Two Golf-trip Travel Tips

Tip No. 1: If there’s anything I can’t stand, it’s intrusions of light and noise into hotel rooms in which I’m trying to sleep. I felt angry and exasperated recently when I realized that the intermittently loud refrigerator in my room (I forget where I was staying) could not be silenced: it was bolted into its cabinet, which was bolted to the wall, and the control knob inside the refrigerator had been removed. There was no way I could unplug or disable it, short of tearing the cabinet apart, but I did invent a simple new way to fully close the curtains, by using the clips on the caps of a couple of cheap hotel-room ballpoint pens:

IMG_5877

Tip No. 2: eBags, one of a select group of companies for which I am an unpaid shill, makes several of my favorite travel accessories, among them Packing Cubes, which are zippered fabric bags that keep the contents of a suitcase from becoming a chaotic, wrinkled mess.
fullarraycubes

In the photo above, you see a week’s worth of golf-trip gear—all of which will fit into an eBags TLS Mother Lode Mini 21” Wheeled Duffel, which in turn will fit into the overhead compartment of an airplane. Upper left: medium orange Packing Cube containing a tee shirt (for sleeping) and a pair of lightweight fleece pants (for in-room apres-golf lounging). Lower left: my eBags Pack-it-Flat Toiletry Kit, which is actually not a Packing Cube but is fully Packing Cube-compatible. Center: two large festive Packing Cubes containing shirts, pants, and a sweater. Upper right: large orange Packing Cube containing underwear, socks, handkerchiefs. Lower right: two empty large gray Packing Cubes, for laundry. If I’m traveling with a rainsuit, I’ll put it in one of the gray Packing Cubes and stuff that into my golf-bag travel cover. And if I know I’m going to need a sports coat somewhere I fold it inside out and put it in a Packing Cube of its own. That keeps it from getting wrinkled, even if the other stuff in the suitcase squeezes it flat.

hotelroomsurprise

My Latest (and Therefore Favorite) New Golf-Travel Accessory

eBags, one of a select group of companies for which I am an unpaid shill, makes my favorite carry-on bag, my favorite laptop backpack, my favorite packing accessories, and, now, my favorite travel toiletry case—all with lifetime warranties:

packitflat

It’s called the eBags Pack-it-Flat Toiletry Kit. There’s tons of room inside, yet it folds almost as flat as a tee shirt, so it’s easy to cram into an overstuffed suitcase. And it has a hook, which you can use to hang it next to the sink in a hotel bathroom. That’s especially convenient if the hotel bathroom is so small that you would otherwise be in danger of knocking your toothbrush into the toilet:

flatopen-001

(The spoon next to the deodorant isn’t for cough medicine. It’s for when I buy a pint of Cherry Garcia at Wawa after a hard day of golf, and don’t want to ask for a spoon. The zipper to the right of the toothpaste opens an extension that adds a couple of inches of storage space.)

Further Thoughts on Packing for Golf Trips

Strainer and chamber pot fashioned from German helmets after the end of the Second World War. Resistance Museum, Amsterdam, September 8, 2013.

Strainer and chamber pot fashioned from German helmets after the end of the Second World War. Resistance Museum, Amsterdam, September 8, 2013.

My wife and I just returned from Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium, where we spent ten days celebrating our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary. Among the many interesting places we visited was a museum devoted to the Dutch resistance during the Second World War. (See photo above.) For reasons having to do with my desire to remain married for another thirty-five years, I didn’t play even one hole of golf. But I did do some golf-related luggage research, and I wife-tested a few ideas about minimalist packing.

Our luggage. (My wife's backpack and purse are out of the frame.)

Our luggage. (My wife’s backpack and purse are out of the frame.)

We each took just a carry-on bag and a small backpack (plus my wife’s purse). All the luggage was from eBags, an online luggage company for which I am an unpaid shill. Here’s what we took: two eBags Mother Lode TLS Mini 21″ Wheeled Duffels; an eBags TLS Workstation Laptop Backpack; and a similar, older backpack, which eBags apparently no longer makes but is a lot like this one. My wife not only got along fine without a big suitcase but actually packed lighter than I did. We didn’t carry the carry-ons onto our plane—international flight, one checked bag free—but once we were in Europe our relatively light load made it easy to get on and off trains, climb stairs, take the tram instead of a taxi, etc., while still leaving room for souvenirs. The bags are perfectly designed, and the laptop backpack is like a mobile office—not that I did any work.

Souvenirs, outdoor flower market, Amsterdam.

Souvenirs, outdoor flower market, Amsterdam.

Although I left my golf clubs at home, I did take two pairs of golf shoes, both by True Linkswear, another company for which I am an unpaid shill. They were the only shoes I took on the trip, and (it turns out) I could have gotten by with just the black ones, a model called Chukka. (I took the others, called Sensei, because the Chukkas look a little spooky when worn with shorts—but then I ended up never wearing shorts.) Chukkas are waterproof; Senseis are not. Both are extremely comfortable, and, by comparison with some of the shoes that Europeans wear, Chukkas don’t look strange at all.

True Chukka (left) and Sensei (right).

True Chukka (left) and Sensei (right).

Before we left for Europe, I held tryouts for the position of Trip Pants. The pre-competition favorite was a pair of black Nike flat-front Dri-Fit Tech Golf Pants, which are 95 percent polyester and 5 percent spandex. But when I wore them for a test round on my home course I decided that they made too much noise when I walked, and that they felt too much as though they were made of bubble wrap. I had similar issues with a super-cheap pair of no-name pants I found on Amazon. The eventual winner was a pair of black Dockers Advantage 365 Khakis, which are 100 percent polyester microfiber. They don’t wrinkle, they don’t stain, they can be “laundered” in a hotel-room sink, and they look fine in the morning if you leave them in a heap on the floor overnight—yet they remain silent when you cross your legs.

Docker's 365 Advantage microfiber pants, in overnight storage.

Dockers 365 Advantage microfiber pants, in overnight storage. (Note belt with beer-opener buckle, by Bison Designs.)

I also took a pair of pre-wrinkled 100 percent cotton Dockers in a grayish color, which, unlike the Advantage 365s, don’t look like the bottom half of a limo driver’s uniform. But if I’d been on a golf trip with my pals, instead of a romantic getaway with my wife, I’d have taken a second pair of microfiber instead.