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Every trip means packing a suitcase and bringing what we need and nothing else. I always ask myself what do I really need to wear on this trip, what are we going to do during the day and evening. Any formal nights or parties we might attend, then do you need a tuxedo which means all the accessories that go with it, luckily nowadays a dark navy coloured suit will do with a white shirt with French cuffs and a dark blue uni-colour tie, dark black shoes polished which I call European formal dress seen in France. Italy, Germany and elsewhere in Europe. On this trip we will need a jacket for dinner every night and we have four formal nights.


First part of the vacation is a touring vacation which means walking in the Irish countryside, so good walking shoes needed, a hat and a rain proof coat. Then at night, jacket with a shirt no ties for dinner, however no jeans and no T-shirt look, keep that for your backyard. The cruise back, we are seven days at sea and this is were we will have formal evenings. Cunard gives instructions on what is appropriate.

The trick is not to over pack and not bring things you really do not need, common sense must prevail. Don’t forget you will have to carry that suitcase. I have the same suitcase for the last 40 years, a Samsonite oyster. So I think out loud and look at what I am putting in the suitcase, making a mental list of clothing and shoes needed and then toiletries. I know more or less what we will do, so I can see what I will wear and it needs to be comfortable but at the same time elegant.


If you forget something, you can always buy it abroad, best to avoid complications. I will also bring a pocket camera and my Kindle but no computer, unnecessary weight to carry around, after all I am on vacation and I feel there is a need to put electronics away. I lived most of my life some 50 years without it and survived I am sure I can continue to divorce myself from the social media etc. when you want quality time with yourself and others.

I did check the weather and it will be cooler in Europe, early Fall end of Summer weather. Looking forward to it all, the food, the wines, the sights and seeing friends.