Anyway this list has my sister in a tizzy and so we decided to get together and see what we can accomplish. This turned out to be a good thing because she easily got distracted and I tended to refocus her on sale items so she'd stay on budget. She has time and since she lives in a town that sells more Wrangler jeans than packable travel pants, I figured she should head to the big city of San Francisco.
We started at Costco but struck out except for a box of Handi-wipes that she can take instead of liquid Purell which thrilled her. She just learned the 3-1-1 concept from TSA. Then we moved on to REI where we found a great backpack! This is one of my favorite outdoor stores. They have equipment for skiing, hiking, cycling, kayaking, you name it!
Don't tell her I told you, but at the front of the store my sister saw these miniature tents on the walls. She thought they were for dogs! Seriously! I snorted I laughed so hard. These Barbie size tents were just displays, with tags that detailed the available dimensions, how many they could sleep etc. It was a pretty funny moment and a reminder that she is a travel newbie.
At REI we decided to go with the JanSport backpack that had great shoulder straps (with soft silicone gel inserts!) and deep deep pockets. In the main pocket she can fit a pair of shoes, pants and shirt plus her camera and other gear with no trouble at all. It also has three other pockets for spreading out her magazines, hand-wipes and snacks. She can also fit this pack under the seat in front of her on the plane.
Here is a pack similar to what she got:
We didn't find any clothes or shoes for her there but we definitely looked and tried on several for fit and feel. Actually trying on travel style clothes got her excited all over again. It was cute. She loved the idea and feel of the shirts that take little effort to wash and don't wrinkle. She tried on shoes but they only had the hiking shoes which she didn't need.
We moved on to our final destination Nordstrom. They are well known for starting out as a shoe store in Washington State. The service and merchandise is worth checking out. We hit the restroom there and got lucky when we walked out and into the department we were looking for! Encore has their larger sizes for all the major brands including Eileen Fisher. That was a good sign. She loved discovering the Foxcroft brand that include wrinkle free shirts. She got one of these:
My sister wanted to make sure she had comfortable and well fitting clothes if she was going spend the money. We were there two hours. After trying on several style shirts and pants, we hit the jackpot when we found a knit top that she loved on sale. It fit well and Nordstrom had the second neutral color of navy ordered from another store and sent to her house directly. Love that service! So with the Foxcroft shirt and two pants we were almost done.
Before we left for home, we stopped at the lower level to check out the walking shoes. My brother specifically said she cannot wear sneakers. The salesperson put my sister into a pair of Munro shoes, basic black with velcro to make it easy on her. I know she is going to be worn out! This is the pair we decided on:
Aren't they cute? She will test them at work before we decide on the second pair. Besides all the advice, my parting gifts to her included two guidebooks and a map. She is so excited about this trip that she was anxious to get guidebooks that had lots of pictures and tips. They would be her souvenirs and part of the trip planning buildup.
Laminated Streetwise London map (a basic that won't die in your bag or tear)
This 2010 Eyewitness London Guide (she is here the longest so this made sense)
Top 10 Paris Guide (she is here for only a few days, so why not just the highlights?!)
I could have peeled her off my ceiling when we got back to my house and she did a show and tell for my husband. It is hard to imagine that my first time abroad was [gasp!] 25 years ago while still in college.