Carry-on only spring/fall packing list


Oct 11th, 2010, 06:20 PM
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Carry-on only spring/fall packing list

After years of travel for work and fun, I've boiled down my packing list to the following clothes for all trips other than super-hot or super-cold climates (items with * I wear on plane)

Rainforest ruffled black raincoat* (rolls up in a ball, wrinkles shake out)
Two pairs leggings (one pair *)
Three tunics (one *)
Pashmina* (works as a blanket on plane and in hotel, as a scarf when it's cold)
Low-heeled boots*
Black polar fleece gloves (you never know when you might encounter a cold spell)
Black polar fleece cardigan (layered under raincoat, plus scarf and gloves and I'm warm enough for almost anything)
One pair khakis (usually grey or black) with a little lyrca (I like Old Navy)
One short-sleeved and one 3/4 or long-sleeved dressy tshirt (I like Boden)
One pantsuit (if travelling for work) or one pair dressy trousers (if vacation)
One lightweight merino cardigan - preferably a bright colour or pattern (I like Garnet Hill)
Two pima cotton sleeveless shells (I like LL Bean; they go under my suit jacket and with the cardigan)
Charcoal grey Nikes that are stylish/sleek enough for sightseeing but also work for workouts
One fitness tshirt
Undies and socks (usually pack at least 4 pairs of socks because they take longer to dry than undies if you handwash them)
Lightweight cotton menswear style pajamas (wearing pajamas when I'm in my hotel room saves my clothes for going out)
Loafers that are dressy enough to wear with suit etc but comfy enough for walking around
Small umbrella
Bathing suit (tankini) - because you never know when you'll find a pool

This packing list takes up about 2/3 of a 20" rollaboard. Then, depending on what I have planned, I'll add either a skirt and sweater, an extra suit (e.g., if it's a business-only trip with a week's worth of meetings), a lightweight roll-up-in-a-ball knit dress, or a couple of extra casual tshirts.

Toiletry kit contains:

Travel size facial moisturizer
Toothpaste and travel toothbrush
I use hotel soap, moisturizer and shampoo so don't pack any
Migraine meds
Ibuprofen and tylenol+ codeine (I have a bad back)
Steroidal anti-inflammatories (emergency supply in case my back goes out)
Mosquito repellent in wet wipe packets
Antihistamine (because I swell up like a balloon when bitten by bugs)
2-day supply of cold meds (because sometimes you don't have time to get to a pharmacy for a few days)
Immodium (I travel to developing countries a lot)
Cipro - antibiotics (see above re travel to developing countries)
Melatonin - helps me sleep on planes and get over jet lag
Ear plugs
A few bandaids
frogoutofwater is offline  
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Oct 14th, 2010, 08:58 AM
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I don't know why you didn't get any replies - this is a wonderful list. I like the shoe part - just 2 - people bring too many shoes.

In your purse/tote you would have makeup, a book & snack crackers - ? I'm just thinking what I would have. I would take an under- clothes small bag for passports, money, etc.

Thanks for the list, MaryAnn
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Oct 14th, 2010, 11:27 AM
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It's a GREAT list. Very well though out. Thanks!

(There're no replies only because hardly anyone reads this "Travel Tips" forum for some reason, compared to the other Fodor's destination forums and the Lounge.)
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Oct 14th, 2010, 03:04 PM
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Hi Maryann:

In my totebag, I wouldn't have makeup except for shadow pencil because that's all I wear. The lists above don't really cover the gadget side of travelling, so there is more stuff that I take (I just didn't list it because I was focusing on clothes and toiletries).

What I would carry in my shoulder bag:

- Sony reader (USB cable to charge from computer)
- Blackberry (USB cable to charge from computer)
- Travel wallet, regular wallet (I go through them before I leave and dump out all the unnecessary junk, including the coins)
- Pashmina
- Pen
- Work laptop or netbook + powercord + adapter
- Protein bar (usually don't worry much about food because I stock up in the lounge before I board)
- Listerine breathstrips
- Hairbrush
- Pen
- Either a magazine like the Economist, New Yorker (something with a lot of text that could get me through all the "no electronic devices" periods on my trip) or photocopies of my Portuguese or Spanish homework
- Tiny mp3 player (Sansaclip) and earphones
- Earplugs
- Housekeys
- Camera (some trips, with charger in suitcase)

(If for some reason I have to check bags, then I carry essential meds with me.)

I generally don't bother with a moneybelt or hidden purse when I travel (and I travel to some relatively high risk places, like Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Rio, etc). I just transfer the essential stuff to the hotel safe, carry only a few cards and small amount of cash with me, keep a photocopy of my passport and leave one with a family member at home. I do use a shoulder bag with at least a zip closure and try to travel with a bag that is big enough to carry what's listed above and small enough to operate as my only bag while travelling. If I am taking a sporty vacation, I also usually pack one of those small gymsacks that are really just a piece of fabric stitched up with cords that you pull to close them. On my way home, I store my dirty laundry in it.

I also should mention that I usually travel with an expandable 20" or 21" suitcase and aim to have the suitcase no more than 90% full (usually it's less) when I leave home. That gives me room for purchases if I go shopping.
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Oct 14th, 2010, 03:30 PM
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This is my all season list - not everything for every trip, but I can live for 4 days or 4 weeks with this list, and it weighs under 18 pounds with my carryon - a wheel-less Rick Steves bag for European airlines, or 20 inch bag for American lines (a few pounds heavier but still well within the limits).

2-4 shirts/blouses/tops
2-4 pairs slacks/skirts/shorts
2 pairs socks; 2 pair knee-highs
3 pairs underwear
gym shorts and tank top
2 swimsuits
beach cover-up
3 silk scarves
1 pair dressy sandals or shoes

flashlight or night light
inflatable travel pillow
antibacterial wipes
travel mug
eye mask. ear plugs
pen, small notebook
KINDLE with books, maps, guidebooks, phrase books, restaurant lists, telephone access numbers
camera, extra cards & batteries,charger, cable to view on TV
cellular telephone and charger
travel powerstrip, plug adapter
ipod, headset
snorkle and mask

passport, extra passport photos
copies of important documents
(international?) driver's license
health and travel insurance information
travel tickets
charge & ATM cards, cash

safety pins, rubber bands, duct tape wrapped around pen
travel sewing kit
(Ziploc®) plastic bags
toothbrush, cap, tooth cleaner, floss
comb and hairbrush
nail clippers, tweezers
eyeshadow, powder

makeup (travel size, samples, "gift-sized")
3 oz tube of sunblock
lipstick, lipgloss
travel size shampoo & container
travel size deodorant
detergent sheet, spot remover
hand sanitizer

Excedrin migraine
insect repellent wipes
sunscreen, lip balm
vitamins, necessary medications
spare glasses, lens cleaning wipes
luggage cart

1 pair walking shoes
sweater and/or coat, gloves and hat
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Oct 14th, 2010, 05:37 PM
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Hi- sounds like we are all thinking along the same lines - even tho' the toiletries are individually small they take alot of thinking to get the right things - whatever you don't think you'll need and leave home - That's the one you'll need !!

I went around the world for 135 days, on a ship,this year, with only 1 duffel bag and 1 carryon (and the all-important tote bag.) Worked well except - I got real sick of the clothes, LOL. and left them.The duffel was filled with souvenirs instead.

Thanks for such great lists, M.A.
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Oct 15th, 2010, 07:25 AM
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I moved to London for a working sabbatical about 10 years ago with just two suitcases. One thing that made it easier was that I went home (and/or people visited me) at a couple of key seasonal transition points, so I was able to pick up a winter coat at Christmas and then hand it over in exchange for summer clothes later in the spring.

I also had a 8-week trip to New Zealand a few years ago where I had to be in formal suits for the first five weeks (often seeing the same people, so I couldn't just get away with one suit), and then an outdoorsy (e.g., scuba) vacation for the last 3 weeks. I underestimated how cool it would be during the vacation part of the trip, and I ended up wearing the same basic combination of warm clothes almost every day for 3 weeks: windbreaker, black polar fleece jacket and the polar fleece gloves and scarf I managed to find in a shop (where all the shops were gearing up for summer, not winter). I was tempted to throw out the combo when I got home, but I realized that it was an incredibly practical set - and now I travel with a variation of that set of clothes almost all the time (maybe not Egypt in August) so I don't end up cold again.

I'm thinking about a 4-month study sabbatical in 2012 that will present some packing challenges because it will include: 4-5 weeks in a fairly conservative Middle Eastern country and then some fairly hot weather in Spain, Portugal and Turkey (which are less conservative). I'll probably have to pack at least one work appropriate outfit (for some work-related matters during the trip), but I'll also want to pack study materials for 3-4 different languages and, ideally, some basic diving equipment (mask, snorkel, gloves, dive log etc). I don't think I'll achieve carry-on only, but I'm committed to keep it down to a 24" (and might even manage a 22") suitcase.
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Oct 15th, 2010, 04:22 PM
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Hi Frog ...,

You have really given yourself a packing challenge. Other than using those 'space bags' to burp the air out and compress the clothing and buy things that are lightweight and thin fabric. You'll have to bring what you are comfortable with and buy the bulkier items when you get there.

I have used those bags and while they don't compress the weight of the clothes - they work great for 'shrinking' things down to freeing up more space.

We are going in 2012 to South America ( summer) and Antarctica (always winter) for 2 months - I hate having to use up space for several days (maybe a week) of cold weather.
But I'll be miserable if I don't.

Love your ideas, M.A.
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Oct 21st, 2010, 08:32 AM
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Thanks so much for the lists, they're great! I'm travelling to London for two weeks in December and I can't help myself...I take a a rather large suitcase that I have to check in. I've been inspired by your lists, this year, it's a CARRY ON.
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Oct 21st, 2010, 05:21 PM
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I don't take a large suitcase, I always travel with a 24", but I do check it in. I'm sure there are certain kinds of trips where it is worth it to manage carry-on only, but for the kind of travel I currently do (mostly one to two week vacations at beachy type places, and staying in one spot, on a nonstop flight) just not worth it to me.
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Oct 22nd, 2010, 01:09 PM
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Suze or anyone - what is your list for 7 days in Hawaii for a women). I still can't seem to pack light.
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Oct 22nd, 2010, 01:10 PM
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(BYW - we are going next month)
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Oct 23rd, 2010, 04:02 PM
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Here's a beach/hot weather packing list (clothes only):

- Two tunics (wear one on plane)
- Two pairs leggings (one full length to wear on plane, one pair of capris)
- 2 dresses (one sleeveless or short sleeved; one 3/4 sleeves)
- One or two pashminas (take one on plane)
- 2 bathing suits
- One pair sporty, quick-drying bermuda shorts
- One pair khaki-type pants (with a little lycra)
- One pair sandals with decent support that can handle sand and a little water
- Ballet flats (wear on plane)
- One chemise-type nightgown
- 2 short-sleeved tshirts (usually one sporty tshirt for pool/water sports and one dressier tshirt; add one 3/4 or long sleeve tshirt if there's room)
- Black polar fleece cardigan
- Lightweight rainjacket (wear on plane)
- 3 pairs socks, 7 pairs underwear
- One pair lightweight, non-bulky pajamas (for lounging in the hotel - makes your clean clothes last longer)

One thing that makes it easier to pack carry-on only for a trip is to pick a colour scheme and make sure nearly everything works together. For example, my usual choice for trips is based around grey/black/purple (e.g., black shoes, grey khakis, black or white tshirts, with colour added through tunics, shorts, dresses that work with black, etc). Sometimes, however, I pack clothes to work with brown (e.g., brown shoes, tan khakis, coral tops, etc.) Also, because I travel so much, when I shop for clothes, I think about how they would work in a small travel wardrobe. For example, I rarely buy dresses or skirts that require shoes in a colour other than black or brown. I buy a lot of mid-purple and coral tops that work well with my travel base colours of black, grey and brown.
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Nov 9th, 2010, 04:30 PM
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Hawaii: Sunhat (packable) and visor -- always travel w/ both, would go running in visor but not sunhat. Socks for sneakers? I never travel w/ sneakers, have great Merrells sandals and Ecco Maryjanes that are water-friendly & have great support & no socks necessary. Love ballets, but can't walk far w/ lack of cushioning/support. I go black w/silver accessories or brown w/gold, never both, and always thin khakis.

Love the first pack list
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Nov 9th, 2010, 04:48 PM
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I do fitness type walking and take Zumba classes on vacation, so I need my good sneakers (and those little athletic socklettes).
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Jan 26th, 2011, 04:48 PM
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What great info! I've been browsing the Fodors forums for about a month and just found this area. So glad I did
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Jan 28th, 2011, 09:21 AM
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I tend to over pack so great lists. Thanks for posting.
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Jan 31st, 2011, 06:26 AM
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I love packing lists! Thank you for posting! We did 7 weeks in France and Italy in 1 small carry on bag each and it was SO liberating, but it took really smart packing for sure. Thank you so much for sharing, I'll be incorporating some of this into my own list. I second the plastic baggies, I always travel with lots of ziplock bags in all different sizes, they fold up really small and you'd be amazed what they're useful for!
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Feb 1st, 2011, 02:48 PM
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I always wear my tennis shoes on the plane. While it can inconvenience me for a few minutes during the security ordeal, they're bulky and take up more room in my suitcase than my ballerina flats or sandals.

I did three weeks in Europe in a carry one, with three pairs of pants, 2 pairs of shoes, 3 tanks, 3 tshirts, and 3 baby doll tops, 2 button up camp shirts that could be mixed and matched. I hated all of them by the time I got home...

For a one week warm weather beach vacation, I pack 2 pairs of capris, 2-3 pairs of shorts, 1 skirt, and 8 or 9 tops that can be worn with at least two, if not all three of the bottoms. If I get home having worn everything in my suitcase, I'm happy. My ex used to pack 2 pair of underwear for each day (meaning 14 pair of jockey shorts for a one week trip); one pair of shorts and two shirts for each day (yes, 7 pair of shorts and 14 shirts). Drove me NUTS.
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Feb 1st, 2011, 06:48 PM
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this is such a good information.
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