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4/2/2016 11:24:22 AM

Preparing for a huge trip and a "Miracle Shopping Pack"

crafts   DIY   ideas   low budget   travel  

I know, I know... I have been promising to write a big post about my first trip out of the country to visit Hubby where he is working in Colombia.  But... I don't have time for that right now.  Why?  Because I am preparing for a huge trip to tour Thailand with a stop-over in Beijing, China.

Yep.  And if the planning alone isn't enough to send me into permanent cardiac-arrest, the hidden costs associated with it definitely are.

The trip itself isn't as expensive as you might think, especially since we have planned our own flights, purchased a discounted tour for Thailand, and are using mostly hotel points for the days we are not on the tour.  Expensive mind you... but not as expensive as expected.

However... the additionals are spiraling out of control... from electricity converters, to a better version of my camera and a dozen batteries since all my old ones don't hold a charge anymore, to finding that my swimwear is on average 15 to 25 years old.  Yes... always fun to get out that swimsuit and find that the elastic goes "crunch".  And even more fun to realize that your best two bras are really the only two comfortable bras you have and just won't cover a very hot three week trip where we won't get a chance to do laundry.  Sure I have other bras, but having wires stabbing me, straps cutting me, and stitching falling apart, just won't cut it for three weeks, either.  So I have spent a small fortune on new bras alone.  Er... fun?

While I have tried to be very frugal on the needed purchases (like finding $45 swim pants for snorkeling on sale for $6 each!), it all still adds up wildly.  So out comes the sewing machine...  and the cat. Because who can sew without a cat drooling on your patterns?

Now... Thailand is hot.  Not just hot, but tropical-humid-oh-my-gosh kind of hot.  And we are going at about the peak of the hot season.  Well... why not?  The seasons to choose from are hot-humid, hotter-humid, and sopping-wet-hot-humid.  So while there may be better times to go, it doesn't seem like the slightly less-hot season is worth the added cost and crowds during the peak tourist season.  And of course, this is when we can go on vacation so seasons be darned.

But I digress.  Hot.  Thailand is hot and humid, and... modest.  Yes.  Modest.  Not only is dressing in your skivvies to beat the heat frowned upon unless you are on the beach, but also the temples and palaces often require at least half-sleeves with shoulders covered and full length pants or skirts.  Somewhat challenging for someone who has two types of going-out cloths... warm jeans for the winter and standard shorts for the summer.

So what is the lightest weight cotton/linen you can think of?  Well, for me it is the ages-old sheets from twin and full size beds that we don't own anymore.  Ummmm yeah... who wouldn't immediately think of turning a bunch of sheets into light cotton pants?  I am all but sure that is a perfectly normal thing to do... maybe less normal is installing pick-pocket-proof pockets... Looks like normal pockets from the outside, but are accessed from inside the waistband.  


I made a pair for Hubby that have outside pockets and inside pockets, so he can keep small cash and change easily accessible but credit cards and wallet where no one can get to them.

And of course, while we will have a day-pack for most of our touring with extra water, shoes, pants, and all sorts of things, we found in Colombia that we were often either without the pack altogether, or still lacking in room to add those assorted items purchased at markets and around town.  So, inspired by thin pack-able back-packs that are available online, I made my own "Miracle Shopping Pack".  Okay... it might not be exactly miraculous, but it is very versatile.

So... to start with it is made out of water-proofed rip-stop nylon and it folds down small... very small, and can easily fit inside our day-pack.


But if you don't have a backpack or something to put it into, just attach the adjustable strap and use it as a purse or fanny-pack with a buttoned pocket on one side and a zip-pocket on the other side.


What shopping would fit in this little thing you ask?  Well... flip the interior out of the buttoned pocket and boom... a small size backpack with padded shoulder straps, zip-pocket in the underside of the cover flap (same one as used in the fanny pack), button pocket on the outside of the cover flap, and an inside the bag zip-pocket for important or small items.


So you can hold a little shopping, but what is that zipper on the bottom?  Yes!  Unzip the bottom to double the capacity for more shopping and put your water bottles in the button pocket on the outside of the cover flap.  Now we are talking shopping capacity.


But of course, if that isn't enough shopping capacity for you (or you start to tip over backwards from the weight of all that shopping)... notice the loops on the shoulder straps with cute carabiners?  Yep.  Hook on more shopping bags without cutting your hand up to carry them all.


Now THAT is a shopping pack.

I will share more strange sewing projects later, but in the mean-time enjoy this view of a blizzard outside my house a couple days ago...

          4/2/2016 11:54:27 AM - Thailand Trip Update and More Strange Sewing
          2/11/2016 5:59:55 PM - A Strange Thing to Say

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4/3/2016 9:31:47 AM Punkin
Wonderful ideas. Shopping will no longer be a choir but easy and fun just using your packs and see what all can fit into them.
The light weight clothing with double pockets will be cool and safe and you can enjoy the sites without having to look over your shoulder all the time.
The heat sounds like it could be a problem. You and Chris are always careful about hydration and you drink a lot of water so you are already in the habit and that sounds very important
for this trip.
We are excited for you as there are many things in this world to see.

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