Please define "packing light"

Old Mar 2nd, 2005, 05:00 AM
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Even traveling by car, you will find that 22 inch bags will make more efficient use of a small car's trunk. I prefer to use a 22" cargo/duffel bag with a portable set of wheels that I might or might not take with me. Wheels, whether portable or an integral part of the bag, add weight (up to 8 pounds in the case of some larger bags) and take up space (you'll notice the two handles of the 'cart' running along the back of rollaboards when you open up the bag - I hate those things!)

Along with the small knapsack that I also take, I can carry the cargo bag using the shoulder strap if necessary. I often do this anywhere I think an unofficial porter is going to 'help' me with my bags (see the thread on Naples train station scam to understand further.) This is another reason to pack light - you keep control of your bags more easily, plus taking less means less stuff to track as you move from room to room.

Travel guides - often you can photocopy relevant pages before you go; you can also double-side copy and reduce the size.

Design a travel uniform of simple colourfast colours - I have a special set of travel shirts that are now a nice shade of lilac, from the results of being washed in laundromats anywhere from Monterosso, Italy to Vienna, Austria. Note on laundromats - if your destination has a university, there will nearly always be a laundromat somewhere in town. Just plan on being in such a place at least every four or five days if you don't like handwashing.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2005, 05:01 AM
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You know, I've never seen the neighbors walking down the street with theor suitcase. Edna, look! Sue Ellen finally threw that bum out after all these years!

Pretty good idea though. An interesting alternative to walking the dog.

By the way, we each use a 22" for 2-3 week vacations. Pants, shirts, one dressy set that you could wear for a nicer night. And yes, more than one dressy night and we wear the same, wash if needed. Absolutely no hair dryers, that kind of thing.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2005, 06:03 AM
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Root volumizer? Who sees your hair roots?
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Old Mar 2nd, 2005, 06:23 AM
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At the most: a 22" + backpack (empty at first) for me and a 22" + purse for DW. If it's a very long trip we'll splurge for a wash/dry/fold/deliver service.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2005, 06:30 AM
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USNR: All those gel goops, hairsprays,shampoos and other products also sell travel sized versions. So that is one big space saver. If she can't find travel sizes of the ones she uses - she can buy small plastic bottles/jars/pump bottles in any travel shop, or even large drugstore, that hold enough product for a 2-3 week trip.

A curling Iron doesn't take up much space so that isn't much of a problem.

As for Hair dryers -- first of all MANY hotels, B&Bs villas, cottages etc provide hair dryers. I used to take one but haven't in about 5 years. (however I do have a short-ish style that I can finger dry if need be). But if she just has to take one, there are very good, full powered, dual voltage compact dryers. Some fold up so they take up even less space.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2005, 06:34 AM
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Rufus dear, you volumize your roots so the rest of your hair stands up nice and tall and proud! Kind of like when you get an electric shock from using the wrong current with your hairdryer.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2005, 06:40 AM
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you could put your hair products in your shoes and have great looking feet and hair!
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Old Mar 2nd, 2005, 06:42 AM
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damama, you are brilliant!
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Old Mar 2nd, 2005, 06:42 AM
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For me, since I never travel with more than a carry on suitcase and a day pack, "packing light" would mean taking taking less than that for 2+ weeks! I suppose packing light depends on how often you're changing hotels and how you're getting from place to place. If you're staying in the same place for an entire trip, why worry about checked bags? It won't be much trouble for an airline to get your bag to your hotel if its lost and you won't have to worry about cramming it in a car or running to catch a train.

That said, I am a big fan of doing a little laundry in the hotel sink, taking febreze, and wearing clothes several times. I take things that don't wrinkle and only enough socks and underwear to last about 3 days. 2-3 trousers/skirts, 2-3 tops, a sweater and scarf for evenings, and a lightweight windbreaker/rain jacket. Two pairs of shoes (2nd pair is very lightweight) and possibly a cheap pair of flip flops, travel size toiletries, and a small nylon bag that folds into its own pocket.

Anything I need that I don't have, I learn to live without, or I buy it in Europe. No matter how little I think I take, there is always something that I either don't wear or don't wear enough to merit having brought it. Now, if only I could have the courage to leave out the second pair of shoes, or take a pair of sandals...

stillhouse, if you're travelling by train, a suitcase bigger than 21 or 22" is going to be a hassle, but you should also worry about the weight. When you're doing your walk round the block with your suitcase, you might want to add in a 50 yard dash, including stairs. Hmm, maybe I should start doing that with my suitcase for training before I travel...
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Old Mar 2nd, 2005, 06:44 AM
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I'm a pretty light packer. I usually take a 20" or 21" bacpack/suitacse and a day bag. So size isn't my problem but weight is. I cant seem to pare down on books - travel guides and other books. Any ideas besides copying pages from guide books? I travel alone sometimes and I need books during meals and several other times during the day. I'm considering audio books the next time around, but, the idea of sitting in a restaurant in Rome with headphones on is not appealing. Ideas anyone?
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Old Mar 2nd, 2005, 06:44 AM
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I'm allowed one smart thing per day. I guess I can go back to sleep now.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2005, 06:49 AM
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ssachida: I too like to have lots of reading material. I usually take one or two paperbacks and if I finish those during the trip, I leave them behind and buy another. I also take a journal/diary

As for guide books - take one favorite and then xerox helpful pages from others.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2005, 06:58 AM
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ssachida, try cutting up your travel books to keep only the sections you need. I'm doing Switzerland this year and taking 2 guidebooks: Let's Go and Rick Steves. About 1/2 the Let's Go book is on Austria and of no use to me, so I cut it out. The Steves book has a sections on Zermatt and Lugano which I will not be visiting. Those are now gone.

While I am traveling once I am done visiting a region, I cut out that part of the guidebook, too.

If possible, choose guidebooks without lots of glossy pictures because those add a lot of weight to the book. Eyewitness is notorious for that. It's helpful for the planning stages, but a real drag to carry around with you.

Bring one paperback book to read for fun. WHen you're done, buy a new one and leave the old one in the hotel lobby for another traveler to pick up.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2005, 07:22 AM
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I really think I'm genetically programed to not "pack light." I have to admire folks who can fit 4 weeks of travel into a mini-backback. I couldn't, and have no desire to. I'll just lug my 25 incher along with me for trips of a week or longer and my 21 incher for weekend trips. That's about the best I can do, and I don't worry about it.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2005, 07:27 AM
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For me packing light isn't just about the size of the luggage (definitely just one piece that will fit under your seat, plus one small day bag for your book, bottle of water, map, etc.), but also about weight. Try to keep the total of the bigger carry on bag to around 20 pounds or less, that's my rule. The first time I went anywhere I carried around oddly heavy slippers (that seemed to get heavier) that I never wore: So dumb! I learned quickly!
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Old Mar 2nd, 2005, 07:33 AM
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One other tip: If you're half way through your trip and you've realized you have no need for certain things you've packed, take them to the post office and ship them home. I'd gladly pay $20 not to have to carry around useless things.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2005, 07:43 AM
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USNR, don't begrudge your wife taking beauty products. I think it is really nice that after all those years of marriage she still wants to put forth her best face. If she went the other way you would prob. be worried about her, wouldn't you?

I don't pack lightly and I don't really care to either. To me it is too stressful to pare down to basics and to plan on wearing things over and over. I get sick of looking at myself in the same clothes day after day.

It is not a good idea though if you are training all over the place, if I decided to that again I would really try and pare down.

Stillhouse, if you are used to traveling by car it will take some getting used to to go by rail, it was a shock for me, but I live in So. Cal. where we are enclosed in our cars most of the day!
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Old Mar 2nd, 2005, 08:04 AM
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A couple of responses:

DeeDee -

I don;t know how to wear fewer clothes than that - everything is worn at least 3/4 times during the trip. that's enough already - more than that and I would want to throw it out by the end of the trip. Do you just have two outfits and alternate while the other dries? What about changing clothes before going out to dinner?

IndyTravel -

One pair of shoes will never do. It rains often enough that you need two good pair of daytime walking shoes - otherwise you can end up having only soggy shoes to wear the next day. And I'm not going out to dinner at a 2 or 3* restaurant in one of them - although I do have it organized for one semi-practical pair of dress shoes to go with all the dinner outfits.

Rufus - you're correct. I have a friend who is a traveler - over 100 countries (up the Amazon in a canoe, stayed in a yurt in Mongoloia etc) and he'll go away for two or three months with a small gym bag. Of course, in most of the places he goes no one would notice if you didn;t bathe or change for a week anyway. Better him than me!

Perhaps its harder for train travelers - but I've never had the problem of having to carry my bag (there were always ramps) and as for dragging it a mile - why? Is this a new Olympic event? That's why there are luggage carts, cab drivers and hotel porters! (Although another thing I don;t get is luggage and local public transport. IMHO the two simply do not belong together. Take a cab! Or if you're on a shoestring take the airport shuttle bus! Life is too short to turn your self into a pack mule!)

As for trains - we have only traveled on them (as opposed to day trips) a couple of times. And while luggage isn;t a problem -the beau is 6'3" and can easily handle any of our bags (I can even prettty easily lift mine over my head if I have to) - the lack of control is. Riding past something that you want to go see and can;t makes me nuts and him nutser! We are definitiely constitutional road trippers.

As for lugage in the car - for 4 people I know this can be a problem. But the trunk is always plenty big enough for 2 mid size bsgs and 2 carry-ons - at least the cars we rent. (I must admit we always go for a mid-size or bigger - otherwise you don;t always get AC - or a zippy engine - I cant bear if we're stuck in the slow lane while all the fun cars are passing us.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2005, 08:14 AM
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SharonG--well, I won't need any then with my naturally curly red hair.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2005, 08:29 AM
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Regarding packing:
SEA URCHIN- I am definitely taking the coat we spoke of on another thread, it will be freezing in Paris, how about you (Italy cold too?)
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