Peggy Lovewell

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How fortuitous...I am just leaving on a trip to England/Ireland. I consider myself a pretty good packer, so I decided to enter your contest!

I have made over 10 overseas trips to over 15 countries with my husband over the past 10 years, and packing light has been a key part in enjoying our travels. Unfortunately, my husband died this past year. I am returning to England and Ireland as we had planned to celebrate what would have been our 40th year of marriage. I will be traveling alone this time, so packing light and wisely is imperative to my plans. I have included photos of my packing and will explain the steps and contents:

Photo 1:So far, this contains gloves; a small purse (for evenings); vitamins for 17 days; an alarm clock (1" x 2.5"); a Bible; small gifts for friends; two scarves; snacks to use at my destination; a zip envelope with individual tea bags and instant coffee; a collapsible cup and spoon; a 9" x 7" packing cube with two pairs of leggings, three pairs of socks, three pairs of undies (I hand-wash at hotels), feminine needs, and a compression bandage—if needed for my leg; an umbrella; an extra carrying bag; a full makeup bag (4" x 8" cube); a pouch for emergency medicines (Tums, antibiotic cream, Band-Aids, mole foam padding for sore spots on feet, aspirin); quart-size zipped bag containing liquids for security check; a wool hat and a baseball cap; a collapsible vent hairbrush and a collapsible round hairbrush; jewelry in a pouch; a small soap and a washcloth; Merrell dress sandals and a good pair of walking shoes (these are Naturalizer). I don't like to wear white tennis shoes—they say, "Tourist!".

Photo 2: A large packing cube (approximately 13" x 9") is added. It contains a wool turtleneck sweater, six blouses, pajamas, an extra bra, and black dress slacks.

Photo 3:Added a pair of jeans and a wool sweater, which can be zipped into a turtleneck. I pack the sweater in a Ziploc bag with the air removed.

Photo 4: Inflatable 1st Class Sleeper for comfort on long flights, hairdryer (5" x 2.5"), a large trash bag to cover the suitcase in the event of rain, various sizes of Ziploc bags, and an elastic band to exercise with.

Photo 5: Scottevest jacket—I think it has 16 pockets, but it doesn't look bulky when filled! Contains: MP3 player with music and five iPod tours of London downloaded; camera; money (I carry big bills in my money belt); notepad/pen/sticky tags to mark books; Platypus refillable water container; notes for trip (I rip pages out of books to conserve weight/space); maps; sunglasses and bifocals; small flashlight; audible emergency protection device (2.75" x 1.5"); highlighter pen; and itinerary. I love this waterproof jacket! I feel secure as I travel alone. At airport security, I just remove the jacket and pass it through, and the weight of the jacket does not count against my baggage weight! The sleeves zip off to make a vest. I keep my passport in my money belt but have it in my jacket at the airport for easy access.

Photo 6: Purse contains: bag with flight needs (hand wipes/facial cleansing towelettes, slippers, medications, deodorant, body powder, earplugs, disposable toothbrushes, lip balm, eye covers); inflatable neck pillow; collapsible tripod for camera; collapsible walking cane (for occasional leg problems); Kleenex; snacks for the flight; reading materials I can throw away after I'm finished; and a container for storing charger cords.

Photo 7: All packed up! The suitcase weighed in at 25.5 pounds.

Photo 8: Ready to go!!!

For the flights I like to wear stretch fleece pants, nonbinding undies, a comfortable blouse (I like the Oakley brand), a sports bra (nonbinding), compression socks, easy-to-remove shoes...and a smile!!!!

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