Saturday, July 2, 2011

Georgia (Republic of): Pack List


I don't have my flight itinerary yet. Until I receive information to the contrary, my assumption is that on an economy-fare, international flight from the U.S., I can:

  1. Check two bags free, up to 50 pounds each;
  2. Carry on a personal bag (i.e., purse, laptop bag) plus one piece of "carry-on" size luggage. 

If the above holds true, I'll:

Check these two bags:

eBags Mother Lode TLS Mini 21"
eBags Weekender eTech Convertible

Carry on these two bags:

eBags Downloader Laptop Backpack


Unlike Playa del Carmen, I need to pack clothes that:
  • Will see me through a hot summer, cool autumn, and cold winter; and
  • I can efficiently hand wash and hang dry myself  (though I hope there's a market for outsourcing this at a do-able price!).

    To manage the luggage space that clothing consumes, I'm following these guidelines:
    • Monochromatic base. I want maximum mix & match capability, so everything I pack will go with my black color base. I already have a black jacket, a black/white jacket, and a basic-black dress, which helped close the deal. (Also, I understand that Georgians wear a lot of black.)
    • Multi-purpose clothes. Several of my selections work for street wear, pajamas, or exercise, giving me flexibility in response to laundry constraints and weather.   
    • Layer-friendly clothes. If I layer enough warm- and cool-weather clothes, I should have enough protection from wintry weather.

    My plan** is to pack all of the cold-weather items into one suitcase so that I don't even have to open it until this fall.  

    **In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable. Dwight G. Eisenhower


    The broad weather range and uneven walking surfaces make shoes another challenge. I'm thinking three pairs of shoes: sandals, flats, and boots. The boots are to contend with mud and snow. The stories of mud on Georgian streets are apocalyptic.

    ... and I guess a pair of slippers, as walking inside a Georgian house without slippers invites all manner of physical calamity upon one's head, including the freezing of women's ovaries.


    • Laptop + power/charge cords + remote mouse
    • MP3 player + cables
    • Mini-speaker for laptop, MP3 player, and voice recorder
    • Voice recorder + cable
    • USB plug-in to charge MP3 player and mini-speaker
    • Adapters
    • Surge protector
    • AA and AAA batteries for mouse, voice recorder, and mini flashlight
    • Flash drives
    • System repair disc
    • Wrist watch (has alarm feature)
    • Cameras + their paraphernalia

    I won't bring my own cell phone, as the Georgian government will provide one.

    I'll shut down my month-to-month Straight Talk account and leave my $30 cell phone at home.

    People outside Georgia will still be able to call my Google Voice number and leave a voice message, which I can pick up via my email account. I'll also have skype.

    Physical care/comfort items

    • Shampoo/conditioner
    • Toothbrushes/toothpaste
    • Cosmetics
    • Two wash cloths (my international experience is there are usually towels, but not wash cloths)
    • Inflatable pillow
    • Grooming tools
    • Reading glasses - backups and backups of backups
    • Compact mirrors
    • Combs 
    • Imodium + ibuprofen + aspirin + pseudoephredine (it'll probably be less expensive to get cipro in Georgia) + bandaids
    • Soap
    • Flashlights 
    • Single-serve Crystal Light packets

    Mental care/comfort items

    Teaching stuff

    It's hard to know what resources will be available at "my" Georgian school. It may have a lot of amenities, such as a printer, photocopier, chalk, paper, pens and pencils, and books. It may have almost none of those. Stores in Tbilisi may have most of what I need, but I don't know what the selection will be, the quality, or the price. 

    Based on my experience in Ethiopia (and, frankly, Mexico to some extent), I'm taking a starter kit of things that will make my life easier as a new teacher.  
    • Three, 3-ring binders + sheet protectors for teaching (and my study) materials
    • Flash cards 
    • Sticky for walls + tape
    • Stapler/staples + chalk + post-it notes + markers, a few pens and pencils
    • Photo albums
    • Realia such as menus, purchase receipts, business cards, map, labels, and photos
    • A starter supply of printed lesson plans, games ideas, and handouts (don't know what the printer situation will be in-country; of course, same goes for photocopier) 
    • A couple of notebooks
    • Stickers
    • Teaching manuals
    • English dictionary 
    • An 8 1/2" x 11" whiteboard (thanks, Matt!)

    We'll see how it goes.  Getting it all packed, that is.

    If you like to read packing lists, you may be interested in these related posts: 

    Taking a Budget Road Trip, Part 4: Pack List

    Packing for the Zombie Apocalypse

    Ethiopia Round-Up: How'd the Pack List Turn Out? 


    Unknown said...

    Sounds good but depending on your shoe size and foot width you may want to bring a few more flats and boots. I have been here for 2 months and my pair of flats are destroyed from the sidewalks and roads. I have big feet so it is impossible for me to find women's shoes. I did buy a pair of tennis shoes for 50 lari last month but even they are starting to fall a part now.

    Also it is an economy flight, you will get your ticket last minute (I was lucky and mine came 5 days before I was suppose to leave). Only one bag was free for me then LOT (polish airline) made me pay for the second. LOT may give you problems with over-sized carry ons as well. Also be prepared for some massive lay-overs. I had 19 hours of lay-overs from New Orleans to Chicago to Warsaw to Tbilisi. Some people didn't but some did.

    Mzuri said...

    Thanks for your sobering - yet helpful - comments! Yeah, the shoes. I hate to take up too much space just for shoes, especially given the possible problem with the baggage limits, but what you say about more flats makes sense. Also, I may have to move my thinking from "free" to acceptance that I'll need to pay for one bag, thus still take that second checked bag. In the long run, that may be less hassle/expense than having to buy things in country. How much did you pay for that second bag with LOT?

    Anonymous said...

    Mzuri, what was your experience with the checked bags? Did you have to pay for the 2nd? If so, how much?

    I like the rootless idea. I don't need all this stuff!

    Mzuri said...

    Hi samijam - I did not have to pay for the 2nd bag. I flew Delta (I think), then Turkish Airlines. I went online to review the bag checking policies of both, especially Turkish Airlines. Per online info, if I was flying international from U.S. (other countries also mentioned), then I could check for free two bags up to 23 kg. each (I think).

    When I arrived at Delta counter in St. LOuis, however, they told me I'd have to pay something like $75 for the 2nd bag! But when I explained re: info I'd read on Turkish Airlines' website, it all worked out ok and I wasn't charged.