CARRY-ON OR CHECK?

It’s getting down to the wire and time to DECIDE:
Am I going to check a bag or carry-on?

Amazingly (to me..) I am definitely going to carry on my suitcase. And, even more amazingly, I did a trial pack and everything fits with room to spare!

My #1 reason, and what has made all the difference, are these:

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In particular, the “garment folder” in Medium. I folded 3 pairs of pants, a linen tunic, 4 knit tops, a lightweight sweater, a knit dress and a knit skirt; compressed them with the flat piece included; did the 2-way velcro closures tightly, and DONE. Nothing gets wrinkled or is out of place twenty hours later. And it’s all organized. I didn’t put my jeans in there as they were a perfect filler along the edge of the suitcase.

I had bought and tried the large size of this garment folder but found it was just too big. It didn’t fit across the suitcase but had to go in vertically so it took up an entire layer.

The smallest cube holds all my underwear, lightweight nightshirt, a totally crushable black “robe” I just found at Marshalls that I can wear in “down-time” hours at our apartment or as a robe, two scarves, a belt and 2 statement necklaces. I have found lately that putting the necklaces in this cube, instead of in my small quilted jewelry case keeps them from tangling and twisting. And yes, only 2 necklaces as, of course, I hope to buy some over in France!

 To all this I add my small hair dryer bought in France so the plug and voltage is no problem. I also take a hair straightener. Toiletries go into the fabulous EMME bag. The 3 pairs of shoes fit into one large shoe bag and go at the bottom section of the suitcase.  I’ll be wearing my Mephistos for travel time.

But it all fits just fine!

Then, of course, there is my ongoing question of what kind of under-the-seat tote to bring.
We were up in Wash. D.C. a few weeks ago and were at the Tyson’s Corner mall. Huge doesn’t quite describe it…so I had lots of opportunity to see and try other totes. Well, guess what?
I’m carrying a back pack!

Here it is:

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It’s the Ridge Runner Tote from LLBean!

It’s great. It’s very lightweight, not too big, fits my back perfectly, doesn’t look too “back pack” (well, maybe it does….)  It holds everything I need on the plane:

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Remember? This was my inventory of what I need to have under the seat!

Now, as I approach an escalator I will have one hand free! (That is, if there IS an escalator… the Europeans are not known for this convenience…) But even a set of stairs will be easier.

I decided to give my four wheel, very used suitcase one last trip. It has done very well for me but the handle is going, so this will be its swan song. I was VERY tempted, while at the mall in D.C. , to spring for this suitcase:

This is one gorgeous bag! Well, for the price, it should be. It’s so hard to really tell about any suitcase from a screen: so if you can, go to a luggage store to at least look, feel, and see before you order on line.

Here is another one I liked very much and for less money (although still quite an investment.)

I liked this for size and interior over its sister, the Spinner, but I would be very, very hesitant to buy a suitcase that didn’t have four wheels. I find it makes all the difference in the world to be able to roll it along next to me.

And then there is the question of just what is it worth. These are expensive. And the one I am using on this trip was bought, I think, at Marshalls about ten years ago (at least) and has done many business and family trips. I probably paid $50.00. Then again, I just bought a hardside carry on at same store, used it once and then realized it was not made with a side handle!  For $50.00 it was not worth it: that side handle is invaluable when loading a bag into a car or hauling up  top in a plane.

We’re off this week and I will let you know how these travel “accessories” do on this trip! As always, we would all love to hear your experiences and comments about luggage and travel.final-signature

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ONE COOL TRAVEL ACCESSORY!

This is one great tech accessory!

The Dulla Portable Power Bank

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This little gem of a tech gadget will charge your iPhone 4-5 times before you have to recharge the actual powerbank.

It’s simple: plug in your phone to one of the two USB ports at the end (or attach two phones), press the blue button over on the left, and your phone will recharge. Of course, you can use the phone while this is happening. It will also charge iPads and iPods.

I have found it takes about 1-2 hours to fully charge my phone, but I rarely let it run down lower than 20% so I’m not quite sure of the exact time.

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Then, to recharge this baby, just plug in the supplied cord and it should fully recharge in five hours. There are also four blue lights that indicate battery level on the charger. It arrives, out of the box, fully charged.

I’m telling you…this is a great gadget. We will be driving all over France and I’ll be using my phone for most, if not all, my pictures. So I’ve been worried about the phone running low at some point during the day. Now, while we’re driving, or having lunch, I can recharge. In Europe, with the 240v electricity, simply plug the cord into your iPhone square wall outlet unit, attach the required adaptor, and you’re set to go.

Here’s my phone next to the  charger so you can compare sizes:

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Again, it’s the Dulla PowerBank.

I’m also crazy about the gold color!

P.S. This is not a sponsored post…I just wanted to pass this on to you.

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PEACH CLAFOUTI

Surprise!
Instead of a Friday Flowers post I thought I would “give” you this fabulous recipe.

Peach Clafouti

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Do you know Chez Bonne Femme?

It’s a blog all about France and cooking with some travel thrown in, written by Wini Moranville.
I have her cookbook
The Bonne Femme Cookbook
and have made many of her recipes.

To print out, or download, the recipe you will have to go this link:
Colorado Peach Clafouti à la Bonne Femme

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I just made it (it’s mid-afternoon now) and the two of us have eaten almost half!!
It’s REALLY GOOD, y’all. (And so easy to make…)

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I’ll be back on Monday with some travel updates, so check back here.

There’s more:

This is one delicious breakfast treat…just had a slice with my tea. Thought you might
like to know…

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