I’m all packed–but I have a question…

Last year I was pleased as punch to finish packing for my river cruise and weigh my single bag (a 25-inch Eagle Creek Tarmac that’s about eight years old) and discover I was at 28 pounds total, bag included.

My goal this year was the same–but I didn’t make it. Everything’s still fitting in the same bag but because this is an ocean cruise on a big boat, not a river cruise on a little boat, my packing mantra changed a little bit. Of course, as I write this, I’m sitting in Sacramento Airport, waiting for the flight to take me down south where I’ll meet Mom. That means we don’t have our “leaving for Europe” flight until tomorrow so I have time to reconsider my “heftier” packing this year and leave some stuff at Mom’s place…but I’m still debating what to remove…

So what made my bags heavier? Ummmm….clothes I’m not certain I’ll need.

My travel “comfort” items are pretty much the same as they were for last year’s 14-hour flight day so that didn’t change and my carry-on is about the same (except for a nifty new bag, but I’m jumping ahead of myself). For that complete list, see here.

And for clothing, I kept to the same basic concept I had last year: basics accessorized with scarves to switch up the look a bit. Here’s last year’s list, for comparison (and in-depth notes about what worked and what didn’t).

Here’s this year’s list of “I’m sure I’m gonna take these” (because, yes, I have been asked!):

  • Pants: Two black, one beige. Here’s what’s different this year, though. I am absolutely not bringing any ankle-length or cropped styles of pants. Sure, they looked cute last year while we traversed many of Europe’s rivers. But the cuteness didn’t extend downward to the icy-blue feet and toes I sported along with these shorter pants. I was chilly last year in many ports and, not having brought pants long enough to wear socks with, my tootsies suffered. The unseasonably cold rains last summer in our ports didn’t help matters any. I’m not making that mistake this year!
  • Three pairs of wool socks. Don’t laugh. Do not. I wear them all fall and winter at home and this trip I want to have warm feet. So there.
  • Tops: Layering is the key again. One beige tank, three Sahalie tops (turquoise, white, black), a cute bias-cut three-quarter sleeve tunic (thanks, Mom!), Mountain Hardware Canyon short-sleeve shirt (blue) and a long-sleeve Pima funnelneck tee from Orvis (merlot, but no longer available so no link, sorry). That’s it. I’m hoping the other 929 passengers on the Viking Star will not notice it’s the same old tops, recycled (no worries, there is a free laundry on our deck). Scarves should help, huh?
  • Sweaters: One lightweight polyester tunic-length sweater from Macy’s (black) and, here is my splurge, the most gorgeous and colorful reversible (!) long swoopy sweater. It’s packed in my luggage now but I’ll come back later today and add the link and maybe a photo. It will go with anything. Except plaid; yuck.
  • Skirt/dress ExOfficio Maxi Travel Skirt. Well, truthfully, I’ll probably only wear it as a dress once–it’s one of those convertible numbers with a really wide waistband that can be pulled up to become a dress—without straps. I planned on wearing it with my sweater over the top, but, still, I don’t really relish the idea of accidentally having the top pulled down. But it’s a great skirt! And, in case you wondered, that is not me in the photo in this dress…
  • Shoes. I have wide feet (but, as my daughter-in-law kindly puts it, I wear my chubby feet well) so the first thing I consider every time I travel is my shoes. This trip finds two repeat pairs because they just worked so darn well last year: Jambu Blossom flats and my Cobb Hill “Paige” flats. Both come in wide andI  can wear either of these with or without socks (did you know I have cold feet?). This year I’ve also added a third pair of flats (yes, black like all the rest; but you know I’m not going to have to worry about matching things, don’t you?): Clark’s Unstructured No-Loop pull-ons. Leather uppers (it looks like we’ll have our share of rain this time around), available in wide, really comfortable (I already had them in brown before this trip was even a twinkle in Mom’s eye) and, as my husband says, they even look kinda European. My final pair of shoes are a pair of Cobb Hill Aubrey sandals. A little bit of heel to make the skirt/dress look nicer at night–but do I really need them??? Will I be hopelessly out of style wearing black flats to dinner every evening? And, even if I do, maybe it’s worth it not to have to pack more stuff.
  • Bathing suit. Okay, I’ll link it, but your mileage may var when you try it on. Don’t you hate shopping for bathing suits??? But there are two “big” pools, on the Viking Star, including the infinity version, plus one in the spa area (and the Snow Room–how “cool” is that?) so I must have a bathing suit this trip. And that means a cover-up, too. More to pack…
  • ScottEVest Sterling jacket. Removable sleeves make it a vest, oodles of pockets make it work great for travel and it’s heavy enough to serve as my jacket when I’m chilly. Here’s my full review of this (yes, I know its’ pricey) jacket. For travel, this one is a no-brainer for me.
  • Raincoat. Last year I used a backpacking rain jacket but, while it’s very light and it packed up no bigger than a handkerchief, I checked the weather for our ports and it looks like rain is going to be part of our lives in the Baltic area (and Norway–gee, it rains a lot, there, it seems) so I’m bringing a dedicated raincoat by Patagonia this time. And it’s in fuchsia! Mom will certainly have no trouble spotting me on a grey, rainy morning in Helsinki.
  • Scarves. Three in various color palettes. I like to tie them in different ways; by the end of the first week on last year’s river cruise, I had been asked by four other women to give them a scarf-tyinig lesson. I’m truly not that good at it; just persistent. And I haven’t strangled myself. Yet.
  • Underneath it all. Three pairs of quick-dry panties by ExOfficio; ’nuff said. And I’m packing long underwear for this trip. Merino has proven to be my friend for layering, so I’ve tube-rolled my Icebreaker leggings and a beige Icebreaker undertank. I am definitely not going to suffer from chilblains this year. In fact, should the Star take a detour to the North Pole, I’ll likely be the only passenger fully prepared.
Now, here’s where I am really not certain: Should I pack my running/exercise shoes and the accompanying t-shirt and skorts I use when I work out? None of the other shoes can really do double duty for a jog around the ship or time in the exercise room and I don’t really want to exercise in my “daily wear” clothes. This means I have an additional bundle of clothes to stuff in my suitcase. They fit, but it doesn’t leave much room for extra purchases along the way.
Mom says she has room in hers for anything (small) I might buy. But, still, I’m not sure. Will I really find time to exercise? This is a port-intensive itinerary and I’m wondering if I just have good intentions but reality (and the appeal of afternoon tea and scones) will result in no onboard visits to the gym.
Your input?

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