I wasn’t going to write this post because I was ashamed of how much stuff I took with me. I’m terrible at packing and I’ve never mastered the art of packing light. But come with me and see how atrocious it was.
This is the bag I took with me. It’s my favourite Mountain Equipment Wet & Dry Kit bag and I wrote a Useful Travel Items post about it a while back, so if you’re curious about it, go read. It’s small enough to go as hand luggage on a full sized plane; on a Flybe Dash 8 Q400 propeller plane, it can just about fit under the seat but if you’re unlucky enough to have bags sized at the gate, it won’t fit in their size-checkers, so it got put in the hold. Which I don’t mind, because it was free and I didn’t have to deal with it on the plane. It weighed a ton and you’re about to see why.
It’s packed to the brim. I’ve taken a couple of things out since I’ve been home (I got home Tuesday; I’m writing and taking photos the following Saturday) but 98% of it is still in there. I’m certain it’s over the weight allowance. There were a couple of bracelets and hairthings in the mesh lid and the yellow inner bag is full of washing, which you don’t need to see.
And here are the contents.
At the very bottom, nice and flat, is my Voyage Award evidence folder and the Fringe brochure.
On top of that on the left are the two packing cubes, which contain three plaid shirts, three t-shirts, a pair of trousers, a pair of shorts, a polartec jacket and a windshirt. My pyjamas were in there but they’ve come out.
On top of the cubes go my laptop, which is an elderly 10.1″ netbook of very little brain.
At the bottom on the right is the pair of sparkly blue-green shoes – so beautiful, so painful. On top of that is a net bag containing a rolled-up softshell jacket and waterproof trousers.
Slotted between the roll and the cubes is the hardback book, handed out free to pretty much everyone who walked down the Royal Mile on Saturday morning. The smaller book and the empty Kindle case were slotted in against the edge of the bag by the cubes. The little yellow notebook went in the net pocket at the end of the bag. The collapsible water bottle was rolled up and stuffed in where it would fit and the same went for the two plugs, the belt, the headtorch, the tiny bar of soap secure in a sandwich bag, the box of business cards and the tiny USD car charger. The little plastic bag containing a necklace chain should have been secure inside my wallet but I forgot.
Finally, squished on the top is my bag of liquids. There’s a small deodorant in there, a miniature bottle of shampoo (I used up the two matching bottles of conditioner while I was there), a bottle of all-purpose wash, a tube of toothpaste (normal toothpaste is flight-friendly; it’s a waste of money buying miniature toothpaste, especially when it doesn’t save that much space or weight), two bottles of nail varnish, a little tube of face gel, a tiny atomiser with a couple of drops of perfume in it and three miniature pots of jam. Yes, I flew with jam.
Is that everything?
As for everyday stuff, I have a little shoulder bag I bought in Iceland in 2014 when I realised I had nothing but a suitcase and that was no use when I wanted to take my phone, wallet and keys out to the geysers. It’s a handy size, although I make sure the “I Heart Iceland” side is turned towards me because it’s not decorative. The Kindle (remember the empty case above?) lives in that bag, along with my camera and sunglasses and my wallet.
My mum bought this for her holiday. She put all the passports, all the money, all the tickets in it and then shrieked that she had too much to carry and dumped them all loose in her handbag. I looked speculatively at it for a couple of weeks and then took it to Edinburgh and very handy it was too.
In the front pocket is the city map I ripped from the Fringe brochure. The airport parking ticket has ended up there as well but that was originally inside.
On the left, from bottom, we have a tiny pocket containing my spare camera battery, then my debit card and driving licence, then my two credit cards, then my archery licence card (because I can’t leave home without it!), my Girlguiding membership card and my Trefoil membership card, then my book token and Waterstones loyalty card. The empty one above it did contain the parking ticket and then top one has a few cards with my name and contact details on.
Underneath is a flap containing paper money. Under that is any important paperwork, like bookings and boarding passes.
Hidden under the paper is a sleeve containing two pens.
On the other side, my Voyage Award book is in the back pocket, along with used tickets. In the mesh one at the front are unused tickets, my passport, a spare hairthing and a spreadsheet listing what I’m seeing and what Tom’s seeing.
I don’t know if I’d use a wallet like this any other time – it’s a bit bulky for everyday use, whatever country you’re in, but in this case, I needed and wanted more paperwork around than I usually do, like the map and the tickets and the spreadsheet.
There’s also a zip pocket in the back which contains my coins. Everything in Edinburgh that I used cash for seemed to result in pounds and fifty pences – no pennies, no shrapnel, no nothing, so well done Edinburgh.
So that’s what I took to Edinburgh. That’s what I carried around day-to-day.
Incidentally, I tried packing all that stuff into an Osprey Farpoint 40, the travel blogger’s carry-on bag of choice and… it doesn’t really fit. There are people who go round the world with less stuff than I took to a comedy festival for six days and that is why I am ashamed to show you my packing.