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Packing Help - What to take

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Apr 11th, 2014, 09:27 PM
  #1
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Packing Help - What to take

Okay I admit it... if there is an Overpackers Anonymous I should join. I have been guilty of that in the past, but know I have to mend my ways. (In my defence we normally travel in our 40' motorhome so it is not normally an issue).
Well, this time we are going overseas and my mind is boggled. I really don't know where to start, or I guess it's more that I don't know where to quit.
So here is the trip - 5 days in Dublin on our own, then a 2 week bus tour around Ireland. I have already asked if there is a chance to do laundry during the bus trip and they said no. Then fly to Amsterdam for 4 days on our own and then take a river cruise for 15 days, then 5 days on our own in Budapest before flying back to Dublin, then home. I know I can do laundry in between the 2 week trip but it is the 2 week periods that are troublesome for me.
Basically it is 2 separate trips and I am thinking 2 different types of clothing needed. We leave the last week of Aug and come back the first week of Oct, so I expect we will also have variance in weather that we'll have to take into account.
I know that the key will be coordinating what I do take. The bus tour only allows one suitcase per person and a small backpack that they provide. I hope to keep the suitcase around 40 lbs.
Any suggestions and specifics are greatly appreciated. My 'style' leans more towards comfortable casual clothes than fancy smanzy things.
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Apr 11th, 2014, 09:38 PM
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>>I am thinking 2 different types of clothing needed. <<

Nope -- that is your first mistake. You don't need 'two types of clothing/wardrobes'

You need one practical wardrobe that is entirely layer-able/mix & match. (One of the reasons I personally avoid group tours is no chance to hand wash since they don't stay two nights alms anywhere). If you are 2 nights in a city though, had wash things the even you arrive and the will be dry long before you leave 2 days later.

And as long as your garments can be layered - you can get MANY different outfits w/o over packing. (I could do that trip w/ a 21 nine roll aboard weighing approx 20-25 lbs) But 40 lbs is VERY doable.

Don't pack for 'what ifs' - you can't possibly plan for every what if so just pack the basics of what you need.
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Apr 11th, 2014, 09:43 PM
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Forty pounds! My main pack usually weighs in at under 25 pounds and that includes four pounds or so for the case. Then you can add in the electronics and pharma in my day bag/carry-on.

The trick is to do laundry in the bathroom sink - shampoo works as detergent, and I take three light plastic hangers and a universal sink plug. Some people take twisted clothes line but I always have trouble getting it to stay up.

If it's going to be cold I take very light-weight thermal underwear and a fleece that doubles as a sweater, but you're not going to need those the first week of October.

For my packing list (used for multiple multi-month trips), start here (links at the top of the page): http://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com/...take-part-one/

You might need to pack a bit more if the cruise requires "formal" dress - check with the cruise line.
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Apr 12th, 2014, 03:53 AM
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Layers! I like to bring things that generally go together rather than a ton of separate outfits- after all, your fellow travelers don't care if you wear the same thing every day and probably won't notice. It sounds like you'll stay pretty clean on your trip so I'd load up on T-shirts and underwear so those need to be changed rather often. I also like to bring ratty T-shirts that I plan to throw out along the way. After all, if it's under a sweater or sweatshirt, who cares if it's a bit threadbare? It shouldn't be too chilly but I might bring a base layer of long underwear or Under Armour just in case.

My other tip is to roll! Rolling my clothes lets me pack more and end up with fewer wrinkles.

Hope you enjoy your trip. It sounds wonderful!
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Apr 12th, 2014, 08:28 AM
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How I would approach this is lay out the clothng you are considering in a separate place (I use the bed in my guest room) and just start working on it. You'll need some slacks, various tops, maybe capris since you'll have some warm weather. Comfortable sandals and sneakers or walking shoes. A fleece vest and lightweight windbreaker can be handy for layering.

Basically aim to have outer clothing for maybe 4 days worth. Then you just wear that over and over again. Wash out underthings in the sink at night.

40 lbs is very generous. My 24" suitcase usually weighs around 25-30 lbs. packed.
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Apr 12th, 2014, 08:47 PM
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Thank you so much for your responses. Lots of great helpful hints. Maybe my hubby will get lucky and be able to take more than a toothbrush and a pair of socks. I think he is worried that is all the room there will be left for him in his suitcase. LOL
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Apr 13th, 2014, 08:44 AM
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Most people say they want to pack light and then go on to pack everything but the kitchen sink. So I have to ask how serious you are about learning and DOING what you learn. Otherwise, what's the point in people giving you advice if you aren't going to follow it? That you say you are planning to try to keep it under 40 lbs. is NOT encouraging.

So let's put it to the test. Do you have a bag/suitcase that is around 22x14x9 inches? (That's average carry-on size) If you don't know, go measure your bags. If you don't have one, go buy one. Now you are ready to talk about packing light and that is all the space you have to do it in.

Something like this (just an example) http://www.tombihn.com/PROD/TB0906.html

No wheels!!! If you can't pick it up and carry it, you are packing too much. Doing without wheels is a great incentive to pack less wouldn't you say. Your 40 lbs. will go straight out the window once you try picking it up and carrying it.

You are probably thinking like this: http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/dam/ass...al-gallery.jpg

If you want to be a lightweight traveller you need to change your thinking to something like this:
http://www.turnipseedtravel.com/uplo...1396905764.png

So how serious are you Pattie? Lots of people do just fine for weeks or months with far less than 40 lbs. You can too if you want to. But you have to commit to doing it first.
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Apr 13th, 2014, 08:53 PM
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I am very aware I need to mend my ways and change my thinking on what to pack, and how much and am determined to do so. That is why I have appealed to fellow Fodorites for tips and advice. I have already purchased a luggage set, which I know I will only be able to use one piece for this trip. I checked the weights before purchasing and it memory serves me I believe it was just over 8 lbs. So that in fact only gives me around 30 lbs to pack. And yes, it does have wheels and is hardsided.
I am serious about minimizing but I guess my biggest problem is trying to figure out what to bring that will let me be suitably attired for both trips for a two week period each trip without laundry facilities. I am not a packbacker, biker or adventure seeker. I just want a decent doable wardrobe within the limit the airline allows or under.
I appreciate the great tips and advice I have already rec'd. It is giving me food for thought so thank you!
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Apr 13th, 2014, 09:20 PM
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I don't buy that this is two different trips. If you check the historical weather patterns at a site like http://www.wunderground.com you will see that there is not that much difference betwen Dublin at the end of August and Budapest at the end of September. Plus your bag weighs too much.

You are approaching this from the wrong end. Stop thinking about how much you want to take that will fit within 40 lbs, and start thinking about how little you need. And I already pointed out that a bathroom sink provides perfectly adequate "laundry facilities", if you only take clothes that will drip dry (I test wash mine before they get to travel).
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Apr 13th, 2014, 10:22 PM
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>>suitably attired for both trips<<

It really ain't two trips.

I've been on trips for instance that involved a week in Paris, a week in London including a full on formal event (in the presences of her majesty the Queen), and a week in the country hiking. Per your thinking this would be three trips . . . but it was only one trip and everything (including formal attire) fit in my regular 21 inch roll aboard.

I 100% agree w/ thrusdaysd. Don't think "How much can I cram in to make my 40 lbs?". Since I started packing light about 15+ years ago I've never (ever) carried anywhere near 40 lbs - and some of my trips have been 8 weeks or more.

Like you, I'm not a back packer . . . and I am always suitably attired.

Start thinking in terms of how little you can take . . . not how much.
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Apr 14th, 2014, 08:25 AM
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dulcius' last link is absurd--that is not a bag for a two week trip, lol. Nice trolling, though!

I think it was suze who suggested laying out all your items in a spare bedroom or such and working on the piles day by day. I basically pack this way: I lay out everything I might want to bring, generously, then edit edit edit until I get to what I know will fit into my 21" carry on. (It has wheels, btw, and I can easily lift it into any overhead, so there you go. Wheels do take up space that could be used for stuff, though.)

I have also discovered--well, proven to myself, more like--that rolling things tightly allows you to get more in than folding in piles. I know, everyone knows this, but it still surprised me when I tried it! So I'd also recommend practice packing a couple of times to build confidence

The single best piece of advice I ever heard was, choose one color for your shoes and accessories and stick to it--that is, black, or brown, not both. Ditto your cardigans//jackets/scarves/hats/whatever-- EVERYTHING should work with everything else or else it doesn't get to come on board.

Lastly, invest in "travel clothes" very judiciously. A piece or two might really make your life easier, but you shouldn't buy a whole new wardrobe, especially if you won't travel like this often.
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Apr 14th, 2014, 08:38 AM
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Actually, loath as I am to support dulcius, that is indeed a bag for a two week trip, or indeed a two month trip. I have traveled for as long as ten months with a bag that size - plus a day bag/carry-on.

For my luggage before I switched to a wheelie, see http://kwilhelm.smugmug.com/Travel/N...2009/i-jWGpThG

Or for the current version of the bigger bag: http://shop.eaglecreek.com/rincon-vita-65l/d/1003_c_116 - this includes the detachable day bag, the main bag is 45L.

The wheelie I'm currently using is slightly bigger than this: http://travelstore.ricksteves.com/ca...entId=8&id=527
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Apr 14th, 2014, 09:34 AM
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Yes, the laying everything out about a month in advance in a separate place is the way I do it. Doesn't matter the type or length of trip. The I just "work" it going back and forth to kind the perfect pieces to pack. Put the empty suitcase off to the side so you can keep in mind the size limit.

Agreeing with everyone, don't think of two separate trips. You just need a versatile wardrobe that can mix & match, and layer to accommodate the weather. Since you don't need "fancy smanzy" things makes it even easier.

My other personal best tip is to take your favorite clothes. Like the ones you'd reach for on a weekend at home in similar weather. Check every single piece to make sure it fits, is clean, that it goes with everything else, and that you like it a lot (because to pack light you need to wear the same things over and over).
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Apr 14th, 2014, 09:35 AM
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(Patty please don't let dulcius offend you, he's rude to everyone who posts on this forum, I don't think anyone understand why he does it.)
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Apr 14th, 2014, 10:15 AM
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thursdaysd, the bag you are using is several times bigger than the one I was referring to. This is the link I was referencing:
http://www.turnipseedtravel.com/uplo...1396905764.png
That is not a two-month bag. No way.

Anyway, I don't want to argue, I just think that for the OP, baby steps. She is an admitted overpacker, so converting her overnight to a truly lean packer is, IMO, unrealistic.
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Apr 14th, 2014, 10:16 AM
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And suze, please stop carrying your beef with dulci over to every single thread, it's really not relevant. This isn't the Lounge, and making things personal is, as I see it, inappropriate.
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Apr 14th, 2014, 10:41 AM
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NewBe - that is exactly the photo I was referencing.
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Apr 14th, 2014, 10:46 AM
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Well, we disagree then! That is a daypack, to me, and would not come close to holding an extra pair of shoes, 2 or 3 outfits, undies, socks and toiletries. If your "day bag" is the same size, then perhaps terminology is the problem.
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Apr 14th, 2014, 11:15 AM
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This person isn't trying to go carry-on only.

I think if she can get it down to 30-32 lbs. packed into her 8 lbs. assume 24-26" suitcase will be OK for what she describes, and a big improvement on how she's packed in the past.
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Apr 14th, 2014, 11:54 AM
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The bag in the photo NewbE is a 46 litre Osprey Porter. I linked a picture to show the size relative to a person. Here is a link to the bag.
http://www.rei.com/product/803307/os...-pack#specsTab

As you will see, it has dimensions of 22x14x9 inches. A common carry-on size. It weighs 3 lbs.

I personally (as does my wife) travel for months at a time with a 29L bag which most people do indeed call a 'daypack'. Nor do I carry ANY kind of second bag. That's it, one bag. So even what thursdaysd is saying is more than I take. The total weight of my bag when I walk onto a plane is under 5 kg./11 lbs. That is lightweight travel. And yes, it does include socks, undies, toiletries, 3 outfits and an extra pair of shoes.

That you do not feel YOU could do that is all well and good but do not write, "dulcius' last link is absurd--that is not a bag for a two week trip, lol. Nice trolling, though!"

It is neither absurd or trolling. MANY people DO travel with a bag of that size or less for extended periods of time. A little Googling will find you plenty of people who do so with that particular pack even for a year at a time. https://www.google.ca/#q=osprey+port...ng+term+travel

Pattie, you are NOT committed to travelling light. If you were, you would not consider taking a bag that weighs 8lbs. to begin with. Nor would you look at the 40lb. limit and work backwards from that.

It doesn't matter to me how much anyone decides to take when they travel. I'm fine with 'too each his own'. What I am not fine with is someone saying, 'I want to travel light' and asking for advice which they are then going to ignore. It's just pointless.

Try this one on for size. Travelling light means washing things in a sink as thursdaysd has said. So again, are you willing to do what it takes or not?

Here's the Rule of 3s for packing multiple items. ie. socks, underwear, t-shirts. 'One to wear, one to wash, one to spare.' It's a simple rule. You can go 3 days without washing if necessary but the idea is that each night you wash your socks, underwear and whatever else needs washed, in the bathroom sink.

Travelling light is not hard to learn how to do. Doing what you learn however is hard for some people. They hear but don't listen.

Travelling light means under 15 lbs. total. Travelling with a medium weight would be under 25 lbs. Anything over 25lbs. is travelling HEAVY. Take your pick.
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