Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Packing: The Challenge Begins . . .

I've noticed a climate change when it comes to talking about packing.  A few years ago, any claim that I'd managed two weeks in Paris with carry-on luggage would be met most often with incredulity. Occasionally, there would be admiration--as if for a heroic accomplishment--occasionally, and sometimes there'd even be ridicule (why ever would you want to do that?). But when Une Femme introduced the topic a few weeks ago, in preparation for her upcoming trip to Paris and Italy, many commenters insisted that the convenience of carry-on did not preclude the possibility of dressing well. I especially like ParisGrrrl's note that she packs one week's worth of clothing no matter how long she's travelling.  Having eked a month out of our carry-ons the last two years, we're really going to test the system for this year's six-week trip.  But the apartment we're renting in Paris is equipped with washer and dryer, so I'll be able to refresh items as needed, and I'm sure there will be some shopping to introduce variety towards the final weeks.

I'm hoping to spill out the contents of my carry-on before I go, and let you see the wardrobe that must take me through six weeks away. Almost as big a challenge, though, is the limit for liquids and gels -- that 1-litre zip-lock bag that must contain all my hair products, contact lens solutions, and cosmetics. I'll admit straight away that I have a secret weapon here: Pater is quite content to use whatever products he can pick up on arrival, so his space becomes mine. Still, can you imagine how annoyed I was recently to find that my favourite hair product (the only product that really works for my kind of curls -- and my daughter's, and Duchesse's, right D?) has been re-packaged. While I grudgingly admit I'll probably get used to the new colours and design, I can't believe they never considered what a change from 100 mls.
to 150
would mean for all of us who fly carry-on only. Luckily, I have one last container in the old size, so I can squeak through this trip -- I know the product is gettable in London, so I'll be able to pick some up there to see me through the last few weeks. But still. Think, people, think! Why mess with a good thing? Last year, Tigi put out 50ml containers and I grabbed a small stash, but worked my way through them. Hindsight hurts, and I obviously should have saved those for such eventualities as now, but I'm crossing my fingers the company will hear enough customer complaints that they'll bring back travel-compliant sizing.

Ditto for my contact lens solution -- I have one 100 ml. bottle, but my second is 120 ml. I've decided I'll take a chance they either won't notice or they'll let me get by with the slightly larger size (still sealed). Otherwise, I'll abandon the 120 ml and, again, pick up something in London.

Another concern was shampoo and conditioner. We've managed before by picking up something on arrival, but I really miss my Aveda for keeping my hair in order. This time, I've filled 6 small bottles, half with shampoo and half with conditioner. We'll pick up something for Pater over there and I'm hoping that careful rationing should see me through six weeks in prime Aveda condition! The bag above contains 2 small bottles of contact lens solutions, 6 hotel-size bottles of Aveda,
my blush, my Curls Rock, eye cream, three small sample vials of Kelly Calèche and a small bottle of Balenciaga's Paris. And when I come home, having emptied out the shampoos, the hair product, and the lens solution, there will be room for new perfume, should I end up bringing some home.

Here's what's left over for Pater's bag: day cream, night cream, foundation, and a lipstick. We'll probably throw a deodorant stick in there as well, although I've found it can get through in the suitcase, not being either gel or liquid. I've also found that the (small, l'occitane) hand cream I carry in my purse, along with any lipsticks in there, don't get challenged. I'm knocking on wood between typing, and I'm always ready to squeeze these into Pater's bag or, if necessary, to leave them behind, but so far, so good . . .

If some of these products get used up while we're away, it's hardly a hardship to check out new possibilities in London or Paris. I've heard good things about the Boots no. 7 line, for example . . .

So that's a peek at my carry-on . . . I've got my suitcase almost organized, and I hope to share my travel wardrobe over the next few days. Meanwhile, any tips are very welcome . . .

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