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Travelling Light / How To?

Old Aug 27th, 2008, 02:23 PM
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Travelling Light / How To?

I am going on a long vacation and want to travel light. It is new for me. I have always not travelled light.

I am looking for detailed advice on how others do it. I want to take a rolling carry on and only one 27/28 in checked bag.

I need both cold/rainy and warm/swimwear clothes. So it will be a real challenge for me to travel light.

What I most want to know is exactly how to coordinate clothes. How do you mix and match things? How often do you wash clothes?

Is there a method for travelling light and looking neat?

I will be doing light hiking/walking, visiting cities and snorkeling/walking on the sand.

I'm not a jeans and t shirt kind of traveller.

Is there a way to travel light, look decent (not too relaxed for a nice eatery) and not wash clothes in the sink (ick) every night?

I am trying to do something new and really welcome advice.
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Old Aug 27th, 2008, 03:18 PM
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There are at least 2 threads on the first page about this on the Travel Tips forum in the drop-down menu of forums.

There are also several on the Europe board.
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Old Aug 27th, 2008, 04:19 PM
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"rolling carry on and only one 27/28 in checked bag."

Sorry - but those of us who do prefer to travel light would never consider a rollie bag and a 28 incher "traveling light" by any definition.

here is an old, looong thread w/ a TON of helpful info/advice how to make it work.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...1&tid=34819224

In your situation (rainy and beachy) I'd need a 21 inch rollaboard and small tote/handbag.

But if that seems impossible for you, you should be able to manage w/ just a checked 24 incher and a handbag or day pack.
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Old Aug 27th, 2008, 06:42 PM
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To travel light means that you
can wear your clothes for more days than you may be used to doing. You can take your clothes to a laundry and have them washed for you. It is an added expense but may be worth it to enjoy your vacation a bit more.

Take black pants/shorts or dark gray and take blouses or knit tops to coordinate with them. Take a sweater - you only need one - in maybe a taupe color. Take a raincoat or jacket on the plane with you so you don't have to pack it.

Not sure how long you are going for. I am going in September for 24 days and will be taking one 18 inch bag that holds about what a 21 inch suitcase would hold and my Healthy bag which can hold one set of clothing plus some extra things. I can wear the same pair of slacks for at least 4 days. I usually take old ones that are still looking good but that I don't want to keep and wear them and toss them away so I don't have to haul them with me.

Wear one pair of shoes good for walking on the plane and maybe a little dressier and one pair of better walking shoes.

It is easier to wash out a bit of clothing than to try to manage a large suitcase.

You will get lots of good tips but you have to be in control and pack in a way that you are comfortable with what you are doing.

Some ladies take a fancy shawl and it covers up your plain clothes and makes you look fancier. I usually take some type of dress jacket along.

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Old Aug 27th, 2008, 07:25 PM
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Once packed, a 27 or 28" suitcase is heavy. It will not be packing light.

Take the advice others have given if you are really serious about packing light.
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Old Aug 27th, 2008, 08:37 PM
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Thanks everyone.

By rainy/cold I mean maybe snow and ice cold and lots of rain.

I mean travelling lighter, then.

I know there is no way I will be able to get by with carry-on only.

I am going to two different climates, so I need to have things for both.

I will read the links for ideas.

Thanks again for the advice.
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Old Aug 27th, 2008, 08:44 PM
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I agree with above comments. Check the packing threads; consider a 21-2 inch bag and a "personal item."

Not sure of your age. A youngster could do with jeans and a black t shirt and black sweater...or some such.

What works for me (woman near 50 mark) is black, and a neutral (grey/khaki).

I bring good black slacks, casual black slacks, black (long and short sleeve), and white tops, and 2 colored tops, a skirt. I mostly wear the black with bright graphic scarves or pashmina and some good looking but not pricey jewelry to spiff up as needed. Shoes are the challenge -- sandals for warm weather, closed leather walking shoes (euro style, black) for all weather. I bring a cashmere button down sweater (black of course!) and a a tan windbreaker. If you need a warm jacket that can be carried on and stowed

Otherwise you just need toiletries, undies and socks, and toiletries and books.

I will never go back to packing more!


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Old Aug 27th, 2008, 09:07 PM
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"By rainy/cold I mean maybe snow and ice cold and lots of rain."

Cool/cold weather doesn't have to mean heavy, thick clothing. Plan layers. Several light layers will be warmer than one heavy wool sweater. And all those light layers can also be worn in warm weather.

If you need to take a heavy winter coat - carry it and put it in the overhead on top of your wheelie bag.

Read through that thread I linked and you'll get a lot of good ideas.

If you are traveling around - how are you going to be able to handle a 28 inch bag, roll aboard, and handbag/personal item?
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Old Aug 28th, 2008, 06:36 AM
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It is easier to wash out a bit of clothing than to try to manage a large suitcase.

This is entirely dependent upon how strong you are. I can easily handle a 50-70 pound suitcase, and just don't see what the big deal is. I have no interest in taking time out of my vacation to do laundry, so that I can save a bit of a hassle at the airport or train station.

To my mind, and I am in disagreement with the "pack light" partisans, only two things matter:

1) Can you carry-on only?
2) Can you get by with one checked bag?

If it is possible, without undue burden, to do carry-on only, then I would try to do it. But, once I am at one checked bag, I pack the biggest, heaviest bag that falls under the airline's baggage allowance.

Generally, though, I don't bother to pack light. I think that packing light for an extended trip has precious little to do with coordinating your wardrobe or packing layers. It has to do with whether you are willing (and able) to wear clothes multiple times without washing, and whether you want to do laundry on vacation. I can do the first only under special circumstances and I have no interest in the second.

There is also the question of your standards of dress. Personally, I don't think dress shoes can do double-duty. For a man, something with a rubber sole (especially with any heft to it) is simply not a dress shoe. And I have some really comfortable dress shoes, but nothing I would really want to walk all day in. I'm sure some women think it is different for them, but I don't think it is. Of course, on some vacations, you may never need to dress up, but if you do, I think it makes the whole pack light thing that much harder.
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Old Aug 28th, 2008, 07:57 AM
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1st of all, where/when are you going?

I love, love silk and polartec - I go to Sierra Trading Post and get stuff, but both silk and polartec are light, wash easily by hand in a sink and dry quickly. They are super warm and layer well - black slacks, a white silk turtleneck and a black fleece pullover with a pretty scarf and earrings and I'm good to go. Nice, comfy black boots that you wear on the plane.

Camisoles/tanks that can layer under the silk turtleneck for warmth could also be warm weather wear, with a light overshirt or a shawl. It's all about layering.

My main problem when packing light is that I get bored with what I have so I try not to take expensive stuff - that way I can pitch or give away what I have and get something new where I am, which ends up as a great souvenir.


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Old Aug 28th, 2008, 09:57 AM
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I haven't been able to pack with just a carryon either, BUT I'm getting better about what I pack so I can take less.

I bought pants at REI that you can wear several times and wash out and they dry real quick. Some of their pants convert into shorts.
I also have shirts from Travel Smith that wash and dry real fast also and you can wear a turtleneck under them if you need to.

Highly recommend the pants at REI.
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Old Aug 28th, 2008, 12:45 PM
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Is it possible to ship what you need for one climate to where you will stay?

If you go to the cold climate first, then ship your clothes home from there and proceed to the warm climate.

Or if you go to the warm climate first ship your cold weather clothes from home to the address where you will stay.

Or go to Good Will and buy some cold weather clothes and leave them after you have worn them.
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Old Aug 28th, 2008, 07:10 PM
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Thanks again for all the advice and ideas.

I will have a vehicle at both of my destinations. So, I will need to get my bags to and from my hotels/motels.

The checked bag has wheels, too and I am able to hook the smaller bag onto the larger one. I have decided not to have my checked bag heavier than I am able to lift (or drag, if need be) on a flight of stairs with relative ease.

My SO will be travelling with me. We both intend to travel lighter this time.

I do not have travel clothes I want to take and leave along the way. I need tall length and sleeve length clothes. They are not easy to find. Also, I get attached to comfy travel clothes that fit. I like being tall other than when looking for new clothes.

I am going with mostly black and white with a few colors thrown in. I will take my hiking and swim shoes. I will wear comfy flat shoes for the flight (that look decent for dinner). I am going to layer things.

And sadly, I will have to earmark some of my coveted vacation time for clothes washing. I have located motels that have washers/dryers. I am going to throw in a load in the evenings. I'm really not able to face washing clothes in the sink.

I am going to force myself to wear things more than once between washings. I do draw the line at undergarments. I will take as many as I need between washings and a few extra. They don't take a lot of room.

I am going to make a list of days and activities and then make a list of what to wear to coordinate with the first list. That way I think I will overcome my desire to have everything and all those might need things.

This is a dream vacation for my SO and I want to make it be relaxed and enjoyable rather than feeling chained to the job of dragging a closet worth of clothes everywhere we go.

Last vacation we both took two large bags, a carry-on and a small flight bag each.

One good thing is there will be no formal nights. So, we don't need anything formal.

Thanks again for all the advice.

I'm going to review it while deciding exactly what to take (and what not to take).
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Old Aug 28th, 2008, 07:22 PM
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I always travel with one 24" roller (checked thru) and a large tote that I use as a carry-on. That would work for the trip your describe.

The trick to packing light is being willing to wear your clothes multiple times w/out washing. Hang things to air out in the evenings. Unless you spill food on yourself or get caught in a rainstorm, it's really not so bad!

Things like a fleece zipped vest are a great layering piece and you can compress it by packing it into a large kitchen ziplock & sitting on it to get the air out so it will pack in a smaller space.

I wash out in the hotel sink things like undies and t-shirts. On a longer trip, I'd look into going to a laundry-matt or finding a drop-off services every week or two.

I make little packets of clean underwear and pack them into sandwich sized ziplocks.

In general, wear your heaviest and bulkiest clothes on the plane, is a good tip.

Skip packing books, guidebooks, too much "I might need this" kind of items.

Downsize toiletries and cosmetics to be only what you need for the duration of the trip, don't pack full size of anything.

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Old Aug 29th, 2008, 06:37 AM
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My goal is to, by the end of the trip, have worn or used every single item I packed!
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Old Aug 29th, 2008, 03:59 PM
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I do not leave clothing behind along the way.
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 03:36 AM
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Today the ubiquitous blue jeans are the basis of any carry light wardrobe. T-shirts are the second one. Limit your colors to black and white. No one is going to see you a second time. Eliminate all containers that weigh more than the contents. Leave all the electronic gear at home, this is a vacation. Tesco or Carrefour supermarkets carry inexpensive clothing of all kinds. Learn the weight and size limits of your carriers. You will need to limit your free baggage allowances to the minimum of them.
Do a week's diary at home of what you actually wear.
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 04:48 AM
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No one is going to see you a second time.

They may not see you, but they might smell you! That is my issue, not the fear that someone I don't know will see me in the same shirt. I have no interest in smelling like a backpacker.
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 06:09 AM
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Just an fyi, this may not work for everyone, but in addition to Suze's point about hanging things up to air out (which is really helpful), Rick Steves' travel fresh spray was terrific -- a small carry on size spray bottle, and a neutral scent--none of that Fabreze scent which I don't care for.

I have a sensitive sniffer and dislike that previously worn smell. Hang out time in the room on hangers, overnight or all day, keeps them amazingly clean and fresh with regard to perspiration. Obviously won't work with soiled clothing. And with the spray, even better.
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 08:23 AM
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I love it that some folks assume those who travel "light" are schlubs who walk around in soiled, smelly clothing and look like bag ladies.

Ain't the way it works. I dress well. in clean clothing - always. I don't throw things out along the way. Had a cousin who tagged along on one of my trips, and she tried that (still took too much stuff) - and when she returned home 3 weeks later - there in the P.O. were two packages of old/ratty clothing that a hotel and B&B had mailed back to her, assuming she had left them behind by mistake

(I disagree about jeans - they are generally heavy, cold in the winter and hot in the summer, and take forever to dry. For me traveling light means no jeans - or 1 pair max worn on the flights.)

Packing light isn't for everybody - but quit w/ the "I take a lot because I want to look nice and not smell" silliness. sheesh -
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