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Need help for the packing challenged traveler!


Mar 29th, 2014, 08:11 AM
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Need help for the packing challenged traveler!

OK, I have to admit that I am seriously packing challenged. I tend to over pack thinking it is better to have it & not need it, than need it & not have it! As a result I take more than I need. My DH & I are visiting our S & DIL in London for a week in May before meeting up for a 10 day tour of Germany, Austria & Switzerland. My DIL dresses so fashionably & I don't want to look like a typical midwestern 60ish woman. Of course shoes always pose a problem as well. I know the weather in London can be iffy so need to pack for rain & cooler temps. Although today they said it was sunny & 65 in Hyde Park! I'm thinking that Ger, Aus, & Swit will be 50's-60's.

My question is this...what should I pack & how much? BTW, I will be able to do laundry before leaving London. Anyone else out there that is packing challenged?
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Mar 29th, 2014, 08:41 AM
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Here are a couple links to get you started:




A couple of things to think about:

It is always very fun to buy some scarf or shawl as a souvenir from the trip. I have found that every time I wear it back home it reminds me of my trip. So you might consider buying something like that on your trip if shopping is appealing to you.

With the new airline regulations be sure to check out weight and size restrictions for both your airlines and the tour. We found for instance on an up-coming flight from Boston to Dublin then Dublin to Bordeaux that the inter-European flight have a different weight and size limit on both checked and in cabin luggage. Hopefully you won't have to go near the limits anyway-you will be able to pack lighter than that. We are moving back to Europe so we will be pushing those limits unfortunately.

And I know the packing articles mention it, but definitely think layers-that helps rather than packing heavy coats and such. I also tend to pack in one color palette that coordinates-that also make packing easier.
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Mar 29th, 2014, 09:18 AM
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I like this site: http://www.onebag.com/

One quick rule-of-thumb is to take half as many clothes and twice as much money as you think you need...
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Mar 29th, 2014, 09:31 AM
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Need help for the packing challenged traveler!
Posted by: fluff224 on Mar 29, 14 at 11:11am
My question is this...what should I pack & how much?

I taking suggest the Pack Light Field Test. See http://tinyurl.com/3yeqvt.
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Mar 29th, 2014, 10:21 AM
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Dazzle your daughter-in-law when she comes west to visit. In her home, plan to do laundry. No, not in a hotel sink or even bidet. Use her machine, if possible, on the last day so you are ready for the next 10.
Fashionable shoes are a particular vulnerability for some of us. Give up. Wear a sturdy pair, for walking, on the airplane and pack a light pair, sensible rather than high-heels, as a change, or if the main pair get wet. Yes, two pairs total. Shoes are heavy and awkard to pack.
You did say she is putting up with you for a whole week? That's a bigger challenge than cutting a swish figure.
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Mar 29th, 2014, 10:36 AM
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Shoes are not a problem. Two pair. Three max. One pair of flats or walking shoes w/ a good sole and very comfortable. I really like AGLs - can walk for miles and they are nice looking - no frumpy 'walking shoe' vibe. Then a nice pair of flats to use for going out in the evenings. Heels simply aren't necessary. You could throw in one pair of sturdy 'real' walking shoes if you plan on hiking/etc.

That does not mean four pair - you'd wear one pair on the plane.

Also, don't think of 'all those outfits I need for 3 weeks'. Think of layers and coordinating. I regularly travel for 2 to 4+ weeks and only use a 21 inch roll aboard. Even then I come home from just about every trip w/ at least one or two garments I didn't wear.

Pack for about 5 days.
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Mar 29th, 2014, 10:37 AM
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"awkward", of course.
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Mar 29th, 2014, 10:39 AM
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Thanks for the recommended sites for reading.i quickly glanced at a few, but I will be sure to read over them thoroughly. A couple of things that I do right are layering & basing my wardrobe around black using accent pieces. I like to use scarves to accent & give extra warmth if needed.

Boots &leggings are ever so popular here. Will they be appropriate for Europe in May? I wore mine a lot last fall while tromping around London. They were so comfortable on the cobblestone streets I was glad. had them. But, that was late fall, this time will be mid May. Hmmm?
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Mar 29th, 2014, 10:50 AM
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Janis, what are AGL shoes!? I'm not familiar them. Knowing that I can do laundry while at my son's is a big plus. At home unusually wear an outfit once & throw it n the wash, because I can. I just got back from 3 weeks on Arizona and found that I can get multiple wearings from some things! Need to do more of that.
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Mar 29th, 2014, 10:58 AM
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Long name . . . AGL for short.

Some cute styles. I have maybe 6 pair of various flats. No sandals or heels yet. But every brand of shoe will have a different last and everyone's feet are different. so what feels like they were made for my feet may not be as comfortable to someone else.
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Mar 29th, 2014, 10:59 AM
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Having carry on luggage only is the most liberating thing I have ever done while travelling, thanks to advice from experienced folks on this site. We went to Italy and France for a month and just planned to do laundry once a week. We were also dealing with varying temperatures from heat in Venice and Rome to a gale in Northern France.
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Mar 29th, 2014, 11:16 AM
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When someone admits that they are 'seriously packing challenged' I have to wonder just how much good, all the well intentioned advice on how to pack light, is going to do. Or really, how much it is going to be listened to and acted on.
Chances are, you are still going to pack too much anyway.

I would go on your trip with a bag smaller than even the European airlines allow for carry-on size and weight. That means under 15 pounds. You probably can't get anywhere near that given what you see as being NEEDED.

So, I'm going to save my breath telling you what to pack and instead start from another angle. Go buy a new suitcase.

Buy a suitcase that is no larger than 22x14x9 inches. If you are not willing to do that for a start there is no use anyone wasting their time trying to help you. This is tough love you are getting here fluff224.

IF you buy that suitcase, you will have no choice but to pick and choose what you take because quite simply, you won't have enough space to pack more.

So rather than talking about 'boots & leggings' and whether they will be appropriate, talk about your problem. You pack too much, what are you willing to do about it? Are you going to buy a smaller suitcase or not? Yes or no?
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Mar 29th, 2014, 11:23 AM
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Lots of good threads here that really help.

Just back from two and a half weeks in Paris, Barcelona, Tuscany. Weather changed from rainy and cold to almost warm and sunny and then back to cool with showers. Took a 20" carry on and a tote. Had 2 garments I never wore and 1 I wore once. I'll share what I brought:

Took boots (wore on plane) and leggings (first few days); had a second pair of Naot "mary jane" style walking shoes and bought a pair of cobalt blue flats at Monoprix in Paris for the rest of the time.

Had a second pair of black Eileen Fisher style washable knit black slacks/pants. Had black T, black long sleeve, black tank, white tank, a knit color-blocked sweater-jacket (washable).

Brought several Citron soft jacket style tops -- one tunic length and one shorter -- to wear over the tanks or tops. Brought a silk blend scarf/muffler and a small Pucci scarf I got on an earlier trip (one of those great travel souvenirs).

Took travel sizes of the toiletries or cosmetics/creams. Brought black trouser socks. Decided I wouldn't wear a skirt enough so left it home, but I have two black knit ones -- one shortish one longish--and could have easily fit them if needed. T and undies for sleeping; you may need more staying in a private home.

On the plane wore a stripy top with soft, dark jeans, black Scottevest trench coat, boots.

Not everyone goes for the carry on thing; you could bring a rolling 24 inch or so and bring more, but since you can do laundry part way, no need, really. The scarf and shawl trick over black will work great! Washable clothing works great too.
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Mar 29th, 2014, 03:50 PM
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Thanks for the tough love advice. OK, I took a look at my luggage and do have a 22". I have used that plus a fabric shoulder bag for a week n SanFrancisco. Don't know why I'm stressing over this trip?? I think if I can get my shoes down to 1 to wear & 1 for spare, that will be a good start to minimizing..

Annw, thanks for sharing your wardrobe. I think it challenging packing for varied temps.
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Mar 30th, 2014, 02:53 AM
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A good tip someone told me once is to put out the absolute minimum you could possibly manage with. Then put half of that back in the wardrobe. You can always manage with less than you think.

Here's what I would do - we travel pretty light but I nearly always take things I don't wear.

2 pairs of shoes in total - both VERY comfortable. One pair flat walking shoes and one pair walking sandals. Wear one of these on the plane.

Two pairs of trousers - dark colour that doesn't show dirt and marks and must be easily washed and a fabric that dries quickly. Don't take jeans, they are heavy and take forever to dry.

One skirt - either a plain dark colour or a pattern. Again something light that you can wash and dry easily.

3 tops that will go with all your bottoms - easy wash stuff again. 3 tops = one on, one dirty and one washed and drying.

One warm top - either a jacket or fleece or whatever you are comfortable with. Wear this on the plane.

Don't take anything that will need ironing. No one is going to notice a few creases - except you maybe - and there are so many fabrics around that just never crease and are perfect for travel.

As others have mentioned if you add a scarf you've just bought at a market or some earrings you found in a museum gift shop, it changes your outfit slightly and you'll feel nice wearing a souvenir of your travels.

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Mar 30th, 2014, 11:12 AM
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People pack for 'what if'. I pack a credit card for 'what if'. Takes up a whole lot less room than a sweater or jacket.

My favourite 'what if' though is charity shops. If you find you need something like a sweater or little black dress you just buy one in a charity shop and return it after you've used it. Good karma in supporting a charity and recyling. I'd done this several times when I needed warmer clothing for a short period of time. ie. sweaters and warmer jackets. There's no way I'm packing anything like that unless the entire trip will be in colder weather.
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Mar 30th, 2014, 03:20 PM
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My tip is selecting a colour scheme so all "bottoms" can be combined with all "tops" you take. People who like wearing black have the easiest solution. Since black doesn't suit me well, my base colour is usually either navy, or dark green, or dark purple for pants, jacket etc. Tops and accessoires can have more colours and patterns but all must match the one base colour.

The second tip is packing some washing detergent (shampoo is great for washing clothes, too, by the way) and washing the day's laundry in the sink before going to bed, so that each piece can be worn more than once.
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Mar 30th, 2014, 03:34 PM
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You made me laugh out loud! I may get that put on a t-shirt!
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Mar 30th, 2014, 03:54 PM
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I stick to the same color palette but mix it up with scarfs or tees so I can wear over and over again. I get sick of it but no one else sees me so who cares. When in Germany check out their shoes, so nice. I know this is not the best thing but I have left shoes all over the place. I always take a pair that I am ready to donate and leave behind to make room for a new pair or something else. They are normally comfy, broke in but a bit shabby. I always wear my heavier pair and pack the lighter pair. I take very little cosmetics or skin care stuff because I hit Boots right away. Layers and I use gallon size zip lock bags, roll clothes and squeeze the air out and they are compact.
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Mar 30th, 2014, 03:58 PM
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Although today they said it was sunny & 65 in Hyde Park! I'm thinking that Ger, Aus, & Swit will be 50's-60's.>>

quite possibly they will be warmer, unless you are planning on going up into the mountains. this is due to their having a continental rather than a maritime climate - hots are hotter, colds are, well, colder.

so what you need are layers - that all match with each other. use scarves to make the outfits look different - they are fun and weigh nothing.

and your DIL won't expect you to be a fashion plate [she might feel the need to compete if you are, and you won't want that!] - you are on holiday, after all.
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