3.5 Weeks in Europe with no luggage

Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 08:49 PM
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<< Yes some hotels we're staying at are cheap. Most of them are under $200 a night. >>

OK...you and I have a different definition of cheap. $200 per night is expensive to me. I don't think I've ever paid that much for a hotel room in Europe. You'll get soap and shampoo for that price, except perhaps in apartments.

DebitNM - I can't believe that Purex is no longer making these sheets. They're wonderful. I'm glad I have most of my large box that I bought in a local supermarket.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 09:35 PM
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About that layering thing. Once you get off the plane, you still have to carry all those layers or put them somewhere. And not a lot of room on the plane to stash them unless you are flying in the front seats.
We check bags. Rarely have we waited all that long for luggage. But IF you are taking budget airlines, you will have to pack small and light.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 10:29 PM
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I don't pack ridiculous amounts, but I've tried both carry-on and checked luggage, and I prefer checked luggage, although I'll do carry-on for sufficient cost savings or a compelling itinerary reason. I like not having to think too hard about an extra pair or two of shoes, having machine-laundered/dried underwear and socks for the duration of my trip, being able to wear two different outfits in a day without concern, and so on. I have also used laundromats in Europe, and enjoyed the experience. I know some people are fine with wearing the same shirt 4x without washing, but for me that's a bad idea.

Even if using a mainline carrier in Europe, the luggage restrictions can be quite strict. For intra-European flights, I never tried to do carry-on only, even if I did it on my flight over, because the restrictions are just too difficult, and the penalty for failing at the airport is too great.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 12:26 AM
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I have some favorite clothes that I keep wearing even if they have more than past their expected living time and often a trip is an excuse to me to finally say good bye.

For example on a 4 weeks trip a while ago, I finally left behind 4 T-shirts and a jacket I was very fond of. While at middle of the trip, I asked hotel stuff if anyone would like them or if a charity organisation would accept them. One person seemed to like my jacket so I gave it to her straight away and I left T-shirts with front office staff. I told them if no one wanted them, feel free to throw them away or rip them in pieces and give to housekeeping so they can use as dust-clothes or something.

I often pack a combination of new and old underwear too. I wear old underwear on start of the trip and simply throw away after use. This way I avoid doing laudry very often and I allow space on my bags to buy some souvenirs or new items or simply I enjoy traveling even lighter.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 02:57 AM
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Leaving clothes reminds me of my first trip to Europe--6 weeks, partially cycling, small canvas bag--and before the "miracle fabrics". Near the end of the trip I had finally had enough of a skirt and left it in the room. BUT one of my very thoughtful comrades on the trip had retrieved it for me to return it!!
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 03:24 AM
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I wouldn't wear anything on a trip that was on the point of being thrown away, but maybe I wear my clothing a lot longer than some of you. I still have some things that I brought with me from the US 16 years ago. Lots of people who have visited me here in Italy have discarded luggage and all its contents at my house, just because they're sick of carrying it around. (Another arguement for packing light.) I've rescued some of it myself, especially the luggage, and given the rest to the local Caritas.

When I was a child, only Lady Macbeth took a shower every day, and very few people changed their clothing every day. Women wore some sort of underarm protector so that their blouses didn't get stinky. If we want to save the earth with a livable climate, we're going to have to rethink this manic cleanliness.

In February, the clothing you'd be wearing could take days to dry, and you're planning to move very often. The only thing I would count on washing in the sink at the hotel is underwear and maybe socks (if they're not heavy). After washing them, place them on a towel, and then twist the towel very tightly to wring all the moisture out of them. At that point, they should dry overnight, especially if you put them near the source of heat in your room.

I agree with Adrienne that $200 a night is not what I call a cheap room. However, I disagree with her on another point. Even the cheapest hotels I've stayed in have some sort of soap and shampoo. Sometimes it's an all-purpose liquid soap/shampoo in a dispenser in the shower, and next to the sink. I've used it both as shampoo (not the best, but OK) and bath gel, and also to wash some underwear in the sink. Sometimes I carry a very small plastic bottle of shampoo in my "toiletries" bag, which is a zip-lock plastic bag that I also use for my liquids bag for airport security.

The only toiletries I usually carry are small (less than 100 ml) amounts of shampoo, all-purpose hand/face cream, and little sizes of travel deodorant and toothpaste. I sometimes carry a small camping salt shaker, with a lid, into which I put some talcum powder. Traveling light has made me realize that a lot of the products I used to use at home are pretty useless, so I don't use them at home now, either.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 03:29 AM
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Buying detergent can be quite cheap. When you're ready to wash a few clothes, just run down to the nearest shop, buy some detergent, soak in the sink (or the empty garbage can), handwash and then hang it up on the towel rack. Just remember, depending on the fabric, clothes take between 8 - 24 hours to dry.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 04:31 AM
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I broke in the brand new washing machine at the Hilton last week in Portsmouth. Four dollars and we had clean clothes. I had brought a dryer sheet and we get those great little pods for the machine that we take. Shampoo in the sink for my undies. You all are so finicky, wash quick dry shirts out, roll them in a towel to rid of extra moisture and they are dry in the morning. I love Italy because everywhere you stay they have drying racks inside and out.
I use public transportation and don't want a suitcase I can't drag on and off the train or carry up and down the stairs alone.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 04:36 AM
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Our plan to wash clothes each night died a quick death. Our first night in France I was really tired and let it go. So the second night I had two days' worth of clothes to wash, and that's when I realized how small the sink was (and that has been true wherever we've stayed). I had to wash in six batches. The only place to hang things was on the shower rail, so things dripped all over the floor. The next morning none of it was even close to dry, not even the lightest things.

We've learned to enjoy our laundromat stops and do as suexxyy suggests. We talk to people, take turns strolling around outside, read, email. European washers and driers take much more time so we do try to minimize the number of laundry stops. We do laundry when we're wearing our last clean outfit.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 05:26 AM
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I long ago solved the problem of packing light in winter by investing in several pairs of silk long johns from Winter Silks.

I am a road warrior and I never do laundry on trips through Europe and I only pack carryon. I pack all the underwear and socks I need for a daily change. But other than that I pack two trousers (1 nice enough for dinner) and about 4 tops. Wearing long johns really eliminates the need to pack bulky sweaters. Silk long johns will dry overnight when washed out in the sink (I use hotel shampoo or hotel bar soap.) So I just rotate my clothes.

In winter I travel wearing comfortable boots that are nice enough to also wear to dinner. I will admit that since I am wearing boots and trousers I often pack mismatched socks that I throw away as I go along. Socks generally will not dry overnight so were I go for 18 nights I would pack 20 pairs of socks.

Of course I also wear an overcoat, wool scarf, hat and gloves and I am extremely fond of a zip up fleece vest I bought years ago. It really travels well through different climate zones. In Rome or Lisbon I can walk around with just the vest sometimes during the day. But in someplace like Paris, I can put on the vest and my coat over it and be very warm for sightseeing outdoors.

Hope that helps.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 05:33 AM
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 05:45 AM
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I meant to add that I think a soft sided regulation sized backpack is much preferable to a carryon you need to carry. Usually wheeled carryons are too heavy (because of the wheels) for budget airlines so a backpack is nice and has nice compartments. Just make sure it is the right size for a carryon.

Also, in case it wasn't clear, I pack 2 trousers but I am of course also wearing a fresh clean pair to the airport! So I have 3 for travel for a 2.5 week trip. I never wear the same pair 2 days in a row.

In winter in Europe, everybody on the street is so bundled up you can forget about being a fashion plate. Pack your favorite durable basics.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 06:20 AM
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<i>Just make sure it is the right size for a carryon.</i>

And a point that cannot be stressed enough: just because it fits in the overhead compartment of an American aircraft, don't assume it will fit in the overhead compartments in Europe.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 06:39 AM
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We did 30 days in Europe with just a duffel bag each, plus a small tote bag that I carry (Baggallini). We washed our underwear in the hotel (carried travel packs of Tide) and sent the pants out to the hotel laundry or, on one occasion, used a laundromat, which was an interesting experience because it was so different from ours.

We buy Travelsmith and Ex Officio underwear because they dry fast. We stick with basic colors (black, gray, navy) and complementary tops. We pack in ebags packing cubes. My bag is an ebags Motherlode rolling duffel and DH carries a Tumi duffel. I always come home with clothes that I didn't need--even when we've gone on cruises. The key is to not think that you have to have a big wardrobe. You're never going to see these people again so just take some basics.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 06:50 AM
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For cold weather travel, I also take several lightweight silk long john tops from Wintersilks. They have some deep V and deep scoop necks so they go under clothes well. Those and a couple of cashmere sweaters will get you through may days. Add a nice scarf and you look good too. I also have a couple of synthetic T shirts from Mountain Hardwear that dry really fast. They don't feel as comfy as the silk shirts but dry in no time at all.

I have one tip to add for laundry. Magellan sells little sheets of laundry soap in a compact for travel. Works well and takes up no room at all. Also, someone mentioned twisting things up in a towel to dry them. I roll them up in a towel and then "walk" on the roll to press the moisture out. It works really well.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 07:28 AM
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Sandralist mentioned socks. Especially in winter (light weight wool socks work just fine in the summer, too), I recommend wool socks. They can easily be worn mutliple times without stinking. Plus, they're durable and warm in the winter, yet wicking in the summer.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 08:08 AM
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This thread is endlessly entertaining. I think some travelers are much more careful than I am. I want my body to be sparkling clean and fresh every day, but with my clothes, it's another story.

I will wear tops and pants two or three days until they look baggy or soiled. My undies and socks I change every day, but they don't take up much room. I do wash undies and socks in the sink, but only when I will be in the same room for at least two days. If the item is a bit heavy, I will squeeze it out with a towel.

For me, it's worth the cost to have the hotel wash or clean heavier things, as long as I'm staying at the same place for several days, which is almost always the case for me.

I can't imagine doing the kind of trip the OP is planning. I tend to spend two or three weeks in one country, and at least two nights in a city. but more like three or four nights.

I almost always check my bag. Only once in the past 40 years of traveling has my bag failed to arrive on time, (though maybe that's because I usually fly internationally only once a year.) The late bag occurred when I did the first leg with Alaska and the second leg with Lufthansa. I'd done a similar trip the year before--Alaska, Lufthansa, Air Berlin--and my bag had arrived on time.

Those of us who'd flown first with Alaska didn't get out luggage on time. Lufthansa did deliver the luggage two days later.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 10:16 AM
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Endlessly amusing, someone who never wears anything more than once without washing it. Gads, that's pretty OCD. Even silk shirts and corduroy or polyester pants? One does bathe, I would hope. And you aren't out plowing the back forty that you should get that sweaty. There was a recent news article about how you aren't supposed to wash your jeans very often at all, and some famous people were quoted as to going really long between washings.

I am in agreement with the concept of washing things out in hotel sinks, and am baffled when people say they do that. Underwear, of course, but they say they wash everything in the sink. Which is pretty impossible in the hotels I stay at, the sinks are too small. And they talk about "rinsing out" things. Sorry, rising doesn't cut it, you need soap.

But there's no magic act here, you just have to be willing to take only a few clothes, it's that simple, a few tops and a couple pairs of pants and a skirt, maybe, plus the undies and socks and very few shoes. I can't do it but don't really care.

But just find out the limitations on the plane and get a suitcase that will pass (and not many really do if they want to measure it, my 22" doesn't pass when it is full due to the thickness limits which are very low nowadays. You'd have to pack a 22" bag not even full so that the top can be slightly indented to pass the limits, unless you buy a bag with different than the usual dimensions. SOme airlines only have total linear but others specify each direction, and those are the problem. Many limit carryons to 22X14X9 inches, and it's the 9 inches which is hard to meet if your bag is packed full.

YOu wouldn't be allowed on any airline with a large backpack because it violates size limits, the husband doesn't know what he's talking about. It's the size that matters, not whether it is a backpack or other type of luggage.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 10:30 AM
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OK - hope this doesn't get buried in all the wardrobe/luggage/laundry discussion (I personally always travel w/just a carry on sized roller bag -- mostly carry it on, sometimes check it . . . but always the same size whether it is a 3 day trip or a 3 week trip)

BUT -- you say the Victoria Apartments and you want to change the booking. What is the actual name of the flat or agency? Is it the "Victoria Apartments" - or just an apartment near Victoria? Provide a link if you can.

And why do you want to change it? Victoria is a very central/convenient location w/ direct coach connections from Stansted where you are flying into.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 01:00 PM
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@janisj - link for Victoria Apartments is here http://www.booking.com/hotel/gb/apar...don.en-gb.html

The reason why husband and I want to change our booking is because mixed reviews...It's rated as passable in booking.com but has 2.5 stars in tripadvisor...

We don't want to be too picky given our price limit but would also want the biggest bang for the buck!
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