How to pack light? - 16 days Egypt & Jordan

Feb 10th, 2008, 01:47 PM
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How to pack light? - 16 days Egypt & Jordan

I've never been good at packing light - no matter how hard I try to cut back to bare necessities I just can't get below 2 suitcases plus carry-on for a trip that's longer than a week.

For my upcoming trip I'm limited to one suitcase at 44 lbs and am really worried about how to pack. At one point mid-trip we'll be at the same hotel, Grand Hyatt in Cairo, for 3 nights in a row so I think I can just pack for 7 days, have everything laundered midway and wear it all again.

But I'm trying to picture, even only taking 7 or 8 days worth in a light suitcase when you have to have multiple outfits for different days -- dressing for camels in the desert, then for dinner at a nice restaurant. Or even dressing on the Nile cruise -- looks like folks are much more dressed up than I would imagine on a Nile cruise in the pictures I've just been looking at.

Any advice for how dressy to get in the evenings and just light packing in general? Thanks in advance.

Leslie_S is offline  
Feb 10th, 2008, 02:36 PM
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how many different evening outfits are you taking? I usually bring 2 dressier outfits that I can mix and match (1-2 skirts and couple dressy tops). one pair of dressy shoes. do you really have to wash every skirt and pants after only 1 wear? I'm comfortable wearing day skirts or pants more than once (and only need a couple pairs for the trip). forget the hairdryer. you'll survive without it. I only bring one pair of shoes for each purpose (one walking, one flip-flop, dressy, etc). i bring small samples of my cosmetics (pour your shampoo into a smaller bottle that will be enough just for the trip, don't bring the whole thing).
lerasp is offline  
Feb 11th, 2008, 03:14 PM
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I guess my main concern was how dressy people get in the evening. The cruise is only 4 nights of the trip so I can mix & match for that -- but other restaurants in Cairo, etc. -- how dressy do you need to get for a hotel restaurant, for example. OK, obviously it depends on the place, I know - stupid question. Just wondering if every night is fairly "dressed up" -- more than just capris and a blouse, say.

Thanks for the suggestions lerasp. Good to know I can leave the hairdryer home!
Leslie_S is offline  
Feb 11th, 2008, 06:27 PM
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cannot answer for Jordan - but for Cairo.....

The Nile Cruises are not like the big Carribean cruise ships where you get all dressed up in the evening. My DH wore pants and a collard "polo" shirt each evening and I wore nice (but still casual) pants and a nice top. Not dressy, but above everyday stuff.

As for restaurants in Cairo - about the same. I don't think my DH ever wore a tie, and I sometimes wore a "dressy-casual" skirt and top - but otherwise pants.

So - for Egypt - my suggestion is not to waste luggage space on fancy clothes!
Grcxx3 is offline  
Feb 12th, 2008, 04:22 AM
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OK, thanks! I feel better. Will just have a few things a step up from the daytime capris.

I really don't know how people pack 2 weeks worth and keep it under 33 lbs (44 allowed minus weight of my bag).

I'm packing now for a Carib. cruise and am struggling to keep it to 2 full-sized suitcases!
Leslie_S is offline  
Feb 12th, 2008, 07:19 AM
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I went to Egypt and Jordan last summer with my family. We took two cruises, one on the Sonesta M/S Star Goddess and another on the M/S Eugenie on Lake Nasser. In my opinion leave the really dressy clothes at home. I don't remember anyone wearing anything more dressy than going to a casual restaurant in the States. The only place I heard that had a dress code was the revolving restaurant at the top of the Hyatt. Stayed at the Hyatt but didn't go there so can't comment on it. You certainly won't need dressy clothes in Jordan. The thing to do while in Egypt before you leave for Jordan is have your laundry done. It's cheap and they do a really good job. I must say I envy you. We were gone a little more than three weeks and loved every minute of both countries. Great food, wonderful people and fantastic things to see.

Gerri is offline  
Feb 12th, 2008, 02:50 PM
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Thanks for the reply -- good advice to do laundry before Jordan. Can't wait to get there!

Leslie_S is offline  
Feb 13th, 2008, 06:06 AM
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I spent 19 days in Egypt, including a four night Nile cruise, at the end of last year. My suitcase weighed exactly 44 pounds when I left (the suitcase weighs 11 lbs.) No one in our group, or on the ship, dressed up for dinner. Most of the women had brought simple clothes, nice, plain T-shirts or tops and plain, lightweight pants and used scarves, jewelry or a colorful, long-sleeved, silk or sheer shirt or lightweight jacket over the shirt for a few special dinners. I have a Chicos jacket that weighs less than one pound so used that a couple of times. Most of the restaurants were casual. You can buy pretty, inexpensive shawls in Egypt. You could also buy one of those crinkled, lightweight, broomstick skirts if you'd prefer a skirt to pants. I did notice that one woman in our group who has traveled extensively wore only black and white; black capris, black long pants, white tops, black tops, so I think she did not bring a lot of clothes. She wore sandals in the evenings. And she shopped a lot in Egypt.

I also went on a Mediterranean cruise a few months before my Egypt trip and that was much harder to pack for since there were three formal nights and three "informal" nights. I think my suitcase was close to 50 pounds on that trip.

So my advice is to plan how much you'll need and how often you'll wear the outfits -- my rule is that I don't take anything that I won't wear three times. And keep your clothes as lightweight and simple as possible and use accessories to dress up. Don't pack heavy shoes, wear the heaviest on the plane.

You really will want to get under the 44 lb limit so you can have weight and space for the items you'll buy on your trip.

You can do it! Have a great trip.
Luisah is offline  
Feb 15th, 2008, 06:56 AM
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If you check back can you tell me -- did you do laundry during the trip? Other than the cruise (early in the itinerary) we're only every at a hotel for more than one night one time so I'll have to do it then.

Wondering if I can wash things in the sink (nylon not cotton or linen) and have it dry overnight or if I'll end up with damp things that I have to pack - yuk. I read something Rick Steves said -- he doesn't care if the clothes are damp in the morning - he puts them on & his body is like a furnace that dries them quickly. Bigger yuk!

Caribbean cruises are hard to pack for with the dress codes at dinner & large variety of activity during the day. I'll just have to play with my clothes and keeping weighing my bag until I get it down below 44. Thanks for all the advice.
Leslie_S is offline  
Feb 15th, 2008, 08:11 AM
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We did great with weight for visit to both Egypt/Jordan, and you will find that you can also.

Reading this, it reminds me of a couple (in their late-50s/early-60s... good looking both) we met on Nile cruise. Traveled from California, were away 2/months, traveling with 1/suitcase (or duffle) each, about 40/lbs. Started in France, where they spent a week or so cruising one of the canals; onto Ethiopia for 1/month volunteering (hubby a doctor); then to Egypt for 10-12/days.

Noticed that every day while on the cruise, she looked lovely and fresh and only in conversation did we learn of their extended holiday. Her khakis and whites sparkled as did her t-shirts for daytime; evening clothing were dark and interchangeable, with scarves and chunky jewelry. As she explained... didn't have much in these basic colors, so simply had laundry done along the way.

It's doable and will have to be, now that the airlines are starting to charge for a second piece of luggage. Now that cruise lines are moving away from "dress-up" nights... more casual. And, for a friend on a cruise this past Fall hadn't read it was a casual tour, packed dress-up stuff she had no reason to wear, wound up wearing the same 2/pr of slacks most of the trip and no one knew the difference. Only purchased one outfit on a shore visit.

Egypt and Jordan are both very casual, 44/lbs will be more than enough for 2/weeks.

sandi is offline  
Feb 15th, 2008, 04:29 PM
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I broke my arm on the second day of a three week trip to Japan. I had to pack most of my clothes in one suitcase and have it shipped to the last hotel. I wore one black Chico outfit (pants, tee shirt, jacket) and one black Eileen Fischer outfit plus one extra tee shirt for the entire trip. Looking at the photos, I looked just fine. I only wish I could be just as clothes-comfortable on every trip. We did eat in several high-end restaurants and black works. If you want to be chic..add a scarf and jewerly (costume).
Elainee is offline  
Feb 16th, 2008, 06:31 AM
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Well one last thing - about why I was more concerned than I'd be on a more "urban" trip of 2 weeks -- maybe I'm not envisioning the true picture but I'm thinking we'll be getting fairly dirty during days of camel riding, walking through tombs and dusty sidewalks, riding in fellucas, etc. Also with the heat I picture being a sweaty mess by the end of any day. So I imagined not being able to recycle outfits the way I could on a different type of trip.

But it sounds like people have it figured out between mix & match outfits plus having laundry done.

I love a challenge!
Leslie_S is offline  
Feb 16th, 2008, 06:54 AM
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Like you, I always over pack. On my last Europe trip my suitcase was 23kg. For my China trip I got it down to 17kg but it was still too heavy.

This time, for my 3 week Egypt trip, I'm aiming for 10kg at most and using only a carry on rolling suitcase (and a daypack if they'll let it on board).

I'll be packing:
-5 shirts
-1 pair shorts
-1 pair tilly pants
-1 skirt
-7 underwear & 7 socks
-1 sarong
-1 swimsuit
-1 pair flip flops
plus what I'll be wearing on the plane.

I'd suggest you only bring 1 dinner outfit and wear that every night because you'll only be wearing it for a few hours and that's only if you go to some fancy place. Does it REALLY matter if people you've never seen before and will never see again notice that you've worn the same outfit more than once?

fuzzypuppy1234 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2008, 02:54 PM
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Hi Leslie,

I think you're getting a lot of good advice. Fuzzypuppy is amazing. I'd want at least one more pair of pants and another pair of shoes. But, that's why my suitcase weighed 44 lbs and her's won't.

Yes, I did do laundry as we traveled. I had linen and lightweight cottons and they dried overnight. I washed clothes in the sink and either hung them in the bathroom or put them on the balconies to dry -- my socks dried overnight on the balcony. No way would I put them on damp or wet -- yuck is right.
My roommate and I had the balcony chairs and table covered with our clothes when we spent two nights in Aswan. You may also be able to have laundry done on the ship or at the hotels.
How long is your camel ride? I didn't do it in Egypt because I'd done it before nd it was about an hour, but don't remember getting dusty or dirty other than my shoes and socks gettin on and off the camel. The tombs are fabulous; your clothes won't get dirty, but your shoes will get dusty walking around outside the tombs, ditto for the pyramids so I wouldn't wear sandals at those sites. I don't think anyone had a problem with the felluca ride. We just walked down a pier, got onto the boat and sailed and then back to the pier. People were wearing capris, pants with t-shirts or cotton shirts.

Elainee is right. A simple black outfit can be dressed up in many ways (jewelry, scarves, a bright, sheer, long-sleeved blouse over the t-shirt) and will always work for dinners. There's your challenge -- think of how many looks you can get from one basic outfit.

Luisah is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2008, 10:31 AM
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Thanks again for all of the advice. I don't think I can be as disciplined as you, fuzzypuppy, but I can try to come close. True about the dinner outfit -- maybe I can just take 2 light jersey dresses to wear & recycle.

Luisah - I think you've given me a better visual image of what to expect -- I was picturing things to be much dirtier and getting grubby by the end of the day. Sounds like that was a misconception.

Thanks again to all who replied.
Leslie_S is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2008, 06:11 PM
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I am spending 4 days in Cairo in July, and hoping to pack light also. This is part of a 19 day trip - 10 days in Israel, then Cairo, finishing off with 5 days in Nice. I know in Israel I can wear shorts, and tank tops on tour(except holy places) but what do I wear in Egypt in July as not to offend anyone but also stay cool?
tbirdjoni is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 01:03 AM
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I found that wearing long, flowing skirts in the heat of the summer worked well in Egypt. And I just added lightweight, loose fitting tops.
Grcxx3 is offline  
Mar 14th, 2008, 08:45 AM
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I travel extensively and agree with the tips you've received. I like to pack very light because I'm only 5 feet tall and just can't carry all that weight - I can usually get to 20 lbs (bag included) and 1 carry on. Here's a few more tips to help you cut weight.

- if bringing a towel, get a camping "pack" towel made of microfiber. They are soft, very compact and less bulky than normal towels, light, super absorbent, and dry in a jif. I love them. Also, when doing laudry, I use them to roll up wet clothes and wring them out so they aren't dripping wet when I hang them on a line. It helps laundry dry faster and the towel dries in time for me to use it for showering.

- Use several little travel size commercial products (vs 1 bigger bottle) and throw away the empties as you go to make space for sourvenirs.

- lay out all your clothes so you can match colors and critically think about what you would wear with what else - many people bring half their wardrobe and decide each day what to wear, never even using some items they didn't feel like wearing that day. Or they bring something that doesn't go with anything else. Try bringing only a particular palette like blue and green, or grey, black, and tan.

- Also you can try this for "dusty" activities: Get one pair of high performance material pants - many quick dry, lightweight options exist in camping or sports type stores. I recommend zip offs in a khaki color. Use this one pair of pants for all dusty/grungy activities and wash at the end of each day. The material is what allows you to do this because it will be dry by the next morning. This lets you not have to wash heavy items like cotton that tend to be damp the next day, thus avoiding the yuk factor.

- Pack clothes in large ziplocks to squish out the air, thus fitting more items in a suitcase. Doesn't help with weight to do that though.

- Bring less extraneous material like books for the plane. They are too heavy. You can either bring 1 and trade with other travelers (lots of people do this in my experience) to get new material or buy magazines and toss after each flight.

- Check the materials of your clothes. Cotton, wool, and suit- type jackets are relatively heavy, whereas linen, microfibers, and nylon are very light. You'll be able to bring more clothes if they are lighter. Along the same lines, some suitcases are heavier than others. Maybe a friend can lend you a lighter bag. Consider a duffel - those with wheels are heavy, although more convenient.

- About socks - I find they are the biggest problem. Most sweaty and dirty of all clothes, and slow to dry because they bunch up. Try dress socks which are thin nylon, or if you want more padding for your feet go with athletic socks which "breathe" better and thus dry faster. Then you can bring less and wash them in the sink. It really cuts the bulk too to not have 20 pairs of socks!

- Dress in layers. To avoid bringing a bunch of sweaters/sweatshirts which are heavy and bulky, I bring 1 good neutral sweater. Then I bring more long sleeve type shirts and just layer underneath so I don't need 1 sweater for cool nights, 1 for very cold, 1 for cold restaurants, etc.

Hope that helps! Have fun!

CuriousTraveler2 is offline  
Mar 15th, 2008, 01:47 PM
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Excellent advice, Curious, thank you!!

Leslie_S is offline  
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