Packing Light? Any Great Tips?

Jan 24th, 2007, 03:40 PM
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Packing Light? Any Great Tips?

I am looking for any great tips on packing light. I know there are lots of people who are very good at it.
zoellner4 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 04:00 PM
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I'm sure you will find lots of threads on this subject if you do a search.

I packed all I needed for the 3 wk trip to Italy, in a small wheeled carryon, and tote that slips over the handle of the carryon. The purse I packed inside of the bag.

It was summer, and so clothing was lightweight. I was able to pack 3 skirts, 3 slacks, 1 capri, 2 pr. sandals, undies, 4 t-shirts, several blouses, a sweater, scarves, toiletries w/no problem. Probably some other things I'm not remembering.

I packed the folded clothing into 2 gal. zipper bags (the slide lock kind from Hefty). Then sat on them with the bag still open a bit to flatten them out, it really acted as a compressor bag.

Take things lightweight or knit, that don't take up volume, and you can wash them out in the room. Wear your heavier things on the plane.

Take a travel clothesline to use in the room.

Buy microfiber underwear that will dry overnight. You only need 3 pair. My DH had briefs of microfiber as well.

Read messages on packing light on the Rick Steves website as well as this one.
cupspinner is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 04:02 PM
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You are amazing!!!
zoellner4 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 04:52 PM
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Cupspinner gives great advice. I can't believe how many people think they need to take a different outfit for every day.
Many say, "I'm not doing any laundry while I'm on vacation!" Well, washing a few things out every couple of days sure beats killing yourself dragging a lot of luggage around.
We too use the travel clothesline and it works like a charm. We also take a small bottle of Woolite to wash things out in the sink or tub.
Shoes take up a LOT of room, and like cupspinner, we take a pair of sandals, wear another pair of shoes, and sometimes take a 3rd pair.
2Italy is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 05:12 PM
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Time of year has so much to do with it. However, blue jeans and khakis are heavy, take up space, dry slowly, and hard to get a quick turnaround at local laundry. Dare I say polyester? Doesn't wrinkle, is washable and dries in a sec. One pair of shoes: walkable but presentable. The microfibre underwear is pricey but terrific. Some synthetic shirts will not wrinkle badly, give you a day or two [with cologne]. IMO, cotton is the biggest enemy you have in packing light.
weber6560 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 05:35 PM
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I take one silk T-shirt type night gown that I got on sale at Winter Silks. It is a hideous print, but rolls up to nothing, weighs nothing and dries in NO time at all.

We also take long sleeved lightweight silk undershirts in the winter. This allows for thinner tops and sweaters, and everything about the ugly silk nightshirt applies to these, plus they are very warm.
tuscanlifeedit is online now  
Jan 24th, 2007, 06:22 PM
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This is part of an article I wrote that went into my company's employee newsletter, written before the terrorist threat in London:

Climate and planned activities play a key role in just how light you can pack. If youíre a golfer and must take your own clubs, itís obvious that youíll be checking them at the airport. Are you headed to a cool or warm climate? Are you planning to dress up in the evening? Do you need special clothing for sporting activities? Just how simple can you keep it and still have the items you really require? Two weeks in Europe with carry-on luggage? No problem! It didnít take me long to learn that I would be responsible for my own luggage, whether carrying it up five flights of stairs or on and off trains. After more than a dozen trips overseas, my friends and I have learned how to travel light Ė okay, so they went kicking and screaming at first. My advice: never take more than you can carry.

When selecting your wardrobe think about items that will mix and match. On one trip just about everything I took was black, white, or off-white, primarily solid colors with a couple of patterned shirts. Each item could be layered depending on whim and temperature. For a two-week trip I might take three pairs of pants with four or five light tops, and two or three blouses or light jackets. If I need a warm coat or jacket, I wear it on the plane. A colorful scarf can dress up an otherwise boring outfit and wonít take up room in your luggage. Gentlemen, you might want to pack a jacket, and ladies, you might want to pack a long skirt appropriate for a nice restaurant. Try to select fabrics that will withstand wrinkles; in other words, leave the linen at home. Pack thin, lightweight nightclothes. Leave the bulky PJs and bathrobe home. Yes, even my travel underwear is thin Ė no joke.

You can always arrange to have your clothes laundered. Better yet, sample the local laundromat and see if you can figure out how to get the machine started. There is more to travel than looking at monuments and statues. Learn what life is like ďover there.Ē Be a traveler, not a tourist.

Shoes can take up a lot of room in a suitcase, so I always wear the bulkiest pair and take a spare pair. Just make sure both pairs are comfortable. Think about where youíre going Ė Europe has many charming cities, but many of the streets are paved with cobblestones. Think twice before loading up your luggage with dainty sandals Ė chances are you wonít wear them more than once or twice.

Bulky clothing can be compacted by placing items in plastic baggies. To get all the air out, place the bag with the clothing inside it under a mattress to get the air out, and seal while the bag is still under the mattress. This works great with sweaters.

Check with your airline to determine the correct carry-on size suitcase and permitted weight. These days they charge you if they think youíre packing too much. You can also bring onboard a personal item, and mine is always a rather large purse that holds a lot. Airline personal have weighed my suitcase, but never my purse. I always feel better knowing that my belongings travel with me and donít meet up with me three days into the trip. If you must check your bag, always, and I mean always, carry your valuables with you: passport, jewelry, medications Ė donít assume the airlines wonít misplace your bags, because history says otherwise. Also be sure to carry one change of clothing with you in case your checked bag goes astray. A suitcase with wheels is essential, and one that expands is even better. If you shop along the way, you can open the expansion and check your bag for the return trip. Think about a foldable tote, a small item in your suitcase going, that expands to a third carrying bag in case you need to check your suitcase going home. This way two of your three bags will travel with you on the plane with your most important items.

One time when traveling with a friend we were scheduled for a three-hour lay-over in Atlanta enroute to Paris. As we existed the plane in Atlanta we noticed a flight at the gate across the way departing for Paris in 30 minutes. We had just enough time to change our tickets and get on board, cutting two-and-a-half hours off our travel time. You canít do that with checked luggage.

On a trip to Hong Kong I checked a large duffle bag filled with nothing but bubble wrap. I shopped to my heartís content and was prepared to package my goodies for the trip home.

Think about the toiletry items you really need. Even the smallest B&B will have a hairdryer available. They will also have shampoo Ė try going without your special brand for a little while. Ladies, do you really need five shades of lipstick? Four shades of eye shadow? Be picky and take a limited amount. A compartmentalized make-up bag with clear plastic sections is a good idea so you can easily find what you need. Pack items that can leak or drip in sealable baggies. I admit I take a small pharmacy with me, but only a couple of each item. If I need more of something, I can always buy it there. Carry copies of your medical prescriptions with you along with a copy of your eyeglass prescription. My luxury item: I take mesh sponge balls for the shower, one for each hotel. Leaving them behind creates a little room in my suitcase for purchases.

Important documents: Itís a good idea to carry a copy of your passport somewhere other than with your official passport. Safeguard your credit cards and ATM cards with a neck or waist pouch, especially in major cities such as Rome or Paris. Call your credit card companies and the financial institutions that provide your ATM cards and let them know when youíll be away and in which countries youíll be traveling. Otherwise, they may notice unusual transactions and cut off your access to money. Have their international phone numbers packed in a safe place in case you need to contact them from overseas. Along the same lines, itís okay to use a hotelís safe deposit box, but do not use the safe in your room for your valuables Ė but thatís another story.

Earplugs Ė itís those roosters that get to me every time.

Consider taking a journal. Write down where you went, when you went there, what you did, and what things cost as you travel. Write your impressions and your feelings, what you learned, and what you thought of the people you met along the way. Itís unlikely youíll remember the details when you get home.

Maps, a tour book or two, and perhaps a few restaurant recommendations. Be sure to bring your hotel and travel confirmations.

Bring your camera and lots of film or memory cards. Tip: take photos of signs so you will remember later where you were. Digital memory makes this a reasonable way to keep track of the sequence. After days on the road, it all gets kind of blurry.

International drivers license.

Learn a few words in the local language. Hello, goodbye, please, and thank you are the most important, oh, and "where is the toilet?"

Above all, pack your sense of humor and your sense of adventure.

Here is a list of items I took on my last trip:
Sponge bath balls
Facial cleanser
Dental floss
Hand cream
Eye makeup remover
Tissue packs
Theraflu strips (non-liquid)
Immodium tablets
Tranquilizers (for the flights)
Blister pads
Currency calculator
Copy of passport
International drivers license
Postcard addresses
Email addresses
2 pairs of walking shoes (wearing one pair on the flight)
6 pairs of socks
7 pairs of undies
Extra bras
6 shirts
3 tee shirts
Blue jacket
2 pairs of jeans (wearing one pair on flight)
Black pants
Beige pants
Bubble wrap
Collapsible tote
TSA approved locks
Books and maps for our destination
Journal and 2 pens
Day purse
Reading glasses
Extra pair of driving glasses
Ear plugs
Hotel and airline confirmations
Battery charger
Electric adapters
Camera memory cards
Blank CD for burning photos
Shutter remote control
Camera instruction booklet

and, yes, I did this with only carry-on.


luvtotravel is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 06:38 PM
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AMAZING!!! These tips have been very helpful.
zoellner4 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 08:44 PM
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Great tips and tactics.

I like the quick dry, microfiber as well - worth it to me; I get them at Travelsmith.

Woolite comes in small, one-use packets which worked out great -- easy to pack, no leaks, can take one for each anticipated wash night.

Ditto packing a thin microfiber bag inside the rollerbag carry-on -- if I shop I check the carry on on the way back and carry on the thin bag and my personal item/tote bag.

annw is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 08:53 PM
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I skip the Woolite and wash the clothes with shampoo. It's soap, isn't it?
beaupeep is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 09:01 PM
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This thread used to reside on the Europe forum but the editors moved it to the Lounge

It has a lot of good ideas.
janisj is online now  
Jan 24th, 2007, 09:02 PM
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I spent two weeks in Europe in October, and can't add too much to what others have said, but here are a couple of items:
Others have mentioned the ziplock bags; I found some really big (2.5 gallon) ones at Target. You could easily get a couple of sweaters and shirts in each one. Great for toting dirty clothes home in as well.
I also agree with the tip to coordinate your wardrobe so everything matches everything else. However, my wardrobe choices on this last trip were black, grey and white; and I wished I had at least brought a few colorful scarves as they really brighten up one's daily "outfit", plus they add something to your photographs!
azzure is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 10:12 PM
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At long last after many trips to Europe & other parts of the world I have learnt that a person needs no more than the bare necessities!
I am down to one tiny carry-on-board roller suitcase which has a nice little vanitycase which slips over the handle.
In this I manage to pack for a 3 week (at least)trip putting inside:
4 wash & wear blouses
3 wash & wear stretch long pants
l sleep shirt which is washable & dries in a day
l very crushable gillet(type of body-warmer/waistcoat)
1 zip-up rainproof jacket
1 pr comfortable sandles, 1 pr very lightweight sports trainers, 1 pr black evening/day shoes.
All the clothes are either black, beige or red, and mix 'n match.

If I get bored wearing them I may buy another blouse or something else to wear whilst I'm away.
tod is offline  
Jan 25th, 2007, 12:47 AM
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hopscotch is offline  
Jan 25th, 2007, 03:14 AM
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1) Don't pack anything that needs ironing
2) Don't pack giant size comestics & other pills & potions
3) Learn how to wash in a hand basin
4) Cut down on the shoes
5) No cotton jeans
alanRow is offline  
Jan 25th, 2007, 03:25 AM
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Learn the airline luggage size and weight rules. Get the scales out. Assemble the packing. Weigh each piece. Pack the bag or bags, carry them about...George's theory, tourists drag twice as much baggage as they EVER use. Consider my last seat mate; he has an extra laptop, just in case his first one broke.
GSteed is offline  
Jan 25th, 2007, 03:48 AM
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save up old clothes and throw them away as you go
bilboburgler is offline  
Jan 25th, 2007, 04:06 AM
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Remember that Europe has asperin, Tylenol (Panadol), shampoo, conditioner, cremes, deoderants, antibiotic cremes, bandaids, etc, etc, etc. and just pack small amounts of each.

I also use shampoo to wash clothes. Every hotel we have ever stayed in supplies shampoo everyday.
Ann1 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2007, 04:10 AM
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just bookmarking....
sallyjane3 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2007, 04:17 AM
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Bring one change and buy everything else.

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