Packing for Month-Long Trip in UK

Old Sep 26th, 2011, 08:58 AM
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Packing for Month-Long Trip in UK

We are planning a long trip through the UK, beginning in Scotland and driving a rental car for approximately four weeks to London and then ending up in Manchester. We will be staying in hotels and B&Bs. I guess I tend toward "high maintenance," and at this point, it´s too late to change my nature. I like to look nice and dress for dinner. I´m not into jeans and tees or roughing it with just one small suitcase, yet I realize that it´s foolish to even consider packing a different change of clothes for every day. I´ve taken a two-week car trip before and after the first week, my situation disintegrated quickly. The contents of my two small suitcases were jumbled from unpacking and repacking, and I felt incredibly grungy. It looks like the best solution is to take enough for one week and then have clothes laundered at the hotels, an expensive proposition. Any suggestions on the things I should be considering, how and what to pack, etc.?
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Old Sep 26th, 2011, 11:45 AM
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You already solved your problem. Yes you need to pack in 1 suitcase, enough clothing for 1 week, then find a laundry service or dry cleaners along the way.

What is this trip (weather/season)?

Just pack whatever your favorite outfits from home are for that time of year, don't forget comfortble shoes for walking. I'm not sure why your suitcases would end up "jumbled" but you might want to use a packing cubes system to keep things neater?
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Old Sep 26th, 2011, 11:46 AM
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*When* is the trip, I meant to say, what month?
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Old Sep 26th, 2011, 12:14 PM
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Hi, Suze, and thanks for your response. We are going in May. On lengthy car trips, my suitcases usually get jumbled because I live out of them. I try to be neat while I´m unpacking and repacking them, but after a while, I find that I´m just slinging things into the cases. We keep dirty clothes in a separate bag, and as the contents in my "clean" bag dwindle, they tend to shift around. Ugh! I´m daunted by such a long trip and hoping I can keep things together -- mentally and physically. I like your idea about packing cubes and will research them.
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Old Sep 26th, 2011, 12:43 PM
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I'm the opposite of "high maintenance" myself so it's a bit difficult for me to answer. But I am an expert at packing light. I don't wear jeans but I do take just a favorite couple outfits and wear them over and over (and over) again.

You don't have to wear jeans & tshirts, and you can still dress nicely for dinner, but basically you need to come to terms with wearing the same clothes over and over again. That's the only way to make it thru a month-long trip without taking along a trunk full of fresh outfits daily.

May is a bit tricky, not knowing just which way the weather will go. I think it's easier when you know it will be full-on summer (hot) or dead of winter (cold).

Taking "layering" pieces is always a good idea for shoulder season weather.
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Old Sep 26th, 2011, 02:02 PM
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I'm sort of 'middle-maintenance'--but pack light. Never more than a 21 inch rollaboard. And usually after a 2 to 4 week trip - there are at least 1 or 2 garments that went unworn.

Now -- I'm not suggesting you try carry-on only. But a single 24 inch checked bag and small carry on should be more than enough. Don't think in terms of "outfit(s) per day. Think mix/match/layering.

Pick a basic color scheme and then make sure almost every garment goes w/ that color.

Most every town/village will have a Launderette w/ inexpensive rates for wash/dry/fold service so you aren't even stuck there watching the spin cycle.

In what ever town, drop of your laundry, go sightseeing, and return 3 hours later w/ your clothes all folded and waiting. I only have to do real laundry about every 8 -10 days. But I do hand washing of undies/sleepwear every couple of days.
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Old Sep 27th, 2011, 04:54 AM
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Just pack your dresses.... Hotel authorities provides all other things. You do not bother about this.
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Old Sep 27th, 2011, 06:20 AM
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Great suggestions, everyone!
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Old Sep 27th, 2011, 08:38 AM
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From guidebooks to packing advice to luggage, you can't beat Rick Steves. I have bought several things from his website and have never been disappointed. He even responded to me by email once about a specific travel question.
http://www.ricksteves.com/

I like watching his "Europe through the Back Door" series on PBS
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Old Sep 29th, 2011, 11:41 AM
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....toward "high maintenance," and at this point, it´s too late to change my nature........

Not going to touch that one. You know what you are and only you can decide if you have any interest in changing.

As for the packing problem, much easier to deal with. There are a number of packing aids that we could not do without. In our suitcases, everything is in another bag so that we pack bags and not individual clothing items. We use at least one packing envelope per bag that keeps all of the folded items -- shirts, pants, blouses, etc. -- neatly in place, wrinkle free, and available. Other items such as socks, underwear, etc. are packed in individuals bags -- mostly 2 gal zip lock bags and we write on the plastic bag what is suppose to be in there which is handy when packing to make sure nothing is left behind. I have found the compression bags to be expensive and worthless as the plastic bags work just as well. Obviously dirty clothes get tossed in a separate bag and can go back into the suitcase with clean clothes because everything is bagged and protected. You may need to practice some but it works well for us.
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Old Sep 30th, 2011, 12:09 PM
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Ziplock bags are your friend!

I tend to put clean undies, clean bras, clean socks all in their own gallon size ziplock bags. Then as I go they get transfered over into a different ziplock bag to keep the clean separate from worn/dirty. Bras, undies and socks are all small and lightweight so you can always pack extras.

I do laundry in the sink when I'm going to be someplace for at least two nights. I wash my shirts (t shirts, sweaters, everything) and jeans in the sink as well. Depending on activity, you can usually wear shirts at least twice between washings and pants two to three times. I tend to wash just the waistband of my jeans as that's the part that gets sweaty. Then I can easily wear the pants 4 times between full washings without every feeling grungy. Plus, just drying the waistband means that pants are going to dry MUCH faster. I take a load to the closest laundrette (a packable duffle bag is handy for that but don't give in to temptation and fill that with stuff too) and then find lunch. You can have a wonderful hour or two in a laundrette chatting with someone local and having a sandwich or some such. Most laundrettes have a little machine to dispense laundry soap (I take dryer sheets in a ziplock). Some have a wash/dry/fold service but I've not looked for those.

Pack a 24-26 inch roller bag, no bigger and only one. You really don't need more than that, even for four weeks and high maintenance.

Think mix and match and layers. Instead of thinking of outfits, think of groups. This generally works easiest for people if they stick to only a couple colors. The goal is that every top can be worn with every bottom. You don't have to be grungy, just choosey.

Black slacks are easily dressed up and would likely be comfy in May. A scarf, different jewelry, going from sandals to heeled sandals, do your hair a little dressier and you can go from sightseeing to nice dinner with very little extra packed. A little black dress would be comfy for during the day but easily dressed up. A camisole for color and extra coverage during the day, a cardigan in the morning for warmth, etc. Ditch the camisole and the same dress can become a bit sexier for dinner. Tights can add warmth but can be tossed into a daybag pretty easily once the day warms up.

Shoes add a LOT of weight and space. One pair of dress shoes, one or two pairs of comfy walking shoes, and maybe a pair of small, light sandals is the most you should need. Again with the mix and match idea. Pack so that you only need a single pair of black heels (or whatever color/style of dress shoes).

Don't think about packing for four weeks. Think about packing for one week. Much easier! Then simply add accent pieces to change what you have and you're set. Aim for 5-7 tops, 4 bottoms (capris, slacks, skirts, etc) and maybe a simple dress.

Don't unpack everything each night. Only pull out the clothes you need for the next day and your bathroom stuff. I generally stack my clothes in my bag and the "just worn" stuff goes on the bottom of the stack of shirts and stack of pants/other so that the stuff on top tends to be the items I haven't worn recently. I keep a single little bag of bathroom stuff and a small ziplock of my shower stuff that could leak. I grab those and a set of clothes and I'm good to go, no packing and unpacking mess. If you hang things up in the evening they're usually wrinkle free by morning. Hang them in the bathroom during your shower and that will really help pull wrinkles out.


Don't approach it as "I can't do this!" Approach it as "this is a challenge, I can do this."
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Old Oct 1st, 2011, 07:30 AM
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You don't have to have thing laundered at the hotel, which (as you correctly stated) is an expensive proposition. You can find a laundry mat in towns easy enough, either where you drop off for service or the coin-op self-serve type. Of if you want the convenience and don't mind the expense, just use your hotel. Another trick is don't be so quick to put a piece into the 'dirty laundry' bag. Unless something is dirty or stinky you can wear most outer wear at least several times before washing. Jackets and pants I'd go the entire trip without cleaning.
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