My answer: portable DVD player--it's absolute gold on family holidays.


Daz said...


Christine Wells said...

Hi, Daz, congrats on the Golden Rooster!

Daz said...

Okay - so now that's I've gotten THAT off my chest, here are my answers:

1. What do you never, ever travel without? A book.

2. What do you often take but seldom use? Shampoo and conditioner - the hotel alway provides them and I end up using those.

3. What do you always forget to take and always need? My teddy bear.

4. What have you left behind in a hotel room?
By accident? My teddy bear. It got mailed back to me but the idiot innkeeper mailed it COD and didn't tell me and I never got it back.
On purpose? I don't know if I've ever done that.

5. What's the niftiest travel gadget/product you've found? My iPhone. It used to be my Palm Treo but I've upgraded to an iPhone. Music, videos, eBooks (about 700 of them!!)

Daz said...

Thanks Christine, do you know I've been wanting that rooster for the longest time. Finally, thanks to Google Reader, I was speedily informed of this blog going up and BAM! there I was. *huge grin*

Cybercliper said...

I'm long time road warrior who can be in the desert for three weeks only to come home long enough to pick up another suitcase and head to deep south or due north.

My husband teases me because I can just about pack three weeks worth of clothes in a shoebox! (not quite, but pretty darn close) My one must have is books. And definitely put all liquid toiletries including makeup into zip lock bags...learned that one the hard way :-)

Christine Wells said...

Hey, Daz, so sorry to hear about the COD teddy. That must have hurt! I know if we ever lose my son's blanky we'll be in serious trouble. Sooo jealous of the iPhone! I want one, but my history of losing phones is such that they'd have to come down a lot in price before I'd consider it.

Cool that you've finally snagged the bird. Hope you have fun with him today!

Christine Wells said...

Cybercliper, I so envy your ability to pack lightly! I've already moved to my biggest suitcase because I'm hopeless at traveling light. My excuse is the variety of events I have to attend--a signing, a cocktail party, an awards dinner, and then there are the day clothes and the lurking in my hotel room clothes. Yes, there is much writing to be done! And yes, books are a must, not matter what sort of packer you are!

Daz said...

Christine, the BEST thing about the iPhone are all the book apps. Kindle, Kobo, Stanza and eReader. Between the years and years of buying eBooks from Fictionwise and eReader, I now that over 1000 eBooks I can lug around on my iPhone. Unfortunately, Fictionwise and eReader have gone down the tubes since Barnes and Noble bought them (another rant for another time) as they are a very US-centric company - they won't let me buy eBooks from them because I am in Australia (another rant). Thank goodness for Amazon and the Kindle app that has come to the rescue. :-)

I hope your packing goes wonderfully. I'm all for the large suitcase. I NEVER travel light.

The teddy was a bit heartbreaking as it was a gift from a dear friend.

PinkPeony said...

Hey Christine!

I never travel without a book, a notepad, and my cell phone. Extra ziploc bags and a plastic trash bag for laundry in case the hotel doesn't provide it. I also keep a small flashlight in my suitcase and put it by my nightstand.(I'm neurotic.) If I go abroad, I pack a couple of my own pillow cases. Also a pack of anti-bacterial wipes for the bathroom counter.
congrats on the GR, Daz!

Jane said...

Have fun in Sydney, Christine.

I never travel without magazines and my iPod. I tend to bring an extra set of clothes, but always never end up wearing them. I haven't left anything in a hotel room and I hope this remains the case. I'm pretty anal about packing up my toiletries and dirty laundry and keep all my stuff by the door.

Helen said...

Well done Daz have fun with him

I am just about to start packing for Coogee I did go shopping last week and bought a new top and some new shoes but all the rest will be from the wardrobe LOL. I am soo looking forward to meeting you in person Christine Whoo Hoo. I will be at the BSE and the Awards dinner.

What do I never travel without
A book or 2

What do you often take but never use
Too many clothes way too many

What do you always forget to take and always need
Not sure on that one but I do always forget something that I need to buy LOL

What have you left behind in a hotel room
I left a pair of slacks once never got them back

What is the niftiest gadet I have bought
I have just bought an e book reader.

Have Fun

barb said...

Congratulations on getting GR Daz... make the most of him

Hi Christine
I never go without books.... last time I didn't take enough even though my daughter in law gave me another one, I had to go to the local market to buy a second hand one to read on the 9 hour train ride home, so my latest gadget is an ebook reader so I shouldn't run out now LOL

I, like Helen, always take too many clothes

Dianna Love said...

Christine -

Oh, I feel for you having flown that far home then heading out to yet another big conference. I always have something to read and it hit me one time "why are you taking a book when you're headed to a writer's conference full of books?" Guess I just can't chance getting stuck somewhere and not having a book with me. ;)

I travel all year, flying sometimes to a different city every night for a week or two, so I'm pretty experienced with packing and unpacking. I can pack my motorcycle saddlebags for a two week trip and keep up with every little thing. Or so I thought until one time...

I went to the 2003 RWA Con in NY, which was only my second national at the time and I was up for a GH and a Daphne award. I was perfectly relaxed during the conference because I knew there was no way I'd win either since I'd only been writing for 2 years. By Sunday morning I'd been proven wrong and was pretty dazed over having won both. My husband and I packed then flew back to Atlanta. Over the next week, I started hunting clothes. I finally realized I hadn't slid the hotel closet door back one way (they had those cubbyholes behind one side) and had left spent clothes stuffed in those cubbyholes. You'd have thought I would have noticed a light suitcase leaving national of all conferences, but no. My head had been in the clouds. The hotel was so nice. They had all those clothes stored and shipped them to me.

Love this post - am getting great travel suggestions from everyone. :)

Christine Wells said...

Daz, the iPhone really does sound fantastic. I'm still not sure about e-readers--as you say, being in Australia complicates things.

So sorry about the teddy:(

Christine Wells said...

LOL, Jen, I should have known you'd be an organized traveler! Great idea about bring a garbage bag for dirty clothes. Never thought of anti-bacterial wipes, either! Thanks for the tips:)

Christine Wells said...

Jane, it sounds like you're far more organized than I am! I still can't understand how I left those shoes behind. Must have been under a bed or something.

Christine Wells said...

Yay, Helen!!! I'm thrilled to be meeting you...finally!

I'll look forward to seeing you in your new glad rags.

Christine Wells said...

Barb, I think you're right--I need an ereader. When I was traveling around New Zealand I managed to finish all the books I'd brought and went around asking if I could swap books with people. I hate being without a book.

Christine Wells said...

Dianna, lovely to see you here!

Not a bad reason for using up suitcase space, winning awards! That was nice of the hotel to package and send the clothes back to you. I had a wonderful experience like that in Japan once. I left my purse on the bullet train. I received it back the next day, with all its contents, plus money there. Couldn't believe my luck!

Susan Sey said...

Happy travels, Christine! Hope something fabulous presented itself to wear--and I wish I closet would step up to the task. :-)

What do I never travel without?
Definitely a book.

What do I always bring that I never use?
A hair drier. The hotel always has one but I bring mine anyway because I'm paranoid like that.

What do I always forget but need?
Tea bags. Apparently nobody drinks tea but me in this country.

What do I always forget in the hotel room?
Shampoo & razors. I leave 'em in the shower.

Hope your time at this latest conference is productive!

SusanMallery said...

Fun questions! Have a great trip, Christine!

1. What do you never, ever travel without? I always have two books, so I won't be without reading material for a second. And no, airline magazines don't count. Except for the SkyMall catalog, which always has such random, wonderful things. Who doesn't need their very own suit of armor?

For a flight as long as you're taking, I'd probably have four books in my carry-on at least.

2. What do you often take but seldom use? Nail polish.

3. What do you always forget to take and always need? Wine. I don't know if I forget so much as decide that I don't want my clothes to come out of the suitcase smelling like alcohol. Fortunately, room service always has me covered.

4. What have you left behind in a hotel room? By accident? On purpose? By accident, I have left behind books, which is really annoying because I hate being caught without a book. (See answer 1.) I buy a replacement as soon as I get past security at the airport. But sometimes that long is realllllly long and the people in line are reallllllly annoying. ;)

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Congrats on nabbing the GR this morning, Daz!!

Hey Christine! A second conference in less than a month...AGGGHHHHHH!! You poor thing, you! Getting packed for Nationals is hard enough for me. I at least get 2 & 1/2 months between it an my writer's retreat. But I bet getting together with all the Australian romance writers is great fun. (Probably not one American accent in the bunch!)

Okay, my answers to the questions:

1. What do you never, ever travel without? A book. (Have a feeling that's the #1 answer among this bunch!) Of course I never go to the Dr. without one either.

2. What do you often take but seldom use? A legal pad. I often write longhand and always imagine I'll have time to do this while at conferences or retreats or Mom & Daddy's. Actually, ONLY use this occasionally at my parent's place

3. What do you always forget to take and always need? Imodium. Enough said!

4. What have you left behind in a hotel room? By accident? On purpose? Books. If the one I finished on the plane was good, or at conference I got a lot of books I know I won't read, I leave them for the staff. (If I'm at my mom's I usually just trade mine for hers. :) )

5. What's the niftiest travel gadget/product you've found? An oversized bag or purse. I got this idea from my friend Addison Fox. I put my smaller purse inside this larger bag, along with my book, note pad, iPod, plane snack, bottle of water bought at the airport, etc. Then I have one bag to carry on, stow it at my feet and have my travel stuff right at hand.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Helen! You finally get to meet our Christine?! Good on you. (Did that sound Australian enough?)

You'll love her, but don't let that innocent face and smile fool you. She's wicked funny!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Susan: What do I always forget but need?
Tea bags. Apparently nobody drinks tea but me in this country.

Girl, had I known this we would've had tea every morning at Nationals!! I adore a nice cup of hot spicy tea, too! Diet Coke is actually my second favorite caffeinated drink for breakfast!

jo robertson said...

What a delightful post, Mme! I think you and I must've been sisters in another life because my #1 thing to take is -- yep! -- A BOOK or four or five. In fact, I never go anywhere without a book. I even get in a few pages when I drive and pause at stoplights. Forget texting -- I'm REXTING!!

And I VERY often take my gym shoes and never have time to go to the gym. One of the things I love about cruises, though, is going to their gym and running on the treadmill while watching the ocean!

jo robertson said...

Yay, Daz! Whatcha gonna do with the rooster today?

I'll bet every comment today is gonna be a book; romance readers are NEVER without one.

I like to take my own shampoo but I shamelessly take the bottles the hotels provide and donate them to my local women's shelter.

LOL, Daz, on the teddy bear. I used to take my own special blanket, the one I can't sleep without, but it took up so much room that I had to give it up.

jo robertson said...

Double congrats on getting the rooster, Daz, if this is your first time!

You're a rooster virgin no longer, tee hee.

jo robertson said...

Cyberclipper, I totally envy your ability to compact pack! My teacher-friends all travel Europe in the summer with one TINY little carryon bag, like a small purse really.

How do you guys do that? I'm in awe!

jo robertson said...

Hey, Pink! That flashlight is a good idea. I never thought of it. And your own pillowcases? Hmmm, are you allergic to commercial laundry soaps?

jo robertson said...

Jane, that's great that you've never left anything behind. I've left tons of stuff, but the most important thing was a teflon bag for my curling iron. It was super!! because the last thing I pack when getting ready to leave is my curling iron. The bag kept my clothing protected. Bummer.

It's harder when you room with another person, don't you think? Stuff seems to get lost just in all the confusion.

jo robertson said...

Helen, you are going to ADORE Christine. She's the sweetest, funniest gal!

I hope you two have lots of fun in Sydney. Wish I were going.

jo robertson said...

Barb, what kind of ebook reader do you have? I'm just on the verge of buying a Kindle, but I'm waffling about which one would be best. Everyone I talk to seems to love the one she has!

jo robertson said...

Dianna said, "Guess I just can't chance getting stuck somewhere and not having a book with me. ;)"

You are SO RIGHT, Dianna. Being caught without a book is like having the stomach flu with no toilet paper in sight. NOT. GOING. TO. HAPPEN. LOL

jo robertson said...

Susan, I do the same thing with the hair dryer. I KNOW the hotels always have one (or can provide one), but I'm afraid I'll be stuck without it anyway. In Scotland, I had to buy a curling iron b/c I had the wrong currented kind.

I think, for me, it comes from all the years when Dr. Big and I had to stay in cheap motels b/c we were so poor. Cheap motels don't provide them LOL.

flchen1 said...

Woot, Christine! We're busily packing, too! *sigh*


1. What do you never, ever travel without? A book (sometimes books) :)

2. What do you often take but seldom use? Kids' medicine, knock on wood. Of course the one time I opted to leave it at home, we desperately needed it, and then couldn't find any--we were on a small touristy island in Asia... *sigh*

3. What do you always forget to take and always need? Extra socks, and once, a brush... Had to borrow hubby's comb for the duration ;p

4. What have you left behind in a hotel room? By accident? On purpose? Usually nothing--I'm kind of ultra careful about going through the room with a fine-toothed comb before we depart. I don't tend to bring much in terms of hair products either...

5. What's the niftiest travel gadget/product you've found? Our iTouch :) The kids line up to take turns :D

Congrats on the GR, Daz! And happy travels, Christine!!

Donna MacMeans said...

Congrats Daz on the rooster nabbing - it was meant to be (grin).

Hugs Christine on the travel woes. You barely got off the plane from Orlando! Travel wears me out, and repeated travel tends to make a mockery of my packing. I forget more.

Case in point, had to travel last weekend for my high school reunion and I forgot to pack pajamas. Fortunately, I was traveling with my husband so that oversight had its benefits (grin) but still...pajamas? How basic is that? I also forgot my eyeglasses (I wear contacts so it wasn't a major disaster - After dancing till the early morning, I didn't need to see after I took them out), and hair products.

THe other item, besides a book, that I don't travel without is a journal. You never know when that next brilliant idea will strike.

I've left a pillow behind in a hotel before - and had to go back (about a 45 minute drive) to retrieve it.

Normally, I'm good with packing, but sometimes....

Minna said...

1. What do you never, ever travel without? Needle, thread and that handy little thing that makes it putting thread through that tiny hole in the needle a little easier.

2. What do you often take but seldom use? Some clothes that I think I'll absolutely need, even though I never will.

3. What do you always forget to take and always need? Can't think of one. If I've forgotten something, I have always found it in the local supermarket.

Tawny said...

YAY on more conference fun, Madame :-) I hope you have an amazing time! I also came home from Orlando to unpack my suitcases and repack again for a family trip. And I have another at the end of the month. I've got the feeling that I won't want to see another suitcase for a looooong time come September!

1. What do you never, ever travel without? My Laptop.

2. What do you often take but seldom use? Exercise gear.

3. What do you always forget to take and always need? Advil or cold meds, depending on which I forget.

4. What have you left behind in a hotel room? By accident? On purpose? Magazines after I've read them.

5. What's the niftiest travel gadget/product you've found? My Nook :-) I can carry 50 books on the plane with me, enough to entertain whatever mood I'm in. I still tuck paperbacks in my suitcase though, because I can't get to sleep in a strange place without a book!!

Beth said...

What fun, Christine! Let's see:

1. A book
2. Sneakers (hmm...we seem to be in sync *g*)
3. Enough cash :-)
4. Can't think of anything I've left on accident. On purpose I've left coffee creamer (I like my vanilla creamer *g*) and a few books.
5. I loved our portable DVD player when the kids were little. Now they all have cell phones and iPods and two of them are able to watch movies on their iPods so honestly, I'd like a vacation away from technology for a bit :-)

Have a great trip!

Nancy said...

Daz, congrats on the rooster! Keep him very, very busy. Please. :-)

Christine, a fun blog! I hope your trip goes smoothly and you have a great time.

I also never travel without a book.

I take but seldom use eye cream. I forget.

I forget and always need hand lotion.

By accident, I left my perfect little travel bottle for shampoo in the hotel at DragonCon two years ago. I purposely leave promo materials I picked up and think I don't want after all.

jo robertson said...

What a good idea, Minna! Do you do repairs, stitch new stuff, or are the thread and needle just in case you tear something? I ask b/c I usually use pins or scotch tape for quick repairs. Hey I'm a bit lazy on that end.

jo robertson said...

Fedora, that's a great idea too. I wouldn't have thought of medicine for the kids. Well, unless they were sick when we left.

Actually, come to think of it, I hardly EVER traveled with my kids when they were little. I go much more now that they're grown. And hey, they can bring their own darn meds! LOL.

jo robertson said...

Tawny, I'm thinking about getting a Kindle. Would you recommend the Nook over the Kindle?

jo robertson said...

Suz said, "What do you always forget to take and always need? Imodium. Enough said!"

Oh yeah, I hear you! When we traveled to the Middle East for a month, our first stop was Egypt. I foolishly drank the water and ate the cut-up fruit. BIG. MISTAKE. They call it Pharoah's Revenge there.

Dianna Love said...

Wow, Christine. I'd have never expected to get a purse back, especially if I lost it in another country. What a nice story about the consideration of strangers.

Jo - LOL, on your analogy, but it's so true.

Minna said...

Mostly I use the needles, small scissors (I have this little package I once got as a free gift) and stuff just in case I tear something. Although when I was in the NDSU for a couple of months I had to turn a pair of jeans into shorts. I had fallen and torn the jeans a bit and I really didn't fancy walking around in torn jeans (there's no way to make a torn knee in the jeans look like nothing happened) and there wasn't a sewing machine around anyway, so...

Scissor Sisters - I Don't Feel Like Dancin'

PinkPeony said...

The mark of a successful trip is when you wear everything you've packed at least once!
Jo..I've been in parts of Asia where the pillowcases smelled mildewy due to the weather. Also, if you're not allergic to them, a scented dryer sheet in your suitcase/hotel room dresser (depending on how long you're staying) helps fight the hotel carpet smell from invading your clothes. My cousins are in the hotel biz, and I know maids will sometimes clean the ------ first and then wipe the sink anti-bacterial wipes are always a good idea. Geez...I sound like such a trip killjoy. Have a great time!

Sarah Simas said...

I hope you have wonderful time in Sydney, Christine!! I sure wish some winter would sweep over here to California. It's hot! ;)

I don't travel much, but when I do it seems I'm always that random ticket that gets the FULL security search. *sigh* I've just come to expect it.

1. What do you never, ever travel without? A book and my make-up bag.

2. What do you often take but seldom use? My running shoes! You're so right. What are we thinking? Worst thing is we had to PAY to haul them along. lol

3. What do you always forget to take and always need? Toothpaste or hair spray and I mean always!

4. What have you left behind in a hotel room? By accident? Nothing. I'm one of "those people" who have to pick up the room before I leave. Drives my hubs bonkers, but what can I say? LOL My mom used to work at a hotel. She trained me to do it!

5. What's the niftiest travel gadget/product you've found? My mini-PC. I can store books on it and write whenever I want. Best of both worlds!

Happy packing and safe travel!! :)

Daz said...

Oh yeah, a friend told a very tragic story. She let her husband pack when they were away and he left behind one of her Louis Vuitton shoes, so that when she got home to unpack, there was only one shoe in the suitcase. The other shoe is somewhere in Europe. Leaving behind toothpaste, I get ... but really ... Louis Vuitton???? Moral of the story, never believe your husband when he says he's packed everything. Always check for yourself.

The GR is being proudly displayed for the day.

Daz said...

Jo, I'd say definitely the Kindle over the nook, esp if you are not in the US. If you are in the US, then I'm not certain it makes that much of a difference.

Daz said...

Christine, do check out the iPhone and the apps for eReaders that work on the iPhone. The Australia issue is not that big an issue with the Kindle app, you can get most of the Amazon books on the Kindle even if you are in Australia. However, there are ways around that which will open up all the US books as well ... hmmm ... best to not discuss in a public forum. *ahem*

Cassondra said...

Congrats Daz!

Christine, the coolest thing I've found are packing cubes. I can shove about 15 tops in one of those things. I don't actually understand WHY they work, but they DO!

Tawny said...

Jo asked: Tawny, I'm thinking about getting a Kindle. Would you recommend the Nook over the Kindle?

I personally liked the Nook a lot better than the Kindle. I might regret the choice if things don't stay hunky dory for Barnes & Noble *g* but at this point, I definitely love it. Its lighter, I love reading on it and the ease of ordering an the ability to read pdf's and a variety of formats really rocks.