What to wear/pack... Part 7

Old Jul 25th, 2008, 09:37 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,521
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What to wear/pack... Part 7

As the title implies, the seventh in a set of threads about packing light. The previous threads each describe my packing strategy for a particular trip. I'll summarize the salient points of each of them in case you want to go back and look at any of them:

Part 1: A week in Venice with my two children. Hotel, so no access to laundry facilities, and early spring weather that was predicted to be warm but ended up being cold, windy, and rainy (and even snowy one day).

Part 2: Back to back weeks of work in Greece (work wardrobe required, despite broilingly hot temperatures) and holiday in Italy (half in Florence, half in Venice), no access to laundry facilities at any point.

Part 3: A week of work in Berlin. Hotel, so no laundry access.

Part 4: A week of holiday in France, mostly in Paris but two nights in Normandy in private homes (but different homes each night, so no laundry access).

Part 5: Hmm, I don't recall and can't find it when I do a quick search. But I think there was one.

Part 6: A week of work in Budapest. I stayed in an apartment, so had access to laundry facilities.

This next trip presents some particular challenges, so I'm doing another thread. The trip's not until September, but I'm starting the thread today in honor of...

my NEW suitcase!
Therese is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2008, 10:15 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,619
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If someone else is getting ready to post similar, my apologies for duplication. I am just avoiding some homework that needs finishing

Part 6
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=35133046

Part 5
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=35067386

Part 4
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=34987614

Part 3
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=34795253

Part 2
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=34689133

Part 1 (I think)
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=34415078
scotlib is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2008, 10:47 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,521
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wow! Thanks very much for doing this, scotlib. Part 1 is, indeed, the link you've got there, and Part 5 was a (mostly) work trip to Amsterdam, Antwerp, and Rotterdam (all in hotels, no laundry).
Therese is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2008, 10:53 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,420
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
WAIT!!! You still haven't gotten to AMS on the other thread. You have to finish that first LOL!

CarolA is offline  
Old Jul 26th, 2008, 04:28 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,521
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The other story's (about nearly missing a flight to Amsterdam on another thread) is finished now, so time to turn my attention to this one.

I started this thread by mentioning that I've gotten a new suitcase (yes, NEW), but didn't say why. Now some of you may get new suitcases because the old one's worn out, or somebody broke a zipper and it's not worth the money to fix it, or because you just got tired of the old one. I'm perfectly happy with my suitcase, though. I've had it for over five years.

It's just about perfect. It's a red rolling carry-on. It's very well-made and sturdy, and has specific design features that I really appreciate: all corners 90 degrees (so no stupid curves to eat up my space), zippers off-set from the seams (so the the seams take the stress, not the zippers), measures 19" x 14" x 9", and weighs about six pounds empty. No expandable panel to eat up space and weight, no internal dividers. Like all rolling bags there is some space lost to the wheel handle, but so far I've been able to pack around it, and in fact find that I still manage to overpack a bit. They are sturdy enough to check as well, and since I only check if I've got large volumes of liquid (wine or liquor, generally, for the return trip home) that means that they're pretty heavy when checked.

I actually purchased three of these suitcases at the time, all the same model, and later got a small matching duffle that I occasionally use as my "personal item". They're Eddie Bauer brand, from Target, and weren't expensive.
Therese is offline  
Old Jul 26th, 2008, 04:54 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,521
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
So, having waxed lyric about my old friend, why am I bothering with a new one?

Well, I've got a work trip coming up. I'm attending two meetings in two European towns, Bremen and Bordeaux. So my ticket is "open jaw", meaning that I fly into Bremen and out of Bordeaux. Somewhere in the middle I have to get from Bremen to Bordeaux, and as it turns out it's not all the easy to get between them without spending an arm and a leg on mainline carriers, and even though this is work travel I'm still under some financial constraint (because of the non-profit nature of my business, basically).

The train is an option, of course, but fairly long (anywhere from 11.5 hours to over 15). A night train would have been cool, but expensive unless I wanted to travel steerage.

So I decided to look into low cost carriers. All of these operate point to point flights only, so unless your destination can be reached directly from your departured they're useless, and there aren't any (last time I checked) that connect Bremen and Bordeaux.

Both airports are served by low cost carriers, however, and somewhere along the way I realized that I could add a third destination to this trip, London. I've got a good friend who lives there who will let me crash at her place for a couple of nights. I will be missing the second half of the meeting in Bremen, but it was a half for which I was going to have to pay for registration and lodging anyway, so another opportunity to save a bit of money along the way.

So, here's how it looks:

Fly Atlanta to Bremen via CDG on Air France.

(lecture at meeting)

Fly Bremen to London on Ryanair.

(hang out with my friend)

Fly London to Bordeaux on EasyJet.

(attend meeting, no lectures to give)

Fly Bordeaux to Atlanta via CDG on Air France and Delta.

So that's four different airlines, and because I want to travel carry-on only four different airline policies to consider.
Therese is offline  
Old Jul 26th, 2008, 05:05 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,521
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
So, just how different can the requirements be? Well, let's see (all of these are copied and pasted from the respective airlines' web sites on this date and reflect allowances for the coach cabin where that applies; note that airline may change these requirement whenever they feel like it):

Air France:

1 piece of baggage (measuring a maxi of 55 cm, 35 cm, 25 cm *) including a garment bag
+ 1 accessory (examples: handbag, laptop computer, camera, etc.)
weighing a total of 12 kg

Ryanair:

Strictly one item of cabin baggage per passenger (excluding infants) weighing up to 10kg with maximum dimensions of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm is permitted. (handbag, briefcase, laptops, duty free etc must be carried within your permitted 1 piece of cabin baggage).

EasyJet:

one standard piece of hand baggage to maximum dimensions of 55x40x20cm

Delta:

Must weigh less than 40 pounds (18 kg)
Can't exceed 45 inches (length + width + height)
Must fit easily in our SizeWise® unit (approximately 22"x14"x9&quot


Note that none of them is exactly the same. Even the mainline carriers vary more than you might have predicted.
Therese is offline  
Old Jul 26th, 2008, 05:19 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,521
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Let's compare and contrast, shall we?

Delta and Air France both permit a "personal item" in addition to your carry-on luggage. So you don't have to fit your purse into your suitcase, and if you need to carry more you can choose a larger "personal item" into which you could fit your purse and other stuff as well (like your laptop and books and toiletries).

All of the airlines except EasyJet have a weight limit. Delta's (40 lbs/18 kg, suitcase only) is so large that you'd be very hard pressed to exceed (particularly as they don't specifically weigh your personal item, so heavier stuff can be shifted to that bag). Air France's is more restrictive, at 12 kg for both your personal item and suitcase together.

Ryanair's is overall the most restrictive, with only one bag permitted and a weight of 10 kg.

Can I travel for two weeks with only 10 kg? That sounds better if I say it in pounds (22 of them), but it still sounds like it's not very much, doesn't it? And now my old suitcase is looking not so perfect, as the trade off for sturdiness and rolling wheels is weight.

So what are my options?
Therese is offline  
Old Jul 26th, 2008, 05:23 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,420
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Backpack?

Having recently considered giving up the rollerboard for a "carryon" that weighs less... I decided to send the "carryon" that weighs less back to the place I purchased it. Who am I kidding. I am not lugging that thing around LOL!

So if I wind up flying the budget airlines in Europe I am going to have to pay!
CarolA is offline  
Old Jul 26th, 2008, 08:35 AM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,521
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Backpack is the answer, and the one I ordered is a Victorinox Standard Traveler 3.0 Standard Overnighter. As per eBags.com it weighs 3 lbs and measures 21" x 13.25" x 5.5" (before unzipping an exansion panel that makes in 7.5" deep). It's got backpack straps that look pretty comfortable but no chest or hip strap.

Other options were a Kelty Hub, weighing in at 2 lbs and measuring 21.5" x 13" x 10" (expanded depth---it's 8.5" deep before opening an expansion zipper) and eBags' Weekender Convertible at 3 lbs 10 oz and 22" x 14" x 9". This last bag specifically gives measurements for the shoulder straps (Adjustable from 22" to 39&quot and that turns out to be important.

I read the reviews for all these products, and made a point of reading reviews written by females, because (as CarolA will affirm, I think) women have very different body mechanics from men. Not only are we shorter, but our upper bodies are not nearly so strong as our lower bodies, so a heavy pack needs to fit well.

And that's where the Victorinox lets me down: the shoulder straps are too long. Even when cinched down to their minimum length, they are still too long. Carrying this bag (loaded) as a backpack would be easier than carrying it by handles, or with an over-the-shoulder strap, but quite a bit more difficult than rolling it.

So I've gone back to Plan A, my trusty Eddie Bauer bag from Target. I've just loaded it with a trial "heavy" load, including two heavy pairs of shoes (athletic shoes and knee high high heel boots), five pairs of jeans, and double my usual volume of toiletries and it still comes in at 20 lbs.

I did offer the Victorinox to my husband, who is 6' tall (I'm 5'6&quot and has very broad shoulders. He asked me why on earth he'd want to carry when he could roll. I explained the weight issue and he still wasn't interested.

So back it goes. I'd consider the eBags Weekender (even if it is a little heavier) since the straps sound like they'd fit and there's also a chest and hip strap, but for now will stick with the rolling bag.
Therese is offline  
Old Jul 28th, 2008, 11:08 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,521
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Okay, next decision.

My purse. Ryanair specifically prohibits carrying on a separate "personal item". EasyJet's policy doesn't mention it one way or another, so I'm going to assume that the answer is "no."

My usual purse isn't huge (particularly by today's standards), but it's made of leather and can accomodate quite a lot of stuff if I put my mind to it. Fortunately I don't usually carry around much extra, so downsizing to something smaller, possibly made of something lightweight like microfiber, will be easy.

What I've got in mind is the sort of bag that's sometimes called an organizer bag, sometimes called a wallet on a string. Using this type of purse means that I can skip the separate wallet altogether, as I certainly won't be needing things like loyalty cards and library cards and so forth while traveling, so that saves some weight.

And if it's small enough and I'm wearing it across my body it may escape notice entirely.

Therese is offline  
Old Jul 28th, 2008, 11:17 AM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,521
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hmm, wearing it across my body...

Wonder what else I could just wear instead of putting in my suitcase?

Headphones come to mind. Seems like most people walk around with headphones on all the time anyway. Mine are Bose on-ear, so not tiny like ear buds, but not bulky like over-the-ear models either. I wouldn't actually have them on my ears when checking in (that seems rude), but around my neck.

Clothes are another no-brainer. I'll plan on wearing whatever's heaviest on the Ryanair flight, so jeans if I've brought them, along with boots.

Should I bring a coat? It's September, so it could possibly be chilly in Bremen, and the coat in question is waterproof and has a hood, so I wouldn't need my umbrella. And the coat would tend to hide my purse/wallet, and also offer storage space in the pockets (this particular coat has very good pocket space with vertical zippers, so things like guide books and possibly even my liquid toiletries would fit in them).

Yes, the coat seems like a reasonable idea at this point.
Therese is offline  
Old Aug 16th, 2008, 10:20 AM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,521
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
So, time to jumpstart this thread, as the trip's about a month away and I've got lots to get done before then.

Last time I posted I was mulling over whether I'd want to take a raincoat with me, and it looks like I will: Bremen's August weather has been fairly cool, with daily highs in the mid-70s, with some rain. So a raincoat isn't going to seem odd.

I've also found a small purse/wallet combo that will work nicely: http://www.ebags.com/buxton/check_cl...m?modelid=1187

In black, of course, with a strap that I can wear over my shoulder or across my body. It measures 7.5" x 4.5" x 1.75" (so no argument as to whether it's a wallet or a purse unlikely to ensue, and it will fit in my coat pocket if necessary) and weighs 10 oz (in case I should want to put it in my carry-on).

And an update on the Victorinox backpack that I described upthread...I decided to keep it, as another of our suitcases, a Samsonite rolling carry-on, gave up the ghost on a recent trip. I'd never really liked it, as it was on the heavy side and included an expandable section, but my husband often used it. So now he's got a backpack style carry-on afterall.

Or my teenage son can use it, as he's strong as an ox.
Therese is offline  
Old Aug 22nd, 2008, 10:23 AM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,521
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm still waiting on my new small purse/wallet from eBags to arrive, so haven't had the opportunity to take it for a test run yet. I've used this style before, though, and am looking forward to having something so much lighter to carry.

So here's a tip: I ordered this bag from eBags, but through my SkyMiles Shopping link from Delta. For those of you who want to maximize your award miles earning, these sites are great, as you earn extra miles for purchases that you'd have made anyways. Say an item costs $100. By paying for it with my Delta SkyMiles AmEx I earn 100 miles. By buying through SkyMiles Shopping I earn additional miles, with the amount varying by vendor. For instance, Macy's was giving 7 miles (really, 7 miles) per dollar spent around the Christmas holidays this year, so that $100 item would have earned me a total of 800 miles (100 for the AmEx + 700 for the Macy's purchase). Not too shabby. Lots and lots of vendors, including some of my favorites: Zappos, Sephora, Ann Taylor.
Therese is offline  
Old Aug 22nd, 2008, 11:20 AM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,521
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Let's think about something else that's sort of heavy and potentially not necessary: in-flight entertainment.

This is really only an issue for the TATL portions of the trip, as the trips in and out of London are fairly short.

I'm unlikely to want much in the way of entertainment on the eastbound flight, as I like to sleep. The return flight is altogether different: it's longer, and it's during the day, so entertainment of any sort will make it go by more quickly. So, how do I figure out whether the plane's got good in-flight entertainment or not? And if the entertainment is overhead screens only, do I want to consider bringing my own DVD player?

Airlines' web sites are usually not a fantastic place to get this information, as they're delighted to tell you that they to offer AVOD (audiovisual on demand AKA personal TVs) but they're not necessarily all that great about alerting you when a flight doesn't offer it.

A much better source is www.seatguru.com. In addition to showing you which seats are where on a particular type of equipment on a particular airline (like the airline's seatmap but with more detail), seatguru gives you information about in-flight entertainment and power sources.
Therese is offline  
Old Aug 22nd, 2008, 11:50 AM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,521
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
In order to use seatguru, I need to know what sort of equipment is scheduled for the trip. Note that equipment changes can occur, and if this happens all bets are off.

The Delta-operated flight is the easiest to figure out, as my itinerary at Delta tells me that it's a 767-400ER. When I go to seatguru I find that there are two versions of this equipment listed, one with "Trans" (for transatlantic)at the end of it. The other one is used on domestic routes and has overhead screens in coach. The transatlantic version has AVOD.

So, barring an equipment substitution or a non-functioning TV (both of which are entirely possible), I'm all set. I will bring some books to read, just in case, but will purchase these in France (novels, and if I can find it, Spirou).

So no need to bring along my DVD player, and can thereby save myself a little over 2 lbs in weight.
Therese is offline  
Old Aug 22nd, 2008, 06:15 PM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,521
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Now, I of course already knew that the 767-400ER used on TATL Delta flights has AVOD (as opposed to the 767-300ER that Delta uses into some smaller markets in Europe that doesn't have AVOD in coach), but Air France is a different kettle of fish. My Delta itinerary tells me that it's an Airbus A340, operated by Delta.

Seatguru shows two versions of A340 for Air France, and the airline's web site shows three. In order to tell which is which, I can compare the seatmap on Delta.com to the cabin plans at the Air France site. Since all three versions feature AVOD at all seats, though, I don't need to know for this purpose.
Therese is offline  
Old Aug 23rd, 2008, 01:55 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 646
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Therese, you do realise don't you that on the London-Bordeaux leg of your journey, you won't be allowed to carry any liquids (that includes creams, gels, mousses, cosmetics, etc) in your carry-on or on your person unless they're in containers no bigger than 100ml and will all fit into a clear re-sealable bag of roughly A4 size?

Maybe I'm particularly high maintenance, but I'd find it extremely difficult to fly from the UK for even a short trip with only a carry-on these days
Xenos is offline  
Old Aug 23rd, 2008, 06:30 AM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,521
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes, Xenos, I'm aware of the liquids/gels restrictions. The same rules apply to all the flights, actually, and I've been conforming to them for years now. And since I was traveling carry-on long before they were put into effect I didn't find them problematic, as anybody who travels light is used to minimizing the bulk and weight of toiletries.

Thanks for the intro to this topic. ;-) Oh, and you haven't seen high maintenance until you've seen what I drag along in the way of toiletries.
Therese is offline  
Old Aug 24th, 2008, 12:05 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 646
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sorry - sounds like I'm trying to teach my grandmother to suck eggs Therese

It was your point about putting liquids in your coat pockets that made me wonder if maybe you weren't aware of the restrictions in the UK.

I've also flown several times since the introduction of these rules at the end of 2006 - within Europe, Asia and Africa, but the only time they've been applied has been when I'm leaving the UK.
Xenos is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -