This post is brought to you by Contiki and Travel Mindset.
Every year or two, my family and I go on an epic summer vacation in Europe. In 2012, we road-tripped through the countryside of Scotland and Ireland. In 2013, we canvased Western Europe, starting in Barcelona, zipping over to Monaco, then sailing down through Southern Spain and Morocco, up the coast of Portugal and on to northern France. In 2014, we went the opposite direction: We kicked off our three-week follies in Rome, sailed south to the Amalfi Coast and around the boot of Italy, then did some island-hopping in the Adriatic, hitting up Greece, Montenegro, Croatia and Slovenia.
In 2015, my sister decided to get married, so we put our annual vacation on hold and decided to plot an even bigger, better one for 2016. This year, our trip plans for three weeks abroad in August are well underway. Instead of hitting up some of the more well-known spots, we’re going off the beaten path this time, way down into the belly of Southeastern Europe.
We’ll be starting in Budapest—one of my all-time favorite cities—then hopping a river cruise down through the Danube, making our way through former Yugoslavia and the Iron Gates, ending our journey in Istanbul.
I can’t wait to soak in the baths of Hungary, marvel at the mosques of Turkey, explore Serbia, a new-to-me country, and revisit the Transylvania Mountains of Romania, where SVV and I spent our first Christmas together 11 years ago. It’s going to be magical.
And as you can imagine knowing the level of Type A I am, I’ve already started packing. Four months in advance. That’s totally normal, right?
I’m a bit of a hybrid packer, walking the line between casual and dressy: i.e. you won’t find me wearing jeans—sundresses all the way, baby—but you also won’t find a pair of heels in my suitcase (it’s flip-flops and sandals for this well-traveled gal). Here’s what my bag holds—so far:
- Eight sundresses
- One cardigan
- One light jacket
- Three bathing suits
- A cute beach cover-up
- Two pairs of sunglasses
- Two pairs of flip-flops
- One pair of nice sandals
- One pair of Tieks
- One set of workout clothes and running shoes
- Underwear and bras
- An emergency kit of medical supplies
- My Kindle, pre-loaded with several vacation reads
- My laptop, a charger and a converter
- A carry-on holding all of my camera gear
Pray tell: What am I forgetting?
On that packing note, Contiki has launched a new Bag Tag campaign that links your packing style to which Contiki tour is best for you—and they’re giving away a lot of fun prizes, too. Are you a sundresses-in-Benelux type of traveler who likes to mingle with nature and frolic among the tulip fields? Maybe you prefer the pub culture of Britain with his fish and chips, haggis and kilts aplenty. Or are you most inspired by the culture of ancient architecture and big cities?
All you have to do is take the quiz and try to match each bag with the correct trip. What can you win? A number of premium prizes like an iPad, travel vouchers, the bags of goodies themselves and—for one lucky human—an actual Contiki trip.
I poked around the contest page a bit and tried to determine which of the six was the best fit for me. The problem? I identify with them all! But if I had to pick just one, it would be Bag #5.
Bikinis and boat shoes and nautical wear all day every day, please!
The only thing is, I’m not quite sure which trip it links up to. If I had to guess, I’d go for the Turkey & Greek Island Odyssey, which is funny as that is the very Contiki tour I’ve had my eye on for years now.
But I can’t be certain that I’m right—and I’d love for you to weigh in, take the quiz and tell me which bag and trip are best suited for your travel style (and also help me cheat a little and tell me if you think I’m on the money when it comes to my own trip). After all, you never know—you might just win one of those dreamy vacations for yourself.