Ready, Set, Scotland! – Stylish Travel Tips for the Hopeless Over-Packer

Written by: Anne Gavin



#2 in a series of Diary Entries documenting my May, 2016 trip to Scotland.
Go here for Diary Entry #1

Hello.  My name is Anne and I'm an over-packer.  They say that the first step on the road to recovery is to admit you have a problem.  So, there.  I said it.  I am famously known among friends and family for packing for every occasion -- known and unknown -- and for traveling with at least 8-10 pairs of shoes.  True confessions -- I am also a shoe-aholic.  But, reality came crashing in when it was made very clear by my Scottish tour guides that only one very  small suitcase would be tolerated.  They even sent acceptable dimensions.  Bigger than the size limit (48 linear inches total) and you'll be left behind.  Gulp.  Apparently they don't have Sherpas in Scotland so we will be doing our own schlepping.  OK.  I can handle it.  I can do this.  Maybe..

If I had to have a small suitcase, why not get one of the nicest small suitcases there is -- a classic Hartmann Herringbone Spinner.  I always wanted a full set of Hartmann luggage,  So, here's my chance to start my collection.  Done.  But, well...hmmmm.  It sure is small.  Upon receipt of my new, adorable but exceedingly tiny valise, I resolved to begin a daily mantra -- "less is more and layers are best." 


My tour guides were dictatorial kind enough in sending along their suggested packing list.  My eyes bulged when I read, "You really only need two pairs of shoes."  What?   So, yes, this is a hiking vacation.  I'll be walking the Highland trails, across moors and over hills and, if I am lucky, maybe up "Craig na Dun," so hiking boots will be the only pair of shoes needed for the most part.  I set my jaw and accepted this and promptly purchased the most light-weight, yet sturdy and stylish hiking boots (waterproof with ankle support!) I could find -- the Ultra FastPack from North Face.  I've worn them a few times hiking already and they are like walking on pillows.  Plus, they are cute, not clunky!


As for the layers part.  I've limited myself to 3 long-sleeve cotton t-shirts and several of J.Crew's long sleeve cashmere tees to layer on top.  I have a few neutral colors in the cashmere tees -- black, grey, navy, flax.  We were also instructed to bring "hiking pants" -- light-weight, cotton.  Never having purchased hiking pants before, I spent a good amount of time perusing online sites like Athleta, L.L. Bean, and North Face and making a few in-store visits.  I settled on some of the most comfortable pants, ever -- Athleta's Trekkie Pant.  I'll be bringing 3 pairs of these pants in a few color-ways.  I also have one pair of silk base layers (top and pants) to slip on underneath the hiking pants if we encounter some really frigid temps.  The silk base layers can also double as pajamas!


Now for a suitable, yet versatile jacket.  Considering it snowed in the Highlands just two weeks ago, and Scotland's generally unpredictable climate year-round, this jacket needed to be a workhorse.  It was a tough choice.  I needed something warm but also something that I could shed if (blessed Michael defend us) the sun came out and it got above 65 degrees.  After much gnashing of teeth, I decided on The North Face Condor Triclimate 3-in-1 jacket.

The fleece lining will zip out if temperatures get toasty and can be stuffed in my back-pack leaving a lighter shell on top.  And, of course, there is a hood for the inevitable Scottish rain and drizzle.  I love the neutral white and grey colors, also!

Since I might want to give my feet a break after a day of hiking, I am also bringing along a super comfortable and chic pair of trainers.  Lastly, knowing that I will be in Scotland another 9 days after first week of hiking, I am bringing a pair of flat, leather ankle boots to pair with some additional Week 2 clothing items to include dark denim jeans, a long sleeve cotton dress and dressier pair of pants for nice dinner out or something that might require a bit more than hiking pants.  Can it be, though?  Only 3 pairs of shoes for 16 days?  Yep.  I am ALL IN.

As for other needed accessories.  I have a couple pair of SmartWool hiking socks and one pair of waterproof socks.  Also, a cashmere beanie, fingerless alpaca wool gloves and a scarf (official Outlander MacKenzie tartan!).


During the trip prep process I stumbled upon this great web site and learned about eBags packing cubes.  After watching a YouTube video about how to travel around the world with only 15 items placed in packing cubes and then inside a suitcase, I decided I could do this and promptly ordered the requisite number of cubes.  This will be a first so I am curious to see how they work.   I am thinking most of what I will bring is wrinkle proof so rolling up and stuffing into the packing cubes should be fine when everything gets unrolled on the other end.  I'll let you know how it goes!

And, finally, what about a back-pack to hold daily hiking essentials and also serve as "small personal item" to carry aboard plane?  L.L. Bean to the rescue with an added monogram, of course!  And, Etsy proved quite handy for some lovely leather monogrammed bag-tags to match my new suitcase.


How about electronics?  My colleague recently traveled to Scotland and was quite up front about the fact that she didn't expect nor wanted to be connected while on holiday.  Well, not the same for me.  Not only am I hoping to blog about some of the trip here at the Outlander Cast Blog but traveling solo, I just want to be able to have that connection with home and my Scottish friends who I can contact if something goes awry.  Plus, I  like my gadgets because, after all, I do work for a technology company!

Must Have Gizmos:

This last one is important.  I will be out of the country for THREE -- count them THREE -- episodes of Outlander Season 2.  Not acceptable to miss them.  I discovered this nifty service that will allow you to access U.S. streaming services via a secure VPN connection.  Supposedly using this will allow you to by-pass network restrictions normally encountered out of the country where your streaming subscription resides.  I'll be interested to see if it actually works but the cost is minimal ($10-$12/month) and can be cancelled upon my return.  A decent Internet connection will also be required and that is the biggest question mark of the trip.  But, that said, I am sharing the link for those Obsessenachs also traveling abroad this spring/summer and who can't fathom missing an episode of our favorite series.

As far as toiletries, make-up...I am really going minimal here.  One small packing cube will be reserved for these items to also include Skin So Soft Bug Guard towelettes (I have no idea if midges will be encountered but I am not taking any chances and this Avon product comes highly rated); mole-skin and wrap for possible blisters; travel size Dry Shampoo (no blow dry bars in the Highlands, I am afraid!); small packets of Woolite liquid detergent to wash rinse clothes, undergarments, etc.; Motrin and Jet- Lag homeopathic remedies.  Did I mention what horrible Jet-Lag I get?  I'll have two days in Edinburgh before my tour starts to get past any Jet-Lag so hoping I can power through it.


So, that's it ladies and gents.  I am as ready as I am going to be.  Now I have to rely on the airlines to get me there safely and on-time.  I have a lengthy lay-over in lovely Newark, New Jersey before hopping my overnight flight across the pond.  So, thank you United Airlines for my pass to the United Club.  However, until wheels are, in fact, up and headed in the direction of Edinburgh, I'll be sweating it!!

You can follow my adventures in Scotland and receive alerts when new entries of the Scotland Diaries  are posted by subscribing to the Outlander Cast Blog here.  I do hope you'll come along with me.  T-minus 2 days!

Slainte!

Do you have any international travel plans this year? What are your best packing tips for travel abroad?



16 comments

  1. So excited for you, Anne! Three days into Ireland and I have yet to wear a shoe other than the Sorel out n about boogie I bought this spring for the trip. It's too damn wet to wear anything else. You are all set! Can't wait to follow along.

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    Replies
    1. Ashley Crawley -- I think the hiking boots will definitely get a work out. I am at peace with the number of shoes I have brought :) Thanks for reading and commenting. Enjoy the rest of your trip!!

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  2. Anne, you sound so ready to go! This is exciting! And we have two of our team in the UK! Living vicariously! As we say in my family, Sretan Put!

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    Replies
    1. Denise Stewart -- Next year we will have to get the whole OCB crew together and go! Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  3. Replies
    1. Anne K. Hawkinson -- I expect there will be adventures to be had! Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  4. The excitement is palpable - adventure of a lifetime! But what I really learned from this post? Next time I plan an out-of-country trip, I'll be raiding your closets!!

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    Replies
    1. NOVA Brandt -- My closet is your closet! Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  5. I hope you can blog while "over there!" My husband and I are planning a trip next year so I'm taking notes from you. Can't wait to hear the next installment!

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  6. I hope you can blog while "over there!" My husband and I are planning a trip next year so I'm taking notes from you. Can't wait to hear the next installment!

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    Replies
    1. Lori H -- I am hopeful to be able to publish a few posts while traveling. If you haven't subscribed to the Blog, please do and you'll get emails about new content as it pops up. Hope to be able to share for those of you planning trips in the future. Let me be your guinea pig!!! Thanks for reading and commenting. Talk to you again soon from bonnie Scotland!

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  7. Anne, thank you for the clothing tips. I, too, am an over-packer and it does present problems. When I went to Scotland two years ago, I packed a lovely raincoat which I never wore. We had glorious weather, very mild and sunny almost every day (September). My trip this year is to Hydra and Venice, so I will be packing summer items. I look forward to your travel diary entries. I know you will have a wonderful trip. Best wishes.

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