Take Twice the Cash and Pack Half as Much . . .

. . . or lose half your packed clothing along the way. We travelers have all heard that old saw, but none of us ever follow it.  This becomes especially evident when it comes time to purchase and pack the booze and souvenirs at the dreaded end of the trip in preparation for the long flight home.  Fifty pounds maximum (or less!) per bag?  Two-bag (or even one!) limit per person?  Who the heck are these airline people kidding?  Have they no shame?  What’s next, a mandatory gratuity to pay for the flight attendant?  An up-charge for an experienced cockpit crew?  Oooops.  Hope I didn’t just give some airline CEO a couple of ideas.

But before our last trip Ursula, my lovely wife of over thirty-one years, came up with a very elegant solution.  Facing a nine-day cruise out of Barcelona followed by a three-day trip to her home town of Zurich, and confronting the prospect of trying to bring back four liters of Swiss kirschwasser (a cherry brandy essential in the making of traditional fondue), assorted chocolates for both us and the kids (who placed their rather extensive orders beforehand), and even lugging back five kilograms (eleven pounds!) of Raclette cheese, all the while staying below the airlines’ baggage weight limits and within the volume confines of only two medium-sized pieces of luggage, she simply had to get creative in the pre-trip planning.  And creative she indeed was.

Her solution?  Pack old clothing we would be willing to leave behind.  So out came the stuff slated for the thrift store—stuff such as leisure suits, bell-bottom pants, and tie-dyed shirts.  Well,I exaggerate . . . but not by a whole heck of a lot.  Let’s just say that somewhere aboard the NCL Jade is a very happy room steward who is dress-ready for Disco Night.

As for that ‘amount-of-cash-to-bring-along’ thing?  You’re on your own on that one because we still haven’t figured that out, to which our credit card company can both readily and happily attest.

Last spring, in the name of research for my current writing project, we made the ultimate sacrifice for my readers and took up living on a cruise ship for the better part of two months.  During that fifty-four-day sojourn I kept almost 2,700 photographs (probably deleted almost twice as many!).  During the cruise we had a photo contest in which passengers could enter one photo into each of three categories:  Landscape, Architecture, and People/Animals.  No post processing was allowed; you had to go with the images straight out of the camera.  What follows are nine photographs I took during the voyage.  Three were entered in the aforementioned contest, one per category.  See if you can figure out which three were entered, which took a first-place win, which placed third, and which didn’t place at all.

Best of luck:


Filed under Photography, travel

4 responses to “Take Twice the Cash and Pack Half as Much . . .

  1. Thanks for the great ideas! I wish I’d read this yesterday while my daughter was packing for a big trip!

  2. Elaine

    Good grief, don’t take any cash! At least, not unless you can, from your US financial institution, get your hands on the currency of your destination country. Instead, take a MC- or Visa-branded debit card. There are ATMs all over the place, at least in places we traveled. You’ll get _the best_ exchange rate available on the day you withdraw, and you won’t have the worry of carrying around _all_ of the cash or travelers’ checks you had committed to the trip, for the entire duration of the trip.

  3. Anita Diego

    Doug, You were born to write, please keep on doing it. Whatever you write about, you do it with elegance and knowledge.
    Tu est un homme-plume, tu sens par elle, a cause d’elle et avec elle.

  4. Many thanks for the kind words, Anita. Glad I have such a dedicated fan in you.