Trip/Tour report for Best of England & Paris & HOF
This is a pretty long report, so will continue the post in follow up comments!
I did these tours back to back starting the Best of England on Sept 13 2015 and Paris and the Heart of France on Sept 29. I very much enjoyed this combination of tours. They worked well logistically since I just took the Eurostar from London to Paris to pick up the 2nd tour but culturally they are very different. During the Best of England, several of us were discussing how to pick back to back tours and one couple said they wished they had not picked Best of England and Ireland as back to backs as the cuisine and folk music felt very similar to them. One couple had done Rick’s Portugal tour before the Best of England and thought this worked well for them as the cultures were quite different. Everyone is different, so I mention this just for people to give some thought to similarities/differences when choosing tours.
Luggage/assorted other bags/packing cubes:
-Last year for an 8-week trip I used Rick’s 22” convertible backpack. By the end of the trip it was very heavy for me to lift. Once on my back it was fine but I wound up with bruises all over my arms from slinging it around to my back. I was determined not to have that problem this time so purchased the RS 20” roller during a sale last Spring. It worked really well. I still had room in it when I left and wound up expanding it for the flight home just because it seemed stuffed. I had planned to check it on the way home anyway as I had a 9-hour layover in SLC. It was easy to handle. Had no problem getting it into the overhead on the International leg going over nor into the overhead on the Eurostar. I did gate check out of Lewiston ID because really, unless you have a teeny backpack you can’t get anything in the overhead of the commuter jets. The only negative about this bag is that altho the loaded Veloce fit over the handle, it was then pretty heavy to pull, so I did better with the Veloce on my back (no valuables except binoculars and a deeply buried iPad Mini in it while in transit).
-I also had the RS Veloce backpack which I used for my under-the-seat bag (and then my “bus bag”) and packed my LeSportSac Everyday bag for my purse once I arrived. This time I also used an Eddie Bauer Travex Connect Travel Wallet which was absolutely perfect! I travel solo and always slightly worry about my money/passport on the overnight flight. This is small enough to fit under my cardigan and not be a nuisance but also held my passport, iPhone6 plus credit cards, some local currency and my Chapstick, lol. I had my money belt on but I don’t like to put my passport in there until I get thru Immigration on the other end. This small wallet was a great option. I also wound up using it a lot during my travels when it was rainy. It fit well under my EB raincoat, stayed dry and kept my hands free.
-I am a believer in packing cubes to keep myself organized. I use the Eagle Creek silnylon compression packing cubes. I use a full cube for my shirts and sweaters and a ½ cube for my underwear/socks/PJs. These cubes are very light even with the extra zipper for “compression”. I used a ziplock for scarves and could never keep it so it was squashed down. I also use ziplocks for my 3-1-1 of course, another clear plastic toiletry bag for my non-liquids, and a ziplock for meds.