Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing a series of posts as I gear up to return to Ecuador in April. This is the second in that series.
For my high-school graduation I asked my grandparents to purchase me one thing and one thing only: a nice set of luggage. And I'm telling you, it was the best decision ever. Though quite a standard, and overall an unremarkable set by Prodigy, I cannot count how often I have used those 5 bags. The set included 2 large rolling bags, 1 rolling duffel, 1 rolling carry-on, and a small laundry bag. Every work trip, every vacation, every flight you'll find me toting one of those bags. They're covered in airline tags, and marked with bright duct tape (an easy and fun way to delineate ordinary black bags). They've seen me all across the U.S., to Paris, Amsterdam, and Ecuador. And soon, they will see me back to Ecuador and on to Peru. Seriously, if you are looking for a good graduation gift you should consider purchasing luggage.
On my last trip to Ecuador, I checked my largest rolling bag and a large rolling duffel. I added to that 1 standard carry-on roller and 1 large computer bag that converted to a backpack. This time around I'm doing almost the same – with one key difference: No duffel. Sadly, after the last trip the duffel died, ripping at the inner pocket seam. It also had a hole ripped in the top that was not easily repairable, forcing me to have to get rid of it. In its place I'm taking my second largest rolling bag. The plan is to check the two largest bags on the way down, and still have two carry-on items with me. On the way home I'm planning to put one bag inside the other and only check a single bag.
Right now I'm just praying it all fits and is under the weight limit. I'm making use of several Ziplock Vacuum Space Bags, but I've still got several items left to pack and both of my checked bags are nearly busting at the seams. In fact, the largest bag is just under the weight limit and I cannot add another item to it. The second bag has weight available, but not any room – seriously, this packing is totally the adult version of Tetris. I bet I'll end up packing and unpacking twenty times. But friends, please pray I get it all in there. I've got so many gifts to take – gifts for my sponsored children, my mother's sponsored child, several of my friends' sponsored children, the projects we'll be visiting, and the families of my children. There isn't anything I feel I can leave behind, so you see, it HAS to fit.
As it stands, I've got just the backpack/computer bag left empty – and it has to hold all of my clothing, my few toiletries, and my laptop…. I will so be packing and repacking. Packing and repacking. Packing and repacking. This is a serious point of stress for me on this trip. I almost wish I could go ahead and pack my clothes now just so I can make sure it's all going to be ok.
Do you have any packing tips you can share? Or, do you have a favorite brand/type of luggage?