As reported in Packing #1, Doris and Louis collaborated on a data-based packing plan for traveling around the world in 180 days. What we each did with the data is proof perfect that identical information in different hands does not produce identical results.
Once Louis knew the burn rate on his toiletries and the weather he was most likely to encounter, his most urgent question was, “How fast does laundry come back?”
The Laundry Angle
That’s because one of the many perks of our RTW cruise on Oceania Cruises is free unlimited laundry and pressing. For Louis, the revelation that laundry comes back overnight produced the happy conclusion he needed no more than three sets of clothing for each climate zone: one to wear, one to have in the laundry, one to hold in reserve. Who needs more, right? (Eye roll from Doris.)
Confident he could be clean at all times, albeit monotonous, Louis began pulling clothing and shoes out of closets and drawers and spreading them across the bed and other bedroom furniture to visualize his wardrobe.
When the bedroom proved insufficient for his visions, he moved on to the living room. Louis is a retired cameraman. A visual guy. He needed to visualize his three-piece wardrobes for cold, average and hot, and visualize them he did.
Back at the Computer
Meanwhile, Doris – more motivated by novelty than overnight laundry service – was at her laptop madly typing up spreadsheets with combinations of tops, bottoms and accessories, the goal being to conjure the greatest possible number of outfits for every contingency without exceeding the 50-pound bag limit. Instead of visualizing, she digitized.
Once satisfied with what she had Exceled, Doris pulled the chosen items out of closets and drawers, assembled them into neat stacks by category (e.g., tops, bottoms, pool wear), photographed them for insurance purposes and (completely surrendering to obsessive tendencies) compressed them into neat little Eagle Creek packing cubes.
Her result looked like this.
Packing It In
Though we took different routes, we ended up at the same destination: One duffel each packed with everyday clothing, Louis’s folded and rolled, Doris’s compressed and cubed, all of it coming to less than 50 free pounds per duffel.
The military camo bag was dedicated to the toiletries (which get shockingly heavy for two people for six months), books, shoes that didn’t make it into our rolling duffels and bulky items for the coldest cold – down jackets and vests, gloves and scarves and hats. Into the suitcase went miscellaneous items experienced cruisers (including The Points Guy, whose tips were invaluable) had alerted us to bring: extra hangers because ships never give you enough; magnetic hooks, to create extra storage space on the metal walls; rechargeable handheld fans to carry for the most torrid locations; a laundry bag, because the ship doesn’t provide one. Okay, plus a few overflow articles of Doris’s wardrobe because (let the record be clear!) her duffel contained six fewer cubic feet of storage than Louis’s did!
And then, more than two weeks before our own departure, we hauled our luggage to a nearby UPS store and said goodbye to the next six months of dressing ourselves. The scene in the store was not entirely confidence-inspiring.
Despite our last glimpse of the bags, UPS tracking tells us all four are, at this very minute, stashed at the dock in San Francisco, waiting to be delivered to our personal 215 square feet of stateroom on Sunday. Ta-da!?
All’s Well That Ends Well – But Will It?
Our Oceania Cruises fare includes an overnight stay at the snazzy Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill the night before sailing so we are ticketed to San Francisco on Saturday. Because the luggage handler forbade packing medications, “medical devices” (e.g., covid tests), batteries, jewelry and anything edible or drinkable, among other essentials, we will carry those on the flight along with electronics and other personal items.
All that will remain is embarking.
Will our shipped luggage be awaiting us as promised? Will our unpacked bags fit under the bed? More critically, as we anxiously follow the news, will the atmospheric river currently inundating California interfere with our flight or our boarding? Will rough seas trigger Doris’s seasickness before we even leave port?
All those answers and more in our first report from the high seas.