Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

The BEST advice I've read here - what to pack and what to wear

The BEST advice I've read here - what to pack and what to wear

Apr 7th, 2007, 08:22 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 380
I have a laundry question for you experienced European travellers.....

I am very "scent sensitive" and buy all unscented products at home (laundry, lotions, etc.). I am planning to travel light with one carry-on (one outfit, toiletries, meds, IPOD, camera, cell phone, book and knitting supplies) and a 21" checked bag with the rest of my clothing and toiletries. I would prefer to use the hotel laundry or another laundry service on my trip, but after reading about one poster who had an allergic reaction to the soaps used by the hotel laundry, I'm a little nervous. Assuming I can find a laundromat, would I be able to purchase the "free" laundry products in Europe (Hungary, Serbia) or should I take some with me? Would I be considered rude if I asked the service to use my products to wash and do you think they would do it? Obviously, I'm a first time international traveller with these questiosn...in the states, there is almost always some sort of laundromat nearby, if not in the budget hotel itself, and so this isn't an issue for me.
Kellye is offline  
Apr 7th, 2007, 09:43 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2,285
Well, here's a note from a guy, as most of you posting have been les girls.

I have a rolling 22" bag and a rolling 26". One for weekends and situations where there will be a lot of moving, the other for trips with one check-in (or maybe 2 at the most.)

If the trip is NY to Rome, for instance, and I'm spending a week in one hotel, I'm not really ahead taking a small bag and dealing with washing, or shortage of clean shirts, etc. If I have to move that bag a lot, though, from one town to another, off trains, etc, then the small one always works and I can keep up with a little wash or use hotel laundry.

The other point I would make is, a weekend often requires every bit as many changes as a week: there could be very casual Saturday morning, an event Saturday night, church on Sunday, etc. The same range of clothes would meet most of the needs of a week. Some extra socks and underwear, you're good.

I don't travel without a jacket and tie and good shirts unless it's strictly a roughing it trip, or the beach etc. Ditto a decent dressy-enough pair of shoes. For me, to be an adult male and not be prepared to look like a gentleman, especially in a world capital, is, in a word, dumb. But then, I never have been able to figure out people who dress the same way to get on a plane or go to the theater as they do to mow the lawn. You'll see often on these boards comments such as, "You'd look ridiculous hiking through x or climbing over y in a party dress and high heels." That's for sure. But what about attending a concert or the opera in Birkenstocks and cargo pants?

It's not a question of how much you pack - I don't need a change of mood every day when traveling - it's a question of enjoying the trip. I want the indestuctible khakis and thick=soled shoes for exploring the ruins and something else for dinner in a good restaurant. And it's not even a question of looking like a tourist: it's what kind of tourist you want to look like!

Example: on an 8-day Paris trip with a group of friends years ago, one of the women had a big bag AND a carryon. Another, a major traveler who prides herself on traveling LIGHT, had a small bag. We all checked in only once, had hotel staff grabbing bags for us, taxis from CDG, etc. After 5 days woman 2 actually admitted she wished she'd brought more; it was Paris, after all, and she had begun to envy her friend - she had forgotten after all the years of traveling Vietnam, India, South America, staying no more than 3 nights in one place, that if you're stopping at only one hotel you can make yourself a bit more at home. If the only time you have to pick up that bag is at home as you head to the airport, that's when the bigger bag is worth it. (And, as discussed elsewhere on these boards, you now might have to check your anyway, if it slightly misses the carryon limit ...)
tomassocroccante is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 12:34 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 251
Now I am scared...I just ordered a 25" suitcase (my others are just too heavy and/or too large). Decided that the 22" was probably just not large enough to accomodate purchases (and wine). We change hotels twice in Italy and have a layover in Paris. The real killer is one flight segment limits carry-on to 10 lbs with a stringent size limitation. So - what do you think, as long as I pack "light"?
pmuzzy17 is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 12:39 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 251
I meant to add that the new suitcase weighs only 9lbs. Good?
pmuzzy17 is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 12:52 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 92,303
Sounds good. I use a 24" rolling expandable that weights about 8 lbs. empty.
suze is online now  
Apr 18th, 2007, 02:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,108
Can anyone answer Kelly's question about laundry services and soaps?

I have sensitive skin, so I am interested in the answer too.

On our trip last summer (my first trip to Europe), I brought a small bottle of our own laundry soap with me and used it to wash things out in the sink. I did send some clothing out for laundry service though, and it was ok - but it did smell strongly and caused my skin to itch slightly. I ignored it because it was either that or find a laundrymat and rewash everything. The plan was to find a laundry mat, but we never found one, so we sent the clothes out.
J_Correa is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 02:35 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 6,062
My tip for light packing is to take only a few things that you're absolutely certain you'll wear - and some travel wash so you can rinse stuff out in the evening before wearing again a day or two later. I found that Aveda's Calming Body wash is great in the bath or shower, also as a shampoo, AND it can be used as a clothes wash/freshner too. 4 uses - 1 bottle!

Like one of the earlier posters, I make it my life's mission never to have checked-in luggage if I can possibly help it, so I always take the minimum - travel sized toothpaste, deodourant, mini skincare samples etc all to last just a few days/weeks so the empty packaging can be thrown away before I pack to fly home. Lightweight silk or cotton clothing. One good guidebook/phrasebook only. Paracetamol, but no other medicines - plasters aren't necessary - hotels always have these. No PC (unless specifically needed on business), no electricals. You can go to an internet cafe if need be and scrounge a hairdryer/iron etc from the hotel if your room doesn't have them already. No currency converters, moneybags or any of the other odd stuff people seem to think essential for travel! My own cellphone - not a special overseas purchase - fully charged before I leave and not switched on unless I specifically need to make a call - usually lasts the whole trip without being recharged if I do that - hence no need for chargers/cables.
RM67 is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 03:48 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5
Love this thread! A few questions - how much would you allow children/teenagers to take for 2 weeks in Europe (July); and has anyone purchased "travel" clothing that has been stylish and easy to pack? Thanks.
annasplit is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 07:46 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2,285
A woman wrote in another thread today that she accidentally left her husband's socks out of their bag. He lasted two weeks with one pair, washing them every night and drying them on the radiator in the room. (Don't try this in summer humidity ...)
tomassocroccante is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 11:01 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 241
I agree with others,one thing I ALWAYS do on big trips is pack a light duffel bag into my suitcase. My hubby and I load that with our dirty clothes, then use our suitcases to hold purchases. I ALWAYS bring some meds for the unexpected illness and tend to just go to local pharmacies for any over-the-counter type meds I might need. As for coordinating clothes, years ago I saw a tv interview with Cindy Crawford. She said that all models know BLACK is the essential color for traveling. Everything mixes and matches with it. It doesn't show dirt, you can dress it up or down, etc. My sister did a packing trick last year that I'm going to try on our trip to Italy in June. She used the space saver bags and she packed one pair of capris or pants and two tops into each bag. She planned on wearing the pants or capris two times and the top only once. She didn't have to even think about what to wear. She'd just grab a bag and was set for two days. At night when it was cooler, she had a sweater that coordinated with everything. As for panties, I tend to pack older ones and leave them.......panties across Europe! hehe
Then, again, since we're talking about packing light, you can always go commando! hehe ( Ok, T.M.I., I know! )
missmissy is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 02:23 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 205
And it's not even a question of looking like a tourist: it's what kind of tourist you want to look like! This quote from tomassocroccante says it ALL and made me smile. Thanks for all the tips, I'll be in France for 3 1/2 weeks this summer, hiking, staying in a gite, and dancing in Paris...the possibilities for overpacking are enormous hopefully your tips will help me stay reasonable while not obsessing about my wardrobe.
Julie49 is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 02:59 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 38
timetraveler1028 is offline  
Jul 14th, 2007, 08:52 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 303
Sensitive skin:

I bring Johnson's baby shampoo, which doubles as shampoo AND laundry detergent for washing out things in the sink.
E_M is offline  
Jul 25th, 2007, 08:54 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 161
Thank you.
lovesroses is offline  
Jul 28th, 2007, 08:23 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 7,991
On my last trip I tried the Rick Steves clothes wash and clothes freshening spray. Both worked great--the right size, good products. I'll bring them again.

Also for this trip I went to the cosmetics department of a local store (Nordstrom in my area) and they have me a ton of great face cream samples--the basic, major brands I usually wear anyway, and night cream, day cream, firming cream, etc. Worked great!

I also save those flat packet free samples of shampoo, etc. that come in the mail or in magazines sometimes.

I'm in the carry-on-only crowd with a packed flat bag for the return trip, but as others say, to each his/her own.
annw is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Oct 9th, 2008 08:32 AM
Sep 7th, 2006 04:04 PM
Jul 12th, 2004 02:48 PM
May 27th, 2003 07:00 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:28 PM.