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Packing Light: An Index of Therese's "What to Wear/Pack" Posts

Packing Light: An Index of Therese's "What to Wear/Pack" Posts

Aug 27th, 2010, 01:02 PM
  #1  
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Packing Light: An Index of Therese's "What to Wear/Pack" Posts

Think you can’t do carry-on? Think you can do carry-on in the States but can’t on budget airlines in Europe? Just wish you could learn how to pack lighter? Well, here are updated links to a series of posts going back to 2003 by a very wise packer, Therese.

For those of you who have never read Therese’s posts, she travels for work and with family around the world. She usually attempts to do carry-on after a careful research of upcoming travel restrictions, although she does often check her bags on the way back home. And she packs slightly differently for each trip. Thus she’s written a series of nine posts entitled “What to Wear/Pack”. The first one was written before liquids restrictions; the last is still being written.

In each of these posts, Therese details packing lists for a variety of situations, but if readers have the time (Therese is the first to say that she and her keyboard are awfully friendly), the most beneficial part of reading her rather lengthy entries is following her thought process for packing for each trip.

More specifically, for those of you who do carry-on or very light packing, you know that the thought process BEFORE the trip is the tedious part so that travel itself becomes the easy part. I think we can agree that all of us, no matter how we pack, need to update our thinking or open ourselves to new ideas because a fact of life is that things change. Therese's posts show an evolving packing pattern.

Adding more of a challenge is that Therese has foot problems and has had to make accomodation for special footwear, etc.

I tip my hat to ScotLib and others who became Therese fans long before I and who have also helped index Therese’s fine work in the past. And I hope Therese feels free to correct any or all of my summaries! I won't be insulted, Therese. Promise.

Happy Reading,
Alessandra

Therese's “What to Wear/Pack” Thread Links with Abstracts
(Note: I often paraphrase Therese's own descriptions)

*****http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...o-wearpack.cfm
Part 1 / 2003: Pre Liquids Restriction. This is Therese’s intro to packing with some guiding principles and some discussion by other posters. Therese packed in this thread for a week in Venice with her two children. Her stay was in a hotel, so she had no access to laundry facilities, and the early spring weather predicted to be warm ended up being cold, windy, and rainy/snowy.

*****http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...packpart-2.cfm
Part 2 / 2005: Pre Liquids Restriction. Therese packed here for a two-week trip. She had a week’s business trip in Athens requiring a business wardrobe in scorching temperatures and a week’s holiday in Italy (half in Florence, half in Venice) with her family. She had no access to laundry facilities at any point.

*****http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...packpart-3.cfm
Part 3 / 2006: Pre Liquids Restriction.Therese travels for business to Berlin for a week in spring. She posts BEFORE she leaves, describing her thought process. She will be in a hotel, so she will not have access to laundry facilities. Follow-up posts by other board members are interesting. (Note: I think this trip ended up being cancelled)

*****http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...packpart-4.cfm
Part 4 / 2007: Post Liquids Restriction. Therese describes her packing for a week’s holiday in France, mostly in Paris but also two nights in Normandy in private homes (different homes each night, so no laundry access). Since her Part 3 thread, she has spent a week in Italy (work) and a week in Portugal (holiday).

*****http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...packpart-5.cfm
Part 5 / 2007: Therese does it all with one carry-on (purse that was carried separately was able to be tucked into her carry-on). This is an early September work/holiday trip to Amsterdam/Antwerp and Rotterdam with four train segments, several hotel changes in weather that ranged from hot and humid to cold and windy. No access to laundry facilities.

*****http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...packpart-6.cfm
Part 6 / 2008: A week of work in Budapest in May. Therese stayed in an apartment, so she had access to laundry facilities, but doing carry-on on way over meant she could be rerouted easily when her connecting flight was cancelled. She substitutes backpack for purse this time.

*****http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ack-part-7.cfm
Part 7 / 2008: Therese describes preparations (with NEW suitcase) for a September work trip that means attending two meetings in two European towns, Bremen and Bordeaux. She discusses in detail the packing restrictions for low-cost European airlines and how she’s going to deal with that.

*****http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ack-part-8.cfm
Part 8 / 2008: Therese describes packing for a January three-week trip across the world (a couple of stops in Europe, then Japan, then Mexico before returning home to the U.S.). She thanks fellow Fodorites crckwc1 and Challiman for reviewing http://www.scottevest.com/v3_store/N...st_Women.shtml.

*****http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ack-part-9.cfm
Part 9 / 2010 (to be continued): Therese is packing for 18 days in September 2010. She will have 6 days in Valencia (holiday/work), then on to Uppsala, Sweden via London and Stockholm (meeting) and then on to Houston, TX (meeting). Items, among others, under discussion: packing for budget air travel (again), the agonies of trying to find the perfect bag, reversible down coats, new purse, bringing/finding foam pillow for travel, Shure ear phones.
AlessandraZoe is offline  
Aug 27th, 2010, 01:23 PM
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She says she never wears shorts except to go hiking. I stopped reading there. "No-shorts" people scare me.
colduphere is offline  
Aug 27th, 2010, 01:34 PM
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this may help some -- but there are many MANY threads on Fodors about packing light. Don't think there is anything magical about Therese's in particular.
janisj is online now  
Aug 27th, 2010, 01:57 PM
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Well, colduphere, shorts for women just aren't as accepted in a lot of European destinations, and I end up packing capris for those places myself. Come to think of it, I don't think I've worn shorts to NYC ever.

JanisJ--Yep, there are a lot of threads. I have read a lot of those. Therese's posts, as lengthy as they are, interested me because of the thought and the willingness to evolve. I have read SO many darn threads about what one CAN'T do (which are more often about what one WON'T do) and I personally found it to be extremely refreshing to read the posts of a person who was a problem solver as opposed to a naysayer, which too often is a position taken on this forum. Easy to dis, harder to solve.
AlessandraZoe is offline  
Aug 27th, 2010, 02:57 PM
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AlessandraZoe - yes I keep reading here that only unsophisticated rubes wear shorts in Europe. Then I go to Europe (almost every year) and see zillions of short wearers. And they aren't all tourists.

It's my own personal battle with a few clothing advisor posters here on Fodors, not including Therese. Just ignore me.
colduphere is offline  
Aug 28th, 2010, 08:18 AM
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Wow, AlessandraZoe, that's just amazing. And great summaries of the threads as well. Especially perceptive of you to note the extent to which the threads reflect changes in my packing techniques over the years. Your comment re some others' approach to packing light being about what you can't do (like dress comfortably and suitably for whatever activity strikes your fancy) as opposed to what you can do is also right on the mark---I try and keep a very positive tone in these threads, and only occasionally do they elicit negative responses (though those tend to be pretty informative in the end as well, so it's all good).

As janisj points out, the information re packing light in my threads (much of which is provided by other participants on the threads, not myself) is in no way earth-shatteringly novel or fascinating. And plenty of people will find the relatively drawn-out format irritating, though it's precisely that format that elicits comments and tips from other Fodorites, and that's one of the ways I've come to change my own packing habits.

As it happens janisj actually does (or has---are you stil doing this, janisj?) teach other people how to pack a suitcase via an adult education class. I know she's contributed to a lot of packing light threads in the past but I don't recall seeing one that's she started, but that may be my faulty memory.

We could certainly do an index of other packing light threads. I'll leave it up to AlessandraZoe as to what direction she'd like this thread to take.
Therese is offline  
Aug 28th, 2010, 08:34 AM
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colduphere: I'm not a no-shorts person, I'm just not a fan of shorts for myself. I find them confining and uncomfortable: they've got waistbands (a lot of my clothes don't) and they're usually made of non-stretchy material like cotton or denim. Even the ones that contain a bit of spandex still aren't my cup of tea. When I do wear shorts (as I did on a rafting and camping trip to Idaho a couple of years ago) I tend to go with ones in very stretchy soft fabric, essentially bike shorts. Nice and comfy.

And until recently I've been very constrained in the types of shoes that I can wear---not even athletic shoes were easy for me, and most sandals (including all the fancy comfort sorts) were complete disasters---so wearing shorts can be pretty limiting for me. I've had surgery to correct some of my foot issues over that last two years, so that's going to be a welcome change.

Anyway, if you like to wear shorts, wear shorts. And if one day you specifically ask me about whether I would or wouldn't consider shorts (or any other item of clothing that reveals a lot of skin) socially appropriate in some contexts I'll consider the issue, but otherwise don't mind one way or the other.
Therese is offline  
Aug 28th, 2010, 08:50 AM
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Oh, and a few corrections to AlessandraZoe's summaries:

So far I've actually used the same suitcase for all of the trips for which I've started wear/pack threads. I didn't actually measure it until several years after I'd bought it, so the earlier threads describe it as being 20-22" high, but in fact it's only 19" high (including the wheels, which are inset relative to the frame of the bag).

Part 1 was my children's first trip to Europe (Venice), and reading back over that thread brings back really great memories of that trip. They were 9 and 12 at the time, and both of them still remember all sorts of details and funny moments from that trip. My husband didn't go that time, and in some ways I'm glad of that as it ended up being just mommy time.

Part 2's second half (in Italy, after the business trip to Greece) was in the company of a friend, not my family. I didn't discuss my friend (who is now an ex-friend, I'm afraid, the only one I've ever had) in the thread because there was no way that I could do so without painting her in a truly terrible light, so I just bring it up.

Part 3's trip to Berlin was cancelled. We were already very short-staffed at work, and then a colleague's medical emergency just pushed everything right over the edge. The nature of the medical emergency was a near-fatal crash between her husband's scooter and a delivery van (entirely the van's fault). He spend weeks in intensive care but is now fully recovered, and in fact we went out to dinner and a play with them last night (as they are also friends). Reading over that thread reminds of how scary that time was.

Part 7 did find me shopping for a new suitcase, but in the end I didn't use it, as I realized that a non-rolling bag was going to be a problem for my back and shoulders. There was a third destination on that trip as well, a couple of days in London visiting a friend (that I met on an on-line forum about food) in between the two meetings.
Therese is offline  
Aug 31st, 2010, 05:31 PM
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Thank you so much,Therese, for all of your tips and encouragment. I have ordered a 4lb, 21 inch wheeled duffle, and today I actually spent $10 on a "bar" of shampoo at Lush! I am excited to embark on a 15 day carry-on only trip to Italy soon! And thanks, also, to AlessandraZoe, for putting it all together in an easy format.
anneeby is offline  
Aug 31st, 2010, 05:40 PM
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Thanks, anneeby. Which Lush shampoo did you choose? And if you've got a link for your wheeled duffel or just the make and model that would be great.
Therese is offline  
Aug 31st, 2010, 05:52 PM
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been reading your posts Therese. I am grateful for someone like you who takes the time to post so many tips helpful to readers like me. Ignore the naysayers!

THANKS (you too AlessandraZoe for taking the time to compile all of Therese posts in one - great!)
screen_name_taken is offline  
Sep 1st, 2010, 05:25 AM
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I got the white Lush. I do wonder at the wisdom of spending $10 when I could have just put my shampoo in a travel container. But oh well. The luggage I ordered from ebags. Here's the link:
http://www.ebags.com/product/sol/tra...m=sol%20tracer
It's 21x15x10 instead of the 22x14x9 regulation, but I am hoping that because it's a duffle it will squish down. I like that it's only 4 lbs and that it opens like a book.
anneeby is offline  
Sep 1st, 2010, 05:51 AM
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colduphere (wearing shorts) Some women don't care for the looks of their legs. Perhaps they WOULD wear shorts if they were more comfortable exposing them. It is not always about formal verses causal attire.
viaggiatore4 is offline  
Sep 1st, 2010, 05:55 AM
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I am not telling anyone to wear shorts!!!!! Wear what you want but don't do it because of some misguided view of what the country's standard is.
colduphere is offline  
Sep 1st, 2010, 06:27 AM
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That bag looks great, anneeby. I think that if you make a point of compressing the contents internally you won't have any problem keeping the bag from being too "thick" (which I think would be the 10" dimension). If there's metal frame somewhere in there it might present a problem in the width (the 15" dimension), depending on how rigid it is. If you did need to check it I'd make a point of packing very carefully, as the light weight means that it's not going to be quite as sturdy as a heavier bag, but then that's exactly what makes it such a great carry-on.

I particularly like the top front compartment for stowing your gear, and the "open like a book" layout that you mention.

As for spending $10 on the Lush shampoo bar (I also like the white one), it lasts forever and ever. I've actually cut my bar into quarters (thereby saving a tiny, tiny bit in space and weight). Remember not to let it soak in a puddle of water, as it will melt. If you forget just let it dry back out and it will be good as new, even if it might now be a new shape.
Therese is offline  
Sep 7th, 2010, 10:41 AM
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I was so excited come home to find my new carry on from ebags! I have been anxious to see if it is "squishable" enough to fit within the regulation guidelines. This is the bag: http://www.ebags.com/product/sol/tra...m=sol%20tracer
Well, darn! The side that is 15" is the width and it is a hard side. Not only will it not squish, but I would have a hard time wheeling it down the skinny aisle of a plane. Now what am I going to do...I leave for Italy in a week!
anneeby is offline  
Sep 7th, 2010, 11:45 AM
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Anneeby--Take a deep breath and drive to your nearest TJ Maxx/Marshalls and see what's surfaced over the weekend. I have the ugliest-on-earth carry-on that I love--and its color "rejectibility" (puke green) made it a bargain. I'm keeping my fingers crossed you'll find a gem.

AZ

How kind of you to thank me, too!
AlessandraZoe is offline  
Sep 7th, 2010, 11:55 AM
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Target's another great place to look. Take a tape measure and a luggage scale (if you've got one, and if not you can buy them at target) and you can verify measurements on the spot.

I literally visit the luggage section at Target on nearly every visit. Not because I actually need a suitcase, but because I am a loon.
Therese is offline  
Sep 7th, 2010, 12:01 PM
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AlessandraZoe--I have been to all of the TJ Maxx's and Marshall's in two cities equiped with my luggage scale. All of the ones that were small were heavier than I would like. But you're right, they get things in all the time, I'll try again.
In the meantime I ordered this replacement. http://www.ebags.com/product/travelp...ductid=1248656
I just hope it comes before I leave! I need time use Therese's tips and do a trial packing!
anneeby is offline  
Sep 7th, 2010, 12:19 PM
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I want to know how it goes, anneeby.

I have terrible carry-on travel restrictions on Air New Zealand. There are no exemptions for Premiere Business Class, which sort of kills me because I worked hard to swing with all my Star Alliance Points, and I'm at a loss because once we arrive, it's an "active" vacation on a bike seat. Unless the bike shorts/gel seat make it there, I won't be all that active for the next 10 days.

I am keeping fingers crossed that since I'm going to an "active" country that if any checked luggage ends up in Guam, I have a shot at buying some sport-oriented stuff.

Therese--In preparation for TOTAL carry, I've ordered the Scottevest and the jacket and am going to see what works. Might layer jacket OVER vest (have ordered for husband and I can see how that might work).

I was prepared to wear my athletic shoes on the trip, but it turns out that we might need hiking boots AND athletic shoes for the trip. Sigh.

I'm going to research away. We've resisted going the bike shoe route and have survived, much to the amazement of the "all-decked out" biking crowd on any trip. I might find some neat shoe that will work for everything we need.

And yeah--on this trip, I'll be coming from high altitude Wyoming, so will be arriving at airport in down coat. But as you have said--that squishes. Funny how a huge coat can be minor!
AlessandraZoe is offline  

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