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Packing for Croatia Sept-Oct - Just getting started

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Sep 2nd, 2015, 12:24 PM
  #1
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Packing for Croatia Sept-Oct - Just getting started

Oh…. my goodness, where to start here?
I am JUST starting to think about packing for a 3-week trip to Croatia, starting in Dubrovnik Sept 22, then to Hvar, then Trogir, Plitvice Lakes, and on, ending in Zagreb only because our flight leaves from there Oct 11 or so. We have not yet secured accommodations for anything after Hvar…

I don't know where to start… I have a post "packing for Croatia" started, but I was away (just returned home last night after being gone all summer) and did not have Internet access for the past week, so my last post has probably gone a little too cold and that's why I'm starting a new one.

I know it's important to PACK LIGHT, and I want to try to do this for the first time in my life.

I am not sure (and I've been trying different shoes and pants, etc) on what kind of footwear would be best as well as clothing.

Is it humid in Croatia this time of year? Do I not need rain gear? Is a light cotton jacket a good idea? I found a really cute on at TJ MAXX with cargo pockets that I'd love to bring - or would a fleece be a more practical thing?

I don't know if we are going to be taking any flights in-between islands (probably not), or boats, or trains (probably trains) on this trip, but I understand that suitcase size is important, as well as the weight of it.

I want to be really smart and bring the best suitcase daypack and carry on (is that three things I need to manage? Maybe the day pack and carry on is one and the same.. yes…) I can.

Is there a size or weight restriction on any of this as far as the trains, etc go? That should be my first quest I am able to accomplish.

If anyone has sources for these things, please let me know and I will order whatever has been tried and true. I am serious about this packing and can use all the help I can get!

Thank you!

PS we plan to do a lot of day trips, walking around, etc. I am not sure as to the protocol there. Do people wear shorts or more capris? Are shorts not really a good idea? (long shorts.. not short shorts)
What about sundresses or dresses per se? OK if they're sleeveless? I am sure I would need to "cover the shoulders" should we tour certain places, and I will be prepared for that. But is it more appropriate to bring a dress that hits below the knee rather than above the knee? Are they stylish or not so there? Is there air conditioning pretty much all over as well as in restaurants (i.e., do they tend to be freezing cold inside?) or is it generally warm and open air?

This is late Sept/early October…

Thanks again for your help. Fodors is my bible!
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Sep 2nd, 2015, 12:36 PM
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You will not be taking any trains, which are minimal in Croatia. On ferries there is space for luggage storage. On buses, luggage goes underneath the bus. So, yes it is important that you can manage your own bag. Try to book an apartment with a washing machine a couple times.
Check weather at wunderground.com. There you can see temps in past years--peruse a few because the weather can be so variable! Then, check the forecast within a week of your trip and make adjustments.
Croatia is pretty casual. Wear what you would normally wear. You may be walking more than usual, so pack shoes appropriate for that. You must have a backpack or cross body bag that would be suitable as a day bag---no need to buy something new. I like mine to be able to hold a light jacket. You will likely not need a/c, should be mild evenings.
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Sep 2nd, 2015, 12:43 PM
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Definitely plan for rain in mid-October in Croatia. The weather will start to turn at some point during the month - maybe early, maybe late. When I was there in 2009, right in the middle of October, I had beautiful warm weather (shorts weather) in Dubrovnik, then the next day by the time I got to Korcula it was raining and much cooler. Two nights later, there was a huge rain/wind storm in Split. I most definitely needed a light jacket not to mention an umbrella.

On the other hand, you can always buy an umbrella in Croatia. On my recent trip in April/May, I brought an umbrella which promptly broke the first time I opened it in Slovenia. So I had to buy another one anyway.

Not to say you should expect rain every day - it may be warm and sunny most of the time. Humid? Probably not, though.

I wouldn't get hung up on formal attire on your vacation. You can wear shorts on the Dalmatian Coast for sure - it's a vacation destination. In a nice restaurant? Maybe not. Probably not in a church, either.

Bring comfortable walking shoes for Plitvice. It's not strenuous hiking but there is a lot of walking, occasionally with some mud if it's been rainy.

Don't worry about the weight of your suitcases for the trains - worry about it for the flights. No one will even touch your bags on the train (though in light of the recent foiled attack by Americans on the train in Belgium, some bags may get more scrutiny now, I guess, than in the past. Doubt that will apply to Croatia.) There will be overhead racks on the trains to put your bags on most trains. If the bag is too heavy for you to lift up there...then it's probably too heavy.
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Sep 2nd, 2015, 01:30 PM
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For footwear you want comfortable! For me that would be a pair of sneakers for walking (wear on the plane because they are the most bulky), a pair of comfortable but reasonably attractive sandals, and a pair of flip flops.

Shorts are fine, capris are fine, pants are fine.

I don't wear dresses myself and I think fall is a bit late in the season for "sundresses" plus then you need better looking shoes than with pants/shorts/capris.

On your other thread you asked this: <>

I would buy a 22" rolling suitcase that is both lightweight but reasonably sturdy. Make sure it has good wheels and zippers. Name brand does not matter. I always by mine at TJ Maxx for ~$50. In addition to this I would carry one small daypack or large purse/tote. Again brand is not important, just make sure it's comfortable for you to carry. Book bags/daypacks like kids use for school work OK.




No special reason I know of other than it's too heavy & bulky & wouldn't be worth it to me to drag it around. That's the kind of things that makes your "packing" no longer "light"!

best, suze
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Sep 2nd, 2015, 01:43 PM
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ps- All you have to do is add a comment and your old thread comes back to the top. Most of your questions were already answered on the first one.
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Sep 2nd, 2015, 03:43 PM
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Some European airlines restrict carry-ons to 21 inches, so I'd buy that. In addition to sturdiness, you want a suitcase as lightweight as possible -- for lifting overhead on planes and trains as well as up and down stairs.
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Sep 2nd, 2015, 04:06 PM
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And some airlines are more strict than others in enforcing their carry-on restrictions. My carry-on is a little larger than 21 inches but still fits vertically in the overhead bin of a Southwest Airlines 737. I've only been asked to check it once on a European airline - KLM in 2009 when their flight was super full. I flew KLM twice within Europe in April-May and was never asked to check it. Also no problem on Air France, Croatia Airlines, or Eurolot (Polish) in the past. I always plan on checking it if I absolutely must, so it's not the end of my world.

"Budget" airlines like easyJet and RyanAir would probably be much more strict.
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Sep 2nd, 2015, 04:39 PM
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My favorite source for luggage is ebags.com. I can attest to how sturdy and useful their house brand 22" rolling bag is, but they carry a range of brands and sizes and price points.

I think Andrew's point is well-taken. If you're going to travel mostly in the US and don't mind checking your bag if you must, you may want a US carry on size. Ebags breaks their selections up by regulation size, btw.
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Sep 2nd, 2015, 05:47 PM
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Oh, so much great information, thank you!!!
I, believe it or not, do NOT have a backpack or a cross body bag. I have only a cheap backpack that is lousy, so I would buy something that would be my go to backpack from now on. I do have a neck problem, severe arthritis in my neck which can act up and cause shoulder problems, so I am not sure what kind of bag to get… I just take my medicine and try to do the exercises to keep myself from getting too stiff and I'll be alright in that regard, so if anyone knows of a good bag, please let me know.
I do have two small hard-bodied suitcases which I got from TJ Maxx but one of them has wheels that don't really work very well. They're made by Heys. I just got out my tape measure and measured it and I got 20 long by 13 wide by 11 deep without the extra space zippers being used. Probably too small for this trip, especially since I've NEVER packed light, so it's a bit of a challenge.
The other bag I have I like, but when I measured it I got 24 inches top to bottom and that's including the big wheels it has! (Grandma, what big TEETH you have!) by 17 across and it's 10" deep again without the "extra space storage" zipper being used. Probably too big. Made by The Sharper Image.
So… I guess I need a new suitcase too! If anyone has a specific tried and true name, I will be happy for the link, but I will also check e-bags. thank you so much.
I will also check the weather (underground.com) - great idea, and great idea to check a week beforehand as you suggested.
I'm kind of surprised about the rain. We are leaving Oct 11th so I didn't think it'd really come into play, but I guess we should really prepare and bring a (waterproof or water repellant?) rain coat!
Do you feel we should pack water shoes or should we buy them there if needed?
I've got SO many notes to go over - day trips, etc… packing… accommodation suggestions… flights… guides… general tips and notes…
thanks again. I will be checking in often.
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Sep 2nd, 2015, 05:52 PM
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kja
 
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Here's your old thread. You can always top it, so people know what advice your've already gotten and decide whether additional info is needed.
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...s-sept-oct.cfm
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Sep 2nd, 2015, 06:55 PM
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I felt no need to bring any "water gear" except for the umbrella that broke anyway. I needed an umbrella in May, too, but not every day. I was lucky that I've never needed one while hiking in a park in Croatia, but I did need one while hiking in a few hill towns in Istria.

If Plitvice Lakes gets a lot of rain, I have heard that it can be hard to walk on some of the paths where the boardwalks kind of get flooded. (Some of the boardwalks cross over water.) Sometimes park officials put down additional boards or something to help you walk over. Keep in mind that a park like Plitvice isn't designed for serious hikers - it's designed for vacationers who don't have waterproof shoes. Don't go overboard - you may get lucky and have little or no rain at all on your trip.
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Sep 2nd, 2015, 06:59 PM
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The OP has another thread on the same topic from earlier today - that already has 15 responses. She needs to click on her name to fine it - or just search for Croatia.
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Sep 2nd, 2015, 07:43 PM
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kja and nytraveler - I posted earlier today on the older thread with 15 responses (a few of them mine) that I had started this new thread to pick up where I left off since I had lost internet connection last week, and was unable to check in. I felt that the old thread had gone cold, and it would be best to provide the link on that one and start anew.
Forgive me if I am doing something wrong…
I probably should have also provided that link when I started this post, yes?
What should I do at this point?
I was researching bags tonight, and the Pacsafe Toursafe bag came highly recommended, but I was disappointed to see that it weighs in at a little over 6 pounds. The dimensions listed on Amazon (Toursafe AT21) said it was 25.3 x 14.7 x 8.6, yet some of the reviewers said it was actually not quite that long, it's really less than 25.3…
The British Air flight we are taking into DBV has a restriction for carry ons and it's 22 x 18 x 10, so I am trying to find a bag that is within these dimensions… and the lighter the better of course. Not sure if I should get one with wheels or not… I know there's a lot of stairs, cobblestones and what have you, necessitating carrying the bag around, but then there's also airports, etc., where I could lug it. So I am not sure. Something (probably my neck) tells me I should get wheels (maybe my age too… mid fifties!)
thanks again.
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Sep 2nd, 2015, 07:51 PM
  #14
kja
 
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"I felt that ... it would be best to provide the link on that one and start anew.... I probably should have also provided that link when I started this post, yes?"

Not in my opinion -- I think it would have been FAR better if you had topped that thread withOUT starting a new one. JMO.
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Sep 3rd, 2015, 07:39 AM
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You absolutely need a suitcase with wheels! Try to get something smaller than the listed dimensions for your airline, so that if it is stuffed you can still fit it in the overhead, but if your shoulder problem is that bad, then you should consider checking it (and this is coming from a die hard carry-on only traveler).
For the day bag, with back or shoulder problems, I think a backpack is best. I use a cross body bag only when it is only light stuff I am carrying (not even a guide book, etc.)
If it is warm enough for beach time, then you will be able to buy some cheap water shoes there.
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Sep 3rd, 2015, 09:53 AM
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Instead of water shoes, consider using a waterproofing spray on your sturdy walking shoes (sneakers, whatever they are). If you are set on buying new ones, many light hiking shoes look not-clunky and have gore-tex waterproofing.
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Sep 3rd, 2015, 10:04 AM
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Not even that. You just needed to add a comment at the bottom of your 1st thread & it would have popped to the top for everyone to see again (and kept all your information in one place, instead of two different ones like you have now).

I agree none of your current suitcases sound quite right, definitely to NOT take the one with bad wheels!!
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Sep 3rd, 2015, 10:07 AM
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If you have everything in a carry-on it absolutely MUST have wheels. You do not want to be lugging it all over the miles of airport.

But do be sure that it fits well within the requirements of any flight you will be on. Standards in europe are often different than from the US and returning from Switz (I have a client there) I have often seen americans have to gate check their carry-on since it didn't met the local standards. I bought a special 19" carry-on (including wheels) for these trips - but since they are only 2 or 3 days that's plenty.
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Sep 3rd, 2015, 10:33 AM
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Is there a reason you intend to carry your suitcase on the plane? Because your arthritis and bad shoulder and all will make it tough to lift anything of any weight up into the overhead. Sometimes other passengers will help, or maybe your husband can do it, but, sadly, you can't count on flight attendants to lift a finger for you.

Maybe you should check the suitcase?
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Sep 4th, 2015, 03:05 PM
  #20
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NewbE, I was thinking along the same lines - no need to have to carry the suitcase on the plane, I'll check it! I guess I was hoping to pack as lightly as I could, and was also hoping to get a way with being able to have my main suitcase be a carryon that I could carry on, but I don't see why I can't check it, especially seeing that it would be a great aid to my neck problem! So I will CHECK the bag!
Now I just need to decide on the SIZE now that I'm checking it! I don't want to get too big now, though, since my aim was to pack LIGHT, and be able to lug it up stairs and over cobblestones with ease!
I'm looking at 22" Eagle Creek bags… Morphus ™ 22 (that's a little confusing.. it separates into two separate bags… I am not even sure that's necessary for this trip). Also the Tarmac Suitcase 22".. but it's heavier than the Toursafe AT21 wheeled carryon…
I'm trying to find the lightest suitcase with spinner wheels (are spinner wheels a must?) I can find…. I'm not sure what size to get yet. Since I'm not going to carry it on, we decided, I'm no longer restricted to staying within carry on size.
I'm 5.4, in my 50's. I've never been a back pack person, but I think I need to be one and get used to it. I can't believe I've always carried overfull tote bags on planes before this.
Gotta start with the right suitcase and then figure out the back pack and then try to pack what I think I can't live without in this tiny bag!
SCARY!
I need to learn a lot of new things! A new way.. a better way
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