Mission (should you choose to accept it): You get one day pack and one piece of luggage (a larger backpack). You must pack everything you need for 30 days and save space to bring back a few things. You also must be able to carry everything you’re bringing with you.

First the technology: (this is my version of technology-lite)
1) Digital camera, an extra memory card, and batteries.
2) Digital voice MP3 recorder (not so good at writing anymore).
3) iPod loaded with approximately 15 audio books, 2 days worth of music, and several photos of home, headphones, and headphone splitter (in case you want to share).
4) Regular film camera (I can’t give up my extra-wide angle lens, and I can’t afford a digital SLR + wide-angle lens), film, and extra batteries.
5) Thumb drive.
6) G-Mail account – email yourself your Internet favorites too.
7) Alarm clock.

Vacationing necessities:
1) Travel pillow (one of the really cushy ones, not the blow-up ones).
2) Rain jacket and warm liner, just in case the weather is bad.
3) Bathing suit(s), travel towel (packs in small space and dries quickly), and lightweight sari (good cover-up when you don’t want to get burned).
4) Paint-by-number puzzle books (also called Nonograms).
5) Passport, ATM card, and credit card.
6) Outlet converter (to charge iPod).
7) Bug-spray wipes, hand wipes, stain-removing wipes, and spray-on sunblock.
8) Lonely Planet Central Europe book.
9) Sunglasses, a watch, and a hat to keep the sun off your face.
10) Cool stylin’ moleskine journal to keep track of travel notes and spending (a birthday present from some friends).
11) A few 50-cent packs of Raisins, Peanuts & M&M’s for snacking emergencies.
12) Immodium and Cipro (I think that one is self-explanatory).
13) Two locks (one for each bag). I hope you didn’t buy a backpack with a lot of zippered compartments, because that would be a lot of locks!

Things I have been forbidden to bring on my vacation:
1) My laptop.
2) My cell phone (I recently got a TREO and am a little too connected to the Internet now), and besides, my cell phone won’t work in Europe.
3) A book on Quantitative Analysis, a book on Qualitative Analysis (these two books were vetoed by my husband as non-vacation books).
4) A copy of MathType on my thumb drive (this effectively prohibits me from doing any math-related writing while I am on vacation).
5) Addresses for postcards. (I am forbidding myself from bringing adresses. It is too time-consuming to find proper postage and post offices in foreign countries. Consider the blog your postcard.)

Of course, you also need to pack enough clothing to survive for about a week between laundry opportunities (don’t forget pajamas and nice clothes for evening outings) and you need to pack comfortable walking shoes, sandals that are comfortable, and sandals for water activities. And you need to pack your toiletries (shampoo, makeup, contact solution, toothbrush, etc.).

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