Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   Help, my wife wants to take her whole closet. (

julie Jan 17th, 2000 08:58 PM

Okay: heres from a woman who has travelled and learned the hard way. Take 1/2 of what you think you will need. One jacket, One dark dress (no ironing variety), 2 or three scarfs for accent, one pair of good walking shoes, one dress shoes (flat, as pavement in Europe tends to be the cobblestone variety), several pair undies, socks, soap and a rope to hand wash as necessary. Take two pair slacks, two tees, and perhaps one dress pant outfit. Color code everything. (myself, I am in to black which is easy), and anything else you need you can buy. Take lots of film (expensive in Europe), good pocket books, medicine you KNOW you will need, and NOTHING else or you will wish you could jetson it at some point. REMEMBER: the secret is "less is more". (We went to China for 3 weeks with one suitcase, and I didn't need half of that stuff; i.e., it was suppose to be cold so I packed silk underwear: WRONG: it was hot, so I bought a couple of cute tees from the chinese.) Have fun, its <BR>the important thing.

carolyn Jan 18th, 2000 11:54 AM

I took a 21-day European tour where I was limited to one bag and a carry on. I made three reversible wraparound skirts and took several coordinating tops. It worked out very nicely, giving me more outfits that I could otherwise have packed.

Laura Jan 18th, 2000 12:57 PM

I spend 3 weeks in Europe carrying my bag AND my husbands as he hurt his back early in the trip. Have your wife maneuever both of your luggage around the house and see how it feels. Best bet: take one large suitcase for both of your things, take turns lugging it. You will NEVER regret packing light, you will ALWAYS regret taking too much.

carryon Jan 18th, 2000 01:14 PM

Let me guess, she wants to carry it all on and put it my overhead bin so when I open it to put my paperback up there, it will all come crashing out.

Jennifer Jan 18th, 2000 01:24 PM

Did anyone mention - if you pack less here, you can buy more there! Perhaps appealing to your wife in this manner will help. It is my traveling motto.

pam Jan 18th, 2000 01:26 PM

Laura, just above, has an excellent point. I'd suggest, though, rather than one larger suitcase, two carry-on-sized bags. If either of you ended up carrying both, you'd at least be balanced--no joke--and they'd be easier to get up any stairs. You could even pack for the couple of days just ahead in one, leave the second in the bus 'vault.' <BR> <BR>

pam Jan 18th, 2000 01:32 PM

Hi, again-- <BR>I'm curious how you're communicating our opinions to your wife! Her wardrobe does NOT have to be "extensive"--who will possibly know (other than you) if she wears the same navy or black skirt every other (or EVERY) day? Furthermore, even if anyone were to notice, I doubt they'd care. My first trip to Europe was with a friend who never offered to help me carry a thing--fool that I was--and I was rather put out--but I became a devout convert to the Light Packers' Club. Do tell us how this turns out!

Mary Jan 18th, 2000 04:12 PM

<BR>Frank, if you and wife are going on an escorted tour, your problems may be resolved quicky by checking the back page of the Tour brochure for the size and weight of the luggage you are allowed. Once you show her this, she will have no recourse but to limit herself to what she is allowed or you may have to pay an additional sum each day for any suitcase larger than what is allowed. <BR> <BR>Also, even if you are prepared to pay the extra fee, please understand that the poor bus driver usually has to lift and lug all this luggage day and night on and off those buses for everyone after driving all day. Maybe she could have concern for him by only taking what is allowed. <BR> <BR>Have a wonderful trip! <BR>

MaureenGP Feb 4th, 2000 07:08 PM

Dear Frank: I used to be like your wife until we took a trip to Acapulco a few years ago. Since we were staying in one place for the week, I figured I'd take every resort piece of clothing we owned for my husband, daughter and me. We each had a huge wheeled suitcase and myriad carry-on stuff. First, my husband got sick before the trip home, so my daughter and I had to maneuver all this baggage in searing heat from the condo to the airport. Then, during a layover in Mexico City, I came down with the sickness. After the world's worst flight home, with stops in Cancun and I don't know where else, we arrived in Newark to find cold, wet weather, and cancelled and postponed flights all over. We had to handle all of this baggage again, going up escalators and all over the place. Had it placed on our commuter plane, which kept having its flight postponed, and finally got airborne around midnight (after leaving Acapulco early that morning). We were airborne about 10 minutes and returned to Newark because of the stormy weather. It's the only time I actually wished the plane would crash just to put me out of my misery! Had to retrieve all that luggage once again and lug it to a hotel, then get up just a few hours later to lug it back to the airport to catch the morning flight home. All with nausea and diarrhea. While my husband and I kept running to the rest rooms, my daughter got to guard all that carryon stuff, and she ended up crying from fatigue and worry. It taught me a lesson. We didn't wear half the stuff I packed. And you can't count on feeling well enough to drag it around--you can trip on cobblestones and sprain an ankle, fall and break your wrist, or just suffer intestinely like we did. The less you have, the easier you'll cope with these catastrophes. On our next trip, to Hawaii, I packed the least I'd ever packed for a trip, and we bought tee shirts and sarongs there, which served as souvenirs and added to our vacation wardrobe in the meantime. We are going to Spain for 28 days this summer, and I am determined to pack as intelligently as I can. I've already devised a mainly black and khaki wardrobe for myself; navy and khaki for my husband, and have even convinced my teenage daughter to leave the jeans home. I wish you luck with your wife, and hope she never has to learn the hard way, like I did.

charlotte Feb 5th, 2000 07:23 AM

Keys: 1. wash/dryable 2. color-coordinated 3. carry it up two flights of stairs for test run. Final Answer: if you find yourself in a situation not covered by what you carried, you get to buy something. Good way to come home with non-Gap, non-Travelsmith wardrobe.

Christine Feb 17th, 2000 04:18 PM

I think travelling should be sort of a city to city fashion show. It's so important for a woman to have options and I know they say, oh just wear black and accessorize but there's nothing like seeing your hotel room closet packed with shoes, belts, scarves and clothes. Tell her to rent Funny Face with Audrey Hepburn and be inspired.

Linda Feb 17th, 2000 05:25 PM

My sister and I took a two week escorted tour to Italy and we were allowed only one suitcase and one carry-on each. And escorted did me they lugged our luggage for us--that's probably one of the reasons for the restriction.

lola Feb 18th, 2000 06:59 AM

The advice has been terrific. And today travel catalogs put together packable, coordinated outfits for you without any hassle of shopping. (I use mainly LL Bean's.) Just think of the time you will save (un)packing, and the money you save not tipping handlers--even though it's escorted, it's inevitable. The point is pretty obvious: Less is More.

Alice Feb 25th, 2000 10:01 PM

I learned the hard way. Everyone told me to take half of what I thought I need. I told them they were crazy. Took all I wanted to. A large 26 inch packed suitcase and a over size back, packed!! I was on my own no one to help me. I had to mail some of my things home, after four days of lugging them around. The cost of mailing the stuff was very very high priced. But because I did not know how much it cost in American money, I thought it was a good idea sending my stuff home. when I got home and did the exchange rate to see how much it cost me. I nearly flipped out. I should have just donated them somewhere. I agree with others do not lift a finger to help her. I am going again to Hungary March 15th. I know <BR>what and how to pack now. I hope I get it right this time.

hamlet Apr 24th, 2000 01:20 PM

Sending to the top as "a favorite thread," or maybe, a favorite subject line.

Patrick Apr 24th, 2000 01:37 PM

We are in the process of packing for our 5 month European sojourn, so just reread this thread myself. Two things to add --we each keep a roll of about 10 Bounce fabric softener sheets in our suitcase (the flat kind rolled up and fastened with a rubber band). They make a nice deodorizer for the clothes as you travel, and we use them up at the laudromats along the way. Also, I'm surprised that many people don't take a laundry bag -- it seems so obvious that it is the best way to keep clean and dirty separate, and it is so easy to pack on top, squishing the dirty clothes around to fit in the corners, then removing it at each hotel, so it is easier to "live out of the suitcase." By the way, we have a rule. If we are staying three or more nights in one hotel, we always unpack everything and shove the suitcases under the bed or out of the way. It offers a little break from that living out of suitcase routine.

Anne Apr 25th, 2000 08:58 AM

Frank, <BR> <BR>According to Steve Ricks, "There are 2 kinds of travelers, ones that packed light and ones that wished they packed light." Perhaps she doesn't want the tour group to see her in more than a few outfits. I trust that a good trip will result in memories of the many wonderful experiences one has had and not how good one felt wearing a particular piece of clothing. <BR> <BR>

pam Apr 25th, 2000 12:42 PM

Frank, if you're out there, <BR>I hope you'll let us know how the discussion is going -- or else let us know how it went after you get back!

Beth Anderson Apr 25th, 2000 12:52 PM

Frank, <BR> <BR>actually, a better "Rick Steves" quote is: <BR> <BR>"You can't travel heavy, happy, and cheap. Pick two". believe this, and make your wife repeat it as she packs. <BR> <BR>I mean, hey, if money is no object - do whatever you like. even so, it seems rather silly. <BR> <BR>I will say one thing though - on my first month long backpacking trip, I ATTEMPTED to merely follow the guidelines of one of those "pack light" advice "lists"... needless to say, after I had gathered what they said were "bare minimums" - and ended up taking less than a third of what they said was "necessary". for a full month. and I am still here to tell about it, as evidenced by this post. I did buy a few T-shirts while I was there & wore 'em immediately (easy when you are a young backpacker I guess) <BR> <BR>take as little as you possibly can. take cosmetics which are either about to run out so you can chuck 'em before you return home, or that are in little teeny containers - you'd be surprised how long they actually will last and you can lighten your home-going load by throwing them all away. it amazed me to run into people who took full size bottles of shampoo or what have you. as if they don't have it there. PUH-LEEZ. <BR> <BR>wear lots of black or other neutrals. if you can't stand sneakers, get a nice pair of stylish walking shoes - you will wear them much more than pumps or heels, believe me. or better yet - comfy sandals. Those Steve Madden chunky thick sandals are quite in style right now and VERY COMFY. only 40 bucks too. and you slip 'em right on & off - I could walk all day in them. <BR> <BR>whew. good luck. <BR> <BR> <BR>

mary Apr 25th, 2000 02:17 PM

We are going to Italy in June---We NEVER bring anything but one carry on a piece--- <BR>I wear one pair of shoes (Clark's sandals) thay can be worn with skirt, shorts, dress etc plus I can walk at least six miles and my feet never get tired!! I am packing a rollup long black skirt, a long rollup black dress, a black pair of capris and black pants with a few interchangeable tops for all, a nightgown, a bathing suit and lots of underwear! that will fit in one carryon--- My husband and teen age son will each bring their own carryon <BR>We had an experience in London about 19 years ago when the ground luggage crew went on strike as we landed--never saw the luggage for awhile-- we vowed never to check luggage again--we usually take one big trip a year and never have a problem with the clothes!!! <BR>MAry

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:30 AM.