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The Wenches

  • Mary Jo Putney

  • Patricia Rice

  • Susan Fraser King

  • Anne Gracie

  • Nicola Cornick

  • Andrea Penrose

  • Christina Courtenay

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  • Jo Beverley
    Word Wench 2006-2016

  • Edith Layton
    Word Wench 2006-2009

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  • Years published: 164

    Novels published: 231

    Novellas published: 74

    Range of story dates: nine centuries (1026-present)

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1. Bring a good book or six! Even though I travel with a Kindle, I still bring a paperback just in case my technology fails.

2. Double check that you have your ticket, passport, other documentation, money/credit card, and contact information if you're meeting someone at your destination.

3. Pack glasses and any medications in your hand luggage.

Anne Gracie

Pat, I just had to pop in to say, I LOVE Terry Pratchett's The Luggage -- it's one of my favorite characters. But I doubt it would be reliable — the things that go into it, often don't come out again. But it will follow you home. LOL.

I also love arcopedico shoes. I have a pair of red ankle boots, and some slip-ons from them, and, as you say, super light and so comfortable to walk in.

Patricia Rice

How could none of us have mentioned the utter necessity of books! Wow, thank you!

Patricia Rice

I have apparently broken typepad and cannot get in to reply, so Im using the email version and hoping this works. I think Id take anything the Luggage spits out and if it helps me home, Im good. ;)

Anne Gracie

How annoying that you can't get in to type-pad, Pat, but I'm very interested to see that when you reply to the email notifications (instead of logging in to the site) you lose apostrophes, too. That happens to me as well -- so many of my comments have no apostrophes. I used to go in and edit them to fix it, but it became too time consuming.

Anne W

I made myself an oversized tunic to wear traveling to my nieces wedding in Col. Sailed thru Nashua NH airport. got pulled out of precheck line in Denver. Went thru the scan twice, and then got wanded. The shirt had metalic threads in it and my scan showed absolutely opaque over my entire trunk. Have to make sure I don't weaar anything like that again

Patricia Rice

Charming! I hadn't noticed until now. If my id spits out luggage, ima good :)

Patricia Rice

!!!!!! Metallic thread sets it off? Oh my... I wore a tshirt with a few brass studs on it that set it off too. I mean, cmon guys! They could see the studs. They could see the pattern in the xray. What did they think I had stashed on my skinny frame beneath a tight tshirt? But metallic threads...that really beats the cake.

Sonya Heaney

I always pack my carry-on bag with the expectation my luggage will be lost. I always have a change of clothes (two for long-haul travel - e.g. Australia to Europe), and enough of everything to get by for a day or two at the other end.

I've had luggage lost all over the world. London, Paris, Queensland, a bunch of other places. On separate occasions both my brother and my mother have arrived somewhere to discover their bags were still in Finland. It's better to prepare for the worst!


Hi Ladies

Some great advice here, I am off on another cruise in December and always like to get advice on packing, because I am a terrible packer I always end up with way more than we need, this holiday I am determined to cut down what we take.

One thing I always have with me is my kindle :)

Have Fun


Anne Gracie

Sonya, I, too travel with a change of clothes and some basic necessities in my carry-on, as well as my computer, writing notebook., kindle etc. Being stuck for 24 hours in Hong Kong on the way to Europe some years ago taught me that.

Mary M.

Some great tips here. I've used most of them over the years. Here are a few more ideas:

I've done all of my travel with a carry-on and "extra item," plus a roomy fanny pack (that fits in the extra item when they're counting items at the gate). My extra item is an Ikea food bag, white-and-green canvas with a zipper and some side pockets. I've done over six weeks with this combo.

The fanny pack belt hugs my body so closely that no one's going to cut it off, and I like having everything I need (including my passport) right in front of me, with my hand resting on it. The belt also provides a hanger for my water bottle and a handy place to hang plastic bags with purchases, leaving my hands free. Do I look like a tourist? Yes. But not a gullible one.

Spinner bag is the best, but get a sturdy one with good-sized wheels. I recently started using the two techniques of packing cubes (YES!) and rolling my clothes, which lets me pack probably 30% more stuff, in an organized way. But it makes my bag so heavy the spinner wheels balk, and also got a complaint from the flight attendant who had to lift it for me to stow it. Probably wouldn't have passed weight limit, if gate staff had been checking, but they don't anymore.

My standard travel shoes are boat shoes, designed not to slip on wet surfaces, from Ahnu. They don't make my model anymore, but there's probably another style with the same features. Mine are like tennis shoes, but with solid toes, mesh inserts up top and soft strap heels. I have never had a blister with these, no matter how much walking I do. Safety with style--I still get compliments on them after 10 years!

Finally, I recommend watching some Youtube videos on packing. There's no end of ideas to make your life easier on the move. Happy traveling, all!

Karen H

The tips for packing are helpful. I have a Cochlear Implant inside my ear and a magnet behind the ear under the skin. Whenever I go through a detector, I informed the security in case the magnet triggers the alarms.

Sue McCormick

I recommend the rolled clothes. I don't know about it using less space (but it probaby does); what I have noticed is that rolling the items cuts down on wrinkles. I don't roll our underwear. That goes in the mesh pocket at the top of the suitcase. Underwear doesn't wrinkle (at least what we buy doesn't).

Sue McCormick

I notice that my aspostrophe came through from the email answer.

Jeanne Behnke

I highly agree on the Global Entry - it makes everything easier. The only problem is you sometimes have to travel to an out of town airport for your final interview & approval. I haven't gone through the renewal process yet so I don't know if that will be a hassle or not!


I'm a firm believer in packing cubes. I've been using them for several years now. I always pack a change of clothes in my carry on as well as my electronics, medications, and snacks. (I have a gluten intolerance and food I can eat isn't always readily available.) Basically, everything I'll need immediately if my checked luggage gets lost. I take travel size bottles of toiletries that I can toss when empty. It frees up space in my luggage to bring home those fun souvenirs.

A couple years ago, I discovered that most airlines have gluten-free meal options available if you request them in advance of the flight. On my last international flights, the GF meals were delicious. The people seated near me who got the regular meals were quite envious. ;-)

Mary Jo, thanks for the crossbody recommendation. I'm going to check that out!

Vicki L

I'm always fighting the battle of the bulge...ie suitcase. I always try to pack light but unfortunately I'm of the but I might need this, that or the other mentality.

To make matters worse I'm always cold so I have to pack bulkier clothing so I'll be warm. I haven't yet solved the cold feet and body at night problem. I need something to wrap my feet in snugly and then something to drape over my upper body.

My carry on is a backpack with my extra item a big purse. With of course a regular suitcase!

Mary Jo, thanks for the link to the travel bag. I'm eyeing it because of all the great pockets. It would make a great car travel bag as well for long trips.

Packing cubes are the best thing ever. They also work well in our camper. I can use bins instead of shoeboxes and the cubes are easy to sort through without ending up with a tossed mess like the shoe boxes used to be.


I recently applied and received my conditional approval, pending the final interview. I found out that I can do that next time I go through customs at my local airport. Luckily, I'm planning an international trip later this year. Otherwise, I'd have to drive several hours to the nearest airport who handles interview appointments. They don't make it easy. ;-)

Amy J

I love all these tips - and need to bookmark a few for future reference and/or shopping. :-)

I'm trying to get better about not over-packing to the point that I can't lift my small wheeled case.

Patricia Rice

I hadn't thought about making the spinner bag too heavy to move! I haven't given up on my old Travelpro yet but I do love my small spinner. I think maybe the spinners are a little heavier than other kinds to start with? Great thoughts, thank you!

Patricia Rice

do they? I have metal in both wrists but apparently titanium doesn't set off anything.

Patricia Rice

huh on the apostrophe.Different mail servers maybe?
Before I started packing non-wrinkly clothes, I used to lay out all my shirts on top of each other and fold them over. That seemed to work reasonably well too.

Patricia Rice

yeah, we had to drive to San Diego, but it beat going to LAX all to pieces! Maybe we should time our next one for an international trip so we can do what pj says below

Patricia Rice

thanks for the gluten-free info! I usually order vegetarian because they're so much better, but my granddaughter needs GF now. I'll tell her!

Patricia Rice

Shawls! Carry shawls! They slip in any bag, including a purse. I wrap them all over me, everywhere I go.

Patricia Rice

Let us know when you conquer that one! I almost dropped mine on soemone's head last trip.

Kathy K

Even with a medical card/xray my mom gets wanded because of her hip replacement. They also go over her walker and test it for explosives and drugs. I guess they can't assume anyone isn't a possible terrorist, but really!

Patricia Rice

it does make for a sorry world, doesnt it?


When I was visiting family in Colombia, I almost didn't get through customs because I didn't have the street address of my destination. It was stored in my computer at home, and I didn't really need it because I was getting picked up at the airport, but as a tourist, they wanted to know where I was going to be staying. Luckily, the officer finally took pity and let me in!
I've got a couple of pairs of shoe socks that were handed down to me, but I assume they can still be bought somewhere. They're stretchy knit tubes with a drawstring top that are big enough to fit over your shoes. That way you can pack extra shoes without getting dirt on anything else in the suitcase.
I try to remember to take my tiny clip-on LED reading light. It's not only great for the plane, but I can use it to read in bed in the hotel room without disturbing my husband's sleep. I like to take back issues of The New Yorker magazine that I haven't caught up with on vacation. Once I read them, I can get rid of them, which lightens the load for the return trip.
I love pashminas because they're so multi-purpose. It can be a blanket, a shawl, a head scarf, a picnic blanket, a beach sarong, even an ad hoc sling for carrying things.

Patricia Rice

Oh I hadnt thought about knowing a street address if not going to a hotel! I usually list the hotel and theyre good with that. Although we did an apartment once, but we had to have that paper handy for the taxi. Ouch, the things we have to think of! And arent pashminas perfect?

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