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-   -   Help, my wife wants to take her whole closet. (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/help-my-wife-wants-to-take-her-whole-closet-59886/)

Frank Jan 13th, 2000 09:26 AM

Help, my wife wants to take her whole closet.
 
<BR> My wife and I are going to spend the month of May in Europe on an escorted tour. We will start in London, cross the channel and then visit about 9 countries, the farthest south being Sicily. My wife thinks that her wardrobe must be extensive. Please help, she won't listen to me. <BR> Also, any expertise out there on Grand European Tours?

Dayle Jan 13th, 2000 09:58 AM

Try getting her to read some of the extensive discussions on packing and packing light on this forum. Try searching for "What to Pack" and "Clothing". If this doesn't convince her, then experience will be a hard lesson. At least on an escorted tour someone else has to lug it. Good luck!

lynn Jan 13th, 2000 10:38 AM

Frank - <BR> <BR>I have traveled in Europe and Asia and it's always the same thing... <BR> <BR>Take 1/2 the clothes you think you'll need (perhaps even less in her case!) and then bring twice as much money... <BR> <BR>9 different countries? Do you realize how sick and tired of lugging around suitcases you will get? Beg her to take less. There is such a thing as wearing things twice, or, God forbid, three times in one month!!! <BR> <BR>:-)

Bob Brown Jan 13th, 2000 10:54 AM

First, are there not limits as to how much luggage you can take on the trip? <BR>Secondly, if your wife wants to take a lot, make a deal with her: she carries it and you don't tease her when she struggles. But !! you DO NOT CARRY ONE paper sack full!! If you relent, and help carry, you will be playing the role of an enabler that permits your wife to continue her control freak behavior with nary a consequence. If you enable, you will guarantee a repeat performance. <BR> <BR>Last summer, my wife and I spent 15 days in Paris and Switzerland. We took along formal clothes for the Opera Bastille and a concert at Ste. Chapelle, as well as normal sight seeing clothes. For Switzerland we had hiking clothes, complete with hiking boots, heavy socks, hiking poles, backpacks, canteens, Gore Tex rain suits, heavy Polarfleece pullovers, maps, compass, and a couple of other items. We had plenty of clothes for all occasions. <BR>We each had one piece of hand luggage that met international standards, and one medium sized suitcase, a total of 4 pieces of luggage. The larger pieces have wheels, so we were able to roll them around in airports and train stations. In Lausanne, we did have a little pause trying to move all four pieces uphill along the street to the Avis Rental Car office, but that was the only time. <BR> <BR>Suggest to your wife that she try carrying all she wants to take with her around the block, by herself. And don't you help her! Let her do the lugging.

Mustangs81 Jan 13th, 2000 11:18 AM

Frank, Let her carry her own baggage the entire trip...it will be experiential learning and next time it won't be an issue. Doesn't the tour company have luggage restrictions?

Rex Jan 13th, 2000 11:32 AM

For three reasons, I can do nothing more than mediate here (and yet, maybe even that will be useful - to get the dialogue focused): <BR> <BR>1. I am not a woman <BR> <BR>2. I have never traveled to Europe for more than 21 days, since I was 15 yrs old in 1969 (that was 6 weeks, and I simply don't remember enough details) <BR> <BR>3. I haven't been on an escorted tour since then either, so I don't know what your opportunities for laundry will be. <BR> <BR>But having said that, I think I can draw this subject into SPECIFICS which is what you and your wife need. <BR> <BR>If your arguments with your wife are anything like the ones that occur in my world, both sides are over-stating their case. You THINK she has xx% more than she will really put in her suitcase, and she has not yet faced up to the fact that she can easily shed yy%. <BR> <BR>What is needed is an objective comparison of a) what do you think she should take, and b) her list of what she wants to take - - and find a happy middle. <BR> <BR>For trips of 10-21 days, I have generally taken the same amount of clothing and luggage. I've only done one 17 and one 21 in recent memory, and on both trips, I (we) did laundry. <BR> <BR>It usually consists of one 21-inch rollaboard (about 26-30 pounds) and one atheltic-type bag (i.e., small duffle), typically 18-22 pounds. The rollaboard is stuffed to the gills, and I check it. And yes, for intra-European flights, I have been dinged for too much luggage. I plead mercy, or in some cases, I have had to pay. Sometimes, it was not that I had to pay, but that I could not take EITHER bag on as a carry-on. Irritating, but no other choice. <BR> <BR>I can walk the same distances and climb the same number of stairs with or without these two items. I am not very athletic, so I won't 'fess up how far or how many steps that it. <BR> <BR>For round numbers, let's say that's 50 pounds. The luggage empty weighs about 7 pounds (5 and 2 - - I'm guesstimating; I haven't weighed them for this message). I also carry one very large empty nylon duffle packed inside that weighs one half pound. <BR> <BR>Of the 43 pounds of stuff I take, typically 20 pounds is not clothes - - I think this is unusually high, because I always take a laptop. <BR> <BR>Thus, <BR> <BR>Laptop and stuff 9 pounds <BR>Books, papers, etc 5 pounds <BR>Shaving kit 3 pounds <BR>Music, camera, etc 3 pounds <BR> <BR>If your wife wants to take more non-clothing stuff than this, (notably, hairdryer, other personal care items), maybe the compromise will be to approach it like this: get her to agree that if she will do without certain items for the first two weeks of the trip, she can start re-accumulating them over there in the second half, and you will help by carrying up to "x" pounds of her stuff in your luggage. Thus, just to give one example, get her to start off by carrying 2 ounce sample sizes of shampoo, then midway, she can buy some bigger bottle of something she sees "over there". <BR> <BR>Of my baseline 43 pounds of stuff, I have 23 pounds allotted for clothes (I am beginning to wonder if my math is right, but I'll continue). And of course, is sometimes the constraining factor, not weight. <BR> <BR>Excluding what I wear on the plane, my clothes are (maximally) <BR> <BR>10 shirts <BR>10 socks <BR>10 underwear <BR>2 pairs pants <BR>2 pair shorts <BR>1 suit (not always, but more and more often) <BR>2 ties <BR>1 sweatshirt <BR>1 swim trunks <BR>1 robe <BR>1 pr tennis shoes <BR> <BR>For the two times I have traveled in colder seasons, outerwear had to be always on my back, coming and going. <BR> <BR>I suspect that any woman accused of too much wardrobe is trying for too much diversity. Not too many shirts, pants, skirts, dresses, culottes, whatever, but too many different KINDS of articles. <BR> <BR>Shoes are an obvious example. One more dressy, one less dressy. Period. Ought to be able to walk one mile minimum, briskly, in either. <BR> <BR>I won't get into the debate of dresses, skirts, culottes, shorts, pants. I'll simply say go PREDOMINANTLY one way or the other. Thus, of the five kinds of "bottoms" listed above, take NONE of two of them - - your choice. I have teenage daughters and have traveled with them; between them and my wife, they dress fairly differently. They are not homogenously khakis, jeans, skirts or dresses, but EACH ONE tends to look relatively similar day to day. I am not ignorant as to how many different ways/looks a lady can try to achieve/dress for. <BR> <BR>I hope others, particularly women - - of multiple age groups - - will chime in here, especially if you have been on a longer escorted tour. This thread can be useful if you give specifics. Sure your personal preferences will be different from someone else, but it will give this couple a variety of yardsticks to use in their argument(s). <BR> <BR>Ultimately, I hope this gets some harmonious resolution before you leave. <BR> <BR>And you end up having a wonderful trip. <BR> <BR>Best wishes, <BR> <BR>Rex

pc Jan 13th, 2000 11:54 AM

In March, my husband and I leave for our 3rd. trip to Europe together, my 4th overall. And this time, I have finally learned my lesson about overpacking. 2 years ago when we went to London, my husband made me carry all of my "stuff" myself, and you can bet I'll never do it again! I have been working on ways to cut down on what I bring, and am happy to say that I think we'll make it this time with just 2 carryons and 1 suitcase between us. I will wear things more than once (nobody over there knows me!) And there are some things I just dont need. <BR> <BR>Now, we only travel for a week to 10 days at a time--I only traveled over there for a month 13 years ago on a college tour, and my friend and I regretted the mounds of clothing we had packed once we realized we had to drag our bags across airports, train stations, etc. And even with all of that stuff, I remember spending a few hours in a laundromat in Paris! You can always wash stuff and wear it again. <BR> <BR>Anyway, the "carry your own stuff" worked for me -- if your wife won't budge, give it a shot! <BR> <BR>Does an escorted tour really mean someone else carries your luggage? <BR> <BR>

Marilyn Ham Jan 13th, 2000 01:17 PM

I got these comments from about.com on <BR>packing and thought you would enjoy them: <BR> <BR> <BR> Just back from 5 countries in 16 days (with one 57 lb suitcase with wheels, an 18 lb tote bag,and a carry on tote bag). Just wanted to let you all know how I made out and what I would do and not do next time. <BR> <BR> The heavy suitcase with the great wheels (Samsonite Silhouette 6 series 700) were great going on flat surfaces because you could push them and they virtually weighed nothing this way. However, getting them on and off trains and up and down stairs were another story. <BR> Cobblestone wasn't so hot either. Even if you are staying at all five star hotels, like we did,you will still encounter stairs if you are taking trains, and cobblestone. I could tell you some funny stories about stairways and doors closing on trains before we could get all the luggage off...and am hearing from many posters with the same experiences. If I had to do it again, <BR>which I hope to do in a few years, I plan to take one carry on and one tote bag. Whatever I <BR> can fit in it, I can take. Everything else stays home. <BR> <BR> I will also get some travel clothes with hidden pockets. My husband had them and they were a joy...hidden shirt pockets deep enough for airline tickets, etc. He held all our important papers. I didnt take a purse because of pickpockets, and we had no problems. You get the travel clothes from Travelsmith on the internet. Also, everyone wears black in Europe, so I would get more black clothes. I found I wore almost daily my knit slacks with elastic waist, <BR>because it was more comfortable than skirts and very acceptable. I wore a tank top with it,and on cooler days wore a blazer over it. Was very acceptable, even at the Ritz. <BR> I washed them out in the sink at night and by morning they were just about dry. <BR> <BR> Wear comfortable shoes..we must have walked 12 hours a day. I wore my SAS sandals which I swore by and even got blisters with those. Will look into others for my next trip. My husband <BR>wore sneakers or loafers and travel socks he got from Travelsmith and swore those travel socks saved his feet. <BR> <BR> Also, learn the money as cab drivers and others will give you the wrong change. We got shortchanged out of $15 in front of Notre Dame by a cab driver. That night, my husband stayed up and learned the currency so it wouldnt happen again. <BR> <BR> Thats about all I have to contribute..Europe was a very awesome experience and I hated to come home. I am already starting to plan my next trip, although I dont know how many <BR>years it will take us to pay this trip off..as soon as we do, though, we're going back. <BR> <BR> Judy

Al Jan 13th, 2000 01:49 PM

Face it: some people learn the hard way.

lisa Jan 13th, 2000 02:52 PM

I know what she's thinking. She's thinking that she has to pack a lot because she needs to plan for so many different climates. But actually, you basically need pretty much the same things no matter where you go. The keys are: LAYERING, LIGHTWEIGHT FABRICS, and ONE COLOR SCHEME so that everything mixes and matches. I use black as the basis for my wardrobe -- black pants, black shoes -- and that way pretty much everything else goes with it (the only thing that doesn't go so well with black is navy blue, so I don't bring anything navy blue). E.g. white, khaki, and red (or pretty much any other color) all go well with black and with each other so all can be layered, mixed, and matched. Cotton and silk knits work especially well because they breathe and they shed wrinkles easily (especially in darker colors -- they hardly show wrinkles or dirt at all). A couple of sleeveless silk or cotton knit shells/tank-style tops, 2 or 3 short-sleeved silk or cotton knit tops (one T-shirt style V-neck, scoop, or crew-neck & one collared which might be a cardigan and can be layered over a sleeveless shell), 2 cotton or silk knit long-sleeved tops (one V-neck, scoop, or crew-neck & one collared/cardigan which can be worn layered like a jacket over a T-shirt). 2 pairs of pants -- one khaki or black for nicer wear like in the evenings and one pair of jeans or khakis for casual wear/daytime touring, 2 knit skirts -- one shorter & one longer -- I prefer black for versatility and dressing up or down, and 2 pairs of shorts if you're going to be going to beaches or hiking or other places where shorts are appropriate (if you're primarily going to be in cities then I'd only bring one pair of shorts and add an extra pair of pants). Wear one pair of shoes -- comfortable, casual walking shoes, and pack one extra pair of shoes -- I like black flats for versatility and dressing up or down. One waterproof jacket/raincoat which can be layered over other things for chilly mornings/evenings (a three-quarter length is most versatile) -- you wear it on the plane and put in the overhead as soon as you board so that it doesn't have to be packed. Other than that all she really needs is possibly a bathing suit and socks and underthings (not more than a few days' worth -- you can wash them out in the sink each night by hand and they are dry by morning). One or two lightweight silk scarves in pretty colors help dress things up and add variety and add virtually no weight or bulk to the suitcase. A few toiletries -- just the bare necessities (it's not like you're ever going to see any of these people again, so you don't have to look perfect). And the smallest folding umbrella you can find. All of this fits into one rolling carry-on sized bag (plus I usually bring one other tote bag/backpack that fits under the seat, with a bottle of water, a good book, chewing gum, kleenex, etc.). <BR>I have been to Europe twice for 6 weeks at a time, covering England, France, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Germany, etc. and I promise that this is all you need. Every trip I take, I make a list while I am on my return flight of the things I packed that I did not need, and I am always amazed at what I could have done without. Tell her to take Rick Steves' advice and look at everything she puts in her suitcase and ask herself whether she will really wear/use that particular item enough to justify carrying it around every day. The question is not, "Will you use it," but rather, "Will you use it ENOUGH?" If I don't think I'm going to wear/use it at least twice a week on my trip, I leave it at home. <BR>But I agree that the odds are good that if she won't listen to you, this may be a lesson that she needs to learn the hard way. Just tell her in advance that she will be responsible for shlepping her own bags and/or make her be responsible for tipping the baggage handler herself every time someone else has to carry her bags. She will eventually convert and learn to ENJOY traveling light. It makes travel so much easier! By the way, many hotels have laundry service available and even if it is a little pricey, it is often worth it for the tradeoff of bringing one fewer bag. Also, one great advantage of traveling light is that when there is less to choose from, getting dressed every day and every evening is a pretty quick and easy process!

Lori Jan 13th, 2000 04:20 PM

Frank, <BR>Don't most tours limit you on luggage? I've never taken one but I've read brochures & I think they do. I've been to Europe about 20 times and usually take more than I need, but never excessive amounts! Tell her to coordinate and use one basic color (black is good!) - couple of pair of black pants, some bright colored tops for variety, a couple of blazers and she can go anyplace/anytime! More important then clothes is comfortable shoes -- take 2 pair (you too) and be sure they are broken in. Everyone has given you good advise, I won't repeat it, but maybe you should take a weekend trip someplace duplicating all that she wants to take and have her haul it into the car, out of the car, up to the room, etc. It's no fun!!! Be sure your luggage is the wheeled kind too.

Debbie Jan 13th, 2000 05:48 PM

Nordstrom's has a small book called "Pack It Up." It gives great ideas on what to pack for a cruise or an extended vacation. It costs about $7.00, and it has great suggestions for making a limited wardrobe meet the needs of an extended trip. I agree with everything others have suggested here. I have travelled to Europe four times, and I have never taken more than a 21" wheeled suitcase and a small carry-on. Believe me, the women who had the trunk-sized suitcases were miserable. <BR> <BR>Good luck, and have fun!

dot Jan 13th, 2000 08:25 PM

<BR>We were on a Grand European Tour to Russia and the Baltics in August. We were completely satisfied and would go with them again. Everyone was limited to one piece of luggage plus a carry on. You are traveling on a bus and there is limited space. The previous posts on this cover it all as well, or better than I could. All good advice. <BR>We are ones who never travel with more than one carry on each - several weeks or 3 months -and find travel is so much easier and less complicated. Plan for layers, for various temperatures, then go to see not to be seen. However, everyone has to do what they are comfortable with. Good luck.

Mary Ann Jan 14th, 2000 04:19 AM

I have to agree with everything said above. Here are some other considerations after our trip this fall for 21 days and 85F to 10F climate. We took. One large rolling duffel, a 21 inch and a small tote for 2 people and that was probably too much. Why? <BR> <BR>First for some reason dirty clothes seem to take up more room than clean clothes. <BR>Second, you have to keep clean separate from dirty, which can be a problem. Third, You or the hotel will probably launder clothes otherwize the suitcase will not smell nice or for the previously stated reasons. <BR>Forth, with all that clothes and luggage you may have trouble finding what you want when you want it or moving things around for convenience. Fifth, many European hotel rooms are very small (you, your luggage and purchases must fit). <BR> And lastly and most important, we all have favorites that we like to wear and will wear dirty or clean for how they look on us or comfort. <BR>We took evening clothes for dressier occasions, fleece jackets, hats and gloves for mountain tops etc. Shorts for warm climates and daily clothes (shorts, slacks and tops) had to be interchangeable. We also took bathing suits for spas and the Riviera. We spoke with a tour group in Monaco who was completing 14 days at all the best hotels. One charming lady commented that she wished she would have brought less because she realized it was all one style (wrinkled)!!! <BR>Have a great trip!!!!!

ilisa Jan 14th, 2000 04:38 AM

Do not make the mistake my husband and I did when when we went to the Netherlands and France in 1995. Before I continue, I want to point out that my husband is the consummate overpacker, not me. Anyway, he was participating in a soccer tournament, so he had a duffel bag full of soccer gear. I had a 21" rolling bad which I carried on. Then I tried to convince him to put our clothes in one suitcase, but no, he insisted on taking our large suitcase for himself. He said we don't know what the tournament activities were going to be like, therefore, he needed to take all sorts of clothes. These are soccer players for petes sake! They don't care what you are wearing! We were lodged in a cabin in a campground for the duration of the tournament! Not exactly the Ritz. So I ended up taking our other suitcase, while smaller than his, it was still pretty sizeable. Then, he insisted that we had to take our garment bag because he might need a sport jacket! He refused to pack the jacket which he did not need and never work in his suitcase. After the tournament in Holland, the two of us took the train to Paris and had to haul all of that crap on the train. To make matters worse, in Brussels, we realized that our car was not going on to Paris. In the space of a three minute stop, we had to haul all of those bags off our car, run to the front of the train and board a car going on to Paris. In Paris, my cousins picked us up at the train station. After being thoroughly mortified at all of our stuff, we realized that we couldn't fit into the car with it. One cousin drove all of our luggage to the hotel, while we took a cab. We learned our lesson the hard way.

Beth Jan 14th, 2000 05:00 AM

In May, it will be cool and most likely she will be able to wear things more than once. Layered clothing, comfortable shoes and a lightweight waterproof jacket are essentials. Only pack what you can comfortably carry and leave room for those wonderful European purchases you'll have to carry too. Traveling with too much luggage adds and incredible amount of unnecessary stress to your trip, never mind back aches. Pack light and have fun!

kim Jan 14th, 2000 01:35 PM

I can't resist replying to this post even though everyone has covered the territory thoroughly and given excellent advice! If trying to convince your wife that she really doesn't need that "extensive" wardrobe,based on others experience, doesn't work, try the "humiliation" factor. <BR> <BR>Yes, on my first trip to Europe I was humiliated on several occasions for our abundance of baggage. It was our honeymoon and it was winter. Ten wonderful days, spent in London and Paris. I thought I was packing light when I took five complete outfits, including shoes, for the trip plus the one dress-up outfit (including suit for the hubby) which required the garment bag. After all, it meant wearing each outfit twice, which seemed reasonable, and of course the dress-up outfit was just for the evening. The sweaters were bulky, the shoes required a bag of their own. Add the video camera bag and the regular camera bag, and somehow we ended up with a total of eight bags - four each. Hubby was just as naive as I! <BR> <BR>So we get to our hotel in London (I won't even go through the fun of trains and cabs, and the hotel being on a little pedestrian street that the cab couldn't pull up to), walk in to register, thrilled to be in Europe, when the desk clerk at this cute little hotel looks at us with his eyes popping out of his head. Mind you the lobby was only big enough for the three of us and our 8 bags. I swear he lifted his chin and looked down his nose at us and said "You have obviously never travelled in Europe before. The well-seasoned traveller would never have so much luggage!" Yes, he was rude, but until then it never crossed my mind that there was another way to pack. I thought everyone lugged their closet with them. <BR> <BR>On to our hotel in Paris (again, I'll skip the joys of taking a bus from London to Dover, the ferry from Dover to Calais, and the train to Paris, and the cab to the hotel, with EIGHT suitcases). We were not scoffed at by the hotel employees, oh no, they had an elevator to humiliate us there. Our room was on the fourth floor, so the stairs didn't look too appealing. Problem was the elevator was only big enough for 2 people and maybe one pice of luggage. So we went up one at a time, and still took three trips. I think we even loaded the elevator full of luggage one trip, pressed the fourth floor button, sent it up on its own, and raced up the flights of stairs to meet it! <BR> <BR>Believe me, my goal from then on was to pack like the "well seasoned traveller"! Never again would I be humiliated like that! We recently spent 18 days in 5 countries with 1 carry-on each and I still brought stuff I didn't need. <BR> <BR>Depending on your financial situation, maybe you can bribe your wife with the "don't take it now, but if you find you really need it, we'll buy you new over there". Shopping for new stuff may be a good incentive to pack light!

suzann Jan 15th, 2000 03:43 AM

Frank, <BR>Still more advice: check out www.travelite.org, which offers (for women) a model 9-piece wardrobe to cover 14 days. Lots more tips too. <BR> <BR>suzann

lynn Jan 15th, 2000 10:56 PM

Frank - <BR> <BR>One more thing. I only skimmed some of the above posts so if someone already mentioned this, here it is again. <BR> <BR>Wear heavy and bulky items on the plane. I always wear a couple of shirts, a sweater and my jacket. Even if it isn't cold at home. Sometimes I have a short period of being a bit warm while preparing to board, but once we're on the plane, I just stow them all on top of the carry-on's. Same with my husband. That way, he always has a jacket on the trip but doesn't have to pack it which would... 1)take up space and 2) cause wrinkles. <BR> <BR>Actually, we only travel with one carry-on each for a 2 week or less trip plus a shoulder tote with water, snacks, gum, etc. for the trip over. We usually don't do fancy things but when we need to, we add a hanging bag for nicer outfits. My family thinks I'm crazy for traveling light but I think my husband and I have the last laugh when we throw our rolling backpacks on our shoulders and start walking down the street, hands-free! <BR> <BR>Good luck!

Joanna Jan 16th, 2000 03:17 PM

Frank, the advice given above is sensible and good. I was away for 3 months in '94 travelling around Europe via Eurail and had one bag on wheels and a daypack. And that was too much. Not bad for walking, but a real pain with stairs and train. The next three trips I took a lot less. And I have done tours in the past and they do stipulate one bag in the luggage hold only - you should stress this fact to your wife. Usually only a small daypack or carry bag is allowed on the bus with you. If the tour is full (38 pax) there certainly won't be room for extra bags! As stated above by another poster, layering is the key. I've seen some women on tours who think they have to wear something different each day, but if your wife sticks to neutrals no one will notice. Mix and layer with black, navy and beige if possible. White looks good but is impractical for travelling unless you have time for frequent laundry stops.


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