Who doesn't love a good sale?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thank you to Practical Hacks for the heads-up on a big 20% off holiday sale at the Rick Steves Travel Store (on until December 14th). Rick Steves is a well-known travel guide who claims to show people "Europe through the back door" - his catchphrase for getting off the beaten track and seeing real people and places instead of just tourist traps. He runs guided tours, and he writes a popular series of guide books, and he has a radio show, and a podcast that I like, and a tv show that I watch, and he sells travel stuff on his website. What can I say? The guy's definitely covering all the bases. I also like him is because he's another "one bag" zealot.

I've had my eye on a few things from the Rick Steves store, so I'll definitely be placing an order while the sale is on. I'm just hoping to catch it when the Canadian dollar is a bit stronger against the US, so I can spend as little as possible.

Here's what's on my list:

Civita Day Pack - This will be the everyday pack that goes everywhere with me. I imagine it will normally carry the Asus Eee PC, a guidebook, a water bottle, other books, a sweater or jacket, and anything else I might need or pick up in the course of a day touristing around. When I'm in transit between locations I'm hoping it can live sort of rolled up in the top end pocket of the Aeronaut, acting as a bit of padding for the Eee PC too. I'll be getting it in the lovely, low-key "slate" colour. (BTW, more on the Tom Bihn Aeronaut is coming in a future post.)

Silk Sleep Sack - I'm splurging for the silk one because they're lighter, pack up smaller than cotton, and should be more comfortable. (Colour: Sage Green) Here's what Rick has to say about sleep sacks.

Serious budget travelers need a sleep sack. The primary use is for hostels. If you don't have one, you'll rent one each night... the ones you rent can range from straight — jacket tight to crinkly disposable paper versions. A sleep sack has uses beyond hostels. If you'll be sleeping out, the Mediterranean is warm enough without a sleeping bag-but the sack gives you the thin bit of warmth and protection that makes this a realistic option. In Scandinavia, many budget alternatives to hotels rent beds without linen. With your sack you can say "ya sure, ya betcha" and save piles of kroner. Sleeping for free on the train is more comfy and feels much cleaner, if you have your own sack to crawl into. And, in more rugged corners, cheap hotels can come with dirty sheets. More than once, I've been thankful to be cradled in my own sleep sack rather than some questionable sheet in a dumpy hotel. Mountain huts often come with blankets only — washed once a year. While some travelers don't care, I prefer to have the clean linen this sack provides between me and the hut bedding which one German hiker described as "the germs of centuries."
Travel clothesline: This is a must - the whole premise of traveling light is based on being able to do one or two small items of laundry in a sink every night, or every other night. A travel clothesline lets you dry things overnight and wake up to a fresh pair of socks without having to spend hours in a laundromat. Apparently the good ones are made with 3 lengths of surgical-type rubber tubing braided together (as opposed to those shoddy 2-length twisted knock-offs!). The braided design lets you tuck the corners of clothing in between the tubes, thus eliminating the need for clothespins. (And yes, I appreciate the extreme travel-geekness of the fact that I've researched and carefully considered the relative merits of three-stranded-braided vs. two-stranded-twisted travel clotheslines. And that's not even getting into the Great Velcro Loop vs. Suction Cup Debate.)

I'm also considering a new toiletries kit; My current kit is showing its age a bit, and I think I can afford to splurge on this one, along with the handy removable mesh shower caddy that can go right into the shower with me. I'm concerned that even the smaller of the two kits available is still quite large, but for $15.95 USD I may risk it. I'm waffling between the red and the yellow.

All this should add up to about $88 USD, plus about $16 USD for shipping. I figure it'll come to about $120 CDN after exchange, plus there may be taxes and duty and stuff when I pick up the package. All in all though, I think that's a great deal, and much less than I budgeted for the above items.

Now about those suction cups...


Mitch said...

I think it's a no-brainer. Yellow shower caddy.

Pam said...

Yeah, but my current kit is red, so there's a precedent set already. Plus my other luggage purchases will probably be grey, and I think the grey-red combo is better than the grey-yellow combo. Further thought required.

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