Everywhere I look on the topic of TRAVEL, people tout "travel light!" Well, what about those of us who simply can't?!?!
Yeah, we tried it; didn't work. We have issues - (mostly) physical. Our standard packlist now contains at least one air mattress (plus pump and sheet), exercise bands, and core ball. We toss in a small waist pack, hoping to buy some weights at our destination. We often pack a pillow - useful, and it helps to cushion the suitcase contents. We haul along a CPAP machine (yay, they're starting to get smaller; boo, the airlines now count it as a carry-on instead of an uncounted medical device). Of course, that's not the only medical item; we have the usual assortment of pills. For very long trips, there is also allergy serum - this has proven to be so painful that we've decided to skip this, and keep our trips to less than 5 weeks until the series is done.
Also in our suitcase: electric toothbrushes and shavers, and all the associated charging stands. USA electric devices in most other countries require power converters. We have two, and rely on extension cords to plug everything in.
With the advent of tablets and smartphones, we've been able to reduce (but not completely eliminate) books, maps, travel guides, dictionaries, and photos (whew!). We still need at least one laptop (and ethernet cable, surge protect, plug converter, power supply, and sometimes a backup battery).
Against all that, it doesn't make much sense to follow the standard travel-light advice: buy toiletries when you get there, rinse your underwear each night, etc.
It also doesn't pay to take short trips - even one night on the road equals at least one checked bag, so - darn! we go for it! :-)
The flip side is that between trips, we've learned to live light!
We've downsized from a 3 bedroom house to a 1 bedroom apartment. The last time we moved, we used a 4x8 trailer!
We have a few big-ish items for daily living (including a big-a$$ TV), but we have a lot of multi-use "furniture" and utinsels. We use our packing cases for everything from the bed platform* to end tables. We have a couple of folding tables that we use for dining*, office work, and hobbies.
If we buy a souvenir, we make sure it is also practical / wearable (or at least small!)
We've cut down on physical books in favor of ebooks and heavy library patronage.
We have only slightly more sheets and towels than we need. :-\
Instead of a knife-block full of specialized tools, we have a few favorites. I especially like my french whisk and side-cutting can opener. Oh yes, and the tongs. And...
(You may notice there are two peelers - I bought a replacement when one was left in storage; heh, turns out I like the cheap one better. The other will be gone soon.)
I use this soup pot and 3 qt saucier a *lot* (a gift from a *lovely* friend - who also gave me my very favorite chef's knife)!
And we improvise! (No meat rack? Use foil!)
* I must admit, I would like a few more items:
- a small table with 2 chairs for dining
- we're hoping to find a mattress that works for us. Easier said than done - currently, we have two air mattresses plus various "padding."
- at least one more real end table (We're getting a bit tired of the unstable box)
- a hand mixer. Although, I don't bake as much as I used to, and I have come to like my fork-mashed parsnips (replacing mashed potatoes)
- a serving platter and bowl; I'm looking for something that combines a NM souvenir (and perhaps handmade experience?) with practicality. I'm not in a hurry tho - I have a cookie sheet and largish cereal bowls that work pretty well...