- Passport. I have joked that one of these days, I am going to take off with my passport, my bank cards, and my cell phone. That's it! But for me, those really are my essentials. With that said, make a copy of your passport picture page and your bank cards and keep them somewhere else, such as in another bag, just in case.
- Electronics. Buses and some hotels will have USB ports for easy charging. Just remember those cables. Other things that will need electric will need a converter and an adapter. Most hotels will have hair dryers, but they usually put them in desk drawers.
- Old underwear and old clothes. This is a strange one, but bear with me. On trips, I rarely know what clothes guests have on. About 75% of the time, you will have a coat or jacket on. Don't overplan tops. I often take older clothes and underwear on trips and as they get dirty, I leave them behind. I call it "Sacrificing to the Traveling Gods". Then you have more room for those new t-shirts and sweaters. And less laundry when you get home.
- Plan to wear your heaviest/bulkiest things. Bulky sweater? Wear it. Heavy hiking boots? wear them. This strategy saves space and weight.
- Rain jacket/3 season jacket with a hood. This is a MUST. Plan on it being 50 degrees and raining every day. For the most part, all activities will continue as planned regardless of weather.
- Face clothes or nylon scubbies. Irish and Scottish hotels do not have face clothes.
- A thermal shirt. Just to have an extra layer, consider packing a thermal shirt. Could also be used as a pajama top.
- Leggings. These serve much of the same function as the thermal shirt except for the bottom half. They can be worn on their own or under jeans.
- A scarf. Can be used to dress up and outfit, or for warmth. But if you forget yours, both countries will have plenty available.
- T-shirts or casual shirts. For 10 day, I usually take 3 short sleeve and 3 long sleeves and either rinse out or use the hotel laundry service if needed.
- Jeans vs. Khakis. Think about weight and bulk as you plan your pants.
- Boots/Hiking Shoes. No matter how cute, stick to rubber soles and water resistant/water proof.
- Socks. Most likely your feet will get wet. Appropriate socks are important.
With each trip we do, I get asked for a packing list especially for those trying to pack light. So I decided to post it here so I can refer to it as needed.
Imagine a destination where 2 very different world class cities are within walking distance. Not possible you say? Let me tell you about Edinburgh.
Through history and geography, Edinburgh has become 2 vibrant yet very different cities. There is the regal and historic Old Town and the bustling commerce-filled New Town. The 2 areas are separated by a park and trust me when I say, to walk from one to the other is uphill both ways. But worth every step.
Old Town's main thorough-fare is the Royal Mile. At one end is the majestic Edinburgh Castle. At the other end is the royal residence. Cobblestone aplenty. Shops crowd the mile and sometimes literally sit on top of each other. It makes you feel as if you have stepped back in time. You can often see tours being guided by costume guides from the middle ages yet they do not seem out of place. There are many closes or alleys leading off the Royal Mile. One way leads you to Cowgate and some of the best nightlife anywhere. The other way leads you to the park and then to New Town. And by the way, many of the closes are rumored to be haunted.
Many, many years ago, Old Town started building up creating an underground network of tunnels. Many of the city's poor resorted to living in the dank, underground spaces. Murder and other crimes ran rampant literally under the feet of the citizens. Many troubled souls are said to still linger.
Back up in the daylight are the many shops along the Mile. All things Scottish are for sale. Whisky. Kilts. Bagpipes. Haggis. Woolen tartan scarves. Not enough? On most days local vendors set up and sell crafted goods along the Mile.
And I think you can always hear bagpipes playing.
Do you prefer posh and plush. Let's walk across the park to New Town. George's Street is one of the main thorough fares here. Again the business district is about 1 mile long but very different from Old Town. It is a bustling metro area. The street is lined with swanky hotels and upscale, high fashion shopping.
Each hotel has a formally suited Bell Man standing watch at the entrance to open the door or help you with your bags. As you enter the cavern-like lobby, you will notice the rich wood paneling, the decadent Persian rugs and the warm inviting fire on the hearth. Expect to be catered to. This side also shows it's American influences. On one block is the iconic Hard Rock Cafe. Down the street is a large Apple store.
You are past the velvet ropes and are one of the beautiful people.
Need a haute coulture gown for the ball. You can find it in New Town. Want a carriage ride around one of the privately owned gardens. It can be arranged. Think Chicago's Magnificent Mile with better customer service.
Feeling peckish from all of this shopping? Don't worry. There are many trendy coffee and tea boutiques to choose from with delectable baked goods and pastries. Or there are also many fine dining establishments along the way too making the Hard Rock look like fast food.
In 2018 we are featuring 3 trips including wonderful Edinburgh: Histories, Mysteries, Ghosts, and Guinness. Kilty Pleasures. and Haunted Ireland and Scotland. We invite you to consider joining us. See up-coming excursions for more details on each.
Ready for adventure? Wanting to know a new city?
Take off and get lost! Seriously.
Head out on foot with a map, your smart phone and at least enough money to take a cab back to your hotel. Walk for a few blocks in one direction, maybe looking for a coffee shop. Stop in. Check it out. Then ask a local question, like when is the local farmer's market. Then take off for another type of shop. Maybe a bakery. Maybe a charity shop. Maybe a book store. Maybe a park. Maybe a street performer.
Can you find these things?
Then comes the real test. Can you find your way back to your hotel?
In a matter of a couple of hours, you learned more about an area than you could ever learn on the internet. Or from a tour guide. Why? Because it is your personal experience. Completely priceless.
Ever been in a nice hotel especially in Europe and they have those slots by the door where you need to insert your room card to get electricity? The idea is that you don't leave lights on and waste electricity when you aren't there. Fair enough. Makes sense.
But what about us travelers who want to charge that extra battery or camera while we are out?
Here's my clever tip: Any card with a magnetic strip works in the slot! I usually keep an extra keycard or 2 with me at all times from other hotels. Sometimes they are souvenirs. Sometimes I just forget.
But any card will work.
So the next time, stick in your random card in the slot, power up, and keep your room key with you.
But please turn off the lights.