Tricks for Packing Light: 2006
Share your creative tricks to fit your world into a small bag for a European trip.
Hi--it's me again (you'll see my long post "Just a carry-on backpack!" below). To go into more detail for Shannon, here is a description of the tops/shirts I packed for my recent trip (early December, 14 days in northern Germany, SE Denmark, and Holland). My 6 "tops" consisted of: 1 medium-weight black cotton short-sleeved t-shirt (my "favorite" t-shirt--it just makes me happy when I wear it), 1 grey/black striped rayon/poly/spandex knit long-sleeved t-shirt ($12 LL Bean clearance item purchased a few years ago--it is awesome for layering as it really breathes, plus it packs quite small!), 1 medium-weight long-sleeve heather-rose cotton/spandex knit crewneck shirt ($20 at Lands' End--it is raglan-sleeve like a sweatshirt, but a bit more stylish), 1 lightweight long-sleeve poly/cotton woven taupe-rose-blue-burgundy plaid shirt, 1 heavier-midweight cotton woven light blue-rose-white-grey plaid flannel shirt, 1 charcoal poly/spandex knit fleece cardigan (a bit bulky but very light in weight--I always wear it on the plane). I was ready for nearly any sort of weather--I could wear one to three layers under my medium-weight leather mid-thigh-length coat and be prepared for several hours at a time in temps down to at least 0'F. I prefer to pack garments of cotton, rayon and leather because they breathe well in damp or humid conditions. I forgot to mention what I pack for pajamas in my previous post! When traveling in the winter months I pack a knee-lenght flannel nightshirt and some lightweight wool/cotton/spandex leggings....the leggings double as "long underwear" under my jeans or khakis if it is a bitter-cold day, plus the nightshirt is long enough to wear without the leggings if my room is warm at night.
Northfield, MN USA Thu 12/28/2006
Veloce bag and iPod and Thanks
Carry-on: We're planning an Ireland/Scotland trip next year and I plan to pack light. I purchased Rick's Veloce bag a few months ago and have used it daily since then. Most importantly it's comfortable; I use it as a shoulder bag as well as a backpack. I am confident it will serve its purpose as a carry-on/daily use travel bag when we vacation in the isles in September. Worth the buy. And I swear this is a real-life testimony! :)
iPods: I am planning on taking my iPod...just as someone else stated it has music, photos (in my case video as well)...plus, I have the clocks set to California, Dublin, New York and Honolulu time, so I always know what time it is all over the globe.
Thanks: And finally, thanks to all the regulars that answer posts, and email tips when asked. This site is so valuable in the international travel community is wonderful!! Thank you all.
Santa Ana, CA USA Thu 12/28/2006
Spring clothing in the UK
Expect chilly weather and rain--you might get lucky and have some pleasant weather but I wouldn't count on it! But it's unlikely to be particularly cold. I'd suggest getting some silk long undies--they're comfortable, warm, and weigh practically nothing. I'd bring a camisole styled piece and a long sleeved one to wear under your other clothes. Wintersilks has a lot of nice ones in light, medium and heavy weight silks. Check them out online...
USA Sat 12/23/2006
What clothing to pack
I leave in mid-April for a four week trip to Britain, Ireland, and Paris. I want to pack light, but I'm quite clueless when it comes to layering. I'm also not sure what to expect weather-wise.
How can I best layer my clothes in these countries in April/May? How many long-sleeved shirts, T-shirts, sweaters, jackets, etc... Are their any good thermal layers to wear that are thin?
Thanks for any help!
Elmira, NY USA Fri 12/22/2006
Just a carry-on backpack!!
I'm a female in my early 40s and have done several 2-week trips to various parts of Northern Europe in the winter months, always managing with just my large (2400 cu in) LL Bean backpack. Including what I wear on the plane (the bulkiest and/or heaviest items of the bunch), I pack: 1 pair jeans, 1 pair khaki chinos; 6 assorted shirts that can be layered (including a fleece cardigan); two pairs of shoes (including a pair of Crocs--ugly, but the best walk-your-legs-off shoes!); underwear and socks for 8 days (do one sink-full of laundry halfway through); trial sizes of shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, hand lotion, liquid laundry detergent & body wash; a small lightweight washcloth and lightweight old bath towel (I tend to stay at a lot of hostels); a half-dozen quart-size zip-top freezer bags (use to hold ticket stubs, postcards, small trinkets; keep rolls of film together; waterproof see-through cover for your city map on rainy days); a small travel umbrella; a Sharpie marker; travel alarm clock; a small lightweight rain-proof daypack to hold my walk-around-all-day essentials (again from LL Bean; can also be used to transport home any "extra" souveniers/purchases that won't fit in the big backpack); just the essential pages of travel guidebooks & any maps. I have a medium-weight leather coat (mid-hip length) that I wear--it's weatherproof, and allows me to blend in with the locals. Oh, and in the pocket of the coat I have a small spherical compass (1" diam) tied on a shoestring pinned into the pocket--EXTREMELY useful when you pop out of an underground station on a cloudy day! As I said before, I wear the heaviest/bulkiest items on the plane. The fully-packed backpack weighs about 18 pounds---light enough to strap on through airports and trainstations, or to trek 5 or 10 blocks to the hotel or hostel.
Northfield, MN USA Fri 12/22/2006
I found a very compact, light umbrella that takes up next to no room at Eddie Bauer. Perfect for travels, and a good alternative if I don't want to take a rain poncho.
Montana, USA Wed 12/20/2006
Also check out LLBeans - Casco Bay winbbreaker @ $30. Has three zippered outer pockets and two large inner pockets. Weighs nothing. Can't leave home without mine. We love them. They're hooded and available in mens or womens.
USA Wed 12/20/2006
Good for you!
Capeka- that's the kind of thriftiness we appreciate here on the Packing Light Tips part of the Graffiti Wall! (Pumas rock.) Soon someone will write in with a very lightweight and powdered solution to your stinky problem...
USA Tue 12/19/2006
I have a pair of Puma gym shoes from high school that I have benn wearing daily to work as well as the gym. I do travel in them as well, but I did come upon a problem while taking them off in a charter flight to Tonga. Apparently, the complaint was of a foul odor coming from an overhead compartment. Needless to say, they were my Pumas and I was asked to put them back on. How bold! I couldn't smell a thing and I still think it was someone's Dorito bag. Either way, I refuse to buy a new pair of shoes since mine fit just fine from 1972.
Croatia Tue 12/19/2006
We use the rule of thirds. Wear a 1/3 of our cloths. pack a 1/3 and buy a 1/3. Buiying some things is fun and keeps the weight down. On our next trip we're planning on taking only ONE RS bag and two Civita daypacks. We're learning that taking next to nothing is actually more fun. We're confortable and we always look good.
USA Mon 12/18/2006
I believe the discussion on shoes was on the weight and bulk & whether to carry "spares" or not, not the type of walking shoe to use! (We know there's another Topic in the Wall about walking shoes).
Shoes are part of the "packing light" way of life - as are jackets, jeans, toiletries, extras such as cameras, etc, etc, etc - they are not always light in weight or bulk, so they have to be taken into consideration when planning a trip and what to pack.
USA Mon 12/18/2006
Back on track!!
Thank you for getting back on target talking about Packing Light and not on shoes!!!
Vancouver, Canada Fri 12/15/2006
Update on the
I posted last week about the Patagonia "MLC"- using e-bags and all sorts of their holiday discounts and free shipping, the price was nearly half the usual way-too-expensive $150. I would never travel without the Civita bag I purchased several years ago from the RS store, but my trip next summer is going to be a lot of train and bus travel and some walking around to get to hotels- traveling solo some of it. MY RS bag is just too big for me at 50+ to carry on my back for long distances- and I don't feel secure pulling it behind me down city streets. So the challenge was to find something "mature" looking! That's solved- it basically looks like you took the RS bag and sliced it in half horizontally! You can do the shouldre strap, the handle, or pull out the backpack straps. It can easily hold two packing cubes and a small toiletries bag on the inside. So this will be my ultimate test of packing light! I think that going in the summer is easier though- I can get three tank tops in the space a winter shirt might take up.
USA Thu 12/14/2006
Shoes and Innersoles
We only take one pair of high quality, walking shoe BUT the key is to take a extra innersole and change daily. That allows the shoe to dry over night and innersole dries during the day. Prevents smelly shoes and other foot problems
Centennial, CO USA Tue 12/12/2006
I agree- wear the heavy shoes of your choice for every day on the plane- for me it's my Keen sandals in summer and heavier enclosed waterproof shoe in winter. But I always add a pair of flip flops either season (for hotel/shower/quick trips to lobby)and also another lighter- weight back up pair. There was a freak flash flood in Venice last summer and my Keens were so saturated after wading for an hour through it they still weren't dry by morning...the extra pair saved me!
USA Tue 12/12/2006
I love my four year old Clarks. They're WORN but very confortable. We take only one pr - the pr we wear. I like traveling super lite. But, if I took another pr of my size 12's - I'd be overweight for sure. The cloths we wear count as one. We attempt to wear all we can :) saves packing a lot of estra cloths.
USA Tue 12/12/2006
Shoes for packing light
Great ideas, but whatever you do - take an extra pair of shoes! I know Rick advises just one pair - and one pair for a weeklong trip may be OK, but if the shoes get wet, muddy or, heaven forbid, get a hole, or you need another pair for an unexpected event, you will be scrambling to buy a new pair. That's fine if you have "normal" feet, but if you need very narrow or very wide shoes, you may out of luck.
USA Tue 12/12/2006
Rick also has suggestions and recommendations about packing and using one carryon bag. I don't think you'll find better down to earth advice.
USA Mon 12/11/2006
For a critical review of bags from an expert, go to onebag.com. Doug Dyment examines the pros and coms in his "What to Carry it In" section.
USA Mon 12/11/2006
Better bags...better prices!
We all are entitled to our opinions on this board, and it's not up to anyone to critize other posters.
If the poster below likes the bags he/she mentioned, then that person likes the bag and wants to share their experience with the other readers of this board so those readers can then make up their mind by comparing what is out there.
I took the time to check out the reviews on the bags that the poster wrote about, and it seems that they got rave reviews, with only a few that didn't like the bags.
It is a favor to the readers of this board to be able to take in all the information and make up their own minds what is best for them.
if the "Transport" bag the reader liked worked well for them, they wanted to share that with us...
USA Mon 12/11/2006
good bag for light packers
First want to say.. follow the wise words of Rick..pack light, pack light, pack light. Packing light saved me a few times while making tight train connections in small eastern europe towns. During a six week trip around Eastern Europe I saw a few RS bags. They look well designed. They seem like a great bag. That being said I do also have to give two thumbs up to the Mountain Equipment Co-op "Shuttle" travel pack. a rock solid pack, held everything I needed for six weeks of travel. Can be worn as a back pack or convered into a soft sided suitcase with shoulder strap. Best of all - only $43 Canadian. www.mec.ca
canada Mon 12/11/2006
I agree with the poster with the 1 3/4 lb convertible bag from Campmor - it's probably the same bag we use: The Outdoor Products Essential Carryon, Item #60793.
See it at: http://www.campmor.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=49527&memberId=12500226.
It's $30 and very lightweight, yet we have used it on many trips for the last 3 years and it's still in great shape. My only complaint is that it is a little too big at 13 in x 21 in x 9 in (2825 cu in)! I'd love one that measures more like 12" x 20" x 7" - that's plenty of room for me and would work great for smaller/shorter people.
When weight matters as much as the overall size, try this bag! (No, I don't work for Campmor or Outdoor Products).
I also use a small red backpack with wheels that weighs in around 2.5 - 3 lbs, yet holds lots of stuff. The handle is long and the wheels work great, plus it cost me only $15 on sale at Walgreens, of all places.
Tallahassee, FL USA Mon 12/11/2006
Last year, my daughter and I (65 yrs) spent 8 weeks visiting Wester Europe and Czech Republic. Each had the Rick Steves 21 inch Roll-Aboard (expandable) and a medium size day pack. We carried them on-board. Wheels worked very well on the cobble stones. We would never attempt a trip without these bags. PACK LIGHT.
CA USA Sun 12/10/2006
I have made five trips to Europe with my Rick Steves ETBD convertible bag. It has worked fine for me, but at 2-1/2#, it is a little heavy. It is 1000 denier nylon, very high quality, it will last forever, but I decided that I no longer want to carry so much "quality" around with me. My latest bag is a 1-3/4# Campmor bag. I just took it to the post office, packed as if I were going to Europe for 2 weeks. It weighed 11# 6.6 oz. Hey, I don't need wheels to carry that, particularly when wheels add atleast another 5# to what I would have to carry, and believe me, there are many times when you have to carry your bag, wheels or no.
USA Sun 12/10/2006
Better bags...better prices!
Where are you coming from? You are apparently more interested in selling these bags than you are in the interest of the ETBD travelers. Most of the bags shown on the website are way too large to meet most airline carry-on restrictions. Others are much to heavy to be practical.
USA Sun 12/10/2006
The RS bag is a tried and proven bag - my best friend. I can't say enough about mine. I love mine - no regrets!
USA Sat 12/09/2006
Better bags...better prices!
I own a High Sierra Railpass. Used it last year for 2 trips over the pond. There is nothing like being able to carry your bag like a suitcase...or on your back.
The size on 2 of them are carry on...2 of them are larger. The prices are wonderful too!
I'm not into Patagucci (i.e. Patagonia, Swiss Army, etc) bags....I don't see the purpose in paying more for a bag like that.
I always look for a bag that gives me a bit more for my money, and these bags have done just that.
Like the Rick Steves bags...lightweight. More features...less money = more use.
I read through all the features of these bags before I made my choice...it's really important to choose a bag for the way you pack! some of us are really good at getting 2 weeks worth of clothes into a daypack size bag...others of us need more space for more stuff we need.
Do your homework, read the reviews on the packs!
It is a really good idea to purchase your bag right now for next year if you can...things are on sale on the internet...you don't usually have to pay tax, and in a lot of cases, shipping is free!
Rochester, NY USA Sat 12/09/2006
New bag, big packing light test!
I saw a bag called the "MLC" from Patagonia, for "Maximum Legal Carry-on" at 22 X 9.5 X 13. It has hidden straps and a shoulder strap just like the RS bag, but looks less boxy and suitcase-y. E-bags is having a sale right now and I was able to get it with free shipping for just under 100$ rather than the list price. I am planning my trip for next summer and this will be the ultimate challenge! I have depended on my beloved rolling carry-on, but the wheels add so much weight. I finally decided there was really no such thing as a bag that can be both wheeled and not- I've tried them and it's like the worst of both worlds. Unless- does someone have a model that truly works both ways? Anyway, here is the link:http://www.patagonia.com/web/us/search/esearch.jsp?OPTION=ESEARCH&N=0&special=both&Ntt=mlc+bag I really appreciate all the tips here, and always look forward to the terrific humor of the brilliantly sarcastic poster!
USA Fri 12/08/2006
Beauty Basic For Travels
I take all-in-one soap. It has lotion and makes bubbles! I can leave the big bottles of lotions at home. Saves me lots of space in my beauty bag.
Salt Lake City, UT USA Thu 12/07/2006
I have no idea what a beauty stick is.
FL USA Thu 12/07/2006
I am not a fan of the obi. I tried using it as a tie in an upscale restaurant in ... lets just say someplace where they serve sushi, and I was told to tie it around my eyes as a blind fold and walk backwards to wherever I came from. Perhaps it caused a tremendous offense since mine had a pattern of "Dogs playing Poker". Maybe it was the felt?
Scottsdale, Az USA Tue 12/05/2006
I always bring 1.DARK straight cut jeans because they're sophisticated and can be dressed down/up, 2.locking carabiner for attaching my pack on the overhead of trains, 3. beauty stick because it works from head to toe, 4. loose powder and bronzer poured in separate envelope then sealed and folded, 5. an obi (japanese sash)as belt, head scarf, 6. old white cotton sock worn by guys as wash cloth (rough side) then discard when you're ready to go home 7. perfume samples in vials
The obi, a little bronzer, gloss from beauty stick and my Jackie-O sunglasses sure make me look pulled together. Girls, leave at home the foundation and cream for the eyes, and moisturizer, and night cream, and day cream and wrinkle cream and hair cream...aaaaahhhh! Please stop the madness.
SanFrancisco, CA USA Mon 12/04/2006
Rolling backpacks from various manufacturers and at various prices can be found at REI (www.rei.com).
USA Mon 12/04/2006
I am going backpacking For a couple months next summer and was going to buy an innerframe backpack that I saw in the travel store a while back(came with a waistband, cost about $100 and it had a wheeled version if memory serves). I had read a bunch of posts where people were saying it was the perfect backpack to take on such a trip and how much they liked it. I went back to the travel store today and I don't see any of those backpacks any more. Does anyone know if/why they stopped selling them, or where another good place to look might be?
Colorado Springs, CO USA Sun 12/03/2006
ipod - multi purpose item! Yes Indeed!!
You are correct. I've condensed all my electronics down to my iPod & charger w/adapter(s) and my digital camera with an extra battery. I added a "iTalk" to my iPod and I have a digital voice recorder. I love keeping a travel journal but am always too busy (or tired) to write every day. The iTalk is great. I also use it to record photo notes. I just used this combo in Scotland and was very pleased with how it worked. I still carry a paper journal and the three together - iPod/iTalk, digital camera and journal - stacked on top of each other and fit in one hand as I stroll museums and other sites. Very compact and very useful! My iPod is too old to down loadpictures to, but when I upgrade I'll use it to also backup my photos. And I have a verbal journal that saves me from having to try to read my own writing!!
NY USA Sun 12/03/2006
For Mr Wooly Shake...
Zip Lock has nice 2-GAL size bags now... should fit even a woolymammoth sweater! :) (or get the bed-spread sized compression bag... but zips are cheaper!)
USA Fri 12/01/2006
Wooly Shweater With Peanut Butter
Zip lock pants sandwich...hmmmm. How would you fit an X-Large Irish Aran wool sweater in one of those?
USA Fri 12/01/2006
ipod - multi purpose item!
I used my ipod to download my digital photos...tell time, find addresses and as an alarm clock!
Why pack a bunch of electronic devises when your ipod can do it all?
Just remember to bring an adaptor for the European outlets and you are ready to listen to music, watch TV programs, look at photos (share photos with new friends) and wake up in time to catch the flight back home!
USA Wed 11/29/2006
The Zip Lock Tip
My wife and I just returned from a 14 day Italy trip with carryon only. Need to repeat this tip which has worked for us on each of our foreign trips. All of our cloths are packed in a number of zip lock bags. Sit on them to get all of the air out, then seal. This not only reduces the volume, but also keeps everything in a orderly manner as you unpack/use your cloths at each stop.
Aptos, CA USA Wed 11/29/2006
We just got back from Italy. Flew Lufthansa from SFO via Frankfurt. In Frankfurt we had to check our carryon because of size, we had the weight down to 8K. Plane is small with limited carryon space. This was not a problem since there were no more transfers to get to Venice.
Aptos, CA USA Wed 11/29/2006
In regard to the Lufthansa carry on limit - I was able to find the info on the website before my trip this summer. They do allow an additional personal item such as a small-day-bag/purse/laptop/camera/backpack in addition the the normal carryon bag (8kg)... My heavier camera and adapter and books were in my day-pack and probably weighed as much - but again it was considered a small personal item bag. Laptops or women's purses usually weigh a lot, but can be put under the seat vs overhead if needed. Either way - its always a good idea to check your airlines limits and weight limits. Lufthansa/Swiss/SAS all had similar 8kg carryon limits. Just check the web sites under carry-on or luggage sections. Then plan/pack accordingly. Also for those who have roll-on-RS bags, they weigh quite a few extra pounds more than the non-rolling so make sure you take that into your 8kg consideration!
Newport Beach, CA USA Tue 11/28/2006
Carry-on alert & weight limitations
You do have to check with your airline, before you go, to see what their restrictions are. It doesn't hurt to carry a small tote bag folded up so you can shift items to it instead of just checking a slightly overweight bag and risk losing everything! You can use the tote as a personal item (which may or may not have a weight restriction) to avoid checking the carry-on. Again - ccall your airline!!
USA Tue 11/28/2006
Lufthansa carry-on alert!
My husband and I just spent 12 days in Italy and in order to avoid checking our luggage, we carefully packed only a regulation size carry on bag each (after a great deal of planning and good tips from this site). Imagine my frustration when our Lufthansa representative required us to check our bags because they have an 8 kilo weight restriction for carry-ons. This is NOT a TSA requirement, only Lufthansa. Our bags weighed over 10 kilos each, so we had no choice. If you fly Lufthansa, make sure your carry-on is light weight to start with...ours were not. I'm glad we didn't have any problems with lost luggage this time. I haven't seen this mentioned on this board, so I hope I'm not repeating anything.
Columbia, MD USA Tue 11/28/2006
Once bag and Civita backpack
We're considering only taking one RS bag and one Civita backback. Our packing list has shrunk - 2 pants, 3 shirts, sweater, lite weight black jacket (LL Bean Cosco Bay $30), lite weight T-shirt/shorts (trips to the hall bath), 2 pr socks, we wear our shoes, 2 undies. This includes what we wear. So we pack even less. On our last trip - about 40% of the stuff we packed...we never used
USA Sun 11/26/2006
Refined the Packing Cubes Approach
I was a big fan of packing cubes when I learned about them. Much more organized luggage and quick to repack when leaving room.
However the cubes were taking up space and I found the Packmate bags were much more compact. Now use them more, as well as stuff bags which are very light, although not as handy for finding things
I really scrurinize what I bring now and am packing the lightest ever. It pays off as I run off the train while I see people struggling with heavy bags. They look at me running with a look of surprise. Packing light gives you much more freedom and lowers the stress.
Rick is right....pack light.
Canada Sat 11/25/2006
H20 Bottle on a Carabiner
Be sure to take an "H20 Water Bottle Holder" on a carabiner. It' s pretty neat. CB goes thru your belt loop...H20 bottle hangs there. Easy....weighs nothing and is cheap...about $2.00.
They also have sunblock that is sold with a CB. Worth considering!
USA Thu 11/23/2006
Instead of carrying several Rick Steves guidebooks, I cut out the sections I needed and had the sections bound at an office supply store. Including section dividers, plastic front cover, and hard back- about $3.00.
Anaheim, CA USA Wed 11/22/2006
The Tide pens are great, but remember you can't take in carry-on -- they have bleach. TSA took mine out of my nice, 1 quart zippie. At least I didn't hold up the line ...
Portland, OR USA Mon 11/20/2006
I am the Queen of Samples!! I collect individual,sealed foil packets of shampoo, moisturizer, perfume, hand lotion, etc, etc. from store giveaways and mail order (Sephora is great). Then, when I travel, I sort through my sample bin, pack my Zip-Lock bag with what I need and I am ready to go. No muss, no fuss, no problem.
Princeton, NJ USA Mon 11/20/2006
Pack a "Tide-To-Go" pen to clean up your clothes. It really works! My husband tends to spill everything and this cleans up any spill easily. This way I know I don't have to pack exra clothes for him.
Tacom, W USA Sun 11/19/2006
bar soap shampoo
Saw the mention of Burt's Bees shampoo soap bar. I'm not familiar with the product, but Kirk's castile bar soap, made from coconut oil, has been my shampoo for over 30 years. Also my body and face soap. Only thing I have found that doesn't leave at least a hint of soap scum residue on hair or skin. Great stuff. Haven't tried it for hand washing clothes, but wouldn't hesitate to. And I have no association with the Kirk's soap company.
Woodstock, IL USA Sun 11/19/2006
For The Impatiently Impaired
Being from Fargo, slip on shoes are not an option for winter airport trecking. May I suggest a sturdy moon boot instead. Not only are they laceless for easy donning, but if you buy them two sizes bigger, they are the ideal skid for storing that extra half of salami sandwich that you just couldn't quite finish at the airport cafeteria.
Italy Sat 11/18/2006
RS travel store has mesh bags that would be perfect. Worth taking a look.
USA Fri 11/17/2006
While the bag manufacturers are giving the airports free bags,
Please do NOT expect the TSA people to bag your stuff for you! We do not want to be in line while you pull out your bottles and bag them. Wear slip on shoes, empty your pockets and take your laptops out before your turn comes to go through the screener.
Impatient at security line
USA Fri 11/17/2006
1-quart Baggies at Airports
Some of the baggie manufacturers are giving airports a supply of free 1-quart bags for holiday travelers to help with the new travel requirements. Will help make holiday travels lighter and easier!
Wyoming, USA Fri 11/17/2006
Has anyone actually tried the paper soap, shampoo, or laundry detergent? How does it work? Is one sheet sufficient for washing your hair? It wouldn't be much of a savings if you have to use 4 or 5 each time.
Pat in Fort Worth
Fort Worth, TX USA Fri 11/17/2006
Good savings on Travel Stuff
I placed my order for some of the RS goodies. This is a good deal - 15% 0ff, no sales tax for me, and $4.95 s/h. This translates into about 33% savings for me. Better order now!
LA, CA USA Fri 11/17/2006
Popular Paper Pants
I can't believe no-one has thought of a clever riposte to Papyrus Peebles, so I'll contribute a lame one by saying that I thought paper pants, the People's Pantaloons, could be purchased at Home Despot or maybe Office Marx.
San Francisco, CA USA Fri 11/17/2006
They also make paper pants that work the very same way as the shampoo. Just put the paper pants in a tub and watch them grow over the period of 8 days. One size fits all. Just an FWI, the pants can only be worn once and they will start shrinking back to paper size after about 3 - 18 hours. They can be purchased at Home Depot an Office Max.
CA USA Mon 11/13/2006
Thanks for the paper soap link.
The items at the Container store. I'm going to see if I can buy them in a local Container Store.
Fort Worth, TX USA Sun 11/12/2006
Burt's Bees line of natural products, besides coming in some small fit-in-your- baggie sizes, includes a shampoo soap bar. I like that it can't leak and avoids the new carry- on restrictions so it can be in the suitcase..freeing up space in the baggie! I'm also going to try it for sink laundry, since I used to use my shampoo for that.
USA Sat 11/11/2006
This "paper" shampoo comes in a pack of 50 sheets (just add water) and weighs less than 1/2 ounce per pack. http://www.containerstore.com/browse/Product.jhtml?CATID=62523&PRODID=71028 The store also sells "paper" soap and laundry detergent. They are a little pricey (about $6.00/pack) but could be really convenient when packing light.
USA Sat 11/11/2006
Weight is the point
I believe the problem is Weight more then size I have a larger bag then carry on size suitcase but carry it around europe half full . I am met at aiport by life time friends( lucky me )so start off at friend's winery with some gifts but then slim down quickly. laundry mats are somtimes not cheap ,convenient, or available in the 70,000 pop. german town (Bad Kreuznach) my friend knew of no laundry mats for sure in the 5 near by villages none---There probably are some in BK, but often not that convieent cheap or available
Bellevue, Wa USA Thu 11/09/2006
Carryons & Toiletries - Ideas
If your items are in containers larger than the allowable 3 oz (which is really quite a bit), then pour what you can into smaller containers available at Target, Wal-Mart, etc. I can fit the following in a quart-size Ziploc, everything travel or mini-size, or transferred to smaller containers. It's amazing what can fit into the Ziploc if you adjust and adapt:
1 - toothpaste
2 - lip balm
3 - lip gloss
4 - anti-perspirant
5 - hand cream
6 - hair balm (in contact case)
7 - favorite shampoo
8 - Oust air sanitizer
9 - Febreeze (in small spray bottle)
10 - vial of perfume
11 - contact lens cleaner
12 - contact lens soaking solution
13 - contact lens wetting solution
14 - saline nasal spray
15 - small mascara
16 - small toner
USA Wed 11/08/2006
Carryons & Toiletries - Ideas
I'm just curious to see how others are dealing with the new restrictions on liquids, gels & aerosols in carry-on luggage. Prior to my last two trips, I had ascribed to the Rick Steves' "no check in luggage!" philosophy, and it was working out great for me using the convertible soft-sided bag. But now, all your carry-on toiletries have to be in containers 3oz or smaller AND fit in a one-quart ziploc bag! I am not a glamour queen, but this proved beyond my reach (although my other problem is I really try never to buy soap, lotion, sunblock, deodorant etc abroad because I can't find the non-allergenic, sensitive-skin, unscented stuff, that I need).
Can anyone relate/offer tips? Because we had to check our bags last week and almost ended up missing a connecting flight because of it, and I was peeved, missing the easy days carrying on and boogieing off!
Oakland, CA USA Wed 11/08/2006
Bubble wrap should keep Gordie's noodles safe. Also, putting them in your carry-on will allow you to protect them more. The noodles shouldn't get hoisted and jabbed as much by inspectors as with checked luggage.
Sunny, Warm So. Cal. :), USA Wed 11/08/2006
I also weigh items on my kitchen scale when deciding what to pack and then weigh the entire bag on a very good digital bathroom scale. Surprising how it all adds up so quickly.
Fort Worth, TX USA Wed 11/08/2006
Just returned from 4 weeks in England. We used our small luggage scale to make sure that our bags were under the weight limit going over. We took it with us since USAir would not accept any bag over 50 pounds when flying out of Manchester. The scale can be purchased at most of the travel-store websites for $10.
USA Tue 11/07/2006
I have just purchased 9.75 pounds of noodles from an outdoor market in Juba. Does anyone know of a good way to place them safely in a suitcase without cracking their popsicle shape? I am responsible for frying them on Thanksgiving and can't afford to loose even three of them. I sure would hate to see how the turkey would cook without them.
Wish Bone, IN USA Tue 11/07/2006
If you travel often....I'd suggest that you weight each item once...write it down....start a standard travel list (standard operating procedure list). The military does this. They weigh once and pack twice.
LA, CA USA Tue 11/07/2006
Light Travels Rock
If my bag is to heavy, I just take some stuff out and leave it behind. I've never gone to the post office to weigh my luggage...fish scales sound great. Easy and light travels for me. Bon Voyage!
Sioux City, SD USA Tue 11/07/2006
I used a kitchen scale too- worked great - amazing what little stuff adds up to 1-2-3 lbs fast! I weighed my clothes, books, etc - then later took the whole bag to the post office to weigh it offically (needed to be less than 16 lbs!) I think for future I will buy one of those small luggage scales (like fish scale) to weigh at home easier! Bathroom scale was ok too. I agree weaing or putting heavier items in your small personal item bag/pack.
Newport Beach, CA USA Mon 11/06/2006
No kidding, I weigh my things on a kitchen scale to decide what to take. It's not hard to eliminate a pound or two simply by choosing the lighter of two articles. Another trick is to wear the heavier clothes when traveling. Somehow, the weight feels like less when it's on my back. Even plastic bags have weight--consider everything and leave at home the stuff that isn't essential.
USA Mon 11/06/2006
I have a sore shoulder and don't want travel buddies to carry my bag, so whittling down the packing list has become a hobby (I wonder if I should get a food scale to weigh t-shirts...). I have two tips to add the list below. First, the trick to drying cotton is to wring it out in a towel until it is almost dry before hanging it, I bring a diving towel (2oz) which works when there are no extras (as well as for a swim). The second is that one and two-gallon ziploc bags are GREAT for vacuum sealing clothes into flat little packets--one for my 3 tops, another for whichever two of the three bottoms (shorts, pants & skirt) I am not wearing, and one for undies and bathing suit. They don't change the weight but allow me to bring a tiny bag which is less clumsy to carry, and the clothes come out so CRISP looking!
Brooklyn, NY USA Sun 11/05/2006
The Braun travel shaver works well and it is very light. The batteries last about a month with once daily use. The bad parts are that it takes 2-3 times longer to shave and (at least for me) is totally useless if I skip a day as the hairs become too long for it. I always bring a disposable razor along to take care of the long hairs.
Milpitas, CA USA Sat 11/04/2006
I love jeans for travel. They're very comfy, and can be dressed up or down for many occasions, especially a color like black. Another travel must have is a denium skirt. Happy travelers are comfy travelers! :)
Mt. Vernon, WA USA Fri 11/03/2006
Jeans...or not Jeans
Wear what you're most comfortable in, whether it's blue jeans, black jeans, khakis, dress pants, kilts, shorts, etc, etc. Politeness and an inquisitive nature will go alonger way than what you wear!
USA Fri 11/03/2006
Just got back from various parts of Germany, Belgium & Austria. And I just want to say jeans were very popular, we didn't pack ours in order to look less like American Tourists, but we kind of regreted it after a while when we sort of stuck out by NOT having them haha
Los Angeles, ca USA Fri 11/03/2006
I actually could have gotten by with just one or two pairs of pants in Europe (not undies, just regular pants!) I bought an outfit of sun protective clothing from Stingray (which I'd mentioned earlier), and it was very comfortable, and it dries extremely quickly. And it's nicer than a lot of other sun protective clothing than I've seen or worn.
Lake Mary, FL USA Wed 11/01/2006
Braun Shaver - part II
As the person who started the Braun shaver thread, I want to add several comments, First, it can be used for legs and Marcia does. Second, it has a hair trimmer that works surprising well for its small size. Third, it is slower than my regular razor becaues it only has one shaving head. Finally, I was alerted to this razor a few years ago when it won a national design award for a number of features especially the self contained case and the on/off feature that absolutely prevents accidential turn on in the luggage. I paid about $25, glad to see it is available for less. I have used it for a total of about six years with absolutely no problems.
Centennial, CO USA Mon 10/30/2006
Buy a used shaver at Goodwill and give it away before you leave Europe.
USA Mon 10/30/2006
Ann....you're on to something. Someone in our family has her eyes on it. I used it today x 2 mins....what a smoth comfortable shave...she's going to try it....I'll post a follow up report.
Sidenote: We're trying to get down to one RSBD bag and a Civita day-pack. This may push the cost of travel cloths up a bit....but we think it's well worth it. I'll post a report once our research is completed.
USA Mon 10/30/2006
Maybe that Braun shaver would work for legs, too. Less to pack!
S.D., Cali USA Mon 10/30/2006
I bought my Braun Shaver at Walgreens for $17.95. The other box strores do not stock them. Pretty nifty shaver....powered with two AA's. I like mine and would recommend getting one.
USA Mon 10/30/2006
It was one pair of PANTS, not undies.
I had a pair of capri pants also, but did not have to wear them.
I've NEVER, knock on wood, had my luggage mishandled by United or Lufthansa airlines.
My flights are always at least 10 hours in length, and I've been to Europe over 10x in the last few years, so I consider myself an experienced traveler.
USA Mon 10/30/2006
Drying clothing in a hotel room
Ellen -: I can only applaud you for travelling with ONE pair of undies:) You obviously have NEVER travelled on an INTERCONTINAL flight of 12 + hours where MAYBE (especially flying any Anerican airline) your luggage does NOT arrive at your first destination-- let alone your SECOND destination !!!
BUT surely to be completely safe a second pair would have fitted in ANY other pack you were carrying? and probably would NOT have saved any space?
BTW This is from a seasoned traveller who has gone on trips in many places!!
IF you travel take a change of clothes in your carry on JUST IN CASE (for whatever reason) that your check on luggage does NOT arrive at YOUR destination
Perth Australia, Australia Mon 10/30/2006
When ordering prescriptions for short-haul trips, I ask the Pharmacist to divide my pills into two or three smaller originally labeled containers and take only what I will need plus an extra week's supply. Plus I always bring an extra copy of my prescriptions with their generic names. Always remember, although it may be tempting to combine pills or hand label medications, keep in mind that all medications must be kept in their originally labeled containers. Mixing medications could cost you your life!
Toronto , ON Canada Sun 10/29/2006
Drying clothing in a hotel room
One thing that has worked for me --- if there is a hair dryer in the hotel room, I have used it to quick dry items before packing/wearing.
I too only pack synthetic materials, so they do dry quickly with a hair dryer.
My hiking trip to Switzerland a few weeks ago included several days of rain. On one day, we got soaked to the bone. My pants (Prana) were literaly washed on my body - and competely wet when we returned to the hotel. I hung them up to dry at about 5PM, and in the morning, only the waist band was still a bit wet, so I used the hair dryer and Voila! - dry enough to wear again
NOTE: I took only one pair of pants for a 7 day hiking trip, wore them everyday, washed them in the sink at night (they got muddy!) and was very happy- ultimate in packing light!
CO USA Sun 10/29/2006
Jeff -- it is call -- Learning Curve. Braun makes an excellent folding travel razor that runs on two AAs for well over a month --- 5 oz and the size of an IPod. Synthetic and synthetic blends are a must if hand washing at night. Cotton just retains too much water. Without a lot of ventilation, it will not dry overnight.
Centennial, CO USA Sat 10/28/2006
My thoughts on travelling light
We just got back from Europe (2 week trip) and I have some thoughts. Bring only One travel book per country (My wife packed 4 of them). I like people's ideas about packing synthetics. We packed with the intention of doing laundry. We did so once in an actual laundrymat and a couple times in the room. When washing in the room we had trouble getting stuff to dry by the time we needed to leave the hotel room in the morning. I know from my skiing days synthetics dry 10 times faster. For my next trip, I am going to get a digital camera that also does video. Consumer Reports said a couple new models are now as good as camcorders. We brought both along with chargers and tapes and yada yada yada. I also brought an electric shaver. Next time I am going with the disposable. My wife bought a portable high chair. That was a total waste. My son only used it once. She also brought her own shampoos and stuff because apparently her hair is too good for hotel shampoo (waste of space/weight).
VA USA Sat 10/28/2006
I recently mailed air mail parcel post an 8 1/2 lb box from the east coast to Belfast and it cost $52. However, it takes 4-10 days.
Washington, DC USA Fri 10/27/2006
Cost of Shipping
Cindy: We shipped them using USAIR Freight and the cost for 2 50 bags was 227.00. Good Luck!
USA Fri 10/27/2006
Shipping Bags Ahead
Mike: Every source I've checked re shipping bags ahead was quite expensive -- $300 - $400 range for two bags. Would like to know your actual costs, if you don't mind.
SF, CA USA Thu 10/26/2006
Ship your bags ahead
This is a little expensive, but well worth the time and hassell of carrying a bag. On our last trip to Paris, we sent our two bags via UPS directly to the hotel. Upon checking in our bags were waiting on us. We saved time by not waiting for baggage. We did carry our bags back home due to the wine we stuffed in our bags. Happy Travels
New York, NY USA Thu 10/26/2006
I save my underwear that's about to die and pack it for trips. I throw it away (I bring sandwich baggies and put them in before I toss them) each day. This opens my luggage up for things I buy, I don't feel guilty about throwing things away, and I've found it easier than either washing every night or carting home dirty underwear. I've also purchased clothes at thrift stores and thrown those away daily - - it just depends on the trip; the length; and who I'm traveling with. I lead student tours to Europe so I travel frequently.
Angleton, TX USA Wed 10/25/2006
Now that's a great idea! You can get inexpensive underclothes at Wal-Mart to take for a trip, then wash them before you leave for home and give to those in need overseas. Doing laundry isn't very expensive. A gesture of goodwill for peace between countries! There'll be plenty of room in my suitcase for the love of my life, CHEESE! Happy travels!
Montana, USA Tue 10/24/2006
Interesting Packing Concept...
Interesting concept! You could also pack nice underclothes for the trip, and if you don't want to bring them home, do laundry before your departure then give your nice stuff away to those in need abroad. Give you lots of room in your suitcase to bring back cheese or wine :).
Seattle, WA USA Tue 10/24/2006
Robert throwing away his trash in Europe
This has been discused ad naseum on this board.
Quite a few readers don't approve of throwing our trash away in Europe.
Isn't it a better thing to offer your disposable items to Goodwill or some other agency here in the US that can clean it and offer it to people in need?
Please people. Be mindful of the waste we produce as a world. Please recycle when you can - don't throw things in the trash that can be reused in some manner!
CO USA Tue 10/24/2006
Here is a trick to make packing for home easier. I save all of my "old t-shirts, socks, and underwear" The ones we all have. I wear them and when I leave the hotel, simply drop them into the trash. There is no dirty laundry to pack. We have expanded the disposable underwear to clothing as well. Go to the local thrift store, buy a couple of last years outfits for cheap, wear them and toss them. This makes for hassel free packing and there is little or no laundry to do when you get back home... Last tip ladies just cut the legs off your old pantyhose and use the panty.
winston salem, nc USA Tue 10/24/2006
You know those heavy, clear plastic, zippered cubes that bed sheets come in? Perfect cubes for me!
Richmond, Virgin USA Tue 10/24/2006
The small little tiny rolls of t.p. (usually in the diaper section of the grocery store)are great. Combined with some hand gel, you are ready for any bathroom situation. Magellens sells a fancier and pricier version. I scattered six around the packing cubes in my carry on and, keeping one set in a small ziplock in my day bag lasted for six weeks all over Europe.
USA Mon 10/23/2006
Whole Home Sweater Bags
I bought these packing bags, they are Perfect for carry on. Exactly the same size. And each packages comes with two bags. I bought them at Sears and for just $2.99 ( yes two dollars. 99 )
Miami Beach, FL USA Mon 10/23/2006
Rick sells a great set of Packing Cubes. They're sized to fit the OB Bag. Take a look in the travel store.
USA Mon 10/23/2006
Organizers for clothes
I am currently using several mesh bags (the kind for delicate items in the washing machine) in place of pack cubes and they work better than ziplocks (not slippery!), but not quite as good as the cubes (don't unzip to open fully. However, they are great to use since they are fairly see-through. And since I got mine at the Dollar Tree they were very cheap.
USA Mon 10/23/2006
Packing Cubes and Ziplocs
I agree about the price of packing cubes. It depends on how much you pay for them. I bought two sets of them (one for each of us) about six years ago for both my husband and I on ebags.com on clearance. We have used them since then on innumerable trips (both domestic and international) and they have been indispensible. They have made our trips so much easier. My husband was a bit skeptical at first, but even uses them now on our weekend trips in his backpack. I would suggest giving them a try - and watching to see when they are on clearance. Oh, and we also use Ziplocs a lot!
USA Mon 10/23/2006
Hard to believe that someone doesn't know what a packing cube is...but to remedy that---take a moment to use this link to see one for future reference!
USA Sun 10/22/2006
My comments on Zip lock bags
Packing cubes cannot be beat for long lasting travel. Zip lock bags are meant for temporary use.
How many times have I discovered that my Zip Lock bag has ripped up the seam on my return trip...even went being as careful in handling as possible.
Zip locks cannot be beat for liquids...I use 2 Eagle Creek leak proof bags for my cosmetics, and they have been fantastic for smaller items. But when I take my body lotion, it's generally a larger bottle and I use a Zip Lock bag. It always seem to have a tear in the seam after a few uses...so I keep replacing.
So...packing cubes are indespecible for packing clothing for easy use in packing and un packing, and Zip Locks are fantastic for larger liquid bottles to keep the spills from your other items in your luggage.
I highly recommend using both when traveling.
USA Sun 10/22/2006
I beg to differ on packing cubes. They work better than ziplocks for clothes because they are square and open wide from the long side to easily place clothes into. I leave my cubes "packed" when I travel and it is easier to pull out a single item from the cube than from a packed ziplock. Because the cubes are cubes - I find they pack more efficiently in a rectangular suit case. Also if security opens my bags they don't slide out on the floor (ziplocks are slippery devils when you have several of them packed together).
I am a big fan of ziplocks. I always have extras with me and use them to store electronics with cords, liquids that I don't want to leak into my suitcause (something a packing cube doesn't do) and various other small items. But for clothes I prefer packing cubes. The cost issue depends how often and how you travel. I bought my packing cubes over 10 years ago and am still using them after more than 200 trips. I have spent way more on ziplock bags for packing over that time period than for the cubes. The ziplocks tend to get beat up after about 3-4 trips and need replacing.
NY USA Sat 10/21/2006
Cube is a poor choice of word but that is what they are commonly called. Actually small nylon, rectangular shape bags about 2" deep with a mash zipper top -- generally. I find that one and two gallon zip lock plastic bags function just as well and are much cheaper.
Centennial, CO USA Sat 10/21/2006
Love the packing cubes! I used one small for all lingerie and pj's. One large for tops and shawls. The other small, I used for all misc items. (chargers, gum, extra handi-wipes, sd cards, pens, and any other small item) It worked perfectly. They were not lost or falling out of my RS convertible.
USA Fri 10/20/2006
At a Taget store, I found the Tide liquid pacs for sink washing. And also, the shout wipes for spots. Picked them up just incase.
Well, I am glad I did. They came in very handy.
Soaked and washed a few tops while in Italy. I used the bidet for my "washing", as they were obviously spotless. Luckily, our last hotel in Rome had a small veranda. Perfect to hang clothes out to dry.
USA Fri 10/20/2006
All-Purpose Natural Soap
This is the soap I use for body wash. It is all natural, and can actually be used for EVERYTHING - shampoo, face wash, body wash, laundry, spot remover, dishes...You name it! I think it's great to take when traveling to save space! It's even mild enough for babies, since there are no chemicals in it.
(Note - I have the castile soap with castor oil...If you get the one without it, it won't lather as much.)
P.S. Incidentally, I use their facial care prods as well! They're very cheap & of high quality!! :)
Yardley, PA USA Fri 10/20/2006
Carry On Full of Kid Stuff
A carry on bag full of kid stuff can easily weigh the max allowed in no time. I can only fit in my wallet and travel documents. I need to figure a way for more room to fit my whole purse!
Montana, USA Wed 10/18/2006
Just recently flew with Lufthansa and used the RS Convertable Bag as a carryon, PLUS a regular Northface Backpack as my "personal item" (I think it was heavier than the RS Bag with books and CAM Equip! But the previous poster who put their purse in the bag may only have needed to do that if their airline has real strict guidelines like UK flights recently had. I called well ahead to confirm a Briefcase/Smaller-Pack/Purse item counts as carry on or a "personal" item - PLUS a normal carryon. They just didnt want someone claiming the rollon was their "personal item" and then take a second larger bag as carryon...
CA USA Tue 10/17/2006
I put my purse in my backpack for boarding and have had no problem. A purse and a back pack are two carryons!!
Eugene, OR USA Tue 10/17/2006
Purchase clothes that can be hand washed and dry quickly -- like the new "wicking" fabrics. Cross pack into each other's luggage in case one of the pieces gets lost while flying to your destination.
San Diego, CA USA Sun 10/15/2006
The only way to go. A small investment keeps your luggage organized and neat.
Plan on purchasing several sizes. At least 2 large for folded t-shirts and or pants.
One medium for "undies" and a small for accessories like power cords, voltage adapter, etc.
USA Sat 10/14/2006
Louise's carry on question
Louise- I have not had a problem in the past with a book bag type pack as a second carry.
I am flying British Air in January. The have a new policy: One carry on, no purse or other bags allowed. The person I talked to at BA said they are strongly enforcing this new policy. You can put your second bag in your larger carry on as long as they don't exceed 40 lbs. Forty pounds is quite a bit. They used to have a 13lb limit. This is a big change in policy.
Sacramento, Ca USA Fri 10/13/2006
Have any of you been told that your purse or computer bag is too big or unacceptable to count as the addition to your one carry on limit and forced to check the other bag? Just curious...have not noticed any size restrictions so far and I'm wondering how big of a "purse" I can get away with.
Melbourne, FL USA Fri 10/13/2006
Travel DRY & Fast
Even though the travel restrictions have been "relaxed" I am not taking any risks, so, I found some dry/solid subs for my essentials... Solid Oil Stick by Lisa of New York -Amazon Daily facials-just add water at destination La Femme Dry Mascara- Amazon Powdered Toothpaste-Cinnamon-Amazon Neutrogena Solid SPF30 Sun block-Amazon Lush Solid Shampoo & conditioner or Burt's Bees solids and my Fav.. Instead of a water bottle a Platypus collapsible bottle, you fill it when empty it rolls up very compact
Tijuaana, BC MX Tue 10/10/2006
Ziplock Bags, A Travel Lifesaver
Ziplock bags are a travel lifesaver. I put animal cookies, cheerios, playdough and baby wash clothes in them. The baby wash clothes keep the kiddies laundered, fresh and clean :).
St. Johns, Nwfl Canada Fri 10/06/2006
Double Duty Packing Tips
I just got back from a 14 day tour of seven countries. By packing a soft folding bag in my suitcase, I had an extra bag for taking dirty clothes to a laundry and it came in handy as a second checked bag at the airport. (Souviners can put you over the 50 lb. limit) Second thing I found handy was Huggies Disposable Washcloths. They already have soap in them and can be tossed away. Aveeno also offers a baby shampoo and body wash that is great.
Hurst, TX USA Fri 10/06/2006
Tips Learned Packing light for my Germany trip
Just got back from Germany for two weeks - using an RS Converitble Bag (non-roller) and a Northface day pack. Since Lufthansa had 8kg restriction for the carry on - it was tough to get it just right, but I learned how to pack lite and cary hiking/travel clothes that dry quick and keep you comfy. The packing cubes are great too. My backpack was heavier or as heavy - but it counts as a "personal item" like a purse or laptop or briefcase. I had a bunch of guide books and camera equip which was a bit heavy but managable. I quickly learned that traveling light is indeed an art and needs practice since after just a few days my packs seemed heavier! I send heavier souveniers home via POST (not cheap but easier than lugging around). My mobile phone worked great - almost better then here - but got a bit expensive... but it was good to have to make RSVP and call home. Plastic bags were great and I brought enough to share with Ex-Pats who missed them! (1g 2g and small). Im not sure what else I would leave out next time since i had followed ricks guide pretty well, and most all my clothes were designed to be light (expedition and hiking etc). Convertible pants and t-shirts and underwear from Exofficio and REI worked great. All my shirts has secret pockets (Royal Robbins and Exofficio) as did the pants (Northface and Columbia). Together with the money belt it seemed to work well. Cant wat to go again! I did check my RS Bag on the way home since it got a bit heavier and I had some wine which couldnt be taken in hand carry. (Bring a little bubble wrap too)! Thanks for all those who shared their advice and helped me learn! Travel on!
Newport Beach, CA USA Mon 10/02/2006
Handwashing stained clothes
Washing clothing by hand does require some knowledge that the average American rarely has. However, many families in Third World countries manage to get their clothing clean without the benefit of boiling hot water and/or expensive stain removers. Here's how.
Soak and swish your clothes in soapy water as you would for a fine hand-washable. If a stain needs more attention, put a little extra soap on the stain and using a brush (scrub brush, nail brush, old toothbrush, etc.) brush out the dirt. Do not have the stained part of the fabric submerged in water while doing this. You may need to hold the cloth flat against a hard surface (like the sink) and brush it from the stain out to the edge of the fabric. You will literally be brushing the dirt out the edge of the fabric rather like sweeping dirt out the door.
Rinsing is very important to have clean clothes. Two rinses would be the minimum, and four rinses are usually not overkill.
Would I carry a brush for a week-long trip? I'd take enough underwear for the week. For a month-long trip? Carrying a nail brush vs. 30 pairs of underwear is a no-brainer.
FL USA Mon 10/02/2006
Just do it!
However you do it, make sure you PACK LIGHT. On our first trip we were a bit suitcase heavy, and have learned that it is a bit of a challenge to hop onto trains quickly with too much stuff. Those trains move out very fast -- so pack accordingly! small, light, easy to maneuver. Lessons learned!
Denver, CO USA Sun 10/01/2006
If you should happen to find yourself staying in a place with no shelves or drawers for your use, as my husband and I did recently in a very weird hotel only 80 miles from our home, having your clothes and small belongings in packing cubes keeps them neat and organized even if you have to stack the cubes on the floor! I would guess that Zip-loc bags are good too, but possibly won't stack up as neatly.
San Francisco, CA USA Fri 09/29/2006
Packing Cubes are the best! I purchased 4 cubes for my trip to Europe in April although I was sceptical they would be that helpful. Well, I couldn't stop praising them the whole trip. They really helped me to stay organized, and I seemed to have more space in my luggage because of them. I've since taken them camping, on personal trips, and on work trips. Love them!
Fredericton, NB Canada Fri 09/29/2006
I almost always use compression bags. I had problems rolling them to get the air out, so I started putting them on a bed with the openings away from me then laying on them slowly from the bottom up - this gets the air out and doesn't cause wrinkles. The only problem I had with this method was at a hostel in Galway where I had the top bunk!
Denver, CO USA Wed 09/27/2006
I've seen mixed comments on compression bags, but I'm a big fan of them. They wrinkle clothes so I use them for underwear and socks, but they really compress the heck out of them! I bring 2 with me; one for the fresh clothes, one for the dirty (I turn my socks inside out after wearing to tell them apart). And the compression sacks keep the odor from dirty clothes away from everything else.
I don't bring the 5 sets of underwear Rick lists, but 3 pairs of underwear & t-shirts made of a poly material that I wash right in the sink, and 6 pairs of socks. One of the travel clothes-lines made of 3 strands of rubber is great for hanging it all, and I do laundry every other nite.
USA Tue 09/26/2006
Following are instructions for handwashing wool clothing that is IMO superior to drycleaning.
Fill a sink with tepid water and a squirt of shampoo or dishwashing detergent (Woolite is too harsh for me). When done, submerge the sweater and gently squeeze the suds into it. Leave soak for a couple of minutes. Lift the sweater out (may gently squeeze, but do not wring) and empty the water and refill with fresh water. Submerge the sweater and gently squeeze. Repeat the rinsing as many times as needed (at least 3 rinses.) You may put some hair conditioner in the final rinse if you like. To avoid shrinking the wool, you should avoid too much agitation or sudden temperature changes.
Roll the sweater in a towel to remove as much moisture as possible. Another technique to remove moisture without damaging the sweater is to put it in a pillow case, go out side and swing it around your head like you are wringing a chicken's neck. (Grasp the "neck" of the pillow case.) Centrifugal force will drive out the water (and give you a watering) while the pillow case will protect the wool.
Lay flat to dry. You should do some minor shaping to ensure that it comes out to the right dimensions (e.g. pull down on the sleeves, broaden the body, etc.)
FL USA Tue 09/26/2006
New TSA Rules
Earlier this morning, it was reported that you could carry on liquids - if purchased AFTER passing through security.
HOWEVER, the new TSA posting - if you would follow the link in the posting just down from this one - says that you CAN carry on most liquids and gels - IF they are less than 3 oz each (eye drops 4oz) AND if they are placed in a zip top clear bag, AND placed on the belt (or in the grey tubs) seperately from your other bags so they can be hand/eye inspected.
PLEASE follow the link the other poster so wonderfully posted for all of us to read- it is extremely important so we can all understand the new rules, and keep the security lines flowing smoothly.
Shoes must still be removed...
USA Mon 09/25/2006
It is not an accurate statement that liquids must be purchased after passing through security. Travel size liquids purchased at home may be packed and carried on as long as they meet the requirements in terms of size and their ability to fit in the quart sized plastic bag.
Seattle, WA USA Mon 09/25/2006
Liquids and TSA
Just remember that the liquids you can carry on have to be purchased after you've gone through security.
Portland, OR USA Mon 09/25/2006
TSA rules relaxed somewhat
The TSA today relaxed its restrictions on carry-on liquids and gels, so travelers can now carry their travel-sized toiletires in a clear quart-sized plastic bag that can be x-rayed separately. Hurray!
Go to: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/index.shtm
and click on the new security measures effective 9/26/06.
USA Mon 09/25/2006
Gilly and wool
If you are only traveling for a week or two, unless you have an issue with body odor, you should be fine. You do not have to clean a wool sweater each time you wear it.
I can suggest bringing a dryer sheet and placing this with your sweaters to "sweeten" the smell a bit.
I can also suggest that you layer with a synthetic shirt/t-shirt below the wool. This is the shirt that you can wash in a hotel sink and have it dry before the next day. This should absorb any "bad" odors and leave your wool sweater "fresher" for the next travel days.
I can also recommend that you take 2-3 sweaters (if they are indeed lightweight) and switch them off...wear one each day for 2-3 days, then start over..allowing each one to "breathe" between wearings. This will help to keep the sweaters fresher.
USA Sun 09/24/2006
non-liquid substitute for mascara
Try "old-fashioned" solid mascara that comes with a brush in a small container that looks like eye shadow. Here is one type: http://www.amazon.com/Femme-Cake-Mascara-Brush-Brown/dp/B0002T49OM
USA Sun 09/24/2006
How does one care for wool sweaters that are normally dry cleaned at home? I would prefer to bring my wool sweaters vs my cotton ones, since wool is lighter, offers better odor control, and warmer, but I'm not sure how I can easily care for the garments when overseas.
Los Angeles, CA USA Sun 09/24/2006
Corduroy, or anything that is 100% cotton, is never a good choice. Too hard to care for. Takes too long to dry. REI has an Adventure series (pants and shirts) that more reasonable priced than Robbins and ExOfficio and IMO a better product. My wife found a very stylish, wool blend pants at E Bauer. My favorite travel pants comes from Sam's Club under the brand Outer Rim. However, it may be a seasonal items as I have not seen it recently. This is our summer wear and for winter we just add long underwear. Much more convenient and lighter than wearing heavier winter pants.
Centennial, USA Sat 09/23/2006
If you are traveling the winter months, cotton is NOT a good idea. Very cold. Corduroy or jean pants are not the best for travel.
Look for a synthetic pant for travel. Dries fast. Check out Royal Robbins or Ex Officio . Banana Republic makes pants from a jersey knit that is excellent for travel too.
USA Sat 09/23/2006
Are corduroy pants good for travel purposes? Are they preferable to jeans? I'm looking for something easy to wash and presentable.
San Diego, CA USA Fri 09/22/2006
We go to Europe every year right after Christmas. I take stretch velvet separates in black because we sometimes have to dress up. They are warm and can be casual or dressy depending on how you accessorize. I mainly wear my faux uggs and a ski band over my ears.
pacific grove, ca USA Fri 09/22/2006
I support Ellen's comments. We live in the same part of the county where we can have wide temp swings in the winter. I would add a couple of comments or some alternatives to her suggestions.
We find a fleece vest under a rain jacket to be better alternative to a fleece jacket. Second, Marcia likes a polypropylene turthneck as one of her base layers. I don't because it is too much fabric around my neck but it is warm. We add gloves, and a nice, dressy, wool scarf. I like a stocking cap and she prefers ear muffs but she has a lot more hair than I do and our rain jackets have hoods.
We use our normal summer pants but add a long underwear bottom. Other than the fleece vest, almost no additional weight or bulk is added. And I would emphasis --- NO COTTON -- everything should be synthetic or synthetic blend fabric.
Centennial, CO USA Thu 09/21/2006
Packing for winter
As always, LAYER, LAYER, LAYER!
Take several light weight layers - since it's winter, silk or merino wool (not itchy!) base layers are a must - you could always sleep in these too.
Smartwool makes great lightweight baselayer Merino wool for both men and women.
Next layer is a light sweater. Something with wool or silk or a combo is perfect.
next layer is fleece..this will keep you warm, plus it's lightweight.
next layer is a waterproof jacket...again, lightweight, but with the layers below, you will be toasty. then when you go into a building, and it's warm, you simply remove one or two layers.
Bottoms...you can find fleece lined pants - Aventura makes some for women, and Sportif does for men. these are not dressy, but look good, have clean lines and will be toasty for all day touring outside! Find these online at www.Sportif.com
Jeans are cotton and will be cold. You can layer under, and they will be better, but you are better off with a pant like mentioned above, or find a nice wool pant with a liner. Plan on max of 2 pair for your entire trip...you can dry clean them when you get home!
Remember a hat..something to cover your ears. When your head is cold...your body is cold!
Socks...again, go with wool. Smartwool, or Wigwam make great socks.
Footwear. Waterproof! Just in case of cold rains, or snow. Goretex is OK, but any shoe that is advertised as waterproof will work - without the cost of Goretex. Several companies offer this type of footwear...Rockport, Timberland, and REI brands. make sure you purchase a pair with a good sole...something with grip for safety on wet, snowy streets!
USA Thu 09/21/2006
packing for winter
My husband and I are traveling to Italy in November-December. We want to dress nice, comfortable and keep WARM! How to pack light, look nice and stay warm enough?
Seattle, WA USA Thu 09/21/2006
I have travelled to Europe dozens of times and never cease to be amazed at the carry-on dilemmas people put themselves into. what does one need on board a plane anyway? a ticket, ID, cash, eye glasses or contacts, kleenex, a paperback book and toothbrush perhaps? my point? shed your fears! you can fit all your stuff into a 12"x14" nylon or plastic bag. don't be so darn helpless or concerned about who-knows-what! leave your SUV mentality at home. free yourself of the corporate ball and chain and your security blankets! i sure won't miss those bulky, swaying carry-ons that complicate what should be a simple trip.
boulder, co USA Wed 09/20/2006
Making it with only Carry-On Luggage!
I just posted this on my missinghawaii website's blog and realized I should share these ideas with my favorite group of travelers too...
I have prided myself for years on only carrying one bag and never checking luggage. The recent security changes have made that feat rather trying. But, after some initial moaning and groaning, I have decided to look at this as a challenge and figure out how I can still travel with only a carry-on bag.
The best discovery I have made is powdered toothpaste. This is available in most health-food type stores like Whole Foods and Wild Oats. And, while it doesn't taste as great as the paste, it sure beats a 20 hour trip with bad breath!!! I also remember a product they used to make - Oral B Brush-Ups - they were little brushy things that went on the top of your finger - the stores here tell me they are no longer in production, but I'm holding out hope they will come back.
Burt's Bees makes just about every bathroom product in solid bar form; I'm guessing this was originally intended for serious campers, but it works great as carry-on luggage. A shampoo bar gets you through the first night at your destination till you find a shop! Dove makes little packets of face cleaning cloths that you just add water to.
The only thing I have not been able to figure out a non-liquid substitute for is mascara. Any ideas?
One note - things like powdered toothpaste are confusing to the screeners; if you don't want your entire carry-on taken apart piece-by-piece (yes, that is my underwear, thank you), it's best to put all this stuff in one toiletries bag and put it in the tub of stuff to be screened separately (that way they only need to empty the one little bag) - a tip I learned from a screener on my last trip.
For a full list of what you can and cannot bring onboard, visit the TSA's website and discover interesting things (such as on the allowed list: "Personal lubricants - Up to 4 oz."). The website is www.tsa.gov/travelers/index.shtm
Albuquerque, NM USA Wed 09/20/2006
Hope, you can have your eyelashes dyed before going on holidays--it's good for a couple of weeks or so. Some salons even offer temporary dyed on makeup, but I don't know how it looks or lasts.
Canada Wed 09/20/2006
No mascara/eyelash dyes
Please be careful if you're considering dying your eyelashes -- FDA strongly warns against it.
Portland, OR USA Wed 09/20/2006
to dye or not to dye
Okay, in all honesty, I hardly ever wear make-up, but it's the one thing I couldn't think of a suitable replacement for, and I was trying to be inclusive of make-up wearers. Never heard of dying your eyelashes - interesting!
Albuquerque, NM USA Wed 09/20/2006
Packing light (and legal) mascara alternative
Instead of tube mascara, try cake mascara. This is an old-fashioned product that predates tube mascara. Do a Google search and you will find it.
Yes, I agree this is a packing light forum. In today's environment where carry-ons are restricted, we are all trying to find alternatives to the banned items that still allow us to pack as lightly as possible. Cake mascara is an alternative that works. Amazon.com shows this cosmetic items ordered frequently right up there with tooth powder.
Seattle, USA Wed 09/20/2006
t-shirts and sweaters
Just a set of thoughts someone may be able to use... I travel to Europe in the off-season, partially because of the fares (I can travel more often) and because I don't like the crowds of summer. I get what I feel is a better experience, immersed the culture not the tourists. What I learned a long time ago is to pack t-shirts for the trip, and no more than two sweaters or sweatshirts. With the t-shirts I can change them and wear the same outer clothes for much longer, significantly reducing what I carry. As a 48 year old professional in my n'th mid-life crisis, this allows me to easily backpack my way around Europe with minimal bulk.
Dallas, TX USA Mon 09/18/2006
Compression bags are great if they are the kind that you roll out. I don't use them so much for the trip over but for the trip back. It makes more room in my bag for additional stuff I've bought if I can put my clothes in the bags and flatten them. They don't take up any room when not in use since they lie flat in the bottom of my bag. Rick's mesh bags are more for organization. I will be using them for the first time in November and am eager to see how they work.
Lexington, nc USA Mon 09/18/2006
compression bags are great for more bulky items.... I used them for my leather pants which I only wore at night clubs. they are not a pain to use if you get the right ones that just roll the air out of
USA Sun 09/17/2006
When I was in Europe I took a AA battery recharger. I had two pairs of batteries and would change them out in my camera each morning before I left my hotel room. One pair was charging and one was in use each day so I always had fresh batteries in my camera. I have found since then that the rechargable batteries work faster in my camera. It seems to recycle faster and is ready to go after taking a pic.
Louisville, KY USA Sun 09/17/2006
What I learned about travelling to London is that some things never get stocked up enough, like batteries! Also, pack an ipod or mp3 player, the music adds to the enjoyment and passion of travelling, it also helps during those long flight, train rides, or trips on the tube. In warm weather bring along wetnaps, or any wipes, they help too cool you down, also, EVIAN skin mist helps a great deal. Dove cleansing cloths pack well, lather up great and are gentle on all skin types. Bandages come in handy for blisters too. Great shoes are the most important wardrobe item, after all, your feet carry you the furthest! Snacks should be bought locally though, many of them get squashed and damaged anyway during travel. You can get away with one carry on suitcase for either men or woman providing you remember that most people don't care how well you dress when travelling,a s long as you look appropriate. Sleep in the nude or wear something light, like a t shirt bought during your trip! Keep grooming simple, get a wash and wear haircut before you go, take travel size toiletries for short trips.
CANADA Fri 09/15/2006
ETBD Packing Cubes & PackMates
Packing cubes are wonderful for organized packing and finding things in a hurry. Also great for going through security. I never bothered with PackMates (compression bags) until I borrowed one from a travel partner. Thank goodness she had one for my skirt from Aix! Without the compression bag the skirt wouldn't have fit in my backpack if it was the only item in there! Now I'll always take at least one PackMate for just in case.
Lewiston, ID USA Fri 09/15/2006
I agree with Frank. compression bags are a pain to use. I find packing cubes much more user friendly.
I pack according to use: t-shirts in one, undies in another. I use a small one for all my AC adaptor cords when traveling...ipod, camera, cell phone, etc.
They are great for going through security at the airport, and nice to keep that bag from "exploding" during the trip when you get hurried to pack to return home.
Packing cubes just keep the inside of the suitcase much more manageable.
WI USA Thu 09/14/2006
I don't find the compression bags to be very practical. Often than a light weight sweater, I am not packing anything that needs compression. The sweater compresses nicely in a gal size Zip Lock bag, But I do find the packing envelope to be very useful. The medium size is a perfect fit inside the typical carryon bag, The clothes pack tightly, no wrinkles and the underwear and socks fit tightly around the edges.
Centennial, CO USA Thu 09/14/2006
It's nearly impossible to compress jeans. Compression bags worked the best on soft items like sweaters, socks and underwear.
Ft Worth, TX USA Thu 09/14/2006
when to wash towels
gilly microfiber towels dry fast - so wash them whenever they smell or seem really dirty. If you rinse them out after use they should be okay for a while unless you are wearing makeup or get dusty and sweaty.
Clinton, WA USA Wed 09/13/2006
How often should I wash my microfiber towel while on vacation? They're about 12x12. I'll be on vacation for 3 weeks.
los angeles, USA Wed 09/13/2006
Thanks for the tip on the yoga pants! I saw them in the Target flyer this week and was wondering how they would be. I was happy to hear that the back didn't sag. I'm having that problem with another pair that I tried from GAP. I'm going to go grab a pair from Target before I leave for Europe on Saturday!
St. Cloud, MN USA Tue 09/12/2006
Ladies!! I found a pair of yoga pants at Target that I will LIVE in during my two week trip to Europe! They are super comfortable, (I'll wear them on the plane) stylish, and best of all I've been wearing them for two days on a trial run and the butt hasn't bagged out! These look as great with a tank and blouse as they do with a t-shirt. They're in the excercise section and come in black and gray.
St. Cloud, Mn USA Tue 09/12/2006
I found this Eddie Bauer light weight duffle/backpack roller carry-on at Target that will be my one and only piece of luggage for a 16 day Italian trip. I've test packed it and it is ideal for my needs(Our plans include hiking in 5 terre as well as dining at Michelin starred restaurants). I also have a very compact duffle that folds up to a size of a thick slice of bread for the purchases. We depart from Rome where I plan on doing most of my shopping.
Portland, OR USA Mon 09/11/2006
Carry-on's To/From/Through the UK
Hello all, I am leaving this Friday from Seattle, US with layovers in Canada and the UK enroute to Italy. With the new 'no liquids, lotions, gels or aerosols' policy for carry-on's, are damp "Wet Wipes/Moist Wipes" with moisturizers on them acceptable? Much thanks!
Seattle, WA USA Mon 09/11/2006
RE: Time frame of packing list time
Remember that you probably want to leave some room to buy clothes when you travel. Even if you don't, it's really best to stick to the "wear one outfit, pack two" theory of packing light. You can always add a couple of lightweight tops if needed.
Of course, if you just can't live without more outfits and don't mind the extra weight and bulk, go ahead and carry more. You need to be comfortable when you travel!
USA Wed 09/06/2006
Rick's lists are generous! My husband and I did an around-the-world trip to celebrate his 50th birthday. We took no more than we normally take for a 1 or 2 week trip and it all fit nicely in Rick's convertable bag. You might be surprized what you can do without! And you can wash as often (or as seldom) as you need to.
USA Tue 09/05/2006
USA-- the list is accurate. Packing light is packing light. One week, three weeks, or three months it is always the same. You are basicly wearing one and carrying two changes of clothes -- a few accessories will change the look but the basics remain the same. IMO the key to successful packing light is the packing list. We pack on paper for about a month before anything goes in the bag. If want our lists, ask.
Centennial, CO USA Tue 09/05/2006
RE: Time frame of packing list time
Hi - Rick mentions on DVDs, Shows, and books that he uses the same packing methods for 3 weeks or 3 months... so unless its a quick weekend trip - the list should be fine! (adjust for cold weather too with heavier jacket/sweater!)
CA USA Tue 09/05/2006
Time frame of packing list
I've noticed that Rick has a packing list here on his site as well as a packing list for women. I was just wondering what length of time that packing list is for? I will be going to Europe for 3 weeks and was just thinking that the list didn't seem like enough. I'm all about packing light but ya gotta be reasonable to.
USA Tue 09/05/2006
If you are travelling to Britain but also connecting to another flight in Britain, you also have to pick up your checked luggage when you first arrive. Then you have to recheck it all again when you make your connection...so, you can travel into the UK with regular carry on allotment minus liquids/gels (check with your airline to be sure) but know that you will have to recheck everything and only carry on a briefcase size bag for the rest of your journey within Britain or wherever else you are going. Just remember FROM and WITHIN Britain you can only carry on one briefcase sized bag.
USA Sun 09/03/2006
When travelling OUT OF or WITHIN Britain you can only take a briefcase sized bag 45x35x16cm on board. You have to check the rest. This does not mean you can also take a purse. ONE BAG only. They are so strict about this that they have made up wooden bag sizers at every security check and people employed specifically to stand there and try out each person's bag.
If you are travelling on Air Canada OUT OF Britain you can only carry on what is their 'personal' size bag which is 43x33x16 cm (about 17x13x6 inches) This is a BRIEFCASE sized bag. Air Canada allows their regular carry on allotment when travelling anywhere else...like to the States or to Britain (2 pieces, 21.5 x 15.5 x 9 and 17 x 13 x 6 inches)....it's just travelling FROM/WITHIN Britain that you are restricted to the one briefcase sized bag. All airlines have had to adopt this new ONE BRIEFCASE sized bag rule when flying OUT OF or WITHIN Britain.
And we're talking a small briefcase, not the large expandable ones...those wooden bag sizers are VERY unforgiving!
USA Sun 09/03/2006
Carry-on Restrictions on British Airways
Does anyone know how strict British Airways is on their one "laptop" size carry-on bag? I have a normal size carry-on suitcase that I was counting on taking.
Fresno, CA USA Sat 09/02/2006
Solids and Powders
Click on 'Security Restrictions at all UK airports' to right. Then, scroll down to two files, one is pdf, the other is text format. These mention what you can and cannot take to and within Britain. Solids and powders are mentioned in the 'not permitted' list. I would check other country sites to make sure what you can take.
Canada Sat 09/02/2006
I noticed the British security signs at Heathrow warn that they don't allow carrying of 'toiletries' including BAR SOAP. Talc powder was also mentioned. They do allow certain foods such as sandwiches, crisps, some fruit...not sure about what they think about gum. I bought band-aids with built in antibiotic ointment for first aid and also a wet washcloth in a ziplock will help you freshen up. Keep pills and such in original packaging.
Canada Fri 09/01/2006
If you truely want to carry-on now with the new restrictions, look for alternatives to liquid products. There are companies that make solid shampoo bars (Burt's Bees, Lush.com) which can also double as body soap. Try finding a dental powder instead of a paste. Use solid deoderant. Pack sugarfree gum for a quick mouth freshen up instead of mouthwash. No doubt there will still be things you'll need once you get to your destination, but at least you'll have some basics to freshen up with before having to find a drugstore.
LA, CA USA Fri 09/01/2006
I hope that some entrepreneural types will open kiosk's at the exits of airports selling small bottles of nice shampoos etc. Wish I had the wherewithal to do it myself. Maybe Rick sould look into this as a sideline!
Canada Fri 09/01/2006
I really like the backpack I bought from this site - it really is just much quicker to move with it (instead of a regular suitcase). Also, I think it makes you look like less of a tourist than a suitcase.
lake mary, fl USA Thu 08/31/2006
Test out Backpack vs. Wheels First
This is a big decision, especially on the go as you will be- we are all so different. I would strongly suggest going to a sporting goods/luggage shop. Take some heavy books (or? but enough to add some real weight)...if you are going to truly pack light you should check the carrier's weight limits and attempt to create that amount in both bag. Then walk around the store and look at quick- dry pants, underwear, etc. After about 15- 20 minutes, with each, you should have some idea of what it would be like! For the record, once in Europe, I was on trains and ferries a lot and noticed that the European travelers had humungous bags- I repeatedly saw young girls with three or four bags, and they somehow managed to wrestle them all over the place!!!!
USA Thu 08/31/2006
Just made a round trip from Virginia to Dallas, TX. No one confiscated my tiny bottle of hand sanitizer in either direction. Either the quantity was too small to care about, or I don't look like a bomber.
However, on my way back, the TSA folks at Dallas hollered "bag check" over my carry-on. The nice fellow inspected my deodorant (solid) and a small film canister that I keep in my toiletries kit. It contains Rolaids.
He asked me if I had anything that could be construed as a weapon, and I said, "I have a rat-tail comb that was my mother's." He never asked to see it. It has a metal frame, and the rat-tail is spring loaded and pops out when you press a button. Conceivably, it would make a dandy weapon.
Not sure if these are incidents to worry about!
VA USA Thu 08/31/2006
I am going to Europe for 3 weeks and will be traveling from London to Rome and just about every place inbetween. I am debating between a backpack or a suitcase with wheels. Any thoughts on which would be best to take?
USA Thu 08/31/2006
just the maps
I have a book for Cheap eats for London handy but too heavy so I take colored copy of maps from book with few checks or notes on map I always know the deals or I may just find resaurant and be surprised
Bellevue, WA USA Wed 08/30/2006
Something to concider
Remember" big boys and girls"it is not easy to just go to Walmart and buy more so don't pack too light just in case one shirt or pants get ripped. A friend had 2 pants ruined in Africa and was told no clothes his size here --try next COUNTRY!!
John (Big Boy) Brangwin
Bellevue, Wa USA Wed 08/30/2006
I do believe that Heathrow Experience was saying that she was overpacked (and planned to do better next time). That is what I read from it, anyway!
On my own packing (we leave for Europe in a week), I found a clearance yesterday on some Pro Spirit shirts (about $2.00) that should be easily hand-washable. Those were at Target. Good for working out, but nice enough to wear out for a day too.
Lake Mary, FL USA Wed 08/30/2006
Something to consider is the weight and bulk of the items you buy to take home. That has tripped me up more than the initial packing.
Rockwall, TX USA Tue 08/29/2006
Fifteen shirts, and two large rolling duffels is NOT packing light or even close. A little carry on bag with five shirts is going light but ditch the rest. Get serious.
USA Tue 08/29/2006
I want to share my experiences from having to fly into Heathrow on August 12. I have struggled to pack less for years. Being forced to do it finally opened my eyes. I usually pack for myself and my husband a little carry on bag with 5 shirts, one pant, 5 socks, 5 undie and toiletries. Then, we also check two large rolling duffles with all the 'just in case' items. Lately I have noticed that many bundles of clothes I pack into these rolling duffles do not see the light of day on the entire trip. I wear my favourite t-shirts and usually have a laundry trip at least once. I take about 4 pants and usually wear 3. I take 15 shirts and wear maybe 8. I take a few little sleeveless tops I think I might need if it is hot...and never wear more than one.
We were bound for Heathrow August 12 and had to completely rethink and replan our packing strategy. Not knowing if Air Canada would take carry ons, not knowing what would happen in Heathrow when changing to a domestic flight. We were prepared with our clear plastic bags with wallet, passport and medications. And, I had my little carry ons packed accordingly. We could take the carry on minus liquids and gels and electronics on Air Canada out of Canada. Then, we had to pick up our luggage in Heathrow that was checked and then recheck the entire lot, carry ons included when we changed to our domestic flight. We kept only our clear plastic bags while flying within Britain. Through security again at Heathrow bound for our final destination, they took my favourite pen and some medications (pepto bismal and gravol from my little first aid kit) as these were medications that were not prescribed and therefore did not have personal names on them...(they did not take this same stuff from my husband's plastic bag... he got a different security agent) Other than that, the lesson learned was that we could fly with the minimal amount and be O.K.!!! It was hard to get used to hanging onto a clear plastic bag as I'm so used to a waistpack. And, the contents are on display for all to see!! However, the freedom was unimaginable! We eventually upgraded our clear plastic Ziplock bags to ones from a duty free shop with handles (just bunged the old Ziplocks in them) and felt quite comfortable. We made fewer unnecessary purchases as all we had were the plastic bags with no room for anything else.
I will probably try to pack this way again...but maybe with ONE change of clothes in a carry on and the rest in hopefully one day ONE checked rolling duffle. One can only try and try again! I felt quite scared that we might lose our luggage on the way there with all the increases in checked luggage and changes of planes. Plus, we had an instance of maybe having to spend a night to wait for a plane...with only our plastic bags!!
As for security, there was not one instance where we could predict what they would do. They did not confiscate anything on the way back (I put pepto bismal and gravol in our plasctic bags on the way back and they were not confiscated)
I can only suggest that one be prepared with a small bag with the very basics and check everything else.
Canada Sun 08/27/2006
Another bit of advice for Kim/heavy packers
Next time you come home from a trip, write down everything you packed but didn't wear/use. Revise your packing list for your next trip accordingly.
USA Sat 08/26/2006
I travel with one backpack (for my size and age..66!) and one very small duffle bag. I pack an extra nylon, with drawstring closure, gym-style back-bag to use when I am in the city or taking short hikes/walks. It's large enough for a rolled up rain jacket, scarf, tiny gloves, binoculars, money and IDs...I also have a very small, flat nylon purse with long adjustable strap that measures just big enough to carry passport, credit card, cash, tiny pen and tiny address book for airline take-on or my in-city "window licking" (window shopping). So most of the time I am a hands-free traveller. I am frequently asked, "Is this all you have?".....yep! I was Rick Steves before he was!
boulder , CO USA Sat 08/26/2006
Best advise for packing lighter
Take a smaller bag.
USA Sat 08/26/2006
I can't imagine wearing anything 4 days in a row! I am bringing one outfit that is sun protective and VERY light, easy to clean and dries quickly. Plus a couple of other outfits - but I expect I'll be wearing the sun protective outfit every other day.
I like my big cotton socks, so I do pack more socks. I have some underwear that can be washed and cleaned by hand, so I will bring that.
USA Fri 08/25/2006
Kim - heavy packer
Hmmm, I find it interesting that you know you are a heavy packer. You might need some specific advise.
To pack light, the maximum amount of underwear, socks, and tops are "1 on you, 1 clean, 1 dirty, and 1 drying". That is a total of 3 in your luggage. You must do laundry (preferably in your hotel sink) at least every 3 nights, though more often is safer. You should have half as many bottoms as tops, so that is 1 on and 1 packed. Same with shoes: 1 on and 1 packed; 1 walking shoe and 1 slightly dressier sandal. Thin flipflops are a potential extra for showering down the hall and going to the beach. A bathing suit is small and usually worth throwing in unless you are certain you won't need one. Jewelry should be a watch and the bare minimum of anything else. I prefer to take only the earrings, ring, and/or necklace that I wear on the plane, but if you feel the need for variety, having a change or 2 of jewelry (no more) is one of the lighter ways of getting variety. Include a light rainjacket and sweater.
Add a tiny first aid/repair kit and tiny toiletry kit; neither should be bigger than a sandwich bag. Complete it with a camera (small digital are wonderful), guidebook(s), and security belt for passport and other essentials. YOu may possibly need an alarm clock, small microfiber towel, and hostel sheet, but only if needed for your travel style. Oh, and don't forget a small envelope of home photos to show your new friends and a journal for recording your thoughts and memories.
Finally, 1 (ONE ONLY) splurge item. For me it is binoculars, for others it is a novel, for others it is knitting needles or a small musical instrument or extra camera equipment. Just be sure that it is something you will really use and appreciate having, and it is only ONE thing or ONE SMALL bag of tiny things.
That's it. Don't even consider anything else. If there is anything that you really need/want and didn't pack, consider it a handy excuse for some fun shopping there. And all the empty space bellowing the sides of your luggage is storage for the shopping.
FL USA Fri 08/25/2006
Another packing light tip!
One of the biggest adaptations I've made is to break the habit of thinking I am not clean if I don't have a totally new change of clothes each day. If you shower, and hand wash your undies/bras (you'll only need two that way, besides what you wear on the plane)you can easily wear the same pair of shorts/pants/skirt at least three, maybe four days in a row. If you can't hand wash your shirts, turn them inside-out overnight and spritz with anti- wrinkle spray. Take SHOUT wipes or a bleach pen or your small stain remover of choice and keep in your day bag for any drips. If your trip is only a week or two long, you can see how three bottoms/tops plus your plane outfit is basically enough. If your trip is longer, you can do laundry and buy a new top! Take a chance this trip and pack what seems like not enough, and see how you do! I have found that I really enjoy not having to think about getting dressed or what to wear, since I have to dress well for work. As long as you look neat, as the other poster pointed out, who besides you (and your similarly garbed travel companion)knows those are the same pants from three days ago?
USA Fri 08/25/2006
specialty travel towels
I'm a convert to microfiber towels. On a recent trip, I took a 16 inch x 16 inch microfiber towel bought in the automotive section of Wal-mart for $1, and it did an excellent job of drying me and my hair each evening. It dried overnight.
I recently bought a pack of 25 towels from Sam's Club for about $13, and have cut a couple into 4 - 4 in x 4 in pieces, hemmed the raw sides, and am looking forward to using them as washcloths.
Yes, you can buy full sized microfiber towels, but why carry the unneeded weight and bulk, and why pay the big price for them?
FL USA Fri 08/25/2006
Kim - heavy packer
Kim, here's what you do...lay out everything you THINK you'll need on your bed (floor, couch, wherever there is room!) and then take out HALF! I'm not kidding, you always think you'll need more than you do, but you forget things like you can do laundry while your on your trip (some places will even do it for you so you don't have to spend precious sight-seeing time in a laundry-mat) and nobody but you will know if you wear the same shirt three times on one vacation. Also, think about taking smaller things, you don't need the WHOLE bottle of shampoo, just enough for your trip, so portion some out into a smaller container. Things like that. Also, you gotta start with a smaller bag, no matter what size the bag is, you'll feel like you need to fill it, so if you have a smaller bag, and you fill it, it's still not as much stuff as you would pack in the larger bag. I hope this helps!
USA Fri 08/25/2006
Help Me..I am a heavy packer
Hi-I always have a tendency to pack waaaay to much on my trips to Europe. Last year my boyfriend and I went to Germany. We used the LL Bean Extra Large rolling duffle. We put all of our stuff in there. However, I had a lot more than my bf. Anywhere I go I always pack more than I should. I try to justify why I need this or that. Wind up not even using half the stuff. Anyone have any suggestions for me to cut back? Thanks-Kim
New York, NY USA Fri 08/25/2006
I just returned from Europe and my ear plugs were the best investment (if staying in hostels) also a micronet towel...though expensive was worth it! Its compact, dries fast and you dont have to wash it all the time!
USA Thu 08/24/2006
Take some silk thermals for under your clothes. I traveled in West. Europe over Nov - Dec and Venice was colder than the Swiss alps. The silk packs really small, keeps you warm and you can use them as pj's in places if the heat doesn't work. I was really happy I had mine in Venice!
Vancouver, BC Canada Thu 08/24/2006
Packing Light at K-Mart?!?
Don't everybody laugh at once, but I was at my local K-Mart today, and they had inexpensive non-wrinkle slinky separates for women that are very similar to the pricey travel knits at Chico's (Jaclyn Smith Collection). I also saw PackMate compression bags, money belts, and mesh bags (travel/camping dept). If you're not near a specialty travel store or are on a tight budget, you might be surprised at what you can find at a discount department store.
MA USA Thu 08/24/2006
I also got nice mesh bags at a Dollar Store last year. I bought one pack for $1 that had three small bags in it, but they are big enough for a pair of shoes or more. The other pack had two larger ones. I think they even had some bigger ones that were one to a pack for $1. They even have zippers in them instead of drawstrings. I also found large mesh bags (with the drawstring) at a store like Home Depot or Menards. Hope this helps.
USA Wed 08/23/2006
Don't forget ziplocks!
The big, huge size are great for keeping items of the same type together- say, all your t-shirts. You can see the contents easily and no smells can get in (or out! once you are nearing the end of your trip you can use them for laundry). I also kept a separate ziplock for each mini guidebook I assembled for each part of the trip...another for first aid, etc. Especially now with all the increased security the bags also make it easy for agents to inspect your stuff while keeping it clean and intact.
USA Wed 08/23/2006
Mesh Bags - at camping/sporting goods
Mesh bags are usually available at local sporting goods stores that specialize in Camping/Mountaineering gear. RS has them on his store here too I belive.
USA Wed 08/23/2006
Just want to add a note to the airline restrictions. I just flew back from the U.K. to Atlanta via Gatwick on the 15th. They are not allowing any hard cases (i.e. eyeglass cases) to be carried on to the plane. I had to leave behind an expessive case at the security checkpoint, and by the looks of it so did several others on my flight. I did not see any warnings about this, and by the time I was told my luggage had already been checked.
Columbus, GA USA Fri 08/18/2006
Cutting down on tee shirts
Here's a tip from a hiker (we NEED to travel light).
Don't use cotton tee-shirts. Go to a hiking store and buy a couple of tee-shirts that hikers use as their lowest layer. They are made of what is often called "wicking material", so-called because if you perspire, the moisture is "Wick"-ed away from the inner surface to keep you dry and comfortable. They are great for travelling, because if you wash it in your room, wring it out, then squeeze it in a dry towel, it will dry on a radiator in less than half an hour (in fact, because of its wicking property, it's even possible to put it on straight away.
With just two or three of these, you will need to pack no other tee shirts.
They seem a little expensive at first, but they are very durable, I bought my first one five years ago, and still use it. They are very comfortable to wear, they HAVE to be for use when hiking.
Sheffield, Yorks England Fri 08/18/2006
Toothpowder by Eco-Dent
Eco-Dent makes a toothpowder that is both easy to use and great tasting. The 2 oz. bottle comes in about 5-6 different flavors and lasts for months. They also have a travel pack which contains 15 1-day packs which are very light and easy to carry, and are safe as carry on luggage as there is no liquid. most health food stores have it or check out their website at www.eco-dent.com They even claim that Oprah Winfrey has it in her medicine cabinet at home!!!
racine, wi USA Thu 08/17/2006
I have tried toothpaste powder on a trip to Slovakia and found that one tube only lasted me for one night. I used root beer instead of water to dilute the powder (due to the lack of H2o) and the paste turned into clay-like substance that clogged the sink in my hostel. I ended being charged three extra nights for the clog! I don't know if the cause was the root beer, the powder, or the hostel plumbing, but next time I'll make sure to use chewing gum to clean my teeth instead.
Reno, NV USA Thu 08/17/2006
When i went to Europe with my family for a month we put all our stuff in one big suitcase. we where charged extra at the airport because the suitcase weighed too much. if we had put our things in two seperate suitcases we wouldn't have been charged extra
USA Wed 08/16/2006
Toothpaste powder only weighs 1-2 ounces in it's original container. I travel with it often. It comes in mint or cinnamon and can be found at co-ops/health food stores/sporting goods stores etc. A container will last for approx 6 months.
Minneapolis, USA Wed 08/16/2006
Bev, in most cases the difference between a roll-on and a carry-on bag is not stairs, it's having to check your bag to So. America vs taking very little. With a 2# carry-on (empty) bag I am limited by the airlines to 15# of clothing and such. With a roll-on bag, that's cut by 5#.
USA Tue 08/15/2006
Lots of opinions!
For Bev- if you scroll back you'll find lots of pros and cons for each option- but the upshot will be that the wheels add some weight (for when you are climbing those stairs and using the handle)or meeting airline limits for carry-on. At the same time they are sure delightful for longer hauls, lines in the airport, etc. Unless you are going over super bumpy cobblestones, I've wheeled mine all over Europe easily. On the other hand, up long flights of stairs I long for a backpack version! I'll bet you could call the friendly RS home office and find out exactly how many cobbles or long flights of stairs await you.
USA Tue 08/15/2006
Backpack vs roller bag
I'm really leaning towards taking the carry-on roller bag rather than the backpack on the 21 day tour. If you have recently been to Europe and have any words of wisdom, I would like to hear from you. My concern is the amount of stairs we have to climb and how are the streets for rolling a bag? Thanks!
La Mesa, CA USA Tue 08/15/2006
Hello All, I just wanted everyone to know that sausage casings can be the single most difficult product to transport from Lithuania. Not only do they shrivel up into a ball at high altitudes, but they're ability to hold water is impossible!!!
TX USA Mon 08/14/2006
Bonnie and contacts
Are your contacts prescription and have a label? If so, you might be able to carry them on. Check with your airline.
Restrictions are changing quite frequently right now, so don't panic. Wait a day or so before you actually leave, call your airline and ASK. They will best advise you.
I just took a domestic flight, returning just yesterday.
I was able to take my daypack on board with my ipod, computer, cell phone. I took my gel lipsticks out and packed them. No water or any other liquids were allowed on the plane, even if purchased after passing through security.
If your flight goes through the UK, then you have more a bit more reading to do...
USA Mon 08/14/2006
contact lenses and new restrictions
Are any other contact lens wearers worried about the new carry-on restrictions? I wear disposable lenses that are packaged (from the manufacturer) in liquid, and the thought of packing them in a checked bag is literally keeping me up at night! I'm so near-sighted that I really don't see well in glasses (peripheral vision is a total blur), and I'm afraid my prescription contacts will be lost or delayed for days in a checked bag. Any thoughts/helpful comments on this? We're going to Europe on Sept. 1 for 16 days.
Tucson, AZ USA Mon 08/14/2006
Brush-Ups for cleaning teeth
The products for cleaning teeth (look like tiny finger "gloves") are called Brush-Ups and they are still sold. I bought a bunch at Walgreens recently on sale 2-for-1.
Tallahassee, FL USA Mon 08/14/2006
tooth powder, etc.
I just remembered that my dad used a tooth powder, made by Colgate, I think, when I was young (1970's). I don't know if it's still made, but I'm going to look for it. Otherwise I was thinking of trying those Listerine strip things and a toothbrush--like brushing with some mouthwash--better than nothing.
I've been checking the TSA website regularly--I know it's primarily for domestic travel, but it does have some info about flying internationally. Tonight it looks like TSA has loosened up on some of the original restrictions except on flights originating in England (if I'm reading it right--feel free to correct me if I'm wrong!)
USA Sun 08/13/2006
In my food coop I have seen tooth powder- I think produced by Tom's of Maine. Anyway, check natural food stores. It will be just like baking soda, probably, but I'm sure a little home- filled baggie of white powder won't go over well with security- at least the Tom's would be in a labeled container!
USA Sun 08/13/2006
When I visited Italy I traveled light and didn't bring home gifts. After arriving at home, I went to the store and bought a box of cookies made in Italy and took them to work. Nobody cared and I kept my pack light!
USA Sun 08/13/2006
Yes, it means you can't bring the wine. There have been lots of picture of people in near tears as their wine is being confisicated. As to packing it in checked luggage - I do it all the time. I have done this many times with both soft and hard sided. I put the bottles in a dirty heavy duty sock (TSA must love me!), then just in case I pack them in spare vacuum bags in case they leak, then I place them about as central in the suitcase as I can, packed tightly with cloths around (i.e., no curling iron up against it). Since a crushing blow could produce shards that would cut the plastic I then put any critical closes in another bag. I have done this with approximately 50 bottles of wine and beer with never a problem. Of course, if you really want to play it safe, or have lots of wine (don't forget weight limits in checked luggage) then ship it!
Houston, tx USA Sun 08/13/2006
More specific TSA list
A better prohibited items list with examples (for domestic US flights and international flights not to the UK) is now up on the TSA site, it would seem that solid lip glosses (the kind that come in a pot or a compact as well as blushes are allowed). Most other things are not: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/prohibited/new-items.shtm
So far, MP3 players, laptops and the like are still allowed in carry on. :-)
So far, I think I am going to still go carry on in two weeks and have the adventure of shopping for shampoo and the like. It's one way to travel very light!!
Oswego, IL USA Sat 08/12/2006
Mix and Match contents of Luggage
In light of recent restrictions this may not be immediately applicable. We're planning on traveling light but we'll have three bags: two backpacks/duffel bags and Rick's Avanti daypack. For Aer Lingus the "normal" (this is not currently the case of course) restrictions for carry-ons are 1 per person at 9"x14"x18"/14 lbs. (2" smaller than Rick's carry-on bags) I pretty much accept we'll have to check at least one bag (our trip is next year).
I thought we can mix and match contents...pack the carry-ons with underwear, and one outfit and pjs for each person (in my case my husband and I) and allowed toiletries. That way if we're forced to check a bag, then we'll have the bare necessities should anything unfortunate happen to the checked luggage.
Santa Ana, Southern California, CA USA Sat 08/12/2006
Chapstick not allowed, as well as lipstick, lip gel etc.
No, it's not.
New Travel Security Measures - - - - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that effective immediately, additional security measures are in effect in response to recent events in the United Kingdom. The announcement is below:
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is implementing a series of security measures, some visible and some not visible, to ensure the security of the traveling public and the nation's transportation system.
NO LIQUIDS OR GELS OF ANY KIND WILL BE PERMITTED IN CARRY-ON BAGGAGE. SUCH ITEMS MUST BE IN CHECKED BAGGAGE.
This includes all beverages, shampoo, suntan lotion, creams, tooth paste, hair gel, and other items of similar consistency Exceptions: Baby formula and medicines, which must be presented for inspection at the checkpoint.
Beverages purchased in the boarding area, beyond the checkpoint, must be consumed before boarding because they will not be permitted onboard the aircraft.
Passengers traveling from the United Kingdom to the United States will be subject to a more extensive screening process. These measures will be constantly evaluated and updated as circumstances warrant.
Additionally, the United Kingdom has, at least temporarily, banned all carry on luggage.
- - - - What You Need to Know - - - -
* No liquids of any kind are permitted to be carried on to a flight. Even travel-size items such as hand lotion are banned at this time. If you have doubts about any item leave it at home.
* Exceptions include baby formula, breast milk or juice for passengers traveling with infants and small children, prescription medicine that matches the passengers name, and essential non-prescription medicines. Be sure all medicines are clearly labeled.
* At this time, these measures are subject to change. They may be temporary or may be extended.
* Passengers who normally carry on their luggage will be greatly affected. Keep in mind that toiletries such as cologne, shampoo, nail polish, eyeliner, and toothpaste are all banned. You may either check bags containing such items or purchase them at your destination. Search through what you carry in your purse or brief case. Be sure to remove any liquid hand sanitizer, perfume, lip balm, sun tan lotion, or liquid breath fresheners.
* Drinks purchased at the airport after passing through security must be consumed before boarding. You will not be allowed to take along bottled water or other drinks.
* Naturally, picking up your favorite bottle of alcohol at the Duty-Free shop is out of the question.
* At this time, according to the TSA and contrary to some media reports, electronics such laptops, cell phones, and music players are not banned.
* Anticipate that security screening will once again be slow, and the lines will be long, so make sure you allow plenty of time to pass through security. You should plan to arrive, at the bare minimum, two hours early and possibly even three hours if traveling in the next few days.
* Neatly arranged carry-on bags with see-through plastic or mesh organizers will make it easier for TSA inspectors and speed the security process.
* Keep in mind that these rules are brand new and initially may be interpreted or even mis-interpreted by airport security personnel. As always, have patience with security personnel as they are ensuring your safety.
* When packing your checked luggage, bear in mind that luggage handlers are not as gentle as you are when you carry-on. Be sure that all liquids are in leak-proof containers.
* You may still decant liquids such as shampoo from a large flip-top bottle into smaller leak-proof travel bottles as long as they are in checked luggage.
* To be doubly safe, place all liquid containers in sealed zip-top bags or containers designed to be leak proof.
* Be prepared to check your carry-on bag. Should the United States follow the U.K.'s lead and, even temporarily, ban carry-on luggage, be sure that your carry-on bag is sturdy enough to be checked. Until the new security policies are clearly enforced, you may wish to avoid traveling with valuables in case you are required to check them.
* Contact your airline if you wish to change your travel plans. Many airlines are temporarily waving change fees.
For the latest information, see the TSA website at http://www.tsa.gov
ON Canada Sat 08/12/2006
MEC convertible backpack/carryon
I have that bag, that is mentioned here a few times. I love it. I havent had the pleasure to take it on long haul trips but I use it as a weekend bag and I've also used it as a school bag. Its very comftorable and has lots of nifty places to put all your things. And for the price? Its the right type of bag. Also, I used to have a backpack in HS from MEC that has lasted through everything. MEC has great bags. If they get dirty, I just throw mine in the washing machine, let dry overnight, and they're good as new. Give one a try!
AB Canada Fri 08/11/2006
***SIGH*** I just got Rick's nifty Avanti Flight Bag...used it once (in this country)...loved it...it is PERFECT for what I need to haul. I hope things go back to where we can have carry-ons (subject to searching, of course) again...
USA Fri 08/11/2006
Aug 22 & Carryon
I don't want to hijack the point of this page, but since it was asked, here's a link that basically explains a bit of what is believed to happen on 8/22: http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/brian_whitaker/2006/08/world_to_end_on_august_22.html
You can do more research online for more details.
As of last night, the airlines are letting carry-on on flights INTO UK again, but from RS's announcement on the front page, it seems it may not. Best bet, call your airline before you leave to make sure so you can plan and pack accordingly.
San Diego, CA USA Fri 08/11/2006
Whats happening on August 22nd?
USA Fri 08/11/2006
Wine in baggage
I've carried wine as baggage in a box specifically designed for transporting six bottles of wine. It made it through 5 plane transfers with no problem
Austin, TX USA Fri 08/11/2006
Storing Wine Underneath
I am coming back from two months in Europe and want to bring home wine for my parents. Do to the new rules I can't bring in on board with me. Will it explode if I try to put it in luggage I am going to check?
Philadelphia, Pa USA Fri 08/11/2006
Changing from UK to France
We were planning on leaving tomorrow for Heathrow for a trip to the UK. Luckily, we were able to change our trip to France. Thank you, Rick for publishing easy-to-read guide books. It is helping to facilitate our last-minute plans! Thank you also for promoting the light-packing concept, of which I have proscribed for years. I think it will really come in handy this trip.
Washington, DC USA Thu 08/10/2006
ERT: I posted the US restrictions, I am not flying into or out of the UK. My post was directly from the TSA website for the US. Unfortunately, my concern with checking all of my baggage is that I am flying two different carriers and will have a layover that may not be long enough to deal with claiming baggage from one airline and checking it onto another. It would have been sufficient with regular restrictions.
Oswego, IL USA Thu 08/10/2006
Carry-on Restrictions Clarification (directly from AA)
Actually, to clarify ERT, carry-on is banned from all flights to, from, and through the UK. So all of us American tourists going to London will have to check everything except what is allowed in the clear ziploc bag. We're leaving this Monday from San Diego to Heathrow so I called American Airlines to confirm. Not even a book is allowed.
We are going to backpack it through Europe for 17 days (our first trip!), so we had packs from REI that fit carry-on guidelines. I asked what we can do about checking backpacks and the safety of checking our camera, and the only suggestion I got was pack it all well. To avoid the straps getting caught or cut, we can box it all up and check it. We can chuck the boxes when we get to Heathrow. The ban is only to/from/thru UK. All other european cities are still unaffected (other than the liquids restriction).
To top it all off, there's the mild scare about August 22nd too. Did we pick the wrong time to travel or what?
San Diego, CA USA Thu 08/10/2006
Carry-on- don't plan on it.
Read the message below yours. That is what is (as of today) allowed on flights from the UK to the US. (Actually, it appears to be on any flight out of the UK.) You can find more info on the BBC NEWS.
Among other things that may not be carried on coming from the UK - cameras, laptops, books, magazines, newspapers, etc. You get one clear plastic bag into which you have to put only the items listed. You may not store other items in your pockets. Purses are not allowed.
I would not be at all surprised if the US went to these stricter rules as well very shortly. How long they would last is another question.
But, until things are clearer, I would plan on having to check all luggage if I were you. Put your money belt in the clear plastic bag (although you may have to provide your own). Also, don't plan on buying some of these items in the shops after passing the security check. They won't be allowed on the airplane.
Hey - it won't ruin your holiday to have to stand in line for your bag for half an hour or so.
Maybe some of this will have abated by Sept. 3. Then again, maybe not. You'll be safest if you plan for the worst.
There is a slight golden lining to this. 1) At least the overhead luggage racks won't be so full of everyone else's 'max' carry-on luggage that you can't even get your coat in one. 2)It will certainly speed up the process of getting off the airplane on arrival.
It can be lived with.
USA Thu 08/10/2006
New thoughts on traveling light
Well, I fully accept that this is the end of the carry-on-only flight, whether domestic or international. Sorry, but that's the reality (assuming that most of us prefer to bring at least some toiletries along...)
I still think it is reasonable and desirable to pack light. After all, you still have to lug around what you bring from place to place once you get where you're going. Also, using those see-through packing cubes will help TSA check through our checked baggage quickly and efficiently and minimize the risk of things falling out during manual inspection.
Things I will really miss--having my laptop and cellphone on international flights--no point in packing electronic items anymore. Being able to take a book or crossword puzzles on international flights (I really hope that they loosen the restrictions into the UK soon--I'm heading to Heathrow in two weeks...and it's a really long flight without reading matter.)
USA Thu 08/10/2006
"Guidance For Airline Passengers Raised Threat Levels:
The U.S. threat level is raised to Severe, or Red, for all commercial flights flying from the United Kingdom to the United States.
The U.S. threat level is raised to High, or Orange, for all commercial aviation operating in the United States, including international flights. Flights from the United States to the United Kingdom are also Orange.
Increased Aviation Screening Procedures:
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is implementing a series of security measures, some visible and some not visible, to ensure the security of the traveling public and the nation's transportation system.
TSA is immediately implementing the following changes to airport screening procedures:
NO LIQUIDS OR GELS OF ANY KIND WILL BE PERMITTED IN CARRY-ON BAGGAGE.
SUCH ITEMS MUST BE IN CHECKED BAGGAGE. This includes all beverages, shampoo, suntan lotion, creams, tooth paste, hair gel, and other items of similar consistency.
Exceptions: Baby formula and medicines, which must be presented for inspection at the checkpoint.
Beverages purchased in the boarding area, beyond the checkpoint, must be consumed before boarding because they will not be permitted onboard the aircraft.
Passengers traveling from the United Kingdom to the United States will be subject to a more extensive screening process.
These measures will be constantly evaluated and updated as circumstances warrant.
How every passenger can assist in security:
Pack lightly, without clutter, to facilitate easier screening. Arrive earlier than usual at the airport. Cooperate with TSA personnel at checkpoints and with airline personnel at all gates. Be attentive and vigilant to any suspicious activity and report it to authorities. Increased Border Protection Procedures:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection will increase enforcement efforts in international arrival areas including the use of advanced targeting tools, special response teams including baggage and aircraft search teams, baggage x-ray equipment, specially-trained canine units, and explosive detection technology.
DHS has also mandated that all flights from the United Kingdom transmit passenger manifest information for intensive screening prior to departure from the gate. In addition, passengers on these flights and all other international flights will be subject to heightened inspection upon arrival in the United States. "
This may mean that traveling carry-on only will be impossible unless you plan on purchasing all liquid items (this includes shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, contact lens solution, etc) at your destination. Hopefully this will be relaxed in the next few days/weeks (as I'm leaving for Ireland on Sept 3).
Oswego, IL USA Thu 08/10/2006
HEADS UP ON CARRY ON RULES
Heads up on terror plot foiled in London at Heathrow (in the news August 10)...NO CARRY ON BAGGAGE ALLOWED in Britain! Check the news cnn.com and your airline for details on what you can bring on board. British Airways is only letting people on with a plastic bag with only the essentials, wallet, medications, travel documents...this is widespread for all British airports/airlines...could expand beyond that. Britain says they've raised their security to critical levels.
Canada Thu 08/10/2006
Creatively Staying Under the Weight Limit
I frequently traveled with a 20" wheeled bag on Lufthansa with no problem. Inside the suitcase I have a duty free bag that I put in my toiletries bag and ziplock bag containing my chargers/electronics - in other words, the heaviest things in my bag. Before I get to gate, I pull my duty free bag out which makes my wheeled bag meet their weight limits (if they check - they don't always). I've never seen them deny a duty free bag on board and I've never had them look inside a duty free bag. Bottom line - there is always a way to do what you want. The key is to pack light - my wheeled bag is an old one and is 10.5# empty - packed with everything I bring its 21-23#. I don't take a lot of clothes and the ones I bring are light. The convenience of the wheeled bag fits my travel style unless I'm on a camping trip.
NY USA Wed 08/09/2006
RE: Art's wife
Unless you give up and check your luggage, which is an invitation to disaster, you have to stay under the carry-on weight limit. On Lufthansa that is 8 kg, 17.6#. Wheelie bags weigh more than 7# empty, so the most you can carry on is just over10#. For 10# you can go to Walmart and get a gym bag that weighs about a pound. Packed it will only weigh 11#. That sounds like a much better solution than dragging around 17.6# of packed bag, wheels or not.
In my case, after using a ETBD convertible bag for years, I went out and bought a 1¾# Campmor bag. With it I can carry on almost 15#, 5# more than if I had a wheelie.
USA Wed 08/09/2006
Art's wife wanting wheels
I just read Rick's 2006 Europe through the Back Door and confirmed what I had thought he said: his wife and most of his staff prefer the wheeled bags. But even before that I wondered if maybe the problem was that the convertible bag is too big for her. Maybe for a backpack type bag to fit she needs to get a backpack that fits her torso length. If you check www.backpacker.com you will find in the gear section of backpacks that the articles list the torso lengths that the packs fit and maybe one of them would fit her better. (In the technique section, they also have a group of articles about women in the outdoors that includes packs designed for women.) Somewhere on that website they tell you how to measure for torso length. This is just a thought. Since my 20 inch long backpack is too long for me (although I use it anyway), I thought that might be the problem. And why she would not say so I don't know. Unless she didn't realize that it could be made easier for her. Or course she could just want the wheels.
Sharon R. Johnson
Lincoln, NE USA Wed 08/09/2006
For Jennifer, re. weather in Sept
I took an ETBD tour in September, beginning in Italy (quite hot), and ending in Paris (quite cool). The Alps portion of the trip was also cooler than I expected. I recommend bringing layers.
A rainproof shell/jacket (Gore-Tex is good if you have it; if you put it in a compression bag it will squoosh into hardly any space at all). A lightweight sweater or cardigan (cashmere is wonderful because it's warm for its light weight and little volume). If it gets cold, you can wear those two in layers over other things you'll probably be bringing along: long-sleeved shirt, T-shirt. Those served me well through my 3 weeks.
If you're really afraid of being cold, you might throw in a pair of silk underwear top and bottom, which would be featherweight and take up little room. The tops can also do double or triple duty if they're opaque enough. A black silk camisole can serve as a warmth layer or as a top for going out in the evening or under other daytime clothes or as a pyjama top. A black silk (or similar material) underwear top can double as a pullover shirt.
In any case, keep in mind that you can also buy a sweater or sweatshirt or something to keep you warm once you're there.
Have a great trip!
USA Tue 08/08/2006
Sweater in Sept.
I have a cheapo rain poncho. It was like $9. It is also warm because it is plastic. You can get them at just about any sporting goods store. And then just pack a light sweater for underneath. Also, a good excuse to buy some new clothes when overseas.
Brooklyn, NY USA Mon 08/07/2006
i'd recomend a combo waterproof-windproof combo jacket with micro-fleece inside. Mountain Hardware, Northface and Columbia make some nice ones. Or if you dont think you need fleece (if it rains in the day but warm) go in layers with a thiner/lighter water & windproof "shell" ! have fun!
Newport Beach, Ca USA Mon 08/07/2006
wheeled bag or flight bag and what to pack
I just returned from a 4 week trip. I took Rick's Avanti shoulder bag and brought the Civita day pack. The other family members brought wheeled bags of differing sizes. Although I pack lighter than the rest (the Avanti bag isn't very big but it is a shoulder bag) I found it ended up being too heavy for comfort. The others with the wheeled bags managed quite well, even on cobblestones. There were times when they had to lift them but it didn't end up being that often.
The day bag was very handy for use during the day or for day trips.
In terms of items packed, I think you need to pack in terms of the weather and the occasions you will be experiencing. Our travels ranged from the Scottish Highlands (colder and rainer than I expected for July) to Cyprus, Egypt and Venice (hot and humid). Something like a slightly oversized shirt can double as a light jacket and also a swimsuit cover-up as well as a shirt. In very hot climates sometimes it's best to keep the sun off your arms and shoulders. You just need to remember that you are seeing different people who don't really notice what you wear as long as it is reasonably appropriate. When you get home you won't want to see those clothes again (at least until next summer) People were dressing quite casually everywhere, even London. I just can't get used to the Men's capris!
Travelling and sink washing your clothes is hard on them. Don't bring anything too good. Polyester and nylon dry quickly but aren't as comfortable. A blend is probably best.
Vancouver, B.C. Canada Mon 08/07/2006
Check out K-Mart for good quality, inexpensive cotton-poly blend pants. I ususally pay around $9.99 on sale and they last me several years. I wear them at work and take them on 2 trips to Europe each year. For a 10-16 day trip I wear one pair (black) and pack 2 or 3 (black and maybe Kahki). I pack 3 or 4 tops- at least one long sleeve in summer and at least one short sleeve in winter- to layer. My husband gets by with even less. Our suitcases never weigh more than 13 lb. We have been doing this for more than 20 years and will take our 40th trip this Nov/Dec. YOU CAN TOO!
USA Mon 08/07/2006
to wheelie or not to wheelie
Hi there and thanks for cotton-poly pant advice. After reading these posts about 'to wheelie or not-to-wheelie' I am convinced I need to get some washable pants and take LESS! I found some LL Bean pants that might work but I would have to order them and have them sent to try them, but their return policy is pretty good.
To Art: As an avid overpacker with the intention of packing light and never having to use wheels, I commiserate. I'm a woman with various clothing needs and options, a habit I am trying to break, hence the poly-cotton blend pants and any other clothes I can buy specifically for the purposes of travelling light. I don't tend to wear poly-cotton at home. But I am willing to if it means I can bring less and wash more often. I understand now why older women do wear the typical 'polyester' outfits in lovely co-ordinating colours..it's easycare all the way!!!! and NO IRONING!
Here is a trick to try at home before you go on your beloved trek to Europe. Say you are going away for two weeks. Then over the next two weeks, add up everything you wear at home. How many pairs of underwear did you really use, pants, shirts, bras, socks? Get some washable clothing and try spending the next two weeks washing out some of your clothes as you would on vacation. Then, at the end of this thrilling experiment, ask yourself pointedly and honestly, do you really need to take so much that you need to have a bag with wheels? My bet is the answer is NO. Wear a pair of pants twice or three times, even for a whole week. I wash most of my undie/sockie things and hang them to dry anyway and they take about a day to dry at home. I would like some polyester blend pants (those 100% nylon ones are awfully noisy!!) to experiment with and take with me so I too can enjoy the sights without lugging my overpacked bags.
Now if only I could take my own advice!!! ha ha!
Vancouver, Canada Mon 08/07/2006
This issue has been beat to death...on to the next tip - - - - PLEASE!
USA Mon 08/07/2006
Pickpockets and the Wheelies
I personally feel more secure pulling my small wheeled bag than with the convertible- I have tried both. If your valuables are safely in your secure place of choice (moneybelt or wherever)on your body "all" that should be in the suitcase on in transit days are clothes and your toiletries. As a previous poster said, my center of gravity feels stronger when there isn't a lot of weight on my back if I have to turn quickly or fend someone off. I use my RS Cevita backpack to carry documents that don't fit in the money belt, camera, etc. and wear it in front as I make my way through crowds to the train platform or wherever. I still have one hand free if needed and just feel more secure. But it's a personal thing...whatever and whichever luggage makes your stride more confident!
USA Sun 08/06/2006
Some things work best for different people. I have a big batch of trouble with a backpack, for instance. I can't get it on and off easily, and it tends to throw off my equilibrium. (Scary on an escalator!) I'm 68, not very strong, and weigh 92 #'s. Having 1/5th of my body weight on my back seriously shifts my center of gravity. (Your center of gravity must stay over your support - feet - if you aren't to tip over. That's simple physics.) So - I find wheelie bags a godsend. OK - you do have to carry them sometimes. If you haven't brought the kitchen sink and the refrigerator with you, that can be done. I have never, ever, missed something I really wanted to see because of the wheelie. I also can keep up with the backpackers 99% of the time, and sometimes be ahead of them. And - I don't spend all my time leaning forward staring at my toes. (They are not what I went to Europe to see; I can look at them at home anytime I want to.)
Oh yes, FYI, I have spent about 9-10 years all told in Europe in the last 40, in all seasons and climates. Granted, if I am spending a whole year there, I do tend to end up with about 40 pounds of luggage. For a shorter trip - up to 3 months - I usually 'weigh' in at about 18 pounds. That's less than I typically carry home from a weekly trip to the grocery store - I don't drive, you see.
Dump your bags at the hotel, B & B, wherever you're staying for the night, and be free of them for the rest of the day (or days, if you're staying more than one night) to climb about, see the sights, etc, etc, etc. You don't have to take them absolutely everywhere, do you?
My bag has managed over cobblestones, rutted muddy lanes and walking paths, lots of other places. Yes, I can eat an ice cream or a sandwich while having it trundle behind me.
It's whatever makes it easiest for a particular individual to get around with. For me, it's a wheeled bag. For others, it may be a backpack.
Each to his own. But - no matter what - the less you're taking, the happier you'll be. I think I get a little lighter with each trip.
Denver, CO USA Sun 08/06/2006
Rolling Luggage and Potential Pick Pockets
A roller bag impares a person from fending off potential pickpockets? I disagree. If you have your valuables where they belong, on your person, I see no difference. In fact I have used my roller to define my personal space! I wheel it as a weapon and then say "oh - I ran over your foot with my suitcase while you were trying to pinch my bottom? - so terribly sorry" - not! I also can take pictures just fine with my roller (in fact I've used it as a camera rest in place of a tripod). I can eat and drink just fine rolling down the street if I have to, however, when I eat ice cream I much rather sit down, put my feet up and watch the people go by - after all, I'm on vacation!! Lets just get over it - there is no "evil" luggage lurking out there. There is an entire variety to allow everyone to choose what works for them. Happy Trials!
USA Sun 08/06/2006
Wheeled versus Non-Wheeled
I'm always amused by the emotion that wheeled versus non-wheeled invokes with packing light travelers - the us versus them mentality. I've done both - I was one of "us" until a pinched nerve in my shoulder turned me into one of "them". However, I have not found that pulling a light/small well constructed wheeled bag has ever gotten in the way of my having a fantastic trip in Europe including treks out into the middle of no where. Having done it both ways, I can tell you there are times when I curse my wheeled bag, and other times I am so happy that I have it.
If your wife is going to get one anyway as you suggest I do have some points to consider.
First, pick the lightest bag you can find that is well-constructed, comfortable to wheel, and is maneuverable. This makes a HUGE difference. The wheels need to work well on rough surfaces - the luggage manufacturers have gotten VERY good at this. I have an old Travel Pro that has gone many miles on gravel/dirt roads with me. When it wears out (if it ever does), I have my eye on the new Eagle Creek 20" Tarmac bag with great looking wheels.
Second, dimensions are important - I find that 22' is too tall for me (I'm short)- harder to fit in overheads (20" you can put in "wheels first") and I have found that a 22"-er makes it more likely that the flight attendants decide that MY bag needs to be checked (I always travel coach - if you are first/business class would expect this to not be the case). 20" is my max, I'd be even happier with 18". I also find that if the suitcase is too "thick" it bangs badly against my leg when I have to carry it. No thicker than 9" works best for me.
Third, side handle - I find that I can do 80% of stairs without carrying my bag, but when I do, it is imperative for me to have a handle on the long side of the suitcase to allow carrying it without picking my arm high up in the air.
Fourth - last but not least: pack it light! I pack to achieve the same gross weight in my wheeled carryon as my backpack (20-22"). I had to lighten my load to make up for the 5# difference in the suitcase weight. I find that 20-25# is very easy to maneuver and is not bad to carry at my side (but not for miles!) It rolls easily even on cobblestones.
You sound very organized and a great planner, use that to your advantage Test-drive different wheeled carryons with weight in it. I take my stuff in ziplocks or travel cubes, pack the suitcase and drive it around the store. I figure out how maneuverable it is zipping about. Also stand it up (when packed with the same stuff you bring.) and see if it will easily tip over the wrong way. I HATE that and is why I've stuck to my heavier Travel Pro 20"-er. Unless I pack it stupidly (heaviest items in the upper top section), it doesn't tip over.
Most importantly, if you are determined that your wife having a wheeled bag will ruin your trip, it will - before you even get to the airport. If you choose to let her have it her way and make the best out of it, you will have a fantastic time. If it works great for her, there is no issue. If it doesn't work for her, you can laugh at her for making a poor decision. My husband insists on lugging a 26" Pullman wherever we go. It doesn't impact where we go. In fact I must admit to a sadistic streak that I'd deliberately pick places to make his pulling that 26" Pullman as painful as possible. He'd cheerfully lug it along like it was nothing just to spite me. It doesn't bother him, so I don't let it bother me. I just pretend I'm not "with" him. :-)
IN USA Sun 08/06/2006
Oh- one more thing
Have your wife think about not having both hands free when walking if she is pulling that bag. I can tell you, it's not fun having to fend off potential pickpockets, or men that just want to "brush" up against you when you travel. It's much nicer to have both hands free to stop to take a picture, or get through a crowd.
how about eating that ice cream and walking? Not possible if you have to pull a 20+ lb bag....
USA Sun 08/06/2006
Wheeled bag/backpack bag
As a woman of 53 years old, having traveled to Europe on several occasions. I go for the convertable back pack strap bag.
Wheeled bags are fantastic for US travel, airport/hotel. BUT, if you are on the move, then you need the option to carry the bag on your back.
Getting through crowded sidewalks to hotels, even getting to your train, and boarding with a wheeled bag is not my idea of fun or ease of use.
I'm currently using the new High Sierra Transport bag. It is styled like a packback, but has a shoulder strap, carry handle, and back pack straps that hide away behind a full zippered panel. Very light weight. I LOVE it, and won't switch.
If you were doing a bus tour of old Europe then wheelies are fine. And, I disagree with the poster that said you were backpacking through Europe. You are not, you are traveling by car, then by train. Backpacking is not just carrying a bag on your back....it's a lot of walking/hiking. People just assume that if you want to carry your bag on your back - it's called backpacking.
I'd tell your wife that she's going to hate that wheelie bag after a few weeks of pulling it.
And...if you do end up sitting on a bench, longingly looking at that castle or chalet you want to walk to, I'd say leave her on the bench so she can watch you enjoy the trip. She's making her own bed, let her lie in it!
USA Sun 08/06/2006
Wheeled bag dilemma?
We have used wheeled bags for our family of 4 for the past 9 years. We use a variety of transportation but do rely on the car quite a bit. My teen daughter and friends did 3 1/2 weeks in Europe last year only on trains and used public transport to get to the youth hostels and they also used wheeled bags. These have not slowed us down but we also try to pack light. The main difference that I can see from your post is it sounds like you are truly "backpacking" in that you carry your pack all over with you for the day as you visit the castles, ancient sites, etc. We do keep our bags in the car as we travel from place to place and drop them at our destination as soon as we arrive (even if we can't check in, we are allowed to store the bags). I guess if don't have storage options then dragging a bag all over town would be a real pain.
Having said that, after lecturing husband and children on what and how to pack I ultimately leave it up to them. The caveat is that they are responsible for carrying/transporting their own stuff and as long as they don't have a problem with it, I don't either. I agree that you should let your wife try it her way.
USA Sun 08/06/2006
for Ray, wheeled bags
My husband can no longer carry anything that weighs more than 8 pounds, but he can pull a small wheelie bag. For him the choice is clear (and I have to manage his bag when it needs carrying). I've used a combo Eagle Creek bag for years, but it is not too long for the bag sizers at British Airports by the length of its own wheels. I'm considering a RS wheeled bag for myself as I think I've reached the point where a non-wheeled bag is a problem. But you are young! Let your wife make a try with her wheels. If she has to carry it now and then....well that's life.
Fort Worth, TX USA Sun 08/06/2006
Not either or!
For Ray- I enjoyed your rantings and musings! You and your wife could check out the rolling backpacks- Eagle Creek makes a great one in a carry-on size. The advantage, of course, is that she gets her wheels when she wants them and you get the mobility you want. The disadvantage (I have one and have-gasp- abandoned it for a wheelie!)is that there is added weight from the inner frame and from the wheels themselves so you have to pack very light. You also lose some room due to the frame contraption that a completely soft- sided bag allows. But, you do get both features you both want! Bon voyage!
USA Sat 08/05/2006
Rant: Wheeled bags - spawn of the devil?
Or, men are from REI, and women are from Nordstroms.
It seems my wife and I have developed a potential incompatibility after all these years that threatens our relationship (well, maybe just a little): wheelie bag, or convertible backpack.
We'll soon be leaving on a 4-week trip to old Europe (Germany, Austria, Holland). About half the time we'll have a car, the other half we'll be going by train. We are focused on typical Rick destinations (castles, cathedrals, relaxing countryside, small towns, etc.). We will be staying in the old historic center in all cities and towns we visit.
We have done several Rick-style trips to Europe before. I have always been a big believer (some might say zealot) in the "one bag only, gotta fit as a carry on" and "keep it really light or you'll really regret it really soon" school of thought. I have a trusty soft canvas bag that converts between shoulder bag and backpack, with the hidden straps (it's not a Rick-brand bag, but is similar, and has served me well on trips from Burma to Morocco to Normandy). My wife has a similar (and newer, and much nicer) convertible bag), which she has used fairly extensively on many trips, without any trouble (although there has been a little grousing "it's so heavy..." now and then).
Today, we were in Rick's travel center in Edmonds, and my wife announced to me that she wanted a rolling bag. I've shared my thoughts on rolling bags with her before: I think they limit you rather than free you, because while they may be great rolling through the airport (with it's nice, smooth surfaces), 99% of the rest of your time, they make you lift it by the handle as the wheels simply won't roll across cobblestones, stairs, uneven pavement, the thousands of steps you encounter in old European places, gravel or unpaved paths, etc. - essentially, most of the surfaces that we are likely to encounter on our upcoming trip. I also think that wheelie bags tend to encourage heavy or overweight packing...if you don't think you'll be carrying it much, why not toss in all that extra stuff? In short, if you want to have the freedom of a real back-door trip, you can't do that with a heavy wheelie bag. It's fine if all you want to do is go from airport to taxi or train to modern hotel in the well-paved part of the city - or have someone else carry your bag for you (sorry, my love, that's not an option). But if you want to be free to wander along canals and through castles - fuggedaboudit.
I have explained my concerns to the missus many times: for the kind of trip we do, for the kinds of places we are going, the places we will be staying, a wheeled bag is a really terrible choice. Personally, I'd rather stick a rusty fork in my eyeball than go through Europe pulling a wheeled bag, and I know from experience that I'll do just fine with my convertible backpack. But we travel together (at least so far...) and if she has wheels, when I'm ready to walk smartly through the cobblestoned streets and ancient paths of the greatest sights of old Europe with my pack on my back, enjoying the sights, happy and able to move fast, my better half will be 30 paces behind me, struggling to lug her 30 pound bag by it's handle, going very slowly, having to stop for a rest every 200 yards, and whining "how far is it?" Of course, to avoid friction, I will have to slow down and move as if I had a bag that's miserable to carry too, and we will end up not going some places we otherwise would have, we won't see some things we otherwise would have, and the limiting factor for parts of our trip will be that *#%@! wheelie bag.
I know that for years Rick railed against the evils of wheeled bags: they offered you too many temptations to overpack, thinking that the magic of wheels would save you from the consequences, that they were a barrier between you and a great trip experience, and that they were completely unnecessary - pack light, and you won't miss wheels. Of course, Rick now sells the very wheeled bags he once sneered at (for what it's worth, I have no doubt that Ricks are the best wheelie bags available).
I've explained all this to my wife. She seems to not hear any of my rationale, and simply responds, "I want it."
I've been married long enough to have learned that the correct answer to all contentious questions is "yes, of course, dear" (she is at least as stubborn as me). So I know how this is going to play out. I'm just pissed and heartbroken that this stupid wheelie bag is going to all but ruin a trip that I've put so much effort into planning down to the most infinitesimal detail, and which would otherwise have been wonderful. Now I know we're going to be sitting on some bench along the Rhine or in a walled medieval city, gazing at some incredible sight on a hill up in the distance, but we'll be forced to skip it because the path to get there is not suitable for "stewardess luggage." And I'll be doing a slow burn, gazing longingly at some castle ruin or climbable tower, that I know I'll never see again, that I won't be able to get to because of those little wheels.
I'm sure some of you have faced this same dilemma - please offer your opinion and experiences. Did you find wheeled bags limiting, or liberating? Would you take a wheeled bag again if you were going to spend virtually an entire month-long trip in the most ancient parts of Europe? Am I just a cruel jerk for wanting to force my dear sweet one to lug her belongings on her back?
Now I'm wondering if we should bother going on the trip at all. Hey, I'm sure the pavement is nice and smooth at Disneyland...maybe we should go there instead? Ugh.
Vancouver, WA USA Sat 08/05/2006
Places to buy cotton-poly pants
Hi Jean: You can buy durable cotton-poly pants just about anywhere. Sure, there are the specialty travel stores, but any department store, from JC Penney to Macy's would also sell them - and probably for far less money.
USA Sat 08/05/2006
Jean - Light cotton/poly pants
Tilley has a store in Vancouver, have you tried there? tilley.com is their website which has teh address.
Edmonton, AB Canada Fri 08/04/2006
Airline weight restrictions
Airline restrictions to force us to pack lighter! Reminder that many international airlines have cut their luggage limit. Where once you could take 70 pounds per checked suitcase, it is the standard 50 pounds now. That in itself will force us trekkers to pack lighter! AND, if you are planning to use the cheapy European airlines such as EasyJet, you are restricted to just ONE 40 pound checked piece and one small carry-on (and NOT the size of the standard carry-on that we are all used to on the big planes!) Pack carefully or pay big bucks! I wonder when the airlines will start making us passengers step on the scales!!!!!
USA Fri 08/04/2006
I travelled with Lufthansa in May and carried on a Rick Steves convertible carry-on bag. Lufthansa's weight limit for carry-on bags is 8 kg (17.6 lb.) I was just under the limit even though the bag was not full by any means. The bag fit into the template at the check-in counter with no problem.
MA USA Fri 08/04/2006
carry-on size followup
All I can say is each airline had its own version of what was allowed. Air Canada has a new 22lb limit - my bag was 24. When I told the agent I could put a few books into my purse he said that it was also too large. I started to argue with him but decided that wasn't really how I wanted to start my vacation. British Air insisted that the bags fit into their carry-on sizer box. One bag kind of fit, the other was proclaimed too large because of the wheels. Delta didn't even give us the option to carry them on - they gave us a very stern NO. I am certain that these bags would work on domestic flights, especially if you're frequent fliers. Good luck!
USA Thu 08/03/2006
Carry-on bag size
I'm confused as to why Cecily wasn't able to carry on her luggage when it's well within the size limit. Can anyone shed some light on that, please? I'm concerned now because my husband and I are planning a 3 week trip to Italy and we were each thinking of taking a 22" carry-on so we wouldn't have to worry about checking in any baggage.
Also, can someone help verify as how to accurately measure one's luggage? Logic dictates that you measure the outer edges of the luggage only - not to include the wheels. However, I recently read that a passenger was forced to check in his carry-on because the airlines included where the wheels of his carry-on started. Because the wheels were a little bigger, this added an extra inch, hence throwing him over the allowed size. I'd be grateful if someone can help clarify. Thanks!
Los Angeles, USA Thu 08/03/2006
If anyone knows a good place to get really nice, long and hard wearing poly-cotton blend pants for both men and women, please indulge! Preferably in 29 inch inseam for a man. Pants that will go from rugged outdoors to concerts etc....preferably in navy and black...what does Rick wear?? He always looks nice!
Maybe he should start his own line of clothing! ha !
Vancouver, Canada Thu 08/03/2006
I wore on the flight a pair of black cotton pants, white T, cashmere hoodie, and beige leather ballet flats.
I packed: 1 pair of black sandals 2 pairs of linen pants 1 linen skirt 6 Ts/Camisoles 8 or so pairs of underwear 1 long sleeved shirt (that I never even wore) 1 cashmere sweater (that I didn't wear, either) 1 black silk dress for evening 1 silk scarf to wrap around my head a la Sophia Loren/Grace Kelly Bikini/makeup/shampoo
With the extra room I purchased:
Pair of walking shoes, as the shoes I brought weren't providing enough support for my broken foot
Silk scarves at Ferragamo
Silk blouses from some unknown but gorgeous designer
Paper products and leather goods from Florence
Ceramics from Sorrento
Jewelry from Venice (but bought in Rome)
Handbags from the swanky street in Florence
More clothes from a local designer in St. Petersburg
2 mo. abroad, 1 22 in. suitcase!, USA Thu 08/03/2006
Fall/winter Europe packing
Ashley: With no idea what your work situation will be or what sort of clothes you typically wear, I would suggest you consider packing 2 good suits that you are comfortable with(blazers, skirts and pants), plus several nice tops to mix and match, plus 2 or 3 comfortable casual outfits, and of course underwear & shoes. But then buy more clothing and accessories once you arrive if you can afford it - you'll be tempted to anyway because stores are wonderful in London and more than likely you'll be traveling around and having more opportunities to shop and explore. The weather will dictate somewhat - cold and rain. A good raincoat is a great idea - but you might want to wait and get a nice one there.
Pack a good rolling bag and a nice tote-type "purse" going over. And have fun!
USA Wed 08/02/2006
Ashley- travel clothing/packing
Ashley, for the best advise, go up to Boulder and visit "Changes in Latitude" The staff up there is very knowledgable and can help you pick the correct clothing and luggage for your trip.
They can also help you pack light, yet with enough clothing/accessories for your length trip.
you most likely have plenty of the correct items already in your closet, the staff here can help you round that out, and suggest items that will work.
Shopping from a catalog is fine...as long as you don't mind the wait, and the exchange process...returns are never fun. Better to buy a few good items that you can try on in a store than guess from a page in the catalog, or some computer website.
It's worth your 30 min trip to Boulder to get their help. The owner travels all over the world and buys the best of everything, but in prices to match everyone's budget.
USA Wed 08/02/2006
fall/winter europe packing
Lots of good ideas for summer travel, but it seems a lot harder to pack efficiently for the fall/ winter. I will be working in London from September-December. Any ideas on versatile brands appropriate for work/websites to check out/packing tips?
Denver, CO USA Wed 08/02/2006
Skirts are a must for light travel
Skirts can be great in the summer heat. But if you have sensitive skin, be sure to pack something to wear UNDER them that can protect your thighs. You may not think it will be a problem, but when it's very hot and steamy, you can end up with rashes on your thighs that are very uncomfortable! Long boy-short underwear are perfect, as are short boxer-style silk underwear.
CA USA Wed 08/02/2006
Packing super light
ANYone can get away with taking only two sets of clothes to Europe in the summer!
I follow the "wear 1, pack 2" philosophy of packing for clothes & underwear, and then pack one extra pair of shoes (or sandals). My small carry-on usually ends up weighing less than my husband's. I can put everything into a large messenger bag or small backpack or tiny rollerbag.
Add something to sleep or lounge in, a small toiletry kit or ziplock (travel-sized everything), another ziplock of miscellaneous stuff (I carry eyeshades, hair clip, mini 1st aid kit, mini flashlight, tiny digital camera, small notebook, pen, gum, reading glasses), paperback book, bottle for water, bandanna.
A very lightweight messenger bag or something similar to carry as a "personal item" on the plane with your wallet, bottled water, ziplock of snacks & your travel docs, then to carry your daily stuff around when you get there...and that's it.
If you really need something more, get it there - or do without and improvise. It's good for your brain to stretch it a bit finding new ways to do things or coming up with different uses for a simple bandanna.
FL USA Wed 08/02/2006
Carry-on baggage size
My husband and I just returned from two weeks away - after reading so many comments about the virtues of travelling with carry-on bags only we decided to go with two rolling bags, a samsonite measuring 21" x 14" x 9", and a briggs and riley measuring 21" X 14" x 8" and two small shoulder bags. We packed carefully - using the packing lists on this site, and actually found we had more than we needed - mostly due to the VERY hot weather last month. It was great to have so little to carry, and we were able to get on and off trains and roll straight to our hotels using public transport without any hassle. What we were not able to do was actually carry the rolling bags on board with us. Despite checking in online and going straight to security at the airports, we were not allowed to bring the bags on board with Air Canada British Air, or Delta. This was frustrating given the amount of planning we did. We were able to sneak them on board on a nearly empty Air Canada flight from Ottawa to London - which was great since we avoided the baggage claim at Heathrow but other than that we were foiled. If you truly want to carry everything on you should consider an even smaller bag.
San Francisco, CA USA Tue 08/01/2006
I like washcloths. So I bought a package of several cheap ones, cut them into quarters, stitched around the cut edges so they wouldn't fray, folded them nicely and put them into a zip lock bag. I did one for each day of my trip plus a few extras which I gave away. The quarter size is perfect for a trip and they took very little space in my luggage. After using one each day, I discarded it.
USA Tue 08/01/2006
Skirts - for Karen
Hi Karen: I found a light, crinkle-material brown skirt at J. Crew a month or so ago, on sale. I would say, perhaps check out J. Crew, the Gap and Old Navy.
USA Mon 07/31/2006
Just pack like you would pack for a week, then do laundry once in a while. A lightweight jacket will probably be all you will need for September in Europe. You can still pack only 3-4 pairs of underwear, jammies, two - three pair of pants or skirts, I usually take 5 shirts, which will go with everything else. I take one pair of walking shoes and one pair of dressier shoes, be sure they are comfortable. Don't be overwhelmed because you will be gone awhile, just find comforatble clothes in your closet and take them. Some of the most enjoyable times we have had, have been meeting locals in the laundry facilities, and trying to communicate with them. We have always found the locals very helpful. Happy travels!
USA Mon 07/31/2006
Great Black Skirt
Ladies, I found a knee-length, black flare skirt by Bila that should be perfect for packing light---it's a crinkle skirt so wrinkles won't matter! It's very lightweight so it should be cool in the summer. And the BEST part is that I found it at Sam's Club for a mere $7.88!! The black was the only solid color (the others were a Hawaiian print). Any ideas where I can get something similar in a tan or some other basic color?
Columbus, IN USA Mon 07/31/2006
zip lock bags
I was acually complimented on my packing by a customs agent going from England to Paris by Eurostar Train. Of course they pick my luggage to check. I had everything and I mean everything in zip lock bags. Tops in one, the two gallon size is great, skirts in one,undies in one, the gallon size is good for this. I like the strength of the freezer bags. All the extra stuff in quart or pint bags. They tossed stuff about and it was no mess and was quick and easy to put back together in the case agian. I will always pack this way now, no one acually touches my stuff but they can see it. Its great.
Vermillion, MN USA Sun 07/30/2006
Packing super light.
I kid you not, a guy can get away with taking only two sets of clothes to Europe in the summer - a short sleeved button shirt (cotton is okay if you either bring a travel iron or don't mind looking wrinkled), a long sleeved shirt if you are going to the peaks in Switzerland, a light pair of long pants (not jeans) and a pair of long shorts with built in mesh underwear. A pair of flipflops or Tevas plus running shoes completes the outfits with two pairs of socks. You just have to bring a tube of Woolite with (also European equivalents are easily found) and do a ten minute wash every evening. With the european summer heat, anything you wash in the evening will be dry by the morning. Bring a mini umbrella for the sun/rain. Sunglasses. Toothbrush, small tube o' paste, razor and small shaving cream. You are set.
Pasadena, CA USA Sun 07/30/2006
Just use some sort of
Although I swear by "the cubes", I think it's just easier to deal with packing light if you have some sort of containment system so your chosen items are not all jumbled up- at security/customs (yes, it was great when the agent just picked up the whole intact cube and scanned it and took some looks through the mesh sides and top)and when on the road. Rather than a trick to squeeze in more weight, keeping the clothes you are taking enclosed in SOMETHING (big ziplocks are a cheap alternative)just keeps you organized on the trip and forces you to carefully think through your choices prior to leaving. Do give this system a try if you haven't yet!
USA Sun 07/30/2006
I agree with Meg and would add that if you do get your bag searched by TSA they are handy because the TSA folks can also see what is in your bag without even opeining them. That way you don't get your clothes struned all over the table at the end of the conveyor belt! I speak from experience. One time they searched through everything in my backpack - I never used stuffed sacks after that - everything in see-through packing cubes or ziplocks! I've been searched again since then and it was much more civilized (the same goes for customs). And the type of packing cubes I have don't weight any more than the stuff sacks I have.
NY USA Sun 07/30/2006
One really nice thing about packing cubes is that you can stack them on shelves in your hotel room closet and they work as if they were drawers, only twice as easy to pack and unpack (just put the full cubes back into your pack when it's time to move on). Your clothes stay neat and categorized--much neater than if they were flopping around loose in your pack--and you can always see what's where. I find this system much neater and more convenient than stuff sacks; but I guess it's all a matter of personal taste.
San Francisco, CA USA Sun 07/30/2006
Best light packing trick I can say is do laundry alot. Small amounts of clothes and washing them in your hotel/hostel sink and let dry overnight.
USA Sat 07/29/2006
Somehow, packing cubes don't make any sense to me. When my carry-on bag is packed to the weight limit, it is nowhere near full. I don't need anything to get more in, and I DON"T need anything to add more weight.
I do use a few lightweight "stuff" bags, weighing about a pound total, to organize my clothes, but I don't stuff them.
Packing cubes seem like the solution that has no problem. If you pack light, you don't need them.
USA Sat 07/29/2006
Packing Cubes are wonderful!
I bought a set of three packing cubes (one set for each of us) for both my husband and I about six years ago. I got them on clearance at eBags.com. I cannot begin to tell you the innumerable times we have used them. We used them anywhere from a weekend trip to a 16-day trip to Europe. We travelled on our 16-day trip with only a 21" rolling suitcase each and one carry-on smaller bag each. We are leaving tonight for a nine-day trip in the States and are both using them again. I would never travel without them. I have shown them to both family and friends and how convenient and handy they are for packing. I highly recommend them as we never travel without them. Rolling your clothes is both easy and makes getting everything in easier than folding. Just my two cents' worth.
USA Fri 07/28/2006
For Kaz- I'm glad others than me agreed on the light and at least knee length floaty skirt plan for hot, hot weather on your upcoming trip, both to stay cooler and to respectfully go into churches. If you haven't yet tried the packing cubes (available either at the RS store or your local outdoor retailer) you will love them as the final part of the plan. I rolled my three skirts in the largest cube, along with a pair of capris, and wore another pair of capris on the plane. The second smaller cube held the t-shirts/tank tops and the last was for three pair of panties, two bras and a few sleep tees (rolled). The advantage to the packing cubes for traveling light is two-fold: you can't take anything that won't fit in the cubes (no fair squeezing "just one extra shirt" along the side!) and on your trip you stay very organized. I don't bother unpacking anymore- or, if you do, put the cube in the drawer! This way something is only ever 1) being worn 2) hanging to dry and then goes back in the cube or 3) waiting its turn to be worn and in the cube! Especially if you will be in a different place every few days, I found that I never really had to re-pack and saved so much time. You might give the cube system a try! Have a fabulous trip!
USA Thu 07/27/2006
skirts are great for summer travel
i just returned from southern germany and italy, and i wore my skirts much more than anything else. i took a floaty white one, a black one, and a couple of very lightweight printed ones. they were all below the knee. i wore them with lightweight tshirts and tank tops. i took a shawl/scarf for cathedrals. the one thing i bought to wear was a pair of really lightweight knee length capris in some sort of knit. everyone in europe is wearing them. and i noticed that black tops with white bottoms is a very popular look in europe this summer (and very easy to coordinate, too). my white skirt didn't get dirty, even after several wearings, but i could have washed and dried it easily. i took no jeans and was glad because they are heavy and it was just too warm everywhere.
pacific grove, ca USA Thu 07/27/2006
Skirts are a must for light travel
I travel with a wonderful linen skirt I bought at Banana Republic a few years ago. I like the linen because it is supposed to look wrinkled....so no matter how much I sit in it...it's OK.
My skirt is black, hits right below/on the knee. Perfect for touring during the day, but also fantastic for night time outings to restaurants. I add a pashmina and I'm ready for almost anything.
The skirts with shorts under them seem OK, but mostly they are too short for my age 50+.
I also travel with a Tide detergent pen. Great for quick clean ups - like the time I spilled Gelato all the way down my leg to my toes!
USA Wed 07/26/2006
Kaz - I agree with poster below. There are so many great fashion choices out right now with regards to skirts that I can't imagine spending $50 on something I can't try on first! Definitely try Gap or Old Navy for lightweight cotton skirts that are cheaper than the travel skirt and might be better in terms of length, weight, etc.
USA Wed 07/26/2006
Too short...in MHO
I was in Italy last summer and taking skirts really helped with packing light! I personally think that, while the RS skirt is not overly short, with your knees still showing it's inappropriate. I'm not a prude and dress quite young for 50- but at some cathedrals there were "knee and shoulder police", providing these tissue shawls (like big versions of what the dentist puts on you!) for cover up in a separate line. I lived in two just- below knee- length sort of full skirts in a very, very lightweight material I got at the Gap. The floaty fabric really helped to keep me cool and caught every welcome breeze on hot city streets while waiting in lines, etc. Some churches did not check what was being worn at all, however. I kept a semi- sheer floral shawl in my trusty RS Civita bag to cover up my shoulders since tank tops were my uniform. There are so many attractive summer skirts on sale right now- I would take two and five or six tops. Remember that you can wear the same skirt two or three days in a row before washing and nobody will know- just watch out as your gelato cone drips!!!!!!!!!!!!!
USA Tue 07/25/2006
Travel store skirt question
Part of my packing light strategy is to take skirts to Europe this summer. I was thinking about the short skirt in the travel store. Has anybody worn the short skirt and has comments? Is an above-knee skirt appropriate in Italian churches?
Raleigh, NC USA Tue 07/25/2006
Unless you are near nude or immodestly dressed, no one cares what you wear, so stay in your own comfort zone. Also, unless you are going to remote areas of the world, use local stores for toiletries. I take minimal amount of outter wear, easy-to-wash underwear. All my mini-sized toiletries fit in one-gal. size plastic zip bag. Specialty bags are too bulky. I travel in winter and black is de rigueur for me. A neck scarf and mini gloves when it's cool/cold are usually enough, but I also carry a wind-breaker rolled into a small stuff bag. Just remember this: No one cares what you look like and no one knows you wore that shirt yesterday! And mini is more..
boulder, co USA Mon 07/24/2006
Actually, your question seems fair to me. I have been to Germany in the Fall a lot, and it is like the Fall in the US. Be sure to take a lightweight raincoat. You may not need it, but you'll be glad to have it if it rains. In Fall, I usually take jeans, skirts, tops to layer, and one warmer jacket (fleece vest or jean jacket). I have found that 4 changes of underwear will take you through a vacation if you are staying put for a while. Just wash it out and let it dry. Hope this helps.
Pacific Grove, CA USA Mon 07/24/2006
I just got back from a trip through Italy by train. I had always traved with a back pack, but this time took a 21" rolling bag. It was great! Worked on every sort of terrain but stairs. Much easier than hauling a heavy load on your back.
USA Mon 07/24/2006
We traveled in Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland and Austria on a motorcycle for three weeks. Packing light is must on a motorcycle. We found that small stuff bags are very helpful. These are found at any camping store. Stuff bags are exactly what they sound like---bags you stuff your clothes in. They are very sturdy and will not tear. We were able to get our rain gear(which includes a jacket and pants with suspenders) into a small stuff bag. We also packed underwear and socks in stuff bags. Once packed,the bags are about 4.5 inches by 8 inches and take up very little space.
Nita H. High
Saluda, NC USA Sun 07/23/2006
Comments on Convertible Carry-On & Civita Day Pack
I lived out of this bag for 6 months last year and let me tell you it is one of the best things that ever happened to me (and my hubby)! The only thing we desired is now an addition so YOU will miss nothing! Which was the shoulder strap add-on. We used every feature available and it made our life much easier. When we would wish for something to help us then we would just look for it and there it was!!!! It truly is everything Rick says! I have now given away all of our other luggage. If you are on the move then this is the bag for you! No doubt! We were nervous the first time we had to go through the airport because we expected that we would have to check the bag because it was stuffed to gills but no - we were put right through and it was like a dream to be able to put our luggage in the overhead storage! As you probably already know, get to the airport early so you have room in the overhead! I recommend putting it in the overhead head to toe so your handle on top in pointing out at you so when removing it you can reach it quickly and not have to wait for everyone else to get their stuff out! And away you go! Hee, hee, it stills makes me happy today!!!
I soon learned the importance of those wonderful mesh bags. I jammed and stuffed and organized so much stuff in those things but always the same amount of space was used in my bag. Whenever I needed something quickly I could just reach in and there is was! Without having to pull out or reorganize everything all over again! Love 'em!!!!
When we had a room and decided to explore the Civita Day Pack quickly became our beloved friend! It is so lightweight and sturdy with an enormous amount of space that I soon packed away my "extra" backpack that was so big and cumbersome comparatively - you just don't realize how wonderful these things are until you really use it. This bag also squished down to such a minimal size compared to my other backpack that that is also another reason why I felt compelled to share all this wonderful information with you. You might say, well gosh - I already have a suitcase and a backpack for day trips but if you have ever been straddled and strained with your luggage then I beg you to make this small investment and you will see the difference thus being able to enjoy your trip so much more.
Just a quick comment about packing, plan what you want to take then take half! I know you are totally freaking out and think that it is just impossible but I beg of you to heed my advice. I personally lost so much weight that I just started leaving my clothes behind in the rooms (clean & folded) for others. My hubby just simply regretted carrying his "nice" things from country to country!!! He did not even use half of the clothes that he took. I kid you not!!!! We ended up having more luggage to lug around because of once in a lifetime purchases that couldn't fit in our already stuffed bags but never never again.
Fullerton, CA USA Sat 07/22/2006
I save underwear that I would normally plan on throwing away. I wear it once while traveling and THEN throw it away. It's great!!! No washing out and waiting to dry.
Alma, MI USA Sat 07/22/2006
This won't work very well for back-packers, but ---- A. I have found that a full-length coat is often a great help(particularly in the cooler months or areas). 1)It can keep you dry when it rains. 2)You can use it as a bathrobe when visitng the WC or shower. 3)You can stick a hat and gloves in the pockets. (If I'm going in the cold season - like former E. Germany in the middle of December?- I add a long scarf - British University school scarves are really great. The one I have from Exeter is red, white and green, and is a big hit in Budapest. Probably would be in Italy also.) 4)The airlines won't question it as a part of your carry-on luggage. So - if you don't need it some days, leave it in your hotel room. B) I also find a pair of 'slipper socks' a huge comfort. These have leather soles, and reach about half-way up one's calves. One used to be able to get them at LL Bean, but they discontinued them. You may be able to find them at the Vermont Country Store. 1)Wonderful for the transatlantic flight. I find that my feet don't swell if I wear them, and that my shoes feel fine at the end of the flight. Also good on long train-rides, bus-rides, etc. 2) Obviously, they serve as slippers also. So - great after hoofing it around for 8-10 hours sightseeing. 3) They fold up or wrap up into balls that can be fitted into the pockets of the coat (above) unless those are already full of hat and gloves. 4) Will keep your ankles warm if it's cold! Something slippers don't do, I've found. 5) Can be slipped on to visit the loo on a night train, for example. Also for a trip down to the reception desk at a hotel, or --? Even for a quick trip to a near-by shop, if need be. 6)Can be washed. C) A good strong carrier bag. Not the lastic ones - a real one. My favorite is one of the LL Bean ones - medium size. 1) Will fit under the seat in front of you on an airplane. Put your purse in it, and claim it as a purse. (I've never been questioned on it.) 2)Has enough room to store a night's necessities (PJ's, change of shirt and underwear, toothbrush, paperwork, etc). Have used it as a 'suitcase for a 1-night stay in a hotel. 3)The LL Bean ones I've been using for about 35 years are made of very strong canvas. (They were originally designed for carrying blocks of ice, back in the days of ice chests.) The handles simply cannot come off, as they run all the way under the bag. The newer ones come with a zipper option. The zipper option is well worth it. I've never had any of the contents get wet with one of the zippered ones. Snowstorms in Denver, downpours in the UK - no problems. 4) They weigh very little when empty, but are strong enough to be completely loaded with books, and still cope. I once put 40#'s of stuff in one. 5)You can put the handle over the handle of a wheelie-bag and wheel them both around with you. 6)As they are canvas, they adjust to the shape of their contents. (I loathe briefcases and other things that weigh more than their contents!) I've found that one will usually last me about 5 years before I need another; as I also use the thing daily for work, which involves carrying about 25#'s of books and papers about, that's saying something. In the UK, and Europe, they are also great for groceries, etc. I'm slope-shouldered, and shoulder bags just don't work for me. Neither do back-packs. Dunno if any of these are of use to other travellers, but they work for me.
Denver, CO USA Sat 07/22/2006
I also have a RS convertible bag. It has gone to Europe with me five times and shows no wear at all. I have tried it twice in the sizing template at FRA and it always fits.
It is an older style bag that weighs 2 1/2#. Last time I went to Germany, Lufthansa weighed the bag, and it was just under the 8 kg (17.6#) limit. That means I had 15# of "stuff" in my bag. A roll-on bag weighs 4 1/2# more! I look at my packing list and ask how could I cut it from 15# to 10 1/2# (a third)?
Checking my bag is not an option for me. After two trips (of three) where my checked bags almost ended up delayed or lost, and another one of five, where I carried my own bag on, and I am sure no checked baggage made the transfer in an eastern city on the way to Frankfurt, I have learned my lesson.
USA Fri 07/21/2006
Small Backpack for Mild Walking/Hiking
Before I left for Italy of 3 weeks, I bought a backpack off of ebags.com for under $20.00 with shipping. It arrived quickly. It was the best thing I could have carried on my back for the short hikes or walking I did during the day. It is extremely lightweight, small, it held my camera, my journal, and my camelback reservoir for drinking water. It has two zippers only. One in front and one in back. It has a slot to hold a pen and a pocket to hold a cell phone. (which I did not need cause I use SKYPE.)
San Francisco, CA USA Fri 07/21/2006
As a former backpacker, I have had experience with getting a pack to fit comfortably. The key is the waist strap--much of the weight of the bag should transfer to the upper pelvis, not the waist. Shoulders will be very uncomfortable if asked to "shoulder the weight." On a good bag there is also a chest strap that helps cinch in the bag. I bought my bag at REI. The maximum weight I am comfortable with is 18# (I'm female).
USA Fri 07/21/2006
Convertable bag that works! HIGH SIERRA!!
Check out the new travel bags from High Sierra. They make 4 different sizes. If you are on the shorter side, look at the Passport. It has a shoulder strap and hide-away daypack straps. It is very light weight.
Use packing cubes to compartmentalize / organize as the inside in one large compartment.
If you go up a size to the "Transport" you get a nice size daypack that zips off and attaches to the front of the bag. Great for travel on subways, or anywhere security is an issue. Keep your passport and other important items up front where you can see them! The Transport is 23" and still very light weight, shoulder strap and hide-away back pack straps that are adjustable for torso lengths.
Then you can jump up to the "Railpass" a nice 26" pack, same features and above, but even more stuff!
All three have an side water bottle compartment that is oh so handy to carry a Nalgene bottle, or just plain old water bottle. And they have an ipod or sunglass pocket too... High Sierra thought of everything!
Check them out on www.ebags.com - read the reviews! The only complaints are nit-picky. Like someone wants more compartments...or they thought the daypack was too small. All totally personal preferences. The bags are GREAT!
And the best part is...they are less than 1/2 of the Eagle Creek bags, and they weigh less too!
The Passport is around $60! That's a deal!
I bought one for me and one for the hubby for our trip to Europe and we love them!
USA Thu 07/20/2006
Eagle Creek makes very cleverly designed convertibles and luggage that are very tough and functional. They originally made mountain packs for serious mountain climbers and then moved into the luggage market. I recently bought a 22" Tarmac rolling bag that I think will last a lifetime. Many of their bags are designed so that their Pack-It system of organizer cubes will fit into the compartments perfectly without wasted space. I love it when everything is organized and fits together and things are easy to find and then re-pack.
Ca USA Thu 07/20/2006
Convertible Bags are a Great Idea..but
The previous post is right on with great advice. I'm a 5'3" female with a very long torso. I really wanted my 20" convertible to work for me but it doesn't. I got it for a trip to Italy where we'd be taking the train and read all the negatives about wheels. All our European trips have been car trips so rollers worked well. My traveling style is to have a 18" roller and a tote. I throw the tote on top of the roller and I can dash from one end of the Atlanta or Chicago O'Hare airport with no problem. My test run (domestic flight with connections) with the convertible ended me in buying a luggage cart. Even though I can lift and hold 55#s over my head with no problem, 18# on my back doesn't work, for me. If the bag was 18", perhaps it would work better. I'm use to using backpack, but I found the convertible to be awkward and difficult to handle - but again, that is just for me. I am very petite across the shoulders. So I'm going back to my roller. Its worked over gravel drives at horse shows, so it should work over cobblestones!! You really do need to go with what works for you. Good luck and have a great time!
NY USA Thu 07/20/2006
What bag to buy
I agree with previous responses. But you really need to go with what is comfortable for YOU. If you will not be comfortable (mentally or physically) with putting the bag on your back to walk through an airport or city streets, then don't buy a convertible bag. They are wonderful but may not be for you. Get one instead with a long strap that will go over one shoulder and across your body. Or try a rolling bag.
If you are lucky enough to find a store that will let you put a full load into a bag and walk around the store with it on your back for 1/2 hour or so, try it [bring a plastic bag with the equivalent of the weight you are intending to pack, preferably clothes so the load is as "real" as possible]. Then try it with a rolling bag.
I wish I could find a convertible with shoulder strap, with wheels, but also very lightweight. I am checking one out tonight. That is the best of all worlds! I tend to stick with about 6 to 8 K or 12.5 to 17 pounds - about all I care to deal with at an airport or walking from a train or bus station to a hotel.
We travel not just to Europe, but to countries all over the world, and the convertibles seem to be best all-around wherever we go.
Tallahassee, USA Thu 07/20/2006
Unless you are going to be camping (where you need more space for sleeping bags, etc.), you should try to use something like RS's convertible bag. Believe me, you don't want to tote more stuff around Europe if you don't have to, especially if you are changing hotels every day or two. Look at RS packing list (on this site: click on Plan Your Trip -then Travel Tips -then it's on the right hand side). You bring less clothes, but you can wash each outfit you wear in your hotel room sink at night or you can find a laundromat to do laundry.
CO USA Thu 07/20/2006
What bag to buy
Chcek out Rick's convertable bag. I have used the same one for more than 20 years and it doesn't even look a bit wornout. They are light, help you orangize your clothes, etc., look good and last forever. Well worth the money. And they hold more than you'd think. My husband and I used ours on an around the world trip last year. We're leaving tonight on our 39th trip to Europe in 20+ years!!! And we'll be using our Rick Steves' bags!!!!!
Charlotte, NC USA Thu 07/20/2006
Any recommendations for largish-capacity backpacks for 3+ weeks of travel? I plan on hitting at least 4-5 cities and many guidebooks recommend the backpack over rolling suitcase (mine bit the dust after my last trip). Any info regarding brands, features to look for, etc...I am a 5'2" female.
Cambridge, MA USA Wed 07/19/2006
Dark clothes in summer
I agree about dark clothing attracting heat, but for women, one pair of lightweight of rayon or washable silk pants or a longish skirt in indigo, black or very dark brown, together with an equally lightweight matching or coordinating cap-sleeve top or sleeveless shell, can be a great addition to your "wardrobe." They can be worn in the evening (no sun to heat you up!)and can be elegantly dressed up with a belt, scarf and/or inexpensive jewlery. I never travel anywhere without my "little black outfit" - in rayon it weighs less than 1 lb, in silk even less.
It is useful especially when you get an unexpected invitation to a very nice restaurant and you really want to wear something nicer than shorts and flip-flops/hikers!
Tallahassee, USA Sun 07/16/2006
I had bought a couple of sleeveless shirts also at Old Navy (easily sink washable until I can get a full machine wash) which I wore with a jacket in London and anywhere it was chilly. I had bought a great Helly Hanson Jacket at Sams Club on clearance for around $30 a couple of years ago, and it has pockets on the inside of the coat as well, which is really helpful!
Lake Mary, FL USA Sun 07/16/2006
Pack-Mates and Money Belt
I was determined to take only a backpack and carry-on for 2 weeks in Italy last November, and boy was I relieved. 1) Airline troubles on the way over turning a 16 hour travel itinerary into a 28 hour travel experience from hell, and 2) Venice with all those bridges! The Pack-Mates were my best friend and the only reason it was possible as I had to take multiple layers. It went from the high-70's in Rome, to the low-30's at noon in Venice and Paris! I was also able to reorganize through my trip by putting my dirty clothes in one bag, clean in the other. It took me a week to pack only because I evaluated each item to see if I *really* needed it. I wore/used everything I brought in my one carry-on and backpack, so I define that as success :)
For the money belt- I ended up only using it in Rome. My fleece shell, vest and jacket all had inner pockets which worked PERFECTLY. I could put my very thin travel wallet, camera and passport in those pockets and NEVER had a problem (my backpack and carry-on were always locked). I felt quite a few "bumps" in crowded situations, but didn't lose a thing... except for my pj's I accidentally left behind in a hostel *lol* I could see in the summer however with limited clothing that the money belt would be indespensable.
PS The information I found on this site was VITAL to my absolutely wonderful trip of a lifetime :)
Chico, CA USA Sat 07/15/2006
I just returned from two weeks in Switzerland and it was very hot. I had taken dark pants and tops to show less wrinkles and spills but was roasting after a few days. So I bought two sleeveless tops and a pair of lightweight khaki colored pants in a 7/8 length (our capri) and wore them for the rest of the trip. The dark pants were useless. I had a long sleeve shirt that I wore open in places that needed less arms showing. Yes, it meant more washing at night but it was worth it. Also I didn't need either of the jackets I took for cool restaurants or the mountains. Packing cubes and sealable bags were great for organization.
Salt Lake City, UT USA Sat 07/15/2006
*Ziploc bags helped for quick packing and organization. (1 for clothes, 1 for toiletries, 1 for misc, 1 for souvenirs) *I wore my skirts more than pants. *Chacos are great for multi-purpose situations such as rocky beaches, mucky showers, and hiking.
Memphis, TN USA Thu 07/13/2006
Just came back from a Lufthansa flight. 2 carry ons are allowed, but one must be a SMALL purse, the other cannot be more than 8 kg. They were being pretty strict today.
USA Tue 07/11/2006
zip off pants
I just returned from 3 weeks in Germany and Italy. Before I left, I noticed many posts about zip offs being tourist attire. Zip offs and variations thereof are worn by both men and women all over Europe and are sold on the street and in department stores. My husband bought a couple of pairs and seldom wore the pants he brought. If you are going to Italy, France, or Spain (basically anywhere warm), these pants are perfectly appropriate anywhere but formal occasions. I took lightweight skirts and tanks and was glad I left my jeans at home--just too warm. One note, please, please be sure to take or buy sunblock. I came home with a 2nd-degree sunburn.
Pacific Grove, CA USA Tue 07/11/2006
I just bought my first pair of Prana capri pants for women. They are very comfortable, stretchy! Look nice too. My plan in purchasing them was for my trip to Switzerland in October for hiking. They will work great on the trail, and look good with a nice shirt for a casual dinner that night at the hotel.
Check out Prana's "Bliss" capri at REI. $50, easy to wash, and look nice!
USA Tue 07/11/2006
We just got home from a month in Europe ...it was great!!! I used and Ameribag (size large) for my purse/day bag...it worked great and with a double zipper i bought RS flexable lock and used it. It was big enough for our digital camera and soni handy cam. It has several compartments to keep organized as i worked out of my purse!!
Iowa USA Tue 07/11/2006
One more thing regarding casual dress
Dressing a bit more formally than is typical in America is a lot like speaking a little of the local language--it's a sign that you respect the local culture and does lead, I think, to different kinds of interactions with the Europeans you meet. But I have to admit that I'm grateful for the tourists who dress down in an obviously American style. The scam artists and pickpockets have an easier time zeroing in on them and are less likely to target me! So, I say, please keep wearing your shorts and tank tops...
USA Tue 07/11/2006
North Face Meridian Pants
I found that these pants are awesome. They dry fast, have tons of pocket room, hardly wrinkle, super light, and best of all, they have a hidden pocket (full size) perfect for your passport, and train tickets. Worth every penny I paid for them and totally styling, plus they have them for men so hubby now has two pairs that zip at the knee for shorts. Perfect solution to packing light.
Clarksville, IN USA Mon 07/10/2006
3 changes of clothes
don't forget your passport
wear comfortable shoes
USA Mon 07/10/2006
Dressing in Denmark
I am an American living in Denmark and I found it interesting to see so many posts about men wearing capri pants. This is definitely the trend here in Europe. Shorts in fact are very rare (except for swimming at the beach...). A little tip if travelling in Denmark this summer. The days can be very warm, but the temperature can drop quite a bit in the evening and the weather can change quick. Be prepared for some cloudy/rainy weather even if the day started off bright and sunny!
Århus, Denmark Sun 07/09/2006
Dress me up, dress me down...
While I appreciate Brad's sentiment about dressing like you normally dress, this approach has its drawbacks. In the US, as a rule, we tend to dress in a much more casual way than do the citizens of other nations. When I am in the mall, or the local big box warehouse store, I am appalled at the way many people have chosen to dress for public view, thinking that muscle shirts and flip flop sandles are appropriate attire for dining out and other events. T-shirts and shorts simply are not acceptable in many places in Europe, including churches and some restaurants, depending upon where you are.
Don't misunderstand my comments. I have seen a number of Europeans dressed without taste or any regard for cleanliness and tidiness. It is equally disturbing.
So why bother to dress up a bit? The fact of the matter is that when we travel, even when we are on vacation, we are de facto ambassadors for our country. In an ethno-centric state of mind, it is fine to say that we don't care how we look, but dressing neatly, in clean clothes, in an event-appropriate manner, opens more doors to learning about the culture of the nation in which we are guests--yes, guests.
I don't pretend to be a fashion expert, but I know that when I dress in a less casual way in MY CITY, that I am treated better in restaurants, in stores, and in other places. I get better service not because I am dressed up (I often am casually dressed) but because I am dressed WELL, in an appropriate manner for the event I am engaged in.
It seems to me that a major reason for traveling is to learn about other cultures, and frankly, how you dress DOES matter. I don't expect to avoid being taken for an American tourist--after all, I AM one--but I would rather be recognized as an American tourist who understands and appreciates that there are societal norms in other countries that should be at least respected.
Clean, neat, event appropriate clothing is never out of style. Lose the jeans with the torn out knees for a couple of weeks, don't pack the "wife beater" shirts, or if you do, use them for underwear, not outerwear. Athletic shoes are widespread across Europe, and are generally acceptable most places.
This isn't a fashion contest, but neither is it a fashion blowout, so my own tip, one that has netted me better seats in restaurants, better service in shops, bigger smiles in general, is to dress so others can see that you care about your personal appearance and about how you present yourself to the world.
Reno, NV USA Sat 07/08/2006
Get rid of the purse
Great way to void getting you're purse snatched. Don't carry it! I managed to find two cargo skorts. That way I have enough pockets for my stuff, and a full skort looks much nicer then a pair of shorts!
USA Fri 07/07/2006
I went to Ireland on a week long self drive. I took one hard sided carry-on. I will never do that again because they have a weight limit on Aer Lingus and my case empty is heavy so I barely made it. My husband took a duffle bag. Here's what I took: 2 pairs of pants Khaki and dark brown 1 skirt Dark brown 1 jersey cardigan Brown 1 white knit shirt 1 white collared shirt 4 pairs of socks enough undies for a week. 1 lands end space saving lined rained coat. 1 pair of Hiking cross trainers gloves (wore these all the time except at dinner) 1 pair of flats-brown ear warmers. 1 pair jammies. Took a space bag Bought two Irish sweaters one aran knit wone lambswool and had to wear the aran knit home. Those suckers are so dense that they don't compress so I couldn't pack it. Stayed Dry and comfy and warm! The Lands End lined rain coat was only 29.50 and worth it's weight in gold! By its self was good from about 30 degrees and above. Combined with the aran knit sweater I bought, I was good in A november gale on the Cliffs of Moher! I also took a "storm proof" umbrella. Save the space and don't bother! Another thing I did and I'm so glad. I shelled out for the Avon "hookups" for make up They look like lip gloss but they come in eyeshadow, mascara, lip gloss, and blush. So in the space of two tubes of lip gloss and one mascara I had a full face of two eyeshadows, one blush, one mascara, and two lip glosses. If your staying in a good hotel or B&B leave the shampoo at home. They provide it.
USA Fri 07/07/2006
Dress isn't THAT important
I'm from San Francisco (born, raised and still there), and I don't think people dressed in a "typical tourist" fashion or in a totally causual way are idiots! When I see someone dressed like that, I first think, "Lucky person, they're on vacation and I'm here working!", and then I think, "Thank you for spending money in our city!" SF depends on tourist bucks big time, and we're happy to see tourists enjoying our beautiful city.
(Besides, SF citizens aren't exactly known for being well-dressed. We're a laughingstock to people back east who dress up a lot more.)
Sure, dress respectfully when you visit someplace if you like, but if you want to relax and dress casually, go for it! I looked around the Tube in London and saw hundreds of Londoners wearing running shoes. I think I represent the good side of my country if I smile and treat people well, rather than worrying whether my shoes shirt are an "acceptable" color/print.
San Francisco, CA USA Fri 07/07/2006
What to wear
I've been watching RS PBS programs...paying particular attention to what people are wearing...Neat and Casual is what I see. This has always been my guideline - CLEAN, NEAT, COMFY, and WELL BEHAVED.
USA Fri 07/07/2006
Response to Jo...Tourists are not guests
Jo from San Francisco says that the good people of SF think tourists look like idiots if they are not dressed to the nines and that tourists should remember they are guests. A tourist is just that, a tourist. Someone who has chosen to spend their vacation exploring somewhere other than their hometown. A tourist is not a guest unless someone specifically invites them. It doesn't matter if you think they are idiots, Jo. Have the grace and class not to notice. Tourists will enjoy their vacation anyway.
USA Fri 07/07/2006
Just got back from Italy
I brought several pair of slacks but wore one pair the whole time--a lightweight nylon pair that dried quickly. It's HOT there. Capris were worn by many as were this type of nylon pants. Sleeveless tops are fine. If needed churches give out paper shawls.
USA Fri 07/07/2006
Dressing for yourself rather than others
? have to agree with those who say Wear what you like. Excuse the spelling mistakes, Im using a Turkish keyboard. I have been in Turkey for 3 weeks. I have 2 skirts, 4 shirts, no pants, one pair of sandals and no other shoes. My husband and I wear our Tilley hats everywhere. We stick out like sore thumbs. Are we comfortable? Yes. Are we decent? Yes. Do we get assailed by touts? Yes. Do we look like tourists? Definitely. Do we care? Not at all. We are having fun, people treat us well. We have never been refused anything because of what we wear. We have even been complimented on the modesty of our clothing! This obsession over looking RIGHT deflects from the reasons for going abroad. Stop worrying. We are all just people.
Canada Fri 07/07/2006
Jeans in Austria
Anne-I'd check the weather report for Europe. We will also be going to Prague & Austria this summer and I do not plan on bringing jeans at all. Don't know about the places you are visiting, but I am much more concerned about the summer heat waves that have hit Europe and the lack of air conditioning. Also, being from Vancouver, I doubt you will find yourself too cold. I do plan on bringing one lightweight zip up cotton jacket in case I do get cold.
My 50ish husband will bring one pair of shorts and one pair of long pants. I will bring one pair to wear if we decide to do some hiking in Austria. In the cities I will wear skirts. Think about being in downtown Vancouver. If you wanted to go to one of the nicer places for dinner, away from Granville Market say, would you feel comfortable wearing shorts?
USA Thu 07/06/2006
My theory is that it costs thousands of dollars for a trip to Europe. Spend your money on that, not clothes. Buy neat, but inexpensive clothes to travel in and be prepared to sacrifice some of them. I wore $17.00 capris (black, khaki and dark green) all over Italy. I started out with 5 pair and ended up with 3. (if using laundry detergent in Italy, learn the word for "bleach") If I had ended up with only the clothes on my back, I wouldn't have minded. I DID bring my older pj's tho, intending to throw them out. Believe me, NO charity would have wanted them!
Sacramento, CA USA Wed 07/05/2006
Couldn't agree with Brad more. You are on vacation. This isn't a fashion show. You will see all sorts in Europe wearing what they please or perhaps what they might not please because they are following some fantasy that they have to look a certain way. People don't care. Really. As long as you're clothed and nice to people, that's all that matters. And what is it with this idea that ALL Americans wear WHITE runners. It's like saying ALL Canadians live in igloos which I do hear from people in Europe because they just don't understand or know...When I explain how we live they are interested to know more....
Let's celebrate our differences, not muck in and try to fit in with the rest. That's what travel means to me.
Bring your passport, your imagination and your sense of humour.
Vancouver Island, not an igloo!, Canada Mon 07/03/2006
I do agree with that - I live in Orlando, and the vacationers from various countries wear what they want to. I don't care what anyone wears, as long as they aren't hanging out of their outfits. :)
When I go to Paris (or to any areas of Europe), I've never noticed any particular style of dress. Some dress up, some dress down - and not only Americans wear white (or any other color) sneakers. I tend to dress a little nicer than at home - but mostly because the nicer clothes (i.e. - not t-shirts) are easier to clean by hand between washes.
USA Mon 07/03/2006
How you dress in Europe
I just would like to put in my 2¢ here about the style of dressing. Many people are saying that you should dress "nicely" when you go to Europe. But I don't understand why people tell others how to dress. After all, most people who are going to Europe from the US are going on vacation. Why should they have to follow rules about their style of dress while they're on vacation?
I say wear whatever you want to wear. I guarantee that the Europeans you will encounter on your trip have seen far worse things than an American dressed like an American.
Dress how you feel comfortable at home. If you would normally wear shorts and a T-shirt to the malll, then go ahead and wear shorts and a T-shirt while shopping. If you normally put on a nice shirt and long pants to eat at a nice restaurant, then do that. But just don't feel like there is a dress-code you have to follow. It's your vacation, so relax.
Los Angeles, CA USA Mon 07/03/2006
tossing old clothing
Just another point of view on the topic of whether or not to take old clothes to Europe and then discard them. The last time I stayed in a B&B in England, our hostess told me that she and her husband always wore old clothes on the plane when they flew abroad (including the USA) and took another set to wear home. That way, they didn't have to worry about anything getting stained during the flight. "And once we land," she said, "we just throw away the old clothes." I guess it's not just ugly American who use this trick.
USA Mon 07/03/2006
Before I left for Brugge/Paris/Germany/Haarlem in mid-May I went back and forth about taking my jean jacket. At the very last minute, I decided to wear it, and it was the best decision I've ever made! The weather changed almost hourly everywhere I went -- walking around Paris, biking around the Bodensee, hiking and biking in northern Germany -- I wore the jacket every day, sometimes with a couple layers under it, sometimes with a rainjacket over it. It was perfect!! Also -- I carried the old style convertible pack and a LeSportsac handbag -- I do pack light -- and after 7 days, I knew I didn't need several items, so I sent them home from Germany. I had taken an 11x17" Tyvek envelope along just in case, and it worked great. I sent a skirt, two pairs of pants and the Paris guidebook and other travel info home, to make space for several purchases. :)
Neenah, WI USA Sat 07/01/2006
Disposable clothing = Ugly American
enough said. Don't trash another country with your cast away. Visit your local charity and donate clothing you don't need/want.
Travel to another country dressed like you would dress here.- unless that means you walk around in your worst clothing to go to the grocery/movie/church.
USA Sat 07/01/2006
I have always been troubled by the "disposable clothes" school of packing. Packing light doesn't mean that we abdicate our responsibility to present our best selves wherever we are.
In my opinion traveling in clothing that we are ready to throw away just isn't appropriate at abroad or at home.
USA Fri 06/30/2006
Disposable clothing - It's a NO-NO in my book
Brittney, not to be mean, but this subject has been the discussed at length on this board. Some people agree with dumping our stuff in Europe, but it seems the majority is not. I'm sure hotel and Bed and Breakfast owners in the US do not appreciate their clients dumping stuff in the trash etc.
I believe it nicer to wear clean presentable clothing while on holiday, not my throw away clothes that I would work on my car in, or paint a room in.
Take a minimum of clothing and enjoy the joys of packing light. packing light does not mean polluting Europe.
USA Thu 06/29/2006
Men's Capri pants
This is pretty much just in Europe, but these pants described below are called "shants" They are pretty much capri pants for men.
Rock climbers in the US and some younger/hipper guys have caught on to this trend.
Europe always is years ahead of us in the US when it comes to fashion. most guys here don't have the guts to wear the newest trend.
Shants are great on guys, and can be a wonderful alternative to pants on hot days.
Thanks for your interesting comments!
USA Thu 06/29/2006
This will only help you when you are coming home, but if you are a person who will buy a lot of souvineers, its great! When packing for a tour, take a lot of clothes that older or you dont like anymore. Take an extra pair of sneakers that are getting worn out besides your brand new high tech walking shoes. When you are re-packing to come home on your trip, throw out all of your old worn out clothes! If you wont wear them again, it will take a lot of pounds out of your suitcase and you dont have to lug them home again. WARNING: Only do this if you are absolutely SURE that you dont want these clothes or shoes anymore!
PA USA Thu 06/29/2006
Forget the heavy cotton sleep sack and go with a silk one instead to save ounces. We were happy to spend the money and upgrade during a recent hiking trip to Switzerland. Also, the ultra-lightweight titanium sporks we brought were very useful for picnicking. Those plus a knife and tiny salt and pepper shaker combo were all we needed for the most part.
Roanoke, VA USA Thu 06/29/2006
During our trip to the Netherlands and Belgium in mid-June I was interested to see many local men (even older men) wearing very long shorts (really almost capri pants). It was really hot, and my husband bought a pair in a light-weight fabric from an outdoor store there and enjoyed wearing them throughout the journey. It was so hot he could have not brought his jeans and been fine.
Roanoke, VA USA Thu 06/29/2006
I used some of those space bags on my last trip. I was very disappointed. They are not sealed and air just leaked back in. Also, if you need it to be sealed to do laundry in, you are out of luck. I got some of the new giant Ziploc bags and am going to use those on my next trip.
Santa Barbara, CA USA Thu 06/29/2006
>>I love sun protective clothing for travel as it is light, but it wrinkles like crazy! I haven't found a work around for this. I haven't had a lot of problems with wrinkles, I really like the sun protective clothing from Stingray in Australia. They shipped free and it really was fast. http://www.stingray.com.au/products/default.asp?intCatID=10
Just be careful as far as sizing, you don't want to have to return anything! I don't know if they may have vendors in the US. I plan to buy my husband one outfit - and one more for myself, since I live in Florida and need them anyway. It isn't cheap, I normally spend very little on clothing - but this saves a lot of sunblock, as well as is VERY light to pack, and I want something that I can wash in the sink and have to wear (for both of us). If we save one or two washes on our next trip in September, it will be well worth it.
As far as socks and underwear - I don't skimp on those. I like my plush, thick cotton socks, and wearing panty liners (as many of us women do anyway) doesn't cut it for me. Fortunately, they don't weigh a lot.
Last time we travelled, I thought I packed light (I did pack lighter than I would have). This time I'm cutting the weight in my bag in half from last trip.
Lake Mary, Fl USA Wed 06/28/2006
What to wear on the plane - One point of view
I love to wear my Lululemon yoga pants while flying. They are very comfortable, like wearing my PJ's, but dressy enough for business class. I wear a nice sweater and layer that with a cami, and voila! I'm comfortable enough to sleep on the plane, yet look presentable when I arrive.
I personally cannot wear anything tight around my waist. As the other poster suggested jeans on the plane over....my stomach started to ache with the thought of jeans...and mine have stretch in them, and are very comfortable. But - not for sitting in one position for 8-10 hours. I don't even wear my jeans when I have to drive more than 3 hours in my car...just to heavy and to tight!
My yoga pants can be used again during my trip for a nice dinner...but generally, they are reserved for the trip over and back. Take up very little space, and are my "travel pants" each time I hop on the plane!
USA Wed 06/28/2006
Jeans are good sometimes
Yes, jeans are great under certain circumstances - traveling during the colder months or in colder, wetter climates. We each packed one pair for our trip to Ireland (summertime) and were glad of the warmth they offered.
They are not perfect for each trip and can safely be left out of most trips to Italy, France, Spain, etc. during the summer months. They will be too hot and you can carry several outfits for the weight & space that one pair takes up.
Even during cold times you only need one pair, so as the poster below states - wear them on the plane, but bring your nicer stuff too. Because jeans are so sturdy (heavy) they hold up for a good bit of time and look great without washing. You will be glad that they are not your only option, however, so don't forget the nicer stuff.
USA Wed 06/28/2006
Rolled clothes and rubber bands
Instead of the usual rubber bands to hold rolled up clothing, take some rubber gloves (get cheap ones) and cut them cross-ways clear up to the fingertips. This makes 'rubber bands' and you can make them any width you want. Regular rubber bands leave marks on clothing.
WA USA Wed 06/28/2006
Traveling light with jeans
I agree with packing light. Last Fall when I went to Europe I felt like a true "tourist" for not bringing a pair of jeans. Most of the people my age 20's-30's wore jeans. You can still look nice wearing jeans. A lot of people in Europe seem to be wearing jeans, I don't know why Americans think they don't. If you're concerned about the weight, just make sure you wear your jeans on the days you travel. Moreover, I wish I brought a pair because it was cold.
Instead of buying the bulky travel size liquid laundry detergent bottle, pour some of your own detergent into an empty 8oz water bottle.
San Francisco, CA USA Tue 06/27/2006
I wish Rick would make his bag without the backstraps. It seems like extra bulk to carry around. I use a shoulder strap all the time. Didn't Rick used to make a backstrapless ETBD bag?
Editors Note: Rick has never made a Strapless Bag, but they can be hidden away in the concealed compartment without too much addition of weight or bulk.
USA Tue 06/27/2006
Kris, when I travelled in Europe before, I often stayed in hostels. Not wanting to rent a sheet, no one ever asked for PROOF that I had my own bedding. I simply took a full size top sheet and sewed a simple seam across the bottom leaving the side open. Still have it and now use it when camping in the summer.
Lea Ann Ellis
Forest, MS USA Tue 06/27/2006
Rolling clothes tightly and securing with an elastic band saves a ton of room.
FL USA Tue 06/27/2006
ETBD convertible carry-on bag
I like my 2000 vintage ETBD convertible carry-on bag. It's gone to Europe with me five times and shows no wear and tear. It is regulation size (it always fits in the box at the Lufthansa gate), and it weighs only 2 1/2 #. That's 3/4# less than the newer expandable bag.
My only complaint is that it is too well made. The 1000 denier nylon makes it heavier than I would like, so I recently got a similar configuration Campmor bag, which, at 500 denier weighs 3/4 # less.
USA Tue 06/27/2006
We love our Civita's - they're affordable, durable, hold the basics, easy to carry, compact, and easy to store in your RS bag when not in use, The O ring at the bottom of the bag is a big PLUS....theives would have a time finding it.
USA Tue 06/27/2006
RS travel bags
We have both the Civita day-pack and the Avanti flight bag, and we use both of them. The Avanti is my carry-on whenever I fly. Hubby carried the Civita during our recent trip to Italy and it was a life-saver...it holds what you need and it's not a pain to pack around.
WA USA Mon 06/26/2006
Yes to dressing well
I agree with my fellow San Franciscan, Jo, below. When visiting major European cities (and American ones also) please dress appropriately. You can be just as casual, comfortable and 'cool' dressed in a more sophisticated way. Save the shorts/athletic shoes/and T-shirts for Disneyland or Hawaii. And yes --- all men should dress at least as good as Rick does.
San Francisco, CA USA Mon 06/26/2006
WOW! Never said to look like a slob...my example was - observe how RS dresses in his PBS programs. He's well dressed, neat, compfy. I've never taken jeans. . TravelSmith (60%), Tilley (20%) and llBean 20% (in that order) are my favorite places to purchase.
USA Mon 06/26/2006
I have to disagree with the guy who thinks it doesn't matter what you look like because you're on vacation. I happen to live in an area that gets visited by tens of thousands of tourists every summer and I can tell you what the locals think of the tourists who visit a world class destination city wearing clothes that would be more appropriate for a national park--we think you look like idiots. You may think it's okay to visit major metropolitan areas in blue jeans and a t-shirt, but that's an American value that's not necessarily shared by other cultures. You're a guest--show some respect, if not for yourself, at least for the people whose country you're visiting.
San Francisco, ca USA Mon 06/26/2006
My matching colors are: navy, red, purple, a paisley combining these colors, black shoes. Black coat and shoes, navy or black pants, red or blue t-shirts and blouses, purple turtle-neck make up most of my wardrobe. It works for me; I travel with two outfits besides what I am wearing. My carry-on a bag weighs about 17# (this includes 4-5# of books). I wash out something almost every evening so I always have something clean to wear and never have a load of dirty laundry to deal with.
USA Mon 06/26/2006
I think what people are trying to say is not so much to be sure everything you take "matches" everything else, but to make sure everything you take "goes" with other clothes. If yout take 3 outfits (top + pants, or tops plus skirts), but none of the 3 tops or pants or skirts really "go" with the other pieces, then re-think the pices you are taking! That's why so many people talk about "neutral" colors that go with just about any other color and the combinations look fine - and relaxed.
Navy, red, white, tan, green for example.
USA Mon 06/26/2006
Here's an idea. Everything in you RS bag does not have to match. If you watch RS on PBS and notice how he is dressed - he's casual and neat. This I think is the most important issue. We go to Europe to be on VACATION (have fun and realax)....locals will know this and aren't expecting you to be a Metro Sexual if you're a guy...go and have fun...leave that matching worry at home. If things don't match - Oh well!
USA Mon 06/26/2006
Several people have suggested taking wrinkle release spray and/or Febreeze. I just wondered what amount and container you recommend taking it in, say for a 2-week trip? Wouldn't it be nice if there was one product that did both jobs?
Santa Maria, CA USA Sun 06/25/2006
One bag - you can do it!
I took the RS 17 day Italy tour in late April - early May. I took one carry on sized backpack bag and a small day bag/purse. I never felt like I was wearing the same thing over and over. My best advice: make sure every item of clothing you take matches at least one, if not two, other things. Try them on. Wash them in the sink and make sure they dry overnight, or at least in a day. Make a list of outfit combinations to help you visualize the options (this was the best thing I did pre-trip). Make sure your shoes match everything you take (basic black is always a winner). Consider the time period and pack layers if the weather is iffy - you will be warmer than packing bulky sweaters. Remember: the only people who will know you're wearing something over and over is you and your tourmates, if you have any (but they won't care because they're too busy being on vacation!)
USA Sun 06/25/2006
We just got back from a trip through Eastern Europe, using the European airlines. I worried quite a bit about weight restrictions and changed our luggage over to the 21 inch roller sold on this site as well as the Citita Day Pack. The roller took all the abuse I gave it and I really enjoyed using it. That day pack is magical somehow. I can't say exactly how much I stuffed into it all at once but it just took and took and took! Books, jackets, umbrellas, purchases...in the end, it takes up hardly any room in the roller and you're off! Both bags are great!
Minneapolis, USA Sat 06/24/2006
Shake down cruise x 2
When we started RS travel style...we did several shake down crusises. Works well and will give you lot of travel practice. For our first cruise we packed enough for three days Fri afternoon - Mon morning (1 pr pant, 1 shirt, 1 of everthing else). We checked in to a local Motel 6 (parked the car until we checked out Mon am). We walked everywhere, ate European style, washed cloths by hand, kept a rough journal, and took pictures. We tried to carbon copy as much as possible. You'll learn a lot :)
Our second cruise was a week long....we actuallly took a Grayhounder over to the coast...all went well. We PACKED 2-2-2
USA Sat 06/24/2006
It's a great idea to pack a sweater. I know that it might sound goofy, but a well knit sweater is just as good as a jacket when layered and can be compressed in your bag much easier.
St. Louis, MO USA Sat 06/24/2006
New baggage rules on British Airlines
Two new baggage rules are coming into effect shortly. As of July 5 you can bring one 22" bag of any weight on board along with one personal item of laptop case size or smaller. But, as of October 11, you can only check one bag, with a maximum weight of 23 kilos. Excess bag charge is 120 pounds sterling per bag!!
USA Fri 06/23/2006
If you're going to buy space bags, don't buy cheap imitations from Walmart. I bought some for our last trip, and they were so useless I returned them! (I've never tried the real thing -- I don't carry that much in the way of bulky items so it works out fine without them.)
USA Fri 06/23/2006
I just traveled to Italy and Austria these past few weeks. I only took a backpack. The one thing that I would recommend would be to pack your clothes in "space bags". They compress the air and make sooo much room in the backpack. I wasn't sure if it would work, but it was compressed and easy to work with. I had one bag for skirts, pants, etc. The other bag was used for shirts. Because it was able to take out the air, I had lots of room in my backpack. I traveled all through Italy and Austria and never had to worry about my clothes not fitting in the backpack or even becoming wrinkled. I love this concept and would do it again in the future. So if you are travelling by backpack and need to get all your clothes in a small compartment, then use the space bags. They can be found in many stores.
Mt. Juliet, TN USA Fri 06/23/2006
You Can Pack Light and Look Great Too
Mitzi your Mom is right! The important thing is not how much you take, but what you take. I actually pack by volume, not by number of items. I use packing cubes to restrict what goes into the suitcase. The clothes take up about 50% of my 20" roll aboard. I've learned so many great tips from this website, especially for "non-clothing" items, that I've reduced what I take in the other half of my suitcase so I have room for some art supplies. I make certain that what I take is virtually wrinkle free (I hate looking wrinkled) and that almost all the tops and one pair of pants and/or skirt can be washed in the sink and dries wrinkle free overnight.
The packing "rule" that everything should match everything else is a good one and it works well for me on business travel. However, for casual travel, I find I almost need "two sets" of clothing: one that is dressier and for city touring, and another for hiking including trudging through mud and rivers. This creates a challenge when keeping to my "volume" limit, but I have done so with creative coordination of styles and fabrics. If we don't have any hiking on the schedule, I still like taking two color schemes. I can't wear both pairs of my pants (or skirt) at the same time, so I take two colors schemes that mostly work together, but have some unique bold items for the top half. That way my around 9 (doesn't include what I have on the plane) clothing items don't get boring after three weeks of travel - especially if I support the local economy and buy fun accessories that can even be gifts for the folks back home (and yes they do know that they are "previously worn" items and they love the fact the items were worn and admired in another country).
My husband and I often go to dinners that require him to don a jacket and tie and I need to dress accordingly. I always take one fancy long skirt that takes hardly any room and doesn't wrinkle. One vacation we had formal dinners for 6 straight nights with the same people. I got wonderful compliments on my attire. No one noticed that I wore the same skirt every night and alternated 3 tops (2 that doubled for day wear) - I just played around with costume jewelry and scarves - most of which I picked up as souvenirs. Bottom line - people don't pay so much attention to what you have on from day to day, but that it is correct for the occasion!
I know there are all different types of travelers and that is great - I've learned so much from all. My personal preference is to dress a bit nicer (but still comfortably) and I like some variety. I can accomplish my goals and pack compactly. Luckily the selection of quick drying, wrinkle-free items that are dressier is increasing, which makes packing light and looking great way easier! Have a fantastic trip and your Mom sounds like a great sport!
NY USA Fri 06/23/2006
Amen to the NF Cargo Capris
I have them, too, in black, and with those, two lightweight skirts and another pair of (different brand) dark tan capris lasted for two months in Italy and Greece last summer. (I took six tank tops, rolled in the smallest packing cube.) As pointed out, besides their durability and quick- drying features, with a change of tank top, maybe a belt or a scarf purchased along the way and flip- flop type sandals, you are set for the evening. Even if you don't go with North Face brand, shopping for travel clothes at an outdoor store is great because most of them are quick- dry fabric (tees and shirts, too) and very well- made. How nice you two are traveling together!!!
USA Thu 06/22/2006
North Face Cargo Capris
Let me begin by saying I have never traveled abroad. However, I am going on a trip to Italy in the fall. Have already received my RS carryon/backpack, and can't wait to use it. I am a clothes and shoe hound, and usually travel to the point of paying overweight charges all the time for my domestic travel. But not this time. I am reading all tips and learning so much. Thanks to everyone.
Just wanted to add something that I thought may help. My mother has decided to join me on my trip to Italy. We were discussing clothes the other day, and she said the pair of cargo pants she had on were the best find she ever had as far as travel wear.
The are by The North Face, and they have a website. They are some type of lightweight nylon material. Has them in diff colors, and really didn't even remember where she bought them. She and my dad have been on long treks to Spain, Alaska, Argentina, and a very long safari in Africa. They wash and dry fast, don't wrinkle, and go with anything. Take off the hike shoes and add a slip on sandal or mule, and they are perfect to go out. And would take up such a small amount of space as they are a really lightweight fabric.
After she quit laughing hysterically about my idea to travel with carry on only, she started with this particular tip.
Hope this is useful. They are really great looking capri cargos, and she wears them all the time here in North Georgia when at home because she said they are the most comfortable brand of clothes she has ever owned.
Jasper, GA USA Thu 06/22/2006
Writing in a journal
I found a solution to lugging around a journal. I buy postcards everywhere I go and write my experiences on them. That way the memories are on back of the pictures and when I get home its fun to get postcards a few weeks later. Just take a pen with you and make sure to buy stamps with the postcards.
San Diego, CA USA Thu 06/22/2006
Wrinkle Release Spray
Bring wrinkle release spray. Although it seems bulky, it has a nice clean smell that refreshes your clothes and removes wrinkles!
OH USA Thu 06/22/2006
3 changes of clothes.
USA Wed 06/21/2006
Buy on location etc
First off we don't want your worn-out clothes - even Charity (goodwill) shops don't. Why not buy the odd new thing if you need it. We do have shops in London, Paris and Rome....
Shorts are perfectly acceptable in plenty of places but usually not in big cities. South of France I wear shorts all the time but not in Paris. Mostly you can be spotted as an American miles away in any event.
Use the plastic bags which can be compressed as you can fit loads in. they can double up as a place to put dirty things when necessary. Or use straps to compress bulky items.
It's easier and more hygienic to wash shirts than underwear in my opinion. Cotton button-up shirts wash and dry easier than t-shirts
If you check a bag don't put anything in it you're not preapred to lose!
London, England Wed 06/21/2006
My tip for packing light
If you limit yourself to a carry on size bag and a daypack, or shoulder bag, then you are packing light. I don't even think about taking anything over the legal carry on size bag, then pack accordingly.
It's so very easy. A couple pairs of capri pants, several t-shirts (Old Navy or Gap or Banana Republic), my Pashima. One light sweater, one pair of shorts, one skirt, toiletry kit. One pair of sandals and one closed toe shoe, undies, socks and done.
No need to over think what you pack, or to bring a big rolling suitcase with clothing (just in case stuff)
I do bring enough undies for one clean pair a day. The t-shirts get several days of wear each before washing, as do the bottoms. I wash in the hotel sink and hang to dry by a window (placing the washed clothing over the back of a chair to dry)
I pack the smaller items and the t-shirts in packing cubes. I use a convertable carry on. It has a zipped panel to hide the daypack straps. I've used the straps a lot...it's so nice to have your lightweight luggage on your back when you are trying to get on a train, etc. or even walking to your hotel (so you don't bump people on the street)
Even though I pack light, I've always checked my luggage. I only take on the plane my shoulder bag. This has my camera, guide book, ipod, sunglasses, passport, etc. I usually take 2 books to read, carry one on, and pack the other in my suitcase for later.
in 6 trips to Europe, this has been my method, I always grab the same bag because I know how much it holds. I lay out my clothes on the bed, then pack it away in the suitcase about a week before my trip (cuz I'm excited!) At the very end I pack my toiletries and head to the airport.
Try this - it works.
USA Wed 06/21/2006
We take three pair of Tilley's skiv-eeees (me 3 - wife 3)....pr on, pr as a backup, pr on the line. Best $60.00 you'll ever spend and you'll have a carefree trip.
In our RS bags - 3 shirts and 2 pair pants (wife takes a skirt and 2 pair of pant. We're almost to the point were one RS bag and 2 Civita day pack will take handle our stuff.
USA Tue 06/20/2006
tossing old clothes in europe
I'm not convinced that underwear and shirts on their last legs are going to be any more valued by charities in Europe than they would be at home. If you want to travel that way for your own convenience, fine, but I think you're kidding yourself if you think that clothes that would have been tossed at home will be appreciated more overseas. And if it's really "trash", it does feel a bit "ugly American" to leave our trash for their landfills.
USA Tue 06/20/2006
I've been a big proponent of tossing clothes on foreign trips for years. I save everything that I think would work for travel in a big box. When packing time comes, I go through it and look for things that will work for that trip. It's generally underwear and shirts that were on their last legs anyway. What you would have sold them for at a yard sale is probably less than the cost of laundering them on a trip. We just spent three weeks in Spain and I left shirts, socks, underwear and even my running shoes. I added new gel insoles to an old pair and brought along the old insoles. I took the new insoles home to use again and replaced the old ones in the shoes. I always leave a note for the hotel maids telling them I don't want the items and asking them to keep them or donate them to someone. If you don't do that, your stuff sometimes ends up in the hotel Lost and Found. In countries like England with an abundance of charity shops, I'll drop by one and make a donation. Bottom line is you come home with lots of room in you suitcase and little laundry to do when you arrive. You leave things that would have been tossed at home and might be doing someone in the country you visited a good turn.
Memphis, TN USA Tue 06/20/2006
packing for a family
We don't usually have everyone pack/carry a separate bag when traveling as a family. It doesn't seem to be the best way to organize things. Instead, we will have all our sweaters and jackets together in one place, swimsuits in another, hostel sheets and towels in another, etc. Once we arrive and get our rental car, we will put some items into lightweight totes that we pack to organize our stuff, so that hostel sheets and towels, for example, don't need to come into every accomodation, but only the places where they are needed. Sweaters and jackets pretty much live in the car, etc. Also we all share one toiletry bag. The kids do each carry on a small daypack with whatever they want for entertainment on the flight, their special sleeping animal, etc. Those can be emptied and used if they need packs for hikes or other daytrips at some point.
USA Mon 06/19/2006
With a family of 6, and after a disasterous trip with a gigantic suitcase, we long ago started the "pack only what you can carry" mode. We got brightly colored Lands' End Lighthouse luggage (monogrammed to head off any fighting!) Those bags have been all over the US and Europe, checked and carried on, barely holding anything or stuffed to the gills. Unfortunately, they don't make the style we have anymore, which is a satchel style bag with a detachable shoulder strap. We just carry the bags with the strap across the body, and if you get tired of that, you can carry it in your hand for awhile. Our youngest child was under 5 years old when we bought these bags, and he could carry it by himself, so we taught them young to travel light on their feet--our oldest proved it when she packed one small suitcase for a 6 week study abroad!
I guess my advice is...if it's not too late, start early teaching your kids they don't need to bring everything they own! My rule has always been....you can bring it if you can carry it without lagging behind and you keep your hands free.
USA Mon 06/19/2006
If you can't find a laundromat (more often the case than not) how about this idea?
Has anyone used the big heavy-plastic roll-out-the-air clothing bags as washing machines? If they are air tight, they won't leak water. . . .
Put in the dirty clothes, add water and soap, seal up tight, and agitate a while. Rinse a couple of times, and use your micro-fiber towel for preliminary drying.
Seattle, WA USA Sun 06/18/2006
cast offs and colours
Hi there, Two tips about packing light, stop me if you've heard these ones. First - if you're going to Europe for a fancy time, like a wedding, it might be smart to bring something with you that you're willing to leave. For instance, my husband and I are going to Turkey to attend a wedding. Instead of bringing his favorite pants for that one night, we bought a serviceable pair of pants at a second-hand shop and will wear them once, then leave them at the hostel. Also, regarding colours: get your colours done. The great thing about this is that once you know your palette, all your clothes go together because the colours all match. Also, they look great on you because...well...they're your colours! I'm a fall, so I'm bringing no black, but the browns and oranges and greens all go together, so no worries about clashing, and I'll look my best besides. Happy travelling!
Canada Sun 06/18/2006
travelling lighter each time!
I just did another trip and have been learning lots of things about how to pack light....I took 10 tshirts and wore two. I took four pants and wore two all the time and one pair once. I really appreciated having enough changes of underwear for the 10 days I was away. One gets especially sweaty after travelling to hot climates. It was nice to rip off all that sweaty stuff, shower and put on new undies and a fresh, cleam cami. I had a washer and dryer available to me for four days and I used that. But, if I didn't, I would take 5 t-shirts, 3 pants and find a washer and dryer somewhere as what I had was heavy! As for wardrobe, having the same things, in one colour made a difference...I didn't have to think about what to wear. I had a uniform of jeans and either light or dark blue tshirt...however, taking all similarly coloured things would be better then you don't have to seperate out your laundry and do two loads...just the one.
One other thing...they charge you $2 for luggage carts in parts of USA and some of them DON'T WORK. Found this out the hard way...the wheel of the one I had did not work rendering the thing absolutely useless. I had wheels on my duffle, but we had two duffles, two suitcases and four carry ons between four people. This is where travelling light makes a HUGE DIFFERENCE! I think charging for luggage carts is stupid esp. if they don't work.
WA USA Sat 06/17/2006
Fabric Deodorizer Spray
After reading many comments about how smoky everyone's clothes get in Europe, I have to share my favorite piece of packing advice: fabric deodorizer. Buy a small, empty travel spray bottle and fill it up with the fabric deodorizer of your choice. Spritz it on your clothes when you get back to the hotel and they will smell much, much better by the time you wake up. As a Californian (used to non-smoking bars) now living in Europe, I cannot imagine life without this stuff.
Geneva, Switzerland Sat 06/17/2006
Wearing the same things...
...over and over was one of the biggest adjustments to the "packing light" philosophy for me, personally. Each trip I now take less and last summer existed for six weeks with three tank tops, two pairs of capris, and two lightweight skirts in Italy. The addition of a lightweight scarf for cathedrals or more modesty in cafes was about it for accessories other than my cheap old watch and a pair of old hoop earrings. Somewhere in week five, in the black tank top, aforementioned scarf and one of the skirts for the zillionth time I did feel a twinge of longing for something new- and it's true, you can always buy a new item as a reminder of your trip and to simultaneously spice up the tired old things. It was hot and I pretty much stopped wearing any makeup, either, unless we were going out at night. For me it was liberating, since I have to dress and groom very carefully for my real life in the US! But to NOT have to think about what to wear, or worry about it, really freed me to focus on the sights and not how I looked. As long as the clothes were clean and I looked neat it worked fine. I did notice this shifted the minute I was in the airport heading reluctantly home- THEN all of a sudden I felt stinky and very sick of the garments!
USA Fri 06/16/2006
To Bin or Not To Bin
I once heard of a person who took "older" underware, a pair for every day, with them to Europe and just threw them away as they went along.
USA Fri 06/16/2006
Lightweight clothing - more outfits
I'd love to take a whole wardrobe with me - it's nice to have a choice and be able to change your mind about what to wear when you wake up. But instead of taking more clothes, I buy a piece or 2 abroad (tank top, light shirt, scarf). I also take inexpensive, but bright/fun jewelry, extra belts and some scarves - they help dress up an outfit and can change the look instantly.
But remember - during warmer weather, you can take more clothes if you pack rayon, tencel or silk. I can get 3 pairs of rayon pants/skirts in the same space that a pair of heavy jeans fit in! They wash and dry well (squeeze out in a towel before hanging to dry)and look great in lots of colors.
USA Fri 06/16/2006
Scarlett - see my posting of May 15. I got an artificial chamois at K-Mart in the auto section. Works great!
Cary, NC USA Thu 06/15/2006
We just came back from the 21 Day Europe tour and had much discussion among the women as to the packing list! Most said they wished they had taken more clothes! Saying that, we all knew the limitations of space. I was glad that I had been told by a friend that if I brought khaki pants and a few 'non-wrinkle' shirts that I would feel underdressed in Europe. I was glad I had packed extra shell shirts, costume jewelry and pashmina shawls. I was glad I had more than tennis shoes with me. I wished I had brought jeans as well. We went in May-early June and actually ran into snow in Switzerland, so were very thankful that we had brought a coat with us. There were adequate chances to do laundry or have it sent out. Saying all of this, I only had the Rick Steve's backpack. I used the packing compartments and the zip-lock bags that shrink down things.
abbotsford, bc canada Wed 06/14/2006
Kris - sleep sacks
Try for silk, it will be lighter weight. Look at Campmor.com or Sierratradingpost.com for a deal. Kelty makes them...and there are cheaper versions.
USA Wed 06/14/2006
Cotton Sleep Sack
Hi, I will be studying abroad in Germany this upcoming year and will have plenty of time to take long trips all over Europe. I would like to buy the cotton sleep sack for Hostel stays but am not sure if it takes up a lot of room. I plan on just taking Rick's covertible day bag/backpack and not sure if there is a way to attach the cotton sleep sack once I start traveling. Does anyone have any ideas? Thanks!
Chicago, IL USA Wed 06/14/2006
Tank tops for Scarlett
I wore tank tops all summer in Europe- they are cool and dry quickly! Those tie-front cover-ups are one option when you are in the city or going into a museum or cathedral- mine had short sleeves. Even more formal looking is a light shawl or wrap/or huge scarf- it totally will cover your shoulders and instantly dresses up your tired tank tops when sitting down at a cafe or going out! I kept both in my day bag, where they took up very little space. The shawl dried within half an hour and I washed it all the time... I used flip flops in the hotel rooms and to wear out at night once in awhile, but if you spend a lot of time on city streets your feet'll get really dirty and tired, since there's not much support- also, with big crowds you could get your tootsies stomped on! I think investing in a really good pair of walking sandals (see the footware postings) will be well worth the price- sometimes at our REI there are really good deals in their closeout section. Also, as long as your shorts are not super short shorts they are fine- like the "Bermuda" length ones.
USA Wed 06/14/2006
My wife and I go to Europe every year. We used to take 2 or 3 suitcases each, but now we have got it to the point that we only have one carry-on suitcase each, plus another small carry-on that will fit under the seat if necessary. By carrying on your luggage it will save you time waiting at the baggage claim area at your arrival airport.
Someone once advised, that before you put anything into your suitcase, you should hold it up in front of you and ask "Do I really need this?" This simple concept has saved us from taking too much clothing and has helped us cut down on the number of suitcases. At least once during our trip, we will find a laundromat and wash clothes.
Sacramento , CA USA Wed 06/14/2006
I am going to France in july/aug for 4 weeks, then travel to Italy, Paris, and London over the course of 2 weeks. I realize that I should not pack any shorts, but what about tank tops? I have a ton of those, but don't want to disrespect. Also, where can I get a good pair of day time walking shoes (cheap). Are flip flops ok to wear out (with an evening outfit or to school there??) One more, where can I find a cheap knock off of chamois cloth?
USA Wed 06/14/2006
Dressing boys for Europe
Rich - not sure where in Europe you are going but in general children can get away with a lot more than adults without looking too foolish. Shorts with regular tee-shirts can be appropriate much of the time, but even children must wear long pants in some Italian churches. Also, tee shirts can be heavy, hot, & take a long time to dry - so we limit the amount we take.
For our summer family trips to warm places (Italy, France) I brought 1 pair of khaki shorts and 2 pair of khaki pants for my 9 year old son. When we went to England & Ireland I substituted 1 pair jeans for one of the pants. I bought lightweight cotton button shirts (cheap at places like Old Navy) so he would be both cool and appropriately dressed. Shoes are one pair of sports shoes (again, appropriate for most children) and one pair of Teva/leather sport sandals.
The shorts issues - whether to wear them or not - comes up a lot. We (mom, dad, kids) almost always take one pair of shorts for the "active" parts of our vacation: renting bikes or canoes, hiking, going to the beach. We don't, as a rule, wear shorts when touring the cities (Paris, Rome, Barcelona) because I want us to be able to sit down for dinner in a nice place and again, in some churches in Italy you will not be able to enter in shorts.
Hope this helps.
Atlanta, USA Wed 06/14/2006
Dress code with children
I am taking my wife and 2 boys ages 5 and 10 to europe in July and I am wondering how to pack for them? The real question is wearing shorts? In the US we wear shorts all the time, is that appropriate for Europe? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Kennewick, WA USA Tue 06/13/2006
While it has never happened to me, I have seen what Tod calls "valet checking" on flights I have been on leaving from the airport here. I'm not sure what criteria is used. I don't think my bag was that much smaller than the ones that were tagged.
Sharon R. Johnson
Lincoln, Nebraska USA Tue 06/13/2006
Just got back from Italy
Just got back from 2 weeks in Italy - flying American (SD>LA>London) and Alitaia (London>Rome) carried on Rick's bag both to and fro without a problem. Had to "valet check" it on the puddle jumper to LA but you can watch it go on the plane and they hand it back to you as you exit so no worries about it getting lost. No problems with security either except they took the corkscrew I bought in Italy away in Heathrow on the way back. When you get back look at everything you took, how big/heavy it is and how much you used it and write it down while it's fresh in your mind. REI is a good source of light weight, quick drying and multi-pocketed clothes. They also have a lot of great "trail" eating ideas (like foldable bowls) that work great in a picnic bag and little LED flashlights etc. As far as I can tell the odd baggage restrictions on Alitilia are enforced at random, but I was on two _full_ flights and they didn't question my carry on at all. (I usually put the shoulder straps in when I go to get on the plane to help the bag look smaller and simpler.) The single biggest tip I can give you for all around usefulness is a bunch of ziplock plastic bags in various sizes. You'll use them trust me. I can easily think of 10 times that I watched people struggle with hideous number and sizes of bags and was SO thankful we had packed light. Do it - you will NOT regret it. Thanks, Rick!
San Diego, CA USA Mon 06/12/2006
This has been said before but needs to be repeated, I think. If your goal is packing light, rehearse your packing!
First of all, pack the clothes you want to take and leave them packed for a day or two, then take them out. Do they still look okay? Are they too crushed/wrinkled for you to wear without extra effort? Find out now, before you go!
If you're planning to hand wash anything (including undies) -- do it at home, hang them up, and see if they dry overnight. If they don't -- again, best to know now so you can change your plans.
Finally, pack everything into your bag. Is it bulging? Either find a more efficient way to pack or take some out. You don't want to be bulging as you walk out the door. It will only get worse during your trip!
Depending on your carryon, you may have choices. Try it as a shoulder bag, a backpack, a suitcase with handle. Figure out which is most comfortable for you, and make sure it's not too heavy. (Also, get used to changing it from one to the other. You may find your shoulders get tired and you'd rather switch to backpack for awhile, etc.)
I've also practiced packing light on local trips when I didn't really need to. Even though we had plenty of room in the car, I treated my bag as if we were flying and had everything organized and compact, and was able to determine how traveling out of the suitcase would be for longer trips.
Color me weird, but for me this kind of "rehearsing" is part of the fun of traveling. It gives me something to do besides just count the days until I board the plane.
Dallas, USA Mon 06/12/2006
Packing to share with others
A tip (or few) for Kristen: Hi, I won't waste time about packing clothes, etc... already plenty of sound advice here and elsewhere. In my traveling I have found a few items that never fail to help break the ice with your/our local hosts. The first is a CD with photos/images of your hometown, family and friends, holiday celebration. Everyone enjoys a peek at someone else's life and since you'll be seeing how the French students live it would only be fair to share a view of your own. With the prevalence of accessible computers a CD is a great way to carry a "bit of home" while abroad and very easy to share with others. My second tip is to bring a few mementos of your hometown like a handful of lapel/hat pins or refrigerator magnets ( I'm sure a city like Houston has several to choose from). Including one of these with a tip for service, particularly when given to someone whose path you will cross again, can go a long way toward securing good and friendly service. These mementos are also nice to trade among the friends you will make while away from home and make a nice reminder of YOU for your hosts. While this practice is less common now than in the past (except with young scouts and many fraternal organizations), and may even seem a bit corny, I have always been rewarded with a warm and friendly gratitude from the recipients. Finally, take with you the resolve to keep a daily journal of your experiences... Come Sept 2006, or 2026, you won't regret that you did! Peace! and Happy Trails-
Morrisville, PA USA Mon 06/12/2006
Wear you $$$$ belt!
Be sure to wear and stock your travel money built. I'd suggest as soon as you leave your house. Things can get lost when you begin to experience airport panic.
USA Mon 06/12/2006
Carry on PLUS an essentials tote of some kind
Very true...that's why, in addition to the carry- on 21 inch bag I keep my RX and other absolutely vital items in my trusty RS Cevita black backpack- that could include room for a few plane distractions and food for tots, your own reading material, etc. I keep my small travel purse in the outermost compartment until reaching the final destination. Upon arrival, it smooshes down to nothing to stuff into the carry-on suitcase, whether we have been unwillingly separated or not!
USA Sun 06/11/2006
pantyliners vs. clean undies
Any kind of nylon or microfiber underwear will be clean and dry just a few hours after washing. And I don't understand how a bunch of pantyliners can take up less space than a few pair of underwear.
USA Sun 06/11/2006
Don't blame Rick...
Nancy: I think it's unfair to blame Rick Steves' company for not making the carry-on small enough to fit all the varying European (not to mention other continents') airline standards. They vary so tremendously from airline to airline and place to place. If being able to carry on for every leg is of primary importance to one's trip, it would probably behoove the traveler to find out the requirements beforehand and plan accordingly.
USA Sat 06/10/2006
About clean undies for women
I always pack panty-liners, the disposable kind. They take hardly any room in my bag.
I line my undies in the morning, and use a fresh one as needed. Aside from the obvious, they also absorb perspiration.
Issaquah, WA USA Sat 06/10/2006
washing and drying
If you're packing really light, you definitely need quick-drying clothing. Even if you go through 2 tops a day in sweaty weather, if you have 5 or 6 lightweight quick-drying tops, and wash the ones you wore that day each night, the ones you wore 2-3 days ago should be plenty dry to re-wear by the time you run out! There is a definite trade-off between washing and schlepping, though, and if you'd rather schlep, that's a valid choice. In part it depends how many times you will be moving from place to place, and how you are travelling. We (family of 5) are going to have a car, and will pack one bag with "backup stuff" (a sweater and jacket for everyone, a couple of umbrellas, etc.) and leave it in the car for the most part. Also we'll have a bag with our hostel sheets and pack towels, that can stay in the car on the nights that we don't need them. (Those may be the same outer bag, with inner bags/cubes to make taking in one or the other easy as needed.)
USA Fri 06/09/2006
Aer Lingus roll on size limit
Nancy, don't blame Rick for Aer Lingus's size limit. All airlines I found, including Ryan Air, allow 22 inches long by either 16 x 8 or 14 x 9. Aer Lingus allows only 18" long.
Far worse, Aer Lingus only allows 6 kg (13#). Same as British Air and 1 kg more than Alitalia. That's why Aer Lingus, British Air, and Alitalia are all on my "no fly" list, no matter how good the fares.
CO USA Fri 06/09/2006
to the person who asked about the RS roll-around bag:
it's too big for carry on with any of the within-Europe airlines, like Ryanair. It's also too big for Aer Lingus on its transcontinental flights, as far back as last January, when we first flew with ours. We check them through and just deal with it, because they're good bags. However, SHAME ON YOU RICK for not making sure you were under the limit!
USA/Ireland Fri 06/09/2006
Skirts are cooler in hot climates. Reversible skirts are all too expensive. You can buy beautiful, thin,cheap,crinkle fabric skirts from Walmart that are to be tied in a knot for travel. Very cheap and lightweight. The button front blouses you can order from the LL.Bean Traveler catalog are machine wash and dry and come out of the dryer looking wonderful,crisp and new.
Blue Ridge, VA USA Fri 06/09/2006
Pack what you need.
I'm going to be the dissenting voice on this thread. I think you should follow two rules when packing - 1. If you can carry it, you can bring it. 2. Only bring it if you're going to use it!
I tried to pack light for a three week trip to Europe in April. One carry-on bag and a 21" rolling suitcase. The uncertainty of spring weather made packing particularly tricky. Four pairs of slacks and 10 tops.
My clothes got MUCH dirtier & sweatier (& smokier) while traveling than they ever get at home. By the time I got off the airplane I wanted to BURN the outfit I was wearing. Everytime I got to a new location, the first thing I wanted to do was shower & put on clean clothes. This wasn't always possible, and did put a damper on my trip.
It wasn't always easy to find laundry facilities, and it can be time-consuming & expensive to get clothes DRY! (Not fun to put on damp clothes then go out in misty-damp weather)
Not to mention, it's a bit cruel to ask a woman to wear the same three outfits over and over when visiting Paris - or any of the other fashion capitols of Europe. ;)
Obviously there are people who don't care much about what they are wearing, and don't mind washing things in the sink & wearing them damp the next day. But I am not one of those people. If you suspect that you're not either... don't let anyone make you feel bad about what you bring - as long as you can carry it yourself! After all, this is a vacation and you should enjoy yourself.
Portland, OR USA Fri 06/09/2006
Yes- whether purchased from Rick or other sources, the cubes make packing light possible because you have confined space that limits what you take. If it can't fit in the cube, it doesn't come with you. This last trip I so appreciated having nothing loose in the carry-on suitcase...it really made staying organized so much easier!
USA Fri 06/09/2006
How I do it
I've purchased an Eagle Creek ORV trunk bag. It's carry on size and offers hide away backpack straps. It also has a wonderful way to divide the pack according to your needs.
I use 3 packing cubes and fill them with t-shirts in one, undies/socks in another/shorts/capris/skirt in the last one. I pack one pair of shoes, and of course wear another on the plane. My toiletries are also in a waterproof Eagle Creek zipped bag.
Once I fill my packing cubes, add the shoes, I'm done. It is really so easy to plan for a holiday. I read over and over about people that pack a lot of stuff thinking they will wear it, but never do.
If you can control yourself, you'll have a better time on vacation. In reality, no one around you cares what you are wearing...and you aren't going to run into someone so important that it matters that you have on your t-shirt for the 2nd day.
Packing light also means getting over vanity! I'm going to see the sights, the Mona Lisa isn't looking at what I have on! We are only there (Europe) for a short time, just a blink in history! You don't really need to "fit" in!
I make a list of items I need, put all my clothing out on the bed to make sure I have items that will mix and match, then pack them. If I don't have room - it stays home. I can always buy an extra shirt in Europe if I need - I usually do, as a souvenir.
Pack light, you will be so much happier!
USA Fri 06/09/2006
Even when we
We just got back from 8 days in Florence and Tuscany, which included business events where we had to dress up a lot more than we normally would if we were traveling on our own (suit, dress shoes, dress and high heels). We were traveling with a group of about 30 people and when we all checked in at the a/p to go home, I was astounded at the bags everyone was carrying! We by far had the smallest suitcases, and we did have quite a few things in there that we never wore, so I can't even imagine what those people were all carrying! We even had room for souvenirs. I swear by the packing cubes--we have two sets and they really make a difference. And I'm with you on the underwear--I don't like to wash them in the sink, so I always take enough for everyday and two spares! Same with socks--you can get plenty of underwear and socks in the small packing cube and it takes up no room at all.
USA Thu 06/08/2006
speaking from experience
I went on a school trip to Scotland, England, and Iceland in eighth grade. It was my first trip overseas, and I packed pretty heavily. At the end of the trip, I realized after looking at my pictures that I had basically worn the same two shirts, two pairs of pants, and one sweatshirt for the entire 10-day trip, and that extra luggage was hell to lug around. Pack light! The only thing I wouldn't skimp on is underwear though; being caught in a foreign country with no clean underwear is no fun.
USA Wed 06/07/2006
RS in the USA
We use RS advice and travel equipment on our travels in the US. Taking less means more free time, no checked baggage to drive you nuts, saves a lot of money on tips, less chance of theft. I have plenty of room for cloths, laptop and a small digital camera. One Europe idea - a picnic lunch when you can. This also saves you time and money. On and On. We love RS and this forum. Thanks!
USA Tue 06/06/2006
Three years ago ,I purchased a Civita Shoulder Bag from the Travel Store for day use,the constant put on/take off of the backpack at every stop or station had gotten old. The Civita bag is just great! Swing around to the front and sit down, need something?, just pull it around and get it. Water bottle pockets are wonderful. Large enough to carry windbreaker and sweater as weather changes during the day.(layer,layer,layer)Also the material makes for a fine pillow when needed.
USA Tue 06/06/2006
cover up idea
Another alternative to the shawl/scarf idea is to take one mid to long sleeve "big shirt" that you can use like a light weight jacket to layer up when you need it. Just keep it in your day bag and put it on when needed. If you get one that is long you can button it up and it looks like a shirt dress. Covers the sleeveless top and the shorts!
USA Mon 06/05/2006
Jan- sleeveless in churches
Take a Pashima. Packs great, and is perfect for cooler nights. Can dress up anything, works where you need to be covered.
OR - when you arrive, buy a pretty scarf from a street vendor. it will be a memory for your trip, and will work for covering up.
USA Mon 06/05/2006
Shawls for Italy
We were there last summer and as long as you have something on your shoulders you are fine- it can be very lightweight. I took three tank tops in solid colors and lasted for five weeks! Instead of just a piece of material, though, you might consider a semi-sheer floral or patterned wrap and/or a pareo, a good idea from the previous poster. The shawl takes up very little room in your day bag for the cathedrals and I found it useful to have for a ferry crossing when it was windy or to kind of cover up when going to a cafe.
USA Mon 06/05/2006
Sleeveless tops in churches
A shawl covering your shoulders should be OK. Same goes for a pareo around your waist if wearing shorts, since it then looks like you are wearing a skirt - needed in some religious temples in Asia.
USA Mon 06/05/2006
I'm leaving for Italy packing very light. I thought I'd take 1 sleeveless top, but I can't go ito churches sleeveless. Will it work if I buy some thin fabric and drape it over my shoulders, shawl style. Can I get in that way?
USA Mon 06/05/2006
Linda carry on question
Ask your question on the "Traveler's Helpline" not here...this is for suggestions and hints for packing light!! Hopefully someone there will answer for you!
USA Sun 06/04/2006
Carry-on for intra-Europe flights?
I'm using a RS roll-aboard and carrying on to my flight from the U.S. to Europe. We are also flying several times on budget airlines within Europe such as Ryan Air, Air Berlin and Smart Wings. Can this piece of luggage be carried on to those flights as well?
USA Thu 06/01/2006
Sun protection / clothing
Ellen Have you hear of this product, made by the RIT dye co?
USA Thu 06/01/2006
Sun projective clothing
I love sun protective clothing for travel as it is light, but it wrinkles like crazy! I haven't found a work around for this. Ideas?
White Settlement, TX USA Thu 06/01/2006
Transport Back Pack - Ideal Pants
Well I am going to be leaving to travel the world and I bought the Transport Bag from High Sierra. I am able to pack 20lbs just in the main bag and I still have the day pack empty. I looked at a lot of packs that this is the one I decided on. I did buy Rick Steve's packing cubes. Plus the best pair of pants that I have found is the 2 in 1 from Cabela's. You can unzip the legs and they turn into shorts.
Soquel, CA USA Tue 05/30/2006
I recently bought a few pieces of sun protective clothing (I live in Florida and while it's not cheap, it is very lightweight and great for wearing without having to worry about much sunblock). I am looking forward to taking it to Europe, having two of those outfits means it weights almost nothing, plus I'll bring one pair of shorts, and some jogging type pants (one or two pairs, I just bought Champion lightweight pants that will go well with everything on clearance).
Last year I packed lighter than I would have, yet it was still too much. Not this year!
Lake Mary, FL USA Tue 05/30/2006
I carry-on the same stuff in the same bag for a three-weeks trip as for an eight-weeks trip. The only difference is that I take more "pills" for the longer trip. I travel in Sept-Oct, so don't need much cold-weather gear. They have stores in Europe, so I buy what I need if I run out or need more warm clothing. I love Sallie's way of traveling. I will use her ideas next trip.
USA Sun 05/28/2006
Sallie's Thriftshop Ultra-light Pack Plan
Here's how I manage a three week trip with only a small day pack and a big purse: what I do before each trip is make a stop at my local thrift shop. I buy one soft (cheap!) shirt and one comfy pair of slacks to wear on the flight over, and another set of the same to pack in my small daypack. Fashion is NOT the idea! I pack undies and socks and toiletries (little more than a toothbrush and sample size soap) in the daypack or purse. I wear a good pair of walking shoes. Money, cards, passport etc are in waist pouch (I've never had anything stolen in five trips to England/Ireland). Everything else I buy locally as I roam - jackets, sweaters, shoes, toiletries etc. Before I come home I either ship all the stuff I've bought or (in the case of the thriftshop clothes) I leave it behind for someone else to use. I don't do baggage in either direction. Who in their right mind wants to wait for baggage to appear after a ten hour flight?? Plus it's a nice surprise a month later when the boxes arrive from Europe because I usually have forgotten what I bought!
Burien, WA USA Sat 05/27/2006
Scarlett- travel packs High Sierra
The Railpass is 26"x15"x9". Legally over the carry on limit...however, since it's a soft sided bag, and IF you don't over stuff it, you will be able to get it on board in an overhead bin.
However, the Railpass is 23"x14.5"x8.5. totally within the carry on limits.
How tall are you? Are you a strong person? the Railpass holds over 5,000 cub in...that's pretty large - perhaps better for a guy than a girl.
Think about the weight you will carry, and don't let it go over 25-35% of your body weight, or you will be miserable hiking around town!
Even for 6 weeks the smaller of the packs should be fine. You do have the great zip off small day pack for a separate carry on piece..make sure you zip it off when placing in the overhead bin!
Remember, this is the Packing Light board! email me your list of clothing/items you plan to take, lets see if you are going to carry too much stuff!
USA Thu 05/25/2006
I am trying to decide between the High Sierra Transport and the High Sierra Railpass. If I want to keep the bag as a carry on, but have enough space for a 6 week trip, which do I choose?
MO USA Thu 05/25/2006
carryon standard would be welcome
I don't think all carry on bag sizers at the airports are created equal. I find the Rick Steeves bags too long to fit in Canadian travel sizers. Problem is, Rick's bags are 21 inches and most charters only allow 20. Rick's bags are 14 inchws wide and, the Canadian charter is allowing 16 inches wide...go figure. I wish there was a standard for airlines so people knew how big they could take on board. Planes aren't really all that different from each other are they?
USA Wed 05/24/2006
Carry On AND Checked!
I do things a little differently then most travelers/packers of this post. I am fortunate enough to be able to stay for extended periods in Europe. Because of this my situation is much different. But I still do not like schlepping a huge bag around. So, what I do is; 1) rent an apartment in my chosen "base" city/country. 2) I pack a carry-on size with everything for my trip. 3)I then put this bag into a large check-in size rolling bag. I check my bag for my international flight. 4) I settle into my apartment and stick the now empty large bag into a closet or under a bed. 5)For my two to three week excursions away from my "base" I use my carry on. 6)Finally, when it is time to come home, I have a huge, empty suitcase for all my souvieners (art work tubes, bubble wrapped glass and pottery, etc. etc.). I have found this to be an ideal solution for my kind of travel! I have more then enough room for all my "treasures" without the pain of a large bag while traveling around Europe.
Winter Haven, FL USA Wed 05/24/2006
I, too, have put Redoxx's Air Boss to the test in France with no problems whatsoever. The bag costs more but it is guaranteed for life--for life. Can't say that about those cheaper bags.
Charleston, SC USA Wed 05/24/2006
A soft sided bag that meets the max measurements should be allowed on any airline, as long as the weight restrictions are also accounted for with carry on.
High Sierra Sport company makes some fantastic lightweight travel backpacks. Eagle Creek specializes in travel packs.
You don't have to spend $200+ for a fancy pack for travel, High Sierra offers a life time warranty on their packs, and they hold up! Eagle Creek has a limited warranty, but I've never had an issue with the items I own.
USA Tue 05/23/2006
You are right about the friendly French of Air France being strict over luggage. But my Air Boss suitcase from the Redoxx company fit perfectly on a recent trip I took to France back in December and I had no problems at all!!
Mount Olive, NC USA Tue 05/23/2006
Air France carry on luggage
I would certainly like to know what the dimensions of that bin are. The Air France website only says that the limit for size is a combined (LWH) of 115cm, 45 inches. Interestingly, if their bin is cubical, that would limit us to 15" on a side, which is 25% more volume than the ETBD carryon bag. I wonder if this is an attempt to eliminate the roll aboad bags, which effectively take more space in the overhead bins because they are long and rigid, and they can't usually be fit in with the long dimension back to door. I long ago noted that when my ETBD convertible bag is filled to the Lufthansa limit of 17.6# (8 kg), it is limp and can fit into almost any shape. Every time I leave from FRA, I check my bag in the bin at the gate, and it always fits easily. However, Air France allows 12 kg (26.4#). At that weight, I expect my bag would be more tightly packed and less flexible as far as shape is concerned.
I got a hold of someone from Air France and asked about the carryon limit, and she claimed the only size limt is 45 inches combined. I asked about a maximum dimension, and she repeated - 45 inches. I asked if a carryon could be 44 inches by 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch. Same answer - 45 inches, sum of all dimensions.
CO USA Tue 05/23/2006
Air France carry on luggage
The Rick Steves bag will not pass the criteria for carry on luggage for Air France. The bag meets the maximum size measurements but is not the required shape. Air France has a metal bin that your carry on luggage must fit in. It is almost a square. As the Rick Steves luggage is a rectangle it will not fit. Also if you check in online for Air France you still have to wait in the check in line to get a special tag on your carry on luggage that says it has fit their criteria.
Albany, NY USA Tue 05/23/2006
Something else you need
Be sure to take a compass. We used it constantly, but especially in Seville and Granada, where the free maps are NOT oriented north and south as you might assume. In the winding medieval streets, a compass is a valuable tool.
Pat in Fort Worth
Fort Worth, TX USA Sat 05/20/2006
Use the Post!
I'm planning a two and a half month visit to see Northern Italy, France, and the UK. My last trip to Southern Italy was an academic trip with my high school Latin class. They all laughed at me for packing light (just a napsack for the two week adventure)but I think I had the last laugh, because I didn't have to scramble to pack a giant suit case in the morning- which meant more time for breakfast, exploring, meeting people etc. I also was chuckling when everyone had to haul their ginormous suit cases up the narrow stairwells, while I just pranced past them with my knapsack!
This trip (six years later) won't be any different! And since my trip has two functions, I've come up with this little plan. The first half of my trip, Italy and France, is going to be all about discovering "back doors"- getting lost in Tuscanny, picking grapes in provence etc. I'll be staying in hostels and doing a lot of walking/scootering. The second portion, I'll be meeting a friend who lives in Manchester, and we will be dancing. There are several social dance (swing dance and ballroom kind of stuff) that we will be going to in the London area, and obviously I'll need my dance gear for them. I'm not about to haul my dance shoes around europe, so I'm going to mail them, along with my other dance necessities (clothes etc)to my friend in Manchester. Then before I head off to Ireland to discover my heritage, I'm going to mail them back home! I also plan on reducing the bulk of film by developing there and mailing my picures back. That way, I don't have to worry about losing film on my way (I'm bound to misplace it!) and my family can see what I've been up to!
Kent, OH USA Fri 05/19/2006
Carryon as anti-theft
I'm sure the carryon epidemic of everything and the kitchen sink is at least partly due to rampant theft from checked luggage. I have heard so many stories of things being stolen, with camcorders seeming to be especially popular with thieves.
Just a Traveller
Tucson , Az USA Thu 05/18/2006
Several years ago, my bag and I were parted on a flight to Normandy, and we were not reunited until four days into my week long trip. Since then, I carry on my luggage. However, my most recent experience has me rethinking this again. My bag fit the most recent downsized dimensions for carryon, but came in at 15 kilos on the return flight. It contained truly minimal toiletries and clothes, but the small round of cheese, the extra books, the chocolate, put it way over the weight. I bet it was over the limit even on the way over. I am back to thinking checking is the way to go, as long as you carry on a knapsack with the possesions you really can't lose.
Stoughton, WI USA Thu 05/18/2006
More kudos for the RS pillow
Besides using it on the flight over the ocean, I discovered it's great for supplementing the hotel "pillows"- I just deflated it in the morning and left it in the luggage...thanks for the useful lists!
USA Wed 05/17/2006
Pat's trip report
Pat, outstanding trip report with some very good and handy ideas! Thank you for posting it. See you at the Container Store!
Ft. Worth, TX USA Wed 05/17/2006
What I learned from my trip....
The most important is to take foam ear plugs. Without these, you won't get a good night's rest. Next, I brought a dual-voltage immersion heater and a spoon. We could make hot tea or coffee in our hotel room simply by sticking the heater into a cup of water. We used the RS super inflatable head rests in the plane and wouldn't do without them. The RS inflatable clothes hanger works like a charm to help drive a shirt overnight as does the rubber clotheslilne. I also bought the RS neck wallet but put the cord around my waist with the wallet resting against my left thigh. That works much better than a waist belt. For a sweater, I got a micro-fleece pullover from L.L. Bean. It is lightweight, doesn't wrinkle, and is pretty windproof. It takes up far less room than a sweater in your luggage. We used the Osprey Transporter 46 backpack with the small Daylite pack on it as luggage. That way, we could leave the pack in the hotel room and just use the daypack by itself. Or, on the plane, the Transporter went into the overhead bin while the Daylite came off to be tucked under the seat except when I needed it. All clothes were put into gallon-sized ziplock plastic bags which somehow magically resisted getting the clothes wrinkled. I used travel cubes for shower items, socks, and underwear. My magic number was 3 of everything except long pants, where I brought only 2. I brought only short sleeved poly or nylon pullover shirts and used the micro-fleece when I needed warmth. We didn't have rain, but I had taken a waterproof shell jacket just in case. I had brought travel size shampoo, but after several uses the bottle cracked and leaked. Next time, I'll get nalgene bottles from The Container Store. I used a fanny pack turned to the front for my digital camera and also for quick access to small amounts of money or a pen or comb. I took 2 pairs of shoes and alternated. I did take a pair of cheap flip flops for the shower, but they weren't needed as all of our rooms had showers en suite. Be advised that all of the room rates listed in the books are too low. A further problem was that every guide books seems to list the same hotels---with the result that everything is booked up long in advance. The highlight of my trip wasn't the Alhambra, the Mezquita, or the Cathedral in Toledo---it was the Plaza Mayor at night in Salamanca. Simply breathtaking. I could have stood by the window for hours.
Pat from Fort Worth
Fort Worth, TX USA Wed 05/17/2006
I'm old and I take a lot of pills. To carry each kind in its bottle would take a large tote bag. I print out a list of all prescriptions and doctors' names for each. Then I put each day's pills in a plastic ziplock bag about the size of a business card. On each bag, I write the day and week with a Sharpie: M1, T1, etc. I bring one extra day's pills in case of delays. The three kinds of insulin, unfortunately, have to go in an insulated container.
Carmel Highlands, CA USA Tue 05/16/2006
Carryonitis - doesn't work for all
We are some of the unlucky people who have checked bags and then had them "lost" for a few days while in Europe. Bottom line is it was NOT the end of the world and hasn't made us change the way we travel. Delta reimbursed us for the 2 days of clothing and small amount of toiletries we purchased. The bags caught up with us in Copenhagen and all was well. My point is that it seems like a lot of people think that you cannot pack light and check your bag as well. We choose to pack one large bag for the two of us, which takes up less room than two rolling bags combined - but it means we need to check the bag. I get on the plane with only 1 tote bag and my husband has nothing but his camera attached to his belt. We multi task at the terminal - my husband waits for the bag and I start the rental car or train ticket process. This is what "packing light" means to us!
USA Tue 05/16/2006
On my first three trips to Europe, my luggage was nearly delayed once and almost completely lost a second time. After that, I learned the wisdom of carrying on. Since that time there was one instance where my luggage, if checked, would have been significantly delayed.
A few years ago I flew to Frankfurt with a change of planes in an eastern city. Our flight was so late leaving the first airport that the expected time of arrival at the second airport was just before the flight to Germany was scheduled to leave. There were 13 of us on the first flight who were going on to Germany, so the airline met us at the gate and took us by van to the international terminal. We got there as the flight was boarding.
I seriously doubt that any checked luggage made that flight, which was the only one of the day to Germany by that airline. Five hours after landing, I was four hours away by train and nowhere near another airport with scheduled service. I am sure checked luggage would not have gotten there within a day, probably longer. I was sure glad I had my ETBD carryon bag.
When packed to the Lufthansa weight limit of 8 kg, my convertible bag is only partially filled and easily conforms to the size limits. I have tested it several times in the template box at the gate in Frankfurt. It also fits in the overhead bin with the long dimension back to door with room for my jacket above it.
I do wish that the airlines would enforce the carryon size limits. If they did, a lot of people with huge bags would have to check them and there would be room in the overhead bins for anyone who wanted to use them. I also wish they would strictly enforce the length limit. Most roll on bags are too long to long to fit lengthwise back to door, so they have to go in sideways, where they take more bin width.
CO USA Mon 05/15/2006
checking vs carry on
London and Paris must be marvelous airports indeed. One to five minutes to get checked luggage.
I am never the first off the plane in Frankfurt, and by the time I clear passport control, lots of people have gone out before me. But, when I pass the checked luggage claim area, no one is coming out. I'm sure I am the first person by far out of the airport.
USA Mon 05/15/2006
Last year I bought an artificial chamois towel in the auto section of a local K-Mart. It was huge so I cut it in half so both my husband and I each have one. They're very light weight and absorbant and were great to use at the beach. They also dried quickly. Was much cheaper than the real chamois.
NC USA Mon 05/15/2006
I've been tempted to try to carry everything on board with me as I am an avid 'hang up to dry' type of person and don't believe in using the dryer if I don't have to. Thus, a lot of my clothes are well suited to the carry on and wash along the way mentality. However, my problem is I want to be able to have a choice of what to wear...big mistake, huh? I know I should just pick a travel uniform of sorts and stick with it. One shade, preferably dark so as to be able to do one laundry.
Thanks for responding to my queries re: carryonitis. Maybe one day I'll give it a go. Having travelled extensively the last few years, I have really honed my organizational skills and can actually leave my packing to the day before. I know what I need and how much. I always do a laundry while on the road, usually in a laundromat. I've grown very comfortable in the knowledge that I can do laundry while away and there are things at grocery or pharmacies stores I can buy if I need to...the world is a very small and well stocked place!
Portland, USA Sun 05/14/2006
Not just the passengers' fault...
I've been thinking about all this. Presumably most of us are RS devotees and while my carry-on cannot fit under the seat in front of me, it is light and small enough to lift into a bin and it fits the "sticking out towards the front way", not sideways. I think as the airlines have downsized the seating so that they can cram in more of us, the room that used to be available under the seat in front has diminished, too. With lost baggage and long waits to see if it did arrive or not (cuts in service), more folks are probably tempted to avoid that by dragging on bigger-than-technically-okay bags. That said, I have never seen people with as much luggage of humungous size as in Italy. I watched a young woman struggle onto a ferry with FIVE big bags and the mob scene at the airport with passengers with those wheeled carts piled with more stuff than I could imagine...granted they were probably checking it all in. Always a fun discussion; thank you!! :)
USA Sun 05/14/2006
Meredith, you too then have been lucky. I cannot remember a flight that wasn't filled with people carrying everything they own on board, clogging up the aisles stuffing it in the overheads and squashing all the belongings of their fellow passengers. I've been beaned more than once with the "I must get off first" passenger swinging their huge bag down from overhead. I'd love to see a rule that you have to use YOUR overhead bin or check your bag-when lucky enough to sit far forward in the cabin, I find every bin stuffed to the gills when I finally get on. It is all about packing light, and that is a ETBD tenet of faith. I'm sure ETBD travelers are not the inconsiderate ones who think that whoever carries most on wins and the heck with their fellow travelers, but believe me, they're out there.
USA Sun 05/14/2006
Carry on v Checking
Jan, I think you were very lucking on your trip then. One domestic flights in Australia you have to wait up to 45 minutes to get your luggage. There is nowhere to sit while waiting, you're surrounded by people bitching and whinging about having to wait so long. I'd rather use that 45mins to get started on my holiday.
Sure, there is the odd idiot that brings on board a massive bag, well over regulation sizes in weight and size, but it's normally one or two people per flight (from my experience).
My bag is under reg sizes and is never overweight. I'm able to get on board quickly, put my bag in the overhead and then get comfortable for the flight. I prefer to carry one and I have never held anyone up getting on or off the plane.
Horses for courses and all that.
Aus Sun 05/14/2006
checking vs carry-on
One reason I carry my luggage on is LOST luggage. This happened to me once and I don't want to go through it again. I use a Rick Steve's convertable and I don't overload it(size or weight). I wear a waist bag (bum/fanny pack) and take a daypack (it can fit inside my suitcase on the way over, if it has to).
USA Sun 05/14/2006
checking vs carry on
My husband and I make a game out of packing light. Our carry on rolling suitcases, one a Rich Steves model, are never full going out-coming home perhaps. However, we don't carry them on. It seems unnecessary and rather rude holding up other people to search for a place to fit a roll a board. The last times to London and Paris, this year, we watched to see how much time we would have saved if we squeezed our luggage on. We would have saved one minute in London, and about five in Paris. Really, get over it. You're on vacation, chill out and watch the people while you wait, so the flight can be more comfortable for everyone.
Boston, MA USA Sun 05/14/2006
If people would use the space under the seat in front of them, as the flight attendants say, then the over head bins...there would be a lot more space.
Listen next time you board a plane. They tell you to use the space at your feet first, then the bins. No wonder there is no space over head....people place everything in the bins. They are not supposed to, but then most people are selfish, and only think about their own convenience/comfort.
I totally agree with the poster's comments about the oversized bags, and the multitude of bags people bring on.
I believe in traveling light...and you know what? I check my luggage and only carry on a daypack/ or shoulder bag...and IF I do happen to carry on my regulation size bag...it's the ONLY thing that goes overhead. the daypack/shoulder bag goes under my seat - as well as any jacket I might travel with in colder months.
Thanks for your great comments. I hope people will read and listen, and Pass it Forward!
USA Sun 05/14/2006
hi there, I just wanted to open up a discussion about carry on rules regarding sizes of rolling carry on luggage. I recently got back from two trips, one to the US and then Canada. I'm all for getting light, however, I was simply astounded by the number of people who get by security with what they have. I'd say about 70% of people had rolling carry ons that exceeded 22 inches. They looked like the bigger size up. And, as well, a tote or large case on top. Women also had a handbag, sometimes very large ones. This made it very difficult for people to find room in over head bins or under the seat. Our plane wasn't even full up and room ran out. The poor flight attendants were scrambling to place suitcases elsewhere. That's not fair on them. Most of the cases would not fit vertically in the bins either thus taking up more room. When I travel, I take a change of clothing on the plane and all my valuables. This fills up a small bag that measures about a inch under regulation. What am I getting at? Well, even if I wanted to pack light, there's no room left on planes these days for me to do it! Hasn't there got to be some balance between taking what you need and the kitchen sink? Personally, I would take on bag on the plane, but I don't bother as I'm used to my routine.
I also notice Air Canada is getting stricter about their two bag rule. Two only, not also a handbag to make it three.
One guy sitting in front of me was bonked on the head with someone else's large rolling carry on as it was so heavy it was hard to put up in the overheads.
So, those who do carry on everything, how do you manage to find room and do you see the same thing I'm seeing?
I think the Europeans airlines are getting it right by limiting weight and number of pieces.
portland, wa USA Sun 05/14/2006
my favorite online store + towel idea
I feel like free advertising for this place- www.sahalie.com (I truly don't work for them but I sure love their travel clothes!) In lieu of a towel, you might check out an item they carry originally designed by and for surfers that is a zip- up "sweatshirt"- they call it a "towel you wear" in unisex sizes. You could wear it on the plane to save space and have it for your beach days, too. Last summer I also took two pareo hip wraps to Italy- while not necessarily as absorbent as a towel I found them really handy to wear to and then sit upon on the beach and they pack in no space and are nearly weightless.
USA Thu 05/11/2006
Try taking microfiber towels. Check out Rick's travel store link above. Or you can get them at Taget/Walmart-camping section, army/navy surplus store or any travel store. They fold down to nothing and dry in no time at all. 2 per person is better than 2 full-size towels per person.
USA Thu 05/11/2006
My wife and I just got back from a week in Paris and a week in Provence. Two things that helped us pack light was to check with the hotels to see if they do laundry. Our hotel in Provence (Le Calendal) did and so we packed accordingly for one week knowing we would save time for sight seeing and luggage space by having the hotel do the laundry. 8 euro a load.
Secondly we checked online if the hotels had hairdryers in the room. Even though our travel hairdryer is small and relatively light, it still takes up space and weight. We left it at home.
Norman, OK USA Wed 05/10/2006
Sue - weight limit carry on
Sue, it's always a good idea to check the website of the airline, or if you can't find the answer there, call the airline to make sure you are within their limits, and TSA restrictions that have recently changed!
International flights can sometimes be a bit different, and IF you are a Premier, or Premier Exec, or flying business class, the restrictions might be different! Happy travels - lucky you!
USA Wed 05/10/2006
United weight limit
Since you are on this website I would assume you are flying to Europe. United's Star Alliance partner to Europe is Lufthansa. Their weight limit is 8kg (about 17.5#).
CO USA Wed 05/10/2006
United weight limit
I am flying United and after reading comments here I looked online to see what their weight limit is for carry-on luggage, but they only give size dimensions on their website and don't say anything about weight. Is it possible that they don't have a weight limit?
Chicago, IL USA Wed 05/10/2006
I will be going to England next year for a college Journalism trip.
When I went to Mexico, I traveled light. I only brought a few basic items with me. I did most of my shopping there for clothes.
Try using rubber bands to fold t-shirts and pants to make more room in your suitcase. It worked for me when I went to Mexico. I'm pretty sure it will work again next year when I head off!
Florida USA Mon 05/08/2006
British Airways has about the lowest limit for carry-on (13 pounds). My husband's bag weighs 10 lbs. empty. We filled it up but made sure that we didn't look like we were loaded down with luggage and no one weighed our bags. It was no problem for us.
Haverhill, MA USA Mon 05/08/2006
I'm flying Alitalia to Italy. Their website says carry-ons should weigh under 5 kg., which is the empty weight of most wheel bags. Do they enforce this?
Chicago, IL USA Sat 05/06/2006
Cloth bag -- a great, multi-function item
One item that I really enjoyed having with me on a recent trip to Europe was a cloth bag. It was the type that you might get for grocery shopping. It was slightly larger (when flat) than a regular sheet of paper, totally weightless and took up no space. It seemed almost like flour-sack texture. We used it as a beach bag, a snack bag, for books, etc. Great, unexpected pleasure that helped us to stay organized.
Columbus, OH USA Sat 05/06/2006
We (a family of 4) just returned from a 10 day trip through France. We each carried a rolling carry-on. In addition, my son and husband each had a bag for toileterries, glasses, reading material, camera, etc. My daughter had a small child's backpack and I only had a small purse (with a Rick Steves folding bag in my suitcase - which held the painting we bought on the way back). We had plenty of room for souvenirs. Things that you want to remember: a pen, a small notebook for my purse to track my budget or write notes as we went. Don't forget a journal to record your memories. Bring extra batteries for your camera. Bring kleenex (only 1 out of 4 hotels had kleenex). Balloons are great to help with Laundry. Blow them up at night and place them inside shirts or pants to help them dry. They take no room to pack. Moleskin and small child's scissors were a life saver on day #1. Prior to the trip, I collected small samples of everything (soap, Woolite, shampoo, Avon samples, etc.)and I would toss as we'd go. We took a fold up travel hairbrush from CVS that worked great. Use the slippers that you get on the plane to walk around your hotel room. Leave bulky slippers home. Bring a set of plastic silverware for the occasional picnic. After going up and down stairs at the Gare du Lyon in Paris, my husband was thrilled that I encouraged packing light. You will too. Enjoy!
Haverhill, MA USA Fri 05/05/2006
skirts for summer travel
You can purchase reversible skirts in many color combinations. They are very thin and fold up into nothing. They are very cheap at discounters such as Ross and Marshalls. You can also purchase skirts made from something described as "onionskin". I have skirts and cardigans in this fabric. I purchased them at J Jill on sale, very cheaply. Skirts are cooler than pants for summer travel.
Pacific Grove, CA USA Wed 05/03/2006
Yes, hem them!
My daughter bought two lightweight broomstick skirts for our European vacation last summer with all the advantages just listed. They were just above ankle- length and she loved the comfort. Up and down various city stairs, train and bus stations...as the days wore on it started to get pretty grimy and gross on the bottom where it trailed along. They were big to wash in a sink- so I tried to do just the bottom part a couple times (we were gone 5 weeks, though). I suppose you could start cutting it shorter bit by bit and nobody would know with all the folds!!!
USA Tue 05/02/2006
Broomstick Skirts on Ebay
Skirts - I found simple cotton "broomstick" skirts on ebay in many colors. They are 100% cotton, twist to pack, elastic waist, so easy to put in the daypack and slip on over your shorts if you need to. I had to shorten them a little as they were almost floorlength on me, but for $20 each, sounds perfect!
san ramon, ca USA Tue 05/02/2006
The best advice, keep most of your stuff at home! Take only a few outfits,
then do laundry more often, it takes
out the guesswork and allows you to
take only one suitcase. Take washing
cloths, wetwipes or dove cleansing
cloths, they lather up really well.
Always take a digital camera with cheap
batteries from home... you can store
more pics, deleting out the stuff
that doesn't turn out. Also, bring
an MP3 player instead of a compact disk
player, much easier to cart around,
less bulky, stores more music. There
are shops that carry miniatures of
almost everything you could want;
cosmetics and toiletries, flashlights
and calculators, tiny notebooks and pens, mini pods or MP3players, even
small boardgames, decks of cards, etc.
ALWAYS TAKE A CREDIT CARD..not just tiny to carry but can be insured against theft and you can better keep
track of your spendings.
CANADA Tue 05/02/2006
Just remember that when you use compression bags, you can put more into your bag, but that will also make it heavier!
USA Tue 05/02/2006
If you put your parka in a compression bag, it will fit into your bag with no problem. I have never been able to manage Garmisch in winter without a parka and boots, not to mention gloves, hat, and scarf. I just make sure everything else I take is super light. And even if you decide to check your bag, make sure these items are in your carry on. It is no fun to be stuck at Christmas, when all the stores are closed, without warm clothing. Happened to me this year. The airline will give you toiletries and some cash if you are lucky, but it's hard to get replacement outerwear over the holiday.
pacific grove, ca USA Mon 05/01/2006
Winter Travel -- Avoid Bulky Clothes
If you're packing light it's best to avoid bulky clothes all together. You can wear a bulky jacket onto the plane if you're going to need it, but otherwise you should look for the kind of lightweight microfiber layered underclothes that are worn for skiing and winter sports (check out REI and/or, for women, Cuddle Duds as examples). Make that your bottom layer. Then add layers as needed. You'll be amazed at how warm you say and how little room it takes up.
Having traveled in the UK in February on three occasions and in the Colorado Rockies, as well, I learned from experience. Not only do you not need bulky sweaters and jackets, but they don't do as good a job of keeping you warm.
I do almost always buy a wool sweater to bring home with me, though. I love them at home, but don't waste space in my carry-on bag trying to cram them in on the way over!
USA Fri 04/28/2006
Another possibility is to use these at the END of your trip, when your clothes have become laundry. I store one of the large ones (because it is flat and doesn't take up any space) in the bottom of my 21-inch bag. If items become too dirty to hand wash any longer, I put them in (keeps them separate from cleaner garments)and keep adding...when it's time to pack for going home I do the rolling compression thing and then have more room to add souvenirs. I find they wrinkle my clothes more than rolling and using the cube system, but are great for bigger items (i.e. a sweater or sweatshirt) if you are traveling in winter. Remember they don't eliminate weight, only bulk, so if you are trying to stay under a certain requirement for carry- on rules you can defeat your purpose.
USA Wed 04/26/2006
The compression bags sold on this website in the travel store work the same way, you just roll the air out. You can buy individual bags or buy them in a set of 3 - one of each size. I bought one set, and was so thrilled, I bought another. I think not only will it give us a little more space, but will keep things dry should we get caught in the rain.
USA Wed 04/26/2006
You simply need to purchase the Eagle Creek Compression bags. They work like vacuum bags, but you don't need a machine to work it. Simply place your garments in the bag, and roll it from the closed end to the open end, squeezing out the air as you go, then secure the closure and Voila! You have a compact bag with clothing for your suitcase.
REI has a set of 3 sizes or you can purchase the different sizes separately.
Vacuum bags that work with a vacuum cleaner are NOT designed for travel...they work for household goods/storage.
USA Wed 04/26/2006
Bulky winter clothes packing
One of the best solution to this is to pack using vacuum bag. I fit in 3 bulky sweaters and one down jacket effortlessly in the carry-on bag using vacuum bag. One catch though, you'll have to be sure that the hotel/destination in Europe has a vacuum cleaner for you to pack it back up.
Plano, Texas USA Tue 04/25/2006
europe is more formal than us
I travel to Europe every summer, usually Germany and sometimes Italy. I have noticed that European women are a bit more dressy than American women for every day. I's suggest lightweight skirts with tops to interchange, plus yoga pants or cargo pants. Tanks are nice if you wear them. And a large lightweight scarf, shawl, or pashmina is useful for dressing up if you need to.
pacific grove, ca USA Tue 04/25/2006
black wool cardigan
This black wool/nylon cardigan from LL Bean works well as part of a travel wardrobe. http://tinyurl.com/ooh89
USA Tue 04/25/2006
i recently purchased a Macabi skirt (www.macabiskirt.com) and although they are a bit pricey, they are totally worth it. You can convert it to shorts when you go hiking. Admittedly, they're a bit "alternative" looking, but when you're hiking, who cares how alternative you look? The important thing is that the skirt was designed by a traveller, has great big pockets and a secret pocket, and can go from "hiking" mode to "dinner" mode in about 30 seconds. Drys fast, wears well. I love this skirt! And no, I don't work for the company!
Canada Mon 04/24/2006
Clothing for Bavaria
I lived in Bavaria for a couple of years, and the early summer weather can vary. Typically, it is reasonably warm, making jeans and a t-shirt, along with a light coat tucked in your bag, ideal. During this time, it will probably be nice enough for women to get away with a skirt and maybe shorts for guys, although it will by no means be uncomfortably hot. Cool days and rain should not be unexpected either, so bring some basic summery pieces with a couple things to cover up with should the tempature drop a bit. Have fun!
USA Mon 04/24/2006
Packing for Europe in Summer/LADIES
I've traveled in summer, and it's HOT! I found that in addition to packing some light weight capri pants, I pack a skirt. I find that they are much cooler to wear, are nicer looking (think a bit dressier) and can really go anywhere!
I like my black linen skirt. Yes, it gets wrinkled, but that's the fun, it's expected to be wrinkled, so it looks OK.
I find that I don't wear shorts, except if I plan a hike on my journey - say the Cinque Terre. Other wise, you won't find me in shorts in Europe - in any city. I believe it's disrepectful to show up at a church or museum in shorts - capris are "ok", but a skirt is so much nicer.
I always pack my black Pashima. it's lightweight, can be used as a shawl or scarf. Great for churches and museums, and at night out at dinner to disguse/dress up my outfit.
For shoes, I only take "sneakers" - again - if I'm planning on a hike someplace. Other wise, it's a nice pair of sandals. I like my Chaco black webbed sandals. they are great for walking all day, and look acceptable again at night. We don't go to fancy places to eat, so I don't need leather sandals, We love to find family run places, so a bit more casual is OK.
For long pants, I wear my Lululemon yoga pants. I wear these on the plane over and back, they are so comfortable. And they look dressy when worn with the Pashima and a nice tank top or shirt. They are not skin tight, but fitted at the thigh and flair at the ankle. They also hand wash very nicely.
USA Mon 04/24/2006
I was in southern Italy mid-July into August last summer- it is very hot! I had two pairs of capris, one in black and one in dark tan, both out of quick- drying material of some kind (got at a local store like REI) with lots of handy pockets. I took only several tank tops in basic colors. A pretty floral (mine was black and white semi- sheer ) shawl was very handy. It went with my black sleeveless dress for dressier evenings ( I wore that a lot, too) and I just kept it in my daypack every day for going into churches. What I found most comfortable, though, was a very, very lightweight cotton full skirt, just past knee- length. I got it at the Gap in two colors and was glad I brought both. They are still in style...I noticed that I felt MUCH cooler in them than in the capris because the slightest breeze made it billow like a portable fan! I think linen would wrinkle- another advantage to the sort of "peasant"-style skirts that are meant to be sort of wrinkly anyway! Happy travels!
USA Mon 04/24/2006
Italy in the summer
Pack clothes that are as lightweight as possible for a trip to Italy in July. Both my husband and young son packed lightweight cotton button up shirts (i.e. from Old Navy) instead of any kind of knit polo type shirt. My daughter and I had very lightweight mostly cotton skirts and tops. Capris are a good choice if you don't wear skirts - don't bother with shorts or jeans. And be sure you bring something to throw over your shoulders if you wear anything that is sleevelss - a light scarf will do fine. You can also get by with wearing walking sandals - cooler and more lightweight than other travel shoes. Traveling in Italy (during the summer) allows you bring more changes of clothes if the items are lightweight to begin with.
Atlanta, USA Mon 04/24/2006
I carry two small pocket size notebooks. Spiral is for notes and reminders to myself and my photography notes. Moleskin noterbook is for the great memories....this is where I keep hotel contact info (manager's name, phone number, address, directions, and inportant landmarks.
USA Sun 04/23/2006
Chip and Rick's great ideas
I carry a 3 X 5 card with the same info- also, from RS at some point, I saw the idea to also add a copy of your itinerary with names and phone numbers of hotels. Even with a five- week trip, in size 8 font it took little room on the reverse of the card. I had never thought what would happen if away from the hotel for the day and needing to contact the hotel for some reason...
USA Sun 04/23/2006
e-mail and pack emergency numbers
I carry a 3 X 5 inch card with my emergency info on it, including: My bank's 800 telephone number. My bank's toll phone number with international access info, e.g. 001-904-555-8861 My airlines' foreign and US numbers. Credit card's toll free and toll numbers with international access info. My ATM card's phone number is the same as my bank's. Friends & Families addresses and phone numbers and e-mail addresses. My online travel agency's phone numbers. Wish me luck if I need it.) E-ticket info. My airport shuttle phone numbers. My travel insurer's phone numbers and my policy numbers. Local 911 numbers, e.g. German police 110, fire/ambulance 112 My phone card's access numbers. Next of kin info is on the back.
Be sure your e-mail address book is available to you from other computers. I e-mail the same info to my hotmail account. I also e-mail a copy of my passport in a different message, figuring it could take forever to download on a slow connection. I never copy the front of my credit card. Why give a potential thief a second chance to steal my cc number? I assume my credit card issuer can find my account number from my name and address.
I keep expanding my list and have never had to use it.
Iowa USA Sun 04/23/2006
Wheeled does not equal carry-on
On a recent flight on American Airlines we were waiting to board when the announcement came, "Please understand that just because your bag has wheels on it does not mean it's a carryon. My refrigerator has wheels on it, too!"
I was very happy to have my wheeled RS bag, secure in the knowledge that it was not too large or too heavy to pass muster! I packed the "packing light" way with tips from this board, and never regretted it.
USA Sat 04/22/2006
Knit t-shirts tend to stretch out after wearing them a few times and washing them without the benefit of a dryer. Try this at home and you'll see what I mean! Make sure they fit snugly before you go.
CA USA Wed 04/19/2006
Packing list, J
I have a packing list filed on my computer so I don't have to create a new one every time. It shows, in addition to the clothes I wear, 2 pr toursers, 5 shirts, 3 pr underwear. I may cheat upward a little on the shirts and underwear. All this is in addition to comb, brush, toothbrush, toothpaste, electric razor, etc. On my last trip I also had a bathtowel because I was planning to go into a spa. My ETBD vintage carryon bag weighs 2 1/2 # and I carry a bag with my camera and laptop battery and charger - 2 #.
All this fits within the 8 kg (17.6#) Lufthansa weight limit (they weighed it last time).
So, you don't have to skimp on clothes to travel light.
USA Tue 04/18/2006
Fantastic travel bag from High Sierra
I just bought this bag from ebags.com. It weights next to nothing, has great compartments, and a detactable daypack - take it or don't! the backpack straps are hidden behind a panel, so you can carry it like luggage, or if needed, put it on your back for hiking to your hotel/hostel. it's on sale, and today there is free shipping. What a deal! Here's the link http://www.ebags.com/high_sierra/transport/product_detail/index.cfm?modelid=62988
For those of you needing to pack more, there are 2 larger sizes...or if you go small, there is one smaller. I like this one. It's carry on size, but big enough for 2-3 weeks of stuff!
USA Tue 04/18/2006
carry ons getting bigger and bigger
I just returned from Canada, and I couldn't help but notice that the size of the average carry on bag is increasing exponentially. I love the idea of carrying on, but the last few trips I have noticed that more and more passengers are carrying on bigger and bigger bags. Waiting in line for someone to cram a bag into the overhead and take up a whole compartment is very annoying. I know we hate it when the airline makes us check a bag, but sometimes I wish the enforcement were a big more stringent. I did notice that Delta's sizer seems to be a lot bigger than other airlines.
Pacific Grove, CA USA Tue 04/18/2006
Traveling light is good, but temper your packing list with a dose of reality. If you only carry a "wear and a spare", then you are stuck doing some laundry every night. Heaven help you if your spare is suddenly, irreparably damaged.
Taking only 2 pairs of trousers is fine (a wear and a spare), but I want 4 pairs each of socks, underwear, and shirts. I always have a clean spare even if I only do laundry every 3rd night.
FL USA Tue 04/18/2006
John -- 3 out of 4 of our bags are the older style RS's bag -- the other one is an Eagle Creek. We prefer the RS's bags. They do not have a waist belt BUT it is not necessary if you keep the weight down < 20/25 lbs. The purpose of a waist belt is to tranfer most of the weight of a heavy backpack to the hips and not needed for lighter weights. I think the current model does have a waist belt.
Centennial, CO USA Tue 04/18/2006
I forgot: this includes the clothes we wore on the plane.
USA Mon 04/17/2006
Remember also....that you don't need a gazzalion outfits....only YOU will know how many time you wore something...taking less is so much easier. Only tak one or two of the same thing. Taking more is a waste of time. Our last trip: 2 pants, 3 shirts, 1 sweater, 1 windbreaker jacket, 2 boxers (grey), 1 T-shirt (grey), 2 pr socks (grey/''black), belt, well worn walking shoes, shower shoes, 1 pr of gym shorts (room use and trip to the shower, micro towel, sm toilet case, money belt items, dig camera. This is about everything. Had lots of room left over.
USA Mon 04/17/2006
More good pants places!
I got my black quick- dry pocketed cargos from a local REI- like store, but also would recommend Sahalie and Title Nine for travel- friendly very packable and well- made capris and skirts with pockets galore- both also carry some styles with hidden waist or hem zippers just passport or credit card- sized. Sahalie runs small- I usually always wear an "xs" but must order a "s" from them, regardless of what the size charts say.
USA Mon 04/17/2006
If you don't have a store in your city, try www.rei.com, they have all kinds of clothes good for travel.
USA Mon 04/17/2006
Iam looking for a super comfortable pair of cotton-poly blend pants with cargo pockets...the kind with button down flaps. I've looked everywhere and there's all these colours I don't like. I want navy and or black. EVen a high tech material would do so they could be washed easily. It's taken me 5 years, but the packing light theory is finally sinking in as I get sore shoulders from lugging my crap around!!! I'm also tired of wearing jeans and want to revamp my look and if I can find a nice pair of "jean comfortable pants" to travel and work in I'd be happy! Or, maybe it's old age creeping up on me!!! ha ha!
Canada Mon 04/17/2006
There is a cheap route for travel socks. I bought socks at Target made of microfiber for under $5.00 a pair. (I think they were $2.50; look for a sale.) They were washed out each night, wrung in a towel, then hung to dry over a shower curtain, and were ready to wear each morning.
FL USA Mon 04/17/2006
Thanks to USA and Allen for the tips on travel socks. I will be ordering mine and my husbands tomorrow from Tilley. They look great and should be perfect! And now I'm done looking for them. Thanks so very much!
Overland Park, KS USA Sun 04/16/2006
Purse questions (again)
Kristen, while there have been reports of purses being "slashed" your main concern is someone getting inside your purse, ususally without you realizing it. My young daughter and friends took both money belts and purses - normal regular purses (purchased at Target in her case). They used their money belts only a few times, though I advised them to use it more. Their photos show them using the big-city purse strategy - straps over the shoulder, across the chest, hand firmly on top of the zippered pouch. Being VERY aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded situations (public transport) will you do better than buying a slash proof purse. One other tip - I think they used their money belts when they were traveling from place to place-with one hand on their luggage and another to hold the map to figure out where the hostel was, it was safer to have the money belt on under their clothes.
USA Sun 04/16/2006
Theft resistant purses?
There is no such thing as a theft resistant purse. Anything off of the body is fair game for pickpockets. If you are using public transportation you will be standing very close to people. The best way to to keep your valuables is in a money belt.
Try wearing a money neck pouch across your body under your shirt. Since you're going in summer it may be a bit tricky, but worth it. Try making it long enough so the pouch side tucks into your pants on your HIP. The whole pouch doesn't have to be under your pants just an inch or two. Wrap the string end around your bra stap so the string isn't hanging out and obvious.
USA Sat 04/15/2006
Try www.travelsmith.com for purses/bags- they have quite a few with "theft-proof" shouder straps. When we travel I just use the neck pouch and put it under my shirt.
Chicago, IL USA Sat 04/15/2006
Decent socks will cost about $15. But, you'll only need two pr.
USA Fri 04/14/2006
Check out Tilley.com for travel socks and other clothing that can be washed out in the hotel sink at night and they are dry enough (if hung correctly) by the time you go down for breakfast in the morning.
Lafayette, LA USA Fri 04/14/2006
Check out www.travelsmith.com
USA Fri 04/14/2006
Does anyone have suggestions for socks that will dry out overnight? I've been looking for both my husband and I and have yet to find any that aren't paper thin and cost $15 each?
Overland Park, KS USA Fri 04/14/2006
Yes - there is a waist strp and back straps. They tuck way when not in use. Very nice design. Easy to go from one configuration to another.
USA Fri 04/14/2006
Rick's convertible bag
Has anyone used Rick's convertible carry-on? I'm looking to downsize from a backpack I can't carry on. Doesn't look like Rick's bag has a hipbelt. Does it matter? Thanks.
San Francisco, CA USA Fri 04/14/2006
Kristen, This shoulder bag may work for you. http://www.sierratradingpost.com/p/3241,82837_Pacsafe-Secure-Metro-Safe-Travel-Shoulder-Bag-For-Women.html
MD USA Fri 04/14/2006
theft resistant purses?
My sister and I (25 & 22 years old) are going to Europe this summer. My money belt doesn't fit under my pants, so are there any suggestions for small slash proof purses?
Lake Forest, CA USA Thu 04/13/2006
RS Carry on bag
Carrry-On-Friendly: Measuring 9" x 21" x 14" (regular) or 9" x 20" x 14" (short), and weighing less than 3½ lbs, it fits within airlines' carry-on guidelines (unexpanded)
USA Wed 04/12/2006
22 vs 25 inch bag
I would check with the RS tour people, because I thought they had a size limit for bags. It would be hard I think, esp nowadays to carry on a 25 inch suitcase.
USA Wed 04/12/2006
25 inches vs. carry-on size
Uh-oh! You posted your question on an area of the Graffiti Wall frequented by carry-on only devotees! I am a passionate carry-on type, with my trusty 22-inch roller bag. I use a fold flat zippered pouch that expands to a small gym bag size for purchases along the way, and then check the 22-inch (mostly laundry!) if I have to for the way home and keep the valuable souvenirs as my carry on bag. But I don't think the physical fitness is as much of an issue as the reduced stress when you don't have to retrieve a checked bag for customs and you are running very late for your connecting flight to the US. Or ditto for when you land in Europe- you can be right on your way. The few extra inches and pounds won't matter for lugging the bag onto a train or bus or rolling it down a street to the hotel, as you said- and plenty of people (my husband included) feel strongly that they should be able to take a few extra shirts if they want- it's their vacation!
USA Wed 04/12/2006
22 or 25 inch luggage
My wife and I are going on a Rick Steves Italy tour, we are contemplating taking a 25 inch rather than a 22 inch roller. We are both really fit and active and feel that we can manage fine with a 25 inch and this will give us some room for purchases made in Italy. If we feel we can manage a 25 incher are we crazy to do it?
Walnut Creek, CA USA Wed 04/12/2006
Advice for Taylor
My husband and I both used Rick's bags for a 3 month tour of Europe. We "backdoor"ed it and did not camp. The bag held up well and was as large as we needed. It's quite comfortable over longer distances...we backpacked through Australia and New Zealand with it as well, and while we didn't camp very much, we did take a few extended (4-5 day) hikes through some wildernesss. We didn't have to carry tents, though, only small sleeping bags and food - no pots and pans either. The bags were great in both cases. We are heading to Turkey for 3 weeks this summer and again will be bringing Ricks bags. So...we like them, they work well, hold up to everything we've put them through and are comfortable over distance and time.
Canada Tue 04/11/2006
I travel w a 24" roller bag & a roller carry on; I wear a small daypack w my purse in it onto the plane. (yes, I check in my 24")Roll your clothing, 4 pr dark colored pants (hides soils), 6 colored T shirts, one long sleeved T shirt, a sweater, jacket & sometimes a broomstick skirt (travels/packs well). I wear Josef Seibel shoes & take along one pr of Easy Spirts lace ups (never have to 'break them in'). The 1/2 gal size ziplocks are good for compressing your clothes for packing as well. I take a small duffle bag in a pouch for extra room if I need it coming home & my 24" expands for my trip home w extra goodies. I always travel w my own roll of toilet paper, a washcloth in a zip lock bag, a pr of unders, liquid hand cleaner (no need to discard a hand wipe), bottle of water & a long suffering vinyl poncho which I have yet to use!) in the back pack. Just before I leave, I ask my pharmacist to print up all of my prescription medication labels. I stick them on small zip lock bags from a craft store, load my meds in & put all in a small cosmetic bag. Since getting pickpocketed in Barcelona I always wear a money belt. (Don't let anyone get close or touch you that you don't know! Lesson learned the hard way) I've packed this way for the 3 trips, 2-3 wks ea that I have been very fortunate to make to Europe. Next trip is 9/06, renting an apartment in Paris x 3 wks. Looking forward to a washer/dryer in it! Bon Voyage!
Longview, WA USA Mon 04/10/2006
I have used the Rick Steve's bag for more than 15 years(yes the same bag and it still looks new). If you are really hiking, then you will probably want a "real" backpack because you will be needing to carry more camping type gear. If you are just "backdoor"ing it, like most of us, Rick's bag is great. It holds everything you need and then some; it is light, yet sturdy; it is practical and a great $$$saving deal!!!! It looks fine if you stay in a hotel, or a hostel.
USA Mon 04/10/2006
Censorship of glitch?
Perhaps there was some glitch. I too posted something about our goals for packing weights per bag and contrasted that with what I have noticed that cruisers do and my message was deleted. This was on April 7. I don't know, maybe my post was not relevant enough?
HdG, MD USA Mon 04/10/2006
I saw a couple of comments on the packing cubes. I useed them last summer on a 3 week trip that started and ended in England and the middle was a 2 week cruise. Definately recommend them!! Saved TONS of room and the pouches with the folder saved the wrinkles. It was a great thing to have.
USA Sat 04/08/2006
Keeping under the 8K limit is not too hard. My husband and I went around the world last summer. Trip took 14 days and each of our RS bags was UNDER the limit.
USA Fri 04/07/2006
If you have flights within Europe, other than connecting flights, you didn't plan very well.
For some time I have carefully tracked the carryon weight limit of airlines. Last I checked, Lufthansa, SAS, Swiss Air, KLM, and Air France allow carryons of 8 kg or more. British Air, Aer Lingus and Alitalia allow less.
Lufthansa allows 8 kg (17.6 #). I have made 5 trips to Europe with my ETBD bag. Last flight on Lufthansa my bag was weighed and was within the weight limit, so you can do it too.
CO USA Fri 04/07/2006
Carry On Only
It is hard not to check baggage within Europe now. Airlines require that carry-on baggage weigh less than 8kg. This is even enforced on the Europe - North America leg.
San Diego, CA USA Thu 04/06/2006
My rule of thumb in all of my traveling is to never check anything. I use a rolling suitcase that is the maximum size for Delta Airlines carryon and carry a backpack style or over shoulder purse. Everything I take on the trip fits in these two bags, and I am able to move around well and never have too much.
IN USA Wed 04/05/2006
Like a voice from heaven!
Sue..Sue..Sue..Sue..Sue.. It's like you read my mind! I have been looking everywhere for a look-a-like pair of jeans! How did you ever get so efficient? God bless the man that married you.
mi USA Tue 04/04/2006
We are perennial one-bag packers. We always bring a large rectangle of fabric for each person (including Dad) - rayon print or microfleece roll up compactly - to use as a shawl or wrap, coverup for walk to beach or church touring, airplane/train blanket. We do not take regular jeans -take too long to dry, and too much space in the pack. I wear poly/rayon/spandex twill slacks, my daughters wear CoolMax yoga pants - much nicer, more versatile than jeans. For die-hard jeans wearers, there are some now that look like denim, but are made of Tencel(a close cousin of rayon) - wash & dry easily, fold up small. We also bring zip-off slacks/shorts and the girls bring zip-off skirts as well (so they have something a little less conservative for evenings) Tops are silk, rayon, CoolMax - either knits or woven. We don't automatically leave the tank/camisole tops at home - just plan to cover up when appropriate. And we leave the sweatshirts at home - bring a nice wool sweater - heavy for cold climes, thin for warmer times - and a Gortex raincoat with hood. We leave the umbrellas at home - too many things in hand and you become a treat for the pickpockets in some train/bus stations.
Minneapolis, MN USA Mon 04/03/2006
RS Bag on sale!
Just got a RS Travel Pack for an upcoming trip. I looked at a few others, but with $20 off at Amazon ($79), it was hard to find a better value.
New Haven, CT USA Mon 04/03/2006
I recently bought a convertible travel pack from campmor.com. It is an Eagle Creek Continental Journey and was $100. It worked very well on a recent trip to NYC. We took the train, subway and walked quite a bit with the pack on. It was just the right size. I haven't tried Rick's convertible bag to compare.
USA Sun 04/02/2006
light and dressy!
As often is the case, I made a new packing light discovery by accident and necessity! This might help for La Scala and other dressier venues for packing light devotees, at least while gaucho pants remain in style. I bought a black pair in very lightweight jersey at Target on sale for about $15, intending to use them for pajama bottoms or in lieu of a robe for around the hotel. They rolled to a tiny unwrinkle-able size in a packing cube. (This was in Hawaii recently and none of my usual quick- dry favorites were EVER getting dry!)In a pinch I wore the gauchos to dinner with a tank top and my favorite black sandals and jewelry. I got so many compliments. You could add a pretty wrap. The elastic waist is a nice plus! For anyone traveling this summer, they would be great for the plane as well. Hope this helps!
USA Sat 04/01/2006
Re : La Scala
I would think that jeans TOTALLY not cool -- dressy pants probably OK with nice shirts for both men and women:)
Perth, WA Australia Sat 04/01/2006
Yesterday I went to the Container store and got the Packits medium folders for $18.73 and the cube set(cube,half, quarter) for $18.73 too !
USA Thu 03/30/2006
Eagle creek Packit Folders are on sale at Container store !!
USA Wed 03/29/2006
Canadian Garbage Bags
Dear Canada, Just to let you know, I HAVE tried to use paper grocery bags, but they just didn't hold up to the long flight to Maldives. The plastic bags are your best bet! Not only are they waterproof(if the knot is tied tight enough at the top), but they are disposable as well.
USA Tue 03/28/2006
Traveling comfy - YOGA PANTS!
Just to chime in.....I love to travel in my Lululemon yoga pants. Talk about comfy! They also look nice...not like leggings or sweatpants. I've seen other women wearing theirs too....for example, last trip there was another women in the Frankfort airport with Lulu's on. I wear a nice Merino Wool sweater, that dresses up the top half, and keeps me warm during the flight. I layer the wool over a tank top, so if I got too hot (never happens) I could take off the wool. I also bring a Pashima with me and use it on the plane, then going out at night for a dressy addition with little additional weight or volume in my carry on.
CO USA Mon 03/27/2006
Traveling comfy - YOGA PANTS!
Just to chime in.....I love to travel in my Lululemon yoga pants. Talk about comfy! They also look nice...not like leggings or sweatpants. I've seen other women wearing theirs too....for example, last trip there was another women in the Frankfort airport with Lulu's on. I wear a nice Merino Wool sweater, that dresses up the top half, and keeps me warm during the flight. I layer the wool over a tank top, so if I got too hot (never happens) I could take off the wool. I also bring a Pashima with me and use it on the plane, then going out at night for a dressy addition with little additional weight or volume in my carry on.
CO USA Mon 03/27/2006
Comfy clothes for the plane
I travel to Europe several times a year for business and pleasure. One thing that I like to do is take a set of comfortable clothes to wear on the plane. It makes it easier to sleep and be comfortable, avoiding some jetlag upon arrival. For myself I thake a roomy t-shirt, a pair of flannel lounge pants and a pair of warm socks or light slippers. My down booties from LL Bean are great for this since they are light and can be squashed down to nothing. This set of clothes can also double as your pajamas for the trip. I use a space saver bag to put them in my carry-on. The kind that you pack your clothes into and then roll to force the air out. The result is a small flat bag that I can easily put in my briefcase.
Portland, OR USA Mon 03/27/2006
packing using plastic bags has got to be one of the most insane things I have ever heard... I believe in packing light but that is just crazy......there are limits....
canada Mon 03/27/2006
packing favorite clothes
My travel clothes don't need to be, nor should they be, as dressy as my work clothes, nor as sloppy as my "hanging around the house" clothes.
Given easy access to a clothes dryer and an iron, my home clothes are largely cotton, but due to a lack of a clothes dryer or an iron, my travel clothes have little or no cotton. My home clothes can be special outfits that I only wear for certain activities with certain other items, but my travel clothes must fit a wide variety of activities, and they all must coordinate together. My travel clothes average many more pockets than my home clothes, including a built-in money-belt into each pair of travel pants or skirt.
Yes, try out all your travel clothes and luggage before going, preferably doing similar activities as you anticipate doing while traveling. Think, as you do this, about security, comfort, wear, washability, social sensitivity, and climate variability. You may find that some of your home clothes make good travel clothes, but many may be marginal for a variety of reasons.
FL USA Mon 03/27/2006
Pay attention to what you wear in the weeks before your trip and pack only your favorites- the first things you wear after doing laundry. Don't pack anything that you don't wear regularily at home, even if it "might come in handy" Those things will just end up weighing you down.
Toronto, Ontarion Canada Sun 03/26/2006
GO GO GROCERY!
Well, I just can't believe this, as I thought I was the only one! I have used plastic bags for years and found them to be perfect for light traveling.I have had a couple of near misses though as carrying the eggs from Venezula was not such a good idea.
MI USA Fri 03/24/2006
I've done this on several occations and I have found that the lightest way to travel is to put all your belongings into plastic bags from the grocery store. Luggage Shmuggage! I've taken up to 11 bags onto a Lufthausen flight and never had a problem. The passengers may not have appreciated waiting for me to put away/take away my bags, especially when I needed to get up a few times to find something in a bag, but the convenience of it all should really be about me. It's also a nice way to separate the stinky from the clean.
USA Fri 03/24/2006
Wheeled vs Non Wheeled
If you are planning on staying in one place, then take a wheeled bag. If you are traveling from location to location, even after 2-3 days. Stick with a convertible bag. it will be easier to handle in most situation. Nothing like tripping on someone's wheeled bag while trying to get around on narrow European streets.
USA Thu 03/23/2006
Dansko shoes are great, but know that they can be quite heavy and (at least with the clogs) not that great for walking on cobblestones because the heals are not quite flat (I have turned my ankles in them walking on flat pavement).
USA Thu 03/23/2006
Worth the Price
Wheeled suitcases are great for airports but not the streets. Check out the Air Boss and other bags at redoxx.com. They cost more but your mother was right when she said you get what you pay for.
Mount Olive, NC USA Thu 03/23/2006
Little Black Dress and Walking Sandals
To EM in Washington. I was just shopping for sandals over the weekend and saw that Dansko has some new styles that are a bit more dressy than they've offered in the past. Check out their Soleil, Roz and Topanga styles. Also Clarks offers a few nice styles as well. I especially like the Lupine. As for finding the little black dress, Territory Ahead and Boston Proper have some georgeous styles out this season!
Atlanta, GA USA Thu 03/23/2006
Check out travel expert Doug Dyment's website: onebag.com. Great info on suitcases, packing etc. He has a lot of great things to say about Rick too!
Columbia, SC USA Thu 03/23/2006
Wheels and under 11 pounds don't mix
Unfortunately, you won't find a wheelie that will get you under 11 pounds fully packed unless you're mainly toting tissue paper. Even the ultra lights wheelies are in the 7 lb. neighborhood completely empty. I have the 20" Eagle Creek ultralight which I just traveled with fully loaded at 16 pounds total--and that was packing pretty darn light.
If you're serious about getting under the 5 or 6 kilo limits of some airlines, I'm afraid the wheels have got to go. I've gone that way with the Rick Steves backpack for a three week trip just fine. Or else grit your teeth and check it...
USA Thu 03/23/2006
OK, I really like the Air Boss because it is a rectangular solid, which means it maximizes the volume for the outside dimensions, and it weighs only 3#. That said, it is only 21x13x8, which means you give up an inch in all directions, 22% of the maximum volume. It has no shoulder staps, so you cannot carry it as a backpack when that is advantagious. Lastly, it cost $225, way more than twice what you ought to pay for a comparable bag.
I think there are better options.
CO USA Wed 03/22/2006
Check out the "Air Boss" at redoxx.com. It's a great suitcase!!
Richmond, VA USA Wed 03/22/2006
Agree about High Sierra- look at this travel pack...
Here's a link to the new High Sierra Travel packs. This one is the perfect size for packing light for 1-2 weeks. It has backpack straps that hide away for checking it, or storing overhead in the bin on the ;plane. It also has 2 handles, and a shoulder strap, so it's easy to cart around. http://www.ebags.com/high_sierra/passport/product_detail/index.cfm?modelid=62991 You can buy it from ebags now and not pay any shipping. That's a deal! They also have a larger one that I bought, It has a detachable daypack that you can use as a second carry on, or use it during the day for sightseeing. you can also attach the daypack to the front of the main pack so your stuff is right in front of you when traveling. Keep your ipod, passport, money right where you can keep a hand and an eye on it. Safer for times when you are on a crowded subway or train.
USA Wed 03/22/2006
Do a search on the net for High Sierra Carry On Wheeled Backpack Remove Day Pack... There are tons of styles and colors and they work great!!!
USA Wed 03/22/2006
Nicole- Rick's convertable bag!!!!! It only weighs a little over 3# so you can pack 8# worth of stuff. That's plenty if you do it right. It's not wheeled (the wheeled one is much heavier) but easy to carry.
Charlotte, NC USA Tue 03/21/2006
Wheeled backpasts 22x14x10?
Can someone recommend a good carryon bag that meets Alitalia's carryon limit (About 11 lbs or less fully packed, and dimensions less than 22" x 14" x 10"). I am especially interested in backpacks that can be wheeled.
Burlington, VT USA Tue 03/21/2006
I just finished packing for a 2 week trip (I leave on Saturday - YEAH!). I wanted to bring some funky jewerly to dress up my outfits. I stumbled upon a great way to keep the jewerly organized. The very small zip lock type bags that usually hold an extra button when you buy a new pair of pants are perfect for earrings or a necklace.
USA Tue 03/21/2006
if you are planing on staying in france for awhile you want to bring a bag for groceries because they don't have paper or plastic bags if u don't have your bag with u ur out of luck
CA USA Mon 03/20/2006
There are new, fashionable birkenstock sandals that can be worn for evening. They are also fine for walking. The tatami ones in silver and gold look fine for any occasion.
carrie l roe
Pacific Grove, CA USA Mon 03/20/2006
I have found my solution to not having washcloths in Europe. I have always taken disposable facial cloths, but we're going for 3 months this summer and no way can I pack that many. But recently I ran into something called the Wonder Cloth especially made for makeup removal. At the end of my shower I soap it up, scrub, rinse and hang it up and when it's dry it's as soft and clean as when I started. And if we're leaving when it's wet (I don't like to travel with wet things even in plastic bags) 5 minutes with the hairdryer and it's dry. Every few days I toss it in the washing machine. You can find them at www.wondercloth.com listed for $15, but I found my at Bed, Bath and Beyond for $10.
Tallahassee, USA Sun 03/19/2006
Nice shoes for summer wear
Sorry, forgot to say that my Mephistos and Naot are black walking sandals, so yes, they are perfect for summer. I did not take any closed shoes at all for both Italy and France when we traveled there in the summer and it was wonderful. The sandals are so comfortable and they look good with a short dress. They are sturdy enough for cobblestones, but I wouldn't necessarily do any serious hiking in them.
USA Sun 03/19/2006
Regarding the walking shoe....
I have always taken two pair of shoes: one flat, slip-on to wear with pants or with tights and skirts and one pair of black sandals. Many of the walking sandals from Rockport look great with longer black skirts, a dressier top, and scarf. I also like Rockport because they carry NARROW sizes, too!
USA Sat 03/18/2006
Shoes for Little Black Dress
EM-check out the Best Walking Shoes board here on Rick's website. But I can tell you I have worn black leather Mephistos mostly for the past few years. I also recently bought a pair by Naot. I like them mainly because they are fairly lightweight, but I can walk around all day. In summer I will bring 2 pairs of walking sandals - one that is sturdy enough for cobblestones and one that is slightly "cuter" but maybe not for all day walking. We always dress up slightly (no jeans in the summer, lightweight (cool)dresses/skirts, large scarves for night/churches). It may not be symphony clothing but we can get by and not look too out of place.
USA Sat 03/18/2006
Lightweight travel bag
I have been trying to find the "right" travel pack for more than a decade of travel, both to Europe and to most destinations here in the U.S. I have owned and used several Eagle Creek travel packs, both with and without detachable daypacks (Eagle Creek makes some truly wonderful products) and I have purchased and used other offbrand knockoffs (mixed results). The Victorinox model rolling packs are great, as are the models with the detachable daypacks, and I have used one of them extensively over the past two years. Recently, however, I decided to test the REI Vagabond 2.0 carryon bag. At $99, this bag is WONDERFUL. No wheels, lightweight, and it can expand to accomodate all kinds of stuff. I have used it with a strap, and with the stowable shoulder straps, and it works wonderfully either way. Its best feature is the compartmentalizing of your travel life. You have never seen so many little zippered places to put "stuff" and still have that stuff hand and easy to locate. The link is:
Incredibly lightweight, so check it out if weight is a factor.
Although it is organized like the Swiss Army knife of packs, I still find it useful to use soft zippered bags to hold my socks, underwear, and toilet articles. The pack has become my travel closet, and while this may not be the Holy Grail of suitcases, I am greatly impressed by the design of this piece of lightweight and durable luggage.
Reno, NV USA Sat 03/18/2006
It's a shoe myth....
Could someone PLEASE point me in the direction of an actual sandal that is good for walking in Rome/Florence AND will look good with a LBD for the symphony? Or does no shoe exist?
Washington DC, USA Fri 03/17/2006
Best Bag I've found
Just got back from Europe with my new Red Oxx brand "Air Boss" suitcase. It was great!! Small yet I was able to pack 2 weeks worth of clothes in it!! Best bag I have found!! (see redoxx.com)
Mount Olive, NC USA Fri 03/17/2006
More on the packing cubes!
I love them, too- but for me they work best when I keep using them on the trip. Instead of unpacking, I keep the clothing in the cubes (unless there's a jersey dress I've rolled). Upon arrival at your destination it takes little time to throw your underwear/bra into the sink to soak- squeeze out in a towel and they will be dry by morning, ready to go back in the cube. I had luck washing tank tops and light t-shirts the same way on a 5-week trip, then rolled them back in their cube when dry, too.
USA Fri 03/17/2006
Packing in 'kits'
I explained this to a couple of people recently, and thought it might come in handy to the rest of you (although it may be something you already do, in which case, awesome).
I pack in kits. I have a packing list that includes several major 'kits' that are always packed - laundry, toiletries, first aid/health, tools/repairs, sleeping gear and electrical/misc. Each of the kits is in a seperate container (generally a zip lock - or as we call them, snap lock - bag) and they really don't take up a huge amount of room. Mostly they're just pretty basic - what I take with me when I go away for the weekend, because I figure if I need more than a couple of band aids or a bar of laundry soap, I can go shopping, and so they don't take up much room. But they're always packed and ready to go, saving me on running around at the last minute, and I can always tell that everything is there. I have lists for kits of paperwork and documentation (which changes depending on where I'm going) and for clothing (again, dependent on the destination and the season). So generally I only have to pack a few things and I don't have to worry about too much. Saves time and stress.
Also... I bought some Eagle Creek packing cubes the other day, found them on sale in a travel store in my city, and I was amazed at how well they work. I was sceptical, but thought it was worth a try, and I am amazed. I never thought it'd make a difference, but I packed my weekend bag normally, then using the cubes, and was amazed at the extra room I had just because things were more organised. Definately handy! If you've been tossing up whether to get them or not, give it a go for yourself and see what you think.
Anyway, enough rambling for now. :)
Brisbane, Queensland Australia Thu 03/16/2006
Light Weight Luggage
Looking for light weight suitcase, any suggestions?
Tustin, CA USA Wed 03/15/2006
Pack a CHAMOIS cloth instead of a towel. i got mine for 15$ at the speedo store.
Philadelphia, PA USA Mon 03/13/2006
Winter travel in Europe/Kate from Brisbane
KATE: A winter packing list depends on various factors, such as: How much cold can you stand? Are we talking just cold weather, or cold and wet, or cold and wet and windy, or cold and windy? Are you carrying a carry-on plus a "personal item" such as a messenger bag (to carry some of the stuff from a carry-on)?
One tip is to be sure you have good HEAD GEAR, since you tend to lose a lot of heat through your head, especially if your head gets wet or it's very windy. Gloves and warm socks, with weather-proof shoes/boots are a must. Soft fuzzy layers next to your skin give the illusion of warmth better than a warmer but not soft layer, so micro-fleece or a soft sweatshirt or hoody is better in my opinion than scratchy wool. Cashmere is great if you can afford it!
I can pack for winter almost in the same space as I can pack for nicer weather, but I am not cold-natured, so I can withstand colder temps than cold-natured people. If my head, hands and feet are warm, then the rest of me is too. I sometimes use the "Hot Hands" that you can buy at Wal-Mart - for hunters and fishermen - pouches of non-toxic powder, take them out of the packaging and shake them, then wrap in a bandana and keep in your pocket or gloves to keep your hands warm. Also available in smaller sizes for your toes. A soft muffler or micro-fleece scarf or neck covering is important, too.
Wear one outfit (pants and top inner layer like a soft T-shirt) then pack 2 more like it, as well as a top outer layer like a lightweight micro-fleece zip pullover or jumper, and a jacket or heavy windbreaker over that. Soft HAT, GLOVES, MUFFLER, several pairs of WARM SOCKS, soft UNDERWEAR, HOT HANDS, toiletry kit, a few other odds and ends.and you're ready to go! I sometimes take a soft MICRO-FLEECE BLANKET that I can fold into a small pillow case - I can then use my "blankie" as an emergency shawl or extra cover in bed, or as a pillow or seat cushion.
Regular jeans may be fine for you, but I prefer either jeans with some stretch, Dockers or sleek fleece pants or other warm fibers. I do wash but I can usually get at least 2 wearings if not more by using Febreeze spray (and pantiliners) and remember that you may only need to wash certain parts of the pants (if you get my drift) unless the legs have gotten very dirty in rain or mud. Air everything out, then wear another outfit, then the first outfit, etc. The cleaner you stay the cleaner your clothes tend to stay at least on the inside. Pack light (and soft) and Good luck!
FL USA Mon 03/13/2006
Avoid 100% cotton clothing
I try to avoid packing 100% cotton shirts and pants. Cotton tends to stretch out and loose it's shape very quickly, so that cute tee can look baggy and unflattering after just one wear. Same thing for 100% cotton pants, jeans in particular. Clothing that consists of a polyester blend (or some such synthetic material that gives items some stretch) retains its shape and fit remarkably well, and can be worn longer without the need for laundering to shrink items back to size.
USA Sat 03/11/2006
A trick I use, bring some (non-perishable food) such as Granola bars and the like in the original box. Once you have finished eating them (a quick & cheap snack for a train) you have that much more room for souvenirs...
Wilmington, NC USA Fri 03/10/2006
Confines of the packing cubes
As I pack for my third big trip I found what works is to absolutely limit myself to what fits IN the three mesh packing cubes (either the RS set or other brands)- one small one for underwear, bras and 2 sleep tees, the other one for t-shirts/tanks (rolled)and the big one for skirts/pants. It also leaves space to use one of the packing envelopes for a couple of nicer outfits and that's really flat, for the bottom of the suitcase. Admittedly this could be tougher to do with somewhere really cold...but you could probably roll the silk-weight long undies and long- sleeved t shirts just the same.
USA Fri 03/10/2006
I've been testing different layering techniques...interesting what you'll find out. I'm near Yosemite National Park...lots of cold weather...I'm not going to list my test results....but...only want to suggest that you do some layering test to determin what clothing is needed for a given temp (what works well and what doesn't). My test were done with a gray mens wicking undershiret, silk thermo top, mock turtle neck, long sleeve shirt, sweater, windbreaker. Also beanie cap, gloves and scarf. I was very warm.
USA Fri 03/10/2006
Packing light is a lot of fun but one of the tricks that i use is i only alot a certain section of my bag for clothes and i also budget a certain amount of $ for adding clothes as i go as i find when i wear the same clothes over and over again i get tired of them also its a lot of fun to bring clothes back from a trip and have them as a momento like a unique skirt or shirt somthing like that and i also only pack two pairs of shoes, one to wear every day and then one extra pair like strappy sandles for comfort.....
Meodowlakes , AK USA Fri 03/10/2006
Packing for WINTER travel is more difficult (depending WHERE you are going in Winter:)but the key to Winter travel is LAYERING LAYERING LAYERING :)
BUT by the same token IF you are going to a place where the average DAYTIME temp is LESS than 10°C (50 F) it's probably not possible to pack as lightly that if going to a warmer place.
WE(husband & I) have travelled round the world(for 5 weeks+)THREE times in Late Summer with JUST a 20in case + backback each:)
BUT our next trip includes a cruise NORTH of the Artic circle -SO this time we are taking a 24 inch suitcase+ backpack each - PLUS a Canadian coat each ( REALLY warm but bulky!) - which we will carry on board the plane (saving space in suitcase) --I believe this is equal to a 27" suitcase each which is SO MUCH BIGGER that travelling in Summer!!
Luckily we will be getting a hire car while in UK BEFORE going on cruise SO we do not have the problem of trying to get around with cases bigger then 20" on public transport.(Believe me ANYTHING more that 20" on trains is ALMOST unmanagable and on buses is IMPOSSIBLE)
Perth Australia , WA Australia Fri 03/10/2006
I see a lot of tips on packing light for summer trips, but not so many on packing light for winter trips. I'm from lovely sunny Australia, so going to a European winter at the end of this year is a slightly terrifying prospect! I see that a lot of posters recently have done winter travel - any tips on managing a carryon only in winter would be greatly appreciated. ;)
My major tip is to practice. Even just going to visit friends, I practice my packing light, and I have some of the sections of my packing list constantly packed and in my weekend bag. I'm really glad that I get to practice this winter with my warmer clothes, even though I don't think they'll be warm enough for Europe. It's a start, anyway. :)
Also, a laundry tip. For those of you also in Australia, look in hardware stores for a stain remover called 'Exit'. It's Aussie made and works an absolute treat, and it comes in a solid block that's nice and small. I haven't been able to find it in the supermarket, so look in the hardware store and give it a go, it's great!
Brisbane, Queensland Australia Fri 03/10/2006
Yesterday I got a blue shirt from Talbots that is ultra thin and I wear it with a tank underneath. It is called the lightweight ribbed tee and it is washable. My old navy shirts I layer and you cant see anything. But the best thing is you can mix and match. I do try to pick darker colors but I also have 3 different styles white shirts, which by the way work great under regular tees when it is a little nippy out (think of them as acting as cuddle duds). The dark ones you might be able to wear alone, however I would use a cami underneath other wise it is too see-through for my taste. My dress I took was this ultra thin cotton mix material (not "tissue" though) with a little stretch. It rocked because I was able to cram it into my bag and it came out with very few wrinkles. If you are looking for a lighter pair of jeans Talbots also has some that have a stretch to them and much lighter than regular jeans.
USA Thu 03/09/2006
Ok girls, if you are like me... you like to have many outfits when you travel :) I actually went overseas to visit family so I felt I needed different outfits. When I first saw the bag I had to use, I laughed and said I dont think so :) The thing that saved me on my last trip were the "tissue shirts" and other light weight fabric clothes. You can layer the tissue shirts, and mix and match. They seriously fold to nothing. I brought 4 skirts, a nice cocktail dress,... I mean a ton of stuff. In the end there was lots of room for bulky stuff such as jeans and several pairs of shoes. Best of all, I was able to fit everything I wanted in a small carry-on bag.
USA Wed 03/08/2006
A dryng test is very useful and will be helpful in determining what goes and what stays. I do a drying test on each item and for sure on all new items. We hand wash everything and hang it up to dry. We mark the start time and finish time. Anything over 6 hrs doesn't go. Drying times less than 6 hrs is desirable. Most of my things dry in 2-3 hrs.
USA Wed 03/08/2006
If you want to do some laundry in your room at night, purchase a few pairs of nylon/synthetic undies. They can be quickly washed in the sink and left to dry. They should be ready to wear in just a few hours, unlike cotton, which takes a long time to completely dry.
USA Tue 03/07/2006
Girls- instead of carrying an entire bottle of foundation, pour some into a small, sample-size container, which should easily hold enough to last for two weeks.
Doha, Qatar Tue 03/07/2006
Here's an idea - you could wear a nice suit on the way over...then go casual....this way you'd avoid the hassel of trying to pack a suit or sport jacket into a single carry on bag.
USA Sun 03/05/2006
www.travelsmith.com 800 950-1600 they have a great jacket that would cover a lot of functions - it's item 8758 "The Adaptable , Agreeable, Microfibe Travel Coat @ $69.50. I do not have one YET. but, will will be ordering mine this week. Has 9 pockets
Also look at www.duluthtrading.com 800 505-8888.Their Presentation Jacket item #85373 @ $132.00. Has 13 pockets
LA, CA USA Sun 03/05/2006
A Suitable jacket
I looked up the LL Bean Casco Bay Windbreakers and they seem like a great idea for most daytime use. But I'd like to be able to come up with a jacket which would be passable for attending a concert, opera or ballet. As a 65 year-old man, I'm not comfortable with the idea of overly casual for such events. I'm determined to carry one bag. This is my first Rick Steves tour to Paris and the Heart of France.
McKinleyville, CA USA Sun 03/05/2006
Travel Right Travel Light
ExOfficio underwear is great. Both "guys and dolls". Comfortable and drys out from your sink washing in 4 hours. If you are staying in one place for three or four days it's no big deal with regular undies but reg guys briefs take more than overnight. My husband and I have two pair apiece of briefs and one workout bra for me which is all we need. It's not the packing space but traveling without worring about clean cloths. Takes us comfortably for a two, yes, two months trip.
San Diego, CA USA Fri 03/03/2006
Both, for Margaret
Why not keep the small tote for your sightseeing days, but do NOT keep your wallet or other valuables in it. Eagle Creek and lots of other companies make very small wallet/purses to wear diagonally on top with a small amount of spending money and change. Or use a pants or skirt pocket. At this point there will be all kinds of disagreement over whether to use a moneybelt for passport and the rest of the valuable stuff- I swear by one, but there are lots of pros and cons archived on this site! I have found it's more conspicuous to be hunting around in a new bag you're not familiar with than sticking with a tried and true model you use at home!
USA Thu 03/02/2006
Light weight t-shirts
I found these great light weight t-shirts at Target, they are the Mossimo brand (about $9.99 I think). Not only do they pack up nice and small, and they have short and long sleeve in many colors, every time I wear mine (in chocolate brown) people swear I've lost weight, nice bonus! :)
USA Thu 03/02/2006
I have found lightweight reversible skirts at discount stores like Ross or Marshalls very cheap. They dry very quickly and coordinate with lots of tops. I plan to take them on my summer vacation this year. And I will be taking scarves--they fold up into a small ziplock and really help to dress up a black dress or cover your shoulders for a restaurant.
Pacific Grove, CA USA Thu 03/02/2006
With all due respect, the reversible skirt you sell, does not seem a sensible choice. It is heavy (feels a bit like armour!). If you took it apart you would have two usable skirts for the same weight. One could be on you while the other would be drying. It would dry faster. If one skirt had something spilled on it , the other would be available. A reversible vest is a sensible option because vests have to be lined anyway, so why not line it in a way that makes it reversible.
A reversible skirt is about as practical as a pair of reversible pants, made with double fabric. If the skirt were made of one layer of fabric that happened to be different on both sides (and there are such fabrics) it might be a sensible choice.
Seattle, WA USA Thu 03/02/2006
mixed season travel
Summer to Winter... Last year we did an around the world trip. Summer in London and Hong Kong and Winter in Sydney! We took things we could layer. One long sleeve shirt and several short "t"s that could go under it. Add a light sweater or windbreaker and you are set.
Charlotte, NC USA Tue 02/28/2006
As long as it's clean
There are a lot of great tips on this thread, and in Rick Steve's guidebooks. Here are a few that I have come up with over the last few years.
All the clothes I pack for daytime sightseeing are such that I would be comfortable having lunch in a restaurant with tablecloths, and yet would not be ridiculous for hiking through the forest on a trail. Also, everything should be suitable to tour a house of worship. This means I don't bring anything sleeveless, and no shorts or mini skirts. My aim is to be able to put on whatever is clean without having to worry about whether I am dressed properly for the day's activities. Of course, this means I am dressed just a bit on the casual side for the restaurant, and just a bit frou-frou for the trail. The restaurant-to-hiking spread is what works for my travel. You may have a different spread of activities, (if you will spend all your time in the city, or are bicycling through the countryside) but you may find the principle helpful
I also bring one evening outfit. This outfit is supposed to be appropriate for going to a symphony concert or going dancing. The shoes need to be good for walking to and from the subway station without giving me blisters, as well as for dancing the night away. A little black dress doesn't take up much room. Your evening spread may be quite different than mine, but if you think you will be going out in the evening, you may be more comfortable if you feel that you're appropriately dressed.
My last tip is that after years of writing a packing list for every trip, I finally decided to save two packing lists on my computer, one for winter and one for summer travel. The packing lists on this website are great, but my lists take care of my idiosyncrasies and preferences.
San Diego, CA USA Tue 02/28/2006
Packing light is the only way to go...I learned this the hard way! Now I know to pack using one color family. For cheap clothes try resale shops in your area or the Goodwill stores. I find inexpensive things that work well for the country I'm going to and if they are lost or don't fit in with my normal wardrobe I haven't spent a lot of money. These stores carry purses and other accessories also so you don't have to bring the "family jewels".
St. Louis, USA Mon 02/27/2006
Lockers in hostels
For Keeley- most hostels will have lockers that you can use. You probably also should get a cable- type lock that you can use to lock your pack with on trains or buses. You can look online and get lots of other tips from experienced packers!
USA Mon 02/27/2006
I will be traveling solo in western Europe, for my fist time, for three months this spring. I plan to pack as light as possible but I realize a lot of people are talking about backing for 1 to 3 week long trips. I will be staying hostels. Does anyone know the places where secure storage is available, so you don't have to carry all your stuff around during the day? Thanks
Mt. Hood , OR USA Mon 02/27/2006
clearing the air, et all
good day/evening to all fellow travelers: my suggestion is to take a small spritz type bottle (auto freshner)....sent? your choice....you can use it to clear the air as it were, especially when using the public bathroom facilities (before and after). Also, when first entering your over night room. This really helped us,especially when we visited the squat type pottys in China. Good luck, and good traveling.
manny j menchaca
chino , CA USA Thu 02/23/2006
Addendum - to Michael
And, of course, don't forget appropriate hat, sunhat, gloves, scarf if you need it, and appropriate shoes (waterproof for London most likely).
USA Thu 02/23/2006
For Michael re. packing for winter and summer
Hi Michael: First - is it possible, and would you want to, mail some winter clothes to London to await your arrival there? Otherwise, the best option is layers. For pants, bring 1-2 pair lightweight, quick-drying pants (or the zip-off type pants) for Africa. Bring 2 prs of medium-weight pants for London. Bring a few pairs of silk or thermal underwear of varying weight to wear under them for when it gets colder. Same principal with tops. I'm a woman, so the exact clothes I bring are probably different from you, but the layering principle is the same. I bring tank tops, lightweight T-shirts, thin-nish but warm silk or thermal underwear tops that can be worn on their own or over or under the other shirts, 1 or 2 button-down shirts, a cashmere cardigan or windproof fleece jacket, and a Gore-tex jacket. I can combine any or all of the above to adjust to weather from very warm to quite cold.
USA Wed 02/22/2006
Any packing suggestions to a traveler who is going from summer in Africa to winter in London? I'm worried about packing to much or to little. Thanks!
Los Angeles, CA USA Wed 02/22/2006
Casco Bay Windbreaker
I looked up the Casco Bay windbreaker on the Bean website and realized it is exactly what my husband and I ordered from Bean 34 years ago to take on our bicycling trip honeymoon in England. We still have those jackets. Sometimes some stitching needs repaired or the wrist elastic replaced but the fabric wears like iron and we still take them travelling. Great product.
PA USA Tue 02/21/2006
I plan on bringing one carry on suitcase and 1 large black purse/bag to keep my valuables with me while out and about.
Here's what I'm packing for Paris in March: undies, bras, pajamas, 1 pr jeans, 1 pr black pants, socks, knee highs, velour tracksuit (plane wear), 1 pr black flats that go with everything, 4 tops, shawl, earmuffs, hat, gloves, umbrella, toiletries, towel/washcloth. I want to be fashionable in Paris, but I think practicality wins. I will not sacrifice my feet!
Washington, DC USA Sun 02/19/2006
For RS Italy trip last fall, I used backpack called Rugout. Also used 2 compression bags. In Venice, didn't need to pack a smaller bag. Took 3 outfits, washed clothes once but no one refused to sit by me! At end, said I wouldn't backpack again. Going to Turkey in April backpacking because ... just because! Tight plane schedules, lugging own luggage, etc. At 71, I'll probably have to give it up some time but for now, it's easier & faster.
Wimberley, TX USA Fri 02/17/2006
Taking a toddler to Europe
It's been a long long time since we traveled with a young child, but we went to England and France with our daughter at age 1 and had a great trip. Traveling with a toddler in Europe is not that different from doing it in the US. You just have a different kind of travel than you would with an older child.
A good baby backpack is a must. Strollers can be less useful in areas with a lot of cobblestone streets, depending on where you go. I would also bring a collapsible baby crib--a lot of hotels will have only cots, not baby cribs available--also you can use the crib as a mini-playpen in non-child-proofed hotel rooms. Bring along a few brand-new small toys for "surprises" when crankiness sets in. Also, don't forget to bring baby meds (baby tylenol, teething drops, diaper rash cream, etc.) They have all that stuff in Europe, but you don't want to be running around looking for these things when your baby is unhappy.
It's a different kind of trip than you would take without a baby--fewer museums, more parks and zoos. But you will meet all kinds of Europeans who will love to talk to you about your child and theirs. Don't pass up on that unique opportunity.
USA Fri 02/17/2006
FYI: The LLBean "Casco" Bay Windbreaker is fantastic @ $29.50. It's affordable, functional, and lite weight. Has three zippered pockets (one on the chest and each of the had warmer pockets). Also has two huge inside pockets for maps, camera, or guide books. I fogot - has a stowaway hood also.
USA Wed 02/15/2006
RS Civita Day Pack - O ring
FYI: The "O" ring in the RS Civita Day Pack is in the bottom of the bag. This may save you some time and maybe a telephone or two.
LA, CA USA Wed 02/15/2006
Cold weather layering
In addition to the system described by "J in FL", I would add some lightweight long underwear. In windy conditions, my legs get cold. My friend wears pantyhose or tights to add additional warmth, but I much prefer the feel and weight of silk.
GA USA Mon 02/13/2006
Cold weather layering
Best cold weather layering I've ever found has been your interior clothes (pants, blouse) topped with a fluffy sweater (mohair is perfect) and a raincoat. Add gloves and a knit hat and you are set for anything short of a blizzard. The raincoat blocks the wind and the moisture; the sweater provides incredible insulation for the weight and can be compressed into a surprisingly small bag when not worn. If the sweater is a little dressy looking, so much the better. It's the combination I've traveled with for years on multiple continents, in the cities and hiking in the mountains. No need to add more weather gear (excluding footwear) unless you are expecting temperatures below 0 F.
FL USA Mon 02/13/2006
The best things to pack are the following:
travel size toothbrush, paste and floss Dove cleansing cloths travel size deoderant bandages of all sizes samples of shampoo samples or packets of shower /bath gel for women only: miniature versions of: lipstick mascara sunscreen concealer mirror
aspirin pepcid complete tampons [if applicable] condoms
try to fit everything in one carry on piece of luggage, with the following:
one skirt [indian, crinkle fabric] one or two cotton tops one cotton dress one pair jeans one cotton nightee two pairs bra/panty sets one pair comfortable walking shoes stocking or socks, at least two pairs small bottle all purpose cleaner or castile soap for washing up
prepare to do laundry once or twice, and buy a t-shirt or two during trip to supplement wardrobe and include as souveneirs.
entertainment items: mp3 player digital camera with cord for plugging into internet stations batteries [stock up to avoid excessive prices overseas] good, paperback book to read [avoid library books in case of theft or loss]
eyeglasses or contacts
LADNER, B.C. CANADA Sun 02/12/2006
Spring Break in Paris
March in Paris is cold! I've been there three times the first week of April and it was freezing nearly everyday. Think Washington DC--the climate is about the same--meaning you may get a nice, sunny warmish day once in awhile, but plan on being cold. You will definitely need gloves, scarf, hat, and clothing you can layer (blouse and sweater, long sleeve tshirt/fleece, etc.) along with a coat. I actually prefer the "shoulder season" to traveling in summer, and going before Easter is good to beat the crowds since most European schools have the weeks surrounding Easter off. We literally had Versailles to ourselves the first time we went to France, which of course spoiled us for all time!
USA Sun 02/12/2006
almost April in Paris
Lucky you! When we were in Paris in March it was really cold and damp and rainy a few of the days, with a chilly wind to boot- then we had a few lovely warmer sunny days. The archived posts on this link have good tips for layering clothing. If you wear whatever heavier coat and shoes you are going to take on the plane, you still should be able to pack in just a carry- on. Also, make sure to bring one of those totes that fold down to nothing for the way there, that you can slowly fill with souvenirs/purchases during the week. On the way home you can stuff it with your dirty laundry and check it, leaving your carry- on for fragile purchases.
USA Sat 02/11/2006
Spring Break in Paris
I'm a college student who will be spending Spring Break in Paris. I'll be there the first week in March. What will the temperature be like? Can someone please offer a suggestion as to what clothing to pack?
Pittsburgh, PA USA Sat 02/11/2006
Not Doing Laundry?
I won't be doing laundry during my 14 day trip, because most of my clothes are not "dryer safe". (I prefer to avoid shrinking, so I drip dry, which is not an option while you're on the go). I do hoard socks and underwear, so I pick out my worn, least favorite pairs to take with me. I wear them once and toss the next day. I would have eventually thrown them out at home, so I might as well get one last use out of them. It takes up a lot of room to bring 14 pairs of socks and underwear on the way there, but on the way back I have cleared a bunch of space for stuff I bought along the way!
Eugene, OR USA Sat 02/11/2006
uses for Johnson's Baby Wash
After carefully reading Rick Steves' suggestions on packing light, I came up with a shortcut of my own...I packed a bottle of Johnson Baby Wash; used it to wash my hair, body and handwash clothes. It worked great! A lot of use out of one small bottle.
Mishawaka, IN USA Fri 02/10/2006
Laundry and Locals
Totally agree with the traveler who met the interesting lady in London while doing laundry. Because the coin-operated laundromat in the Savigy Platz neighborhood of Berlin is rather complicated, I got to chat in my limited German with a couple of nice young college men who were extremely helpful. Any place where you can spend some time with local people going about their ordinary business can afford the possibility of a memorable conversation. To me, that's one of the most valuable things about traveling And, in the case of laundromats, you get clean clothes in the bargain! If no interesting locals appear--or if, as was the case with another person in this same Berlin laundromat, they come in only to pass out dead drunk--you can write postcards, read local "fish-wrapper" newspapers (always more entertaining and informative than the serious big papers)or simply watch the street outside the window, which is probably a lot more interesting than your laundry room at home.
San Francisco, CA USA Fri 02/10/2006
I don't use the backpack features
I find it much easier to use a bag with wheels. I have an Eagle Creek bag with wheels and the backpack elements that's about 5 years old. I've never used it as a backpack but use the bag often as my one and only travel bag. One woman's opinion.
Fort Worth, TX USA Fri 02/10/2006
We spent 10 days in Ireland summer 2004, driving all over and staying in bed & breakfasts (which are much more common than hotels). You will definitely need rain gear. I used a lightweight hooded raincoat or zip-hooded sweatshirt every day. Take a small collapsible umbrella too.
Although I packed a skirt and nicer clothes, I ended up wearing jeans and 3/4 length knit tops almost every day. I did wear nicer black pants in Dublin, but it wasn't necessary. If you are driving around, you will spend the entire day in what you put on in the morning. So don't waste space on dressy clothes.
We really enjoyed the west/northwest (Connemara, Galway, Westport) and our 2 days in Northern Ireland (Omagh, Giant's Causeway). Our favorite place was the ruins at Newgrange. Ireland is an easy, comfortable, and friendly place to visit.
Santa Maria, CA USA Fri 02/10/2006
Of course Rick is going to say how great his own bags are....but keep in mind they are not the only "great" bags out there. Kiva is a good company, but not the best in design or fabrics. Other companies to consider are Eagle Creek (the undisputed leader in travel luggage), High Sierra (new series of travel packs that look great, are light weight and unbelievably low priced for the features)
So.....consider how you travel, how much you travel. How much you are willing to pay. Look at a comparison of bags on www.ebags.com and don't be swayed by just one person's opinion!
For 2 weeks travel you should be able to pack in less than 2500 cubic inches.
Shop around, and don't get stuck with a black bag!
USA Thu 02/09/2006
Convertible or not
I went back and forth about the same question and ultimately decided based on Rick's own comment that if you really won't use the backpack feature that often it probably isn't worth it in terms of the extra weight. I ended up getting a very lightweight carry- on size with wheels and a collapsing handle elsewhere and found that I could get it up steep train station stairs and into and out of teeny elevators just by carrying it by the handle. On a couple LONG walks from stations to hotels I was glad for the handle/wheeled option rather than wearing it on my back. So maybe it depends on how much moving around you are doing- and how strong your back is! You might also go try out some backpacks of a similar size and weight at your local sporting store and see how it feels...
USA Thu 02/09/2006
Convertable Carry On Bag
I'm thinking about purchasing the RS Convertable Carry On Bag for a 3 week trip to Europe (mostly France & Germany) in April. Has anyone used this bag - can you give me the pros & cons?
I'm also trying to figure out exactly how much clothing I should bring. While I don't mind wearing something more than once, I don't want to be stuck wearing the same thing 3-4 times without washing, and would prefer to only do laundry once while I'm there.
I'm trying to find the line between packing light & having an enjoyable trip (not washing out the same 2 pairs of undies every other night!)
USA Thu 02/09/2006
Don't miss the Western Coast - Dingle, Galway, Aran Islands, they are the real Ireland!!! Of course Dublin is great too, as is Kinsale and Cork in the South, but the West is my favorite part!
Edmonds, WA USA Thu 02/09/2006
Don't worry about taking enough clothing for your entire trip because doing your laundry can be a great travel experience! Last spring while in London, we met a lady doing her laundry who grew up in the neighborhood. She told us great stories recounting her blitz experience as a little girl, what sights she thinks are worth visiting and how much she enjoyed San Francisco when she visited years ago. If we hadn't laundry to do, I would have missed meeting her and she is one of my best memories of the trip because she was a real local, not in the travel industry and paid to talk with me.
Pleasant Hill, CA USA Thu 02/09/2006
Ireland Travel Attire
My husband and I are planning a 2-week trip to Ireland. We plan to travel from city to city for sight-seeing. Are there any travel essentials?
Bowling Green, OH USA Thu 02/09/2006
I totally agree about the color coordinating thing. On our last trip, one of my daughters brought mostly blues and black and the other brought mostly pinks and brown, and they were able to wear lots of different combinations. Usually for a trip the length of the typical spring break, they wore one pair of jeans on the plane, brought one pair of jeans and another pair of pants (they had black or brown cords). They wore their birkenstocks on the plane and packed their timberlands(even though they're heavier, it's more convenient to have slip off shoes at the airport these days). I'm also not big on washing my underwear in the sink, I figure it's small enough I can bring a pair for everyday and a spare! (and a lot of teenagers tend to wear thongs, which really take up no room!)
We found the best coats after Christmas one year at Gap--they were waterproof, very light but very warm zip front jackets, and marked down to $19.99. One got black and the other got navy. They're not the girls' favorite coats, but they are awesome for a trip because they don't jump out in every picture, they match everything, and they aren't so "puffy" that they take up space on the backs of chairs, in the bus, etc. A waterproof fleece might work well, too.
Have a great trip!
USA Wed 02/08/2006
Teen packing for Austria
Spring break time can mean unpredictable weather in Austria. (I know-- Austria's my home.) Bring things that can be layered. A warm jacket is a must! Lots of teens (and adults) wear big colorful scarves-- also practical. If you don't have one, you can find them inexpensively when you get here.
The teen Austria girls I know here do wear jeans-- but tend to wear them with sweaters, not sweatshirts. In general I find that Austrians dress up more than Americans and you will want a nice outfit to attend cultural events. And not everyone wears black-- although in general I find that Austrians don't wear so many bright colors as Americans.
Vienna, Austria Wed 02/08/2006
Take a lool at LLBean....search "Casco Bay Windbreakers"....available for kids, teens, and adults...$29.50....and....they have zippered pockets and a stowaway hoods....great for layering!
LA, CA USA Wed 02/08/2006
Three important questions?
There are three questions to ask yourself before you make a packing list:
1 What is the length of my trip? 2. What will be the weather conditions? 3. What activities will I be doing?
After that you - can complete a pretty good packing list. You'll have what your NEED - the clutter will stay at home.
LA, CA USA Tue 02/07/2006
Pack Light for Teens
Hi Mamie -
How lucky you are! Enjoy! You're going to get a bizarre set of answers that stem from us "pack light nazis"....
I totally agree with the mother who posted previously...anyone can pack light. She gave a lot of great tips. You will be EXTREMELY thankful when you're at the airport, transfering to the hotel, walking up stairs, etc.
For your first trip, I recommend that you bring: enough shirts/tops for each day, a sweater/cardigan that will coordinate with at least half of your shirts/tops, and pants to wear about 3x each. At a minimum, I would bring 1 pair of good jeans and a pair black pants in addition to what you wear on the plane. When I travel, I plan to wear my pants 3x per trip. 1 pair of PJs is plenty -- keep in mind where you may be sleeping should dictate what's appropriate. You could just bring PJ bottoms and wear with the tops that you wore during the day?? Some people wash out underware every other day or something like that. I always take enough undies for the whole trip.
I'd bring 2 pairs of shoes (wear the heaviest ones over), plus a pair of flip flops. I would take a small bottle of downey wrinkle release as well. Where you can really save in weight is coordinating shower supplies and toiletries. A travel deoderant will last you a minimum of 10 days. Travel toothpaste will last you 7 or 8 days. I'll bet that a friend is going -- can you share soap/shampoo? Before I left for London, I actually measured how long it took me to go through 11 days of shampoo/soap/hair styling product...and took exactly that amount. When I was finished, I either had empty nalgene bottles or threw away the empty containers. Skip the hair dryer -- you can borrow someone else's if the hotel doesn't provide (which I have NEVER found). Get rid of the make up that you sometimes use, and limit it to what you use daily.
I bring 1 set of jewelry -- necklace, earrings (although this is a way to spice up your outfits that doesn't take up a lot of room). I also recommend coordinating magazines/books with friends so that you can share the weight and have something new to read!
Have a terrific time!!
Columbus, OH USA Tue 02/07/2006
Teen girls CAN pack light--it's been done!
Mamie, my teenage daughters call me the "packing nazi" since I won't ever let them bring a lot of stuff. For spring break in Austria, I would recommend a warm, waterproof coat with scarf, hat and gloves, your most comfortable shoes or hiking boots (my girls still wear their oldest birkenstocks all over Europe), jeans, clothes to layer like long sleeved t-shirts or light sweaters, and a hoodie zip front sweater or hoodie sweatshirt. For most student tours, this is really all you need unless you have plans to go to the theatre or a concert. The most comical outfits I ever saw were worn by two girls on our tour but from a different school--I'm pretty sure they thought they might get discovered trudging down the streets of Paris or Geneva, but they looked ridiculous and were freezing in their slit skirts, high heeled boots and oversized fur collared coats. You will be so happy you packed light when you have to take your luggage up and down stairs or in tiny elevators. This advice is for the type of tours most teenagers take for school breaks--and remember, you can wear something more than once....or twice! Have fun.
USA Tue 02/07/2006
Thanks for the tips!
Thanks for all the tips (skirts, jersey, linen, etc.). After three winter trips, contemplating a summer trip seems difficult - I had winter down to a science! Need to start looking for some sandals, and mentally go through my wardrobe. And thanks for reminding me about capris!
Columbus, OH USA Tue 02/07/2006
Another packing light reminder
Besides the great suggestions you already received from all the "packing nazis" :) does your family have one of those fold/zip up bags that are tiny but can open to be tote- bag size? If you end up buying some clothes or gifts for people back home along the way, you can put the dirty clothes from the trip in the fold-up bag (it will also cushion semi- fragile items if you wrap them in their store plastic bag since they are in your laundry!!) and have room in your suitcase for what you've bought. Although I never check bags, sometimes on the returning home flight I do that with the converted laundry bag-if it does get lost and take a few days to get home it doesn't matter! (But then don't put precious souvenirs in there, either!)
USA Tue 02/07/2006
teen packing and colors
With the debate going on about clothing colors, I wanted to give you my opinion in hopes that it may help your packing. I owned no black clothing when I was a teen, and now I have one black sweater (I'm 37). My advice would be to look at your clothes and take what color you have the most of, or colors that you can mix and match. I know teens in Europe (they were born there, they live there now) and they dress a lot like you do here, and they don't wear a lot of black. I just don't want you to get the wrong idea if you read through these "clothing color" posts. I can see the point that dark colors don't show dirt, but I don't see trying to assemble a whole travel wardrobe when what you have in your closet will be fine. And make sure you have comfortable shoes, no matter what color they are!
USA Tue 02/07/2006
Hello. I'm a freshman in highschool and I will be going to Austria for my first time for spring break, I was wondering what I should pack? I'm sure you older adults know how teen girls are with clothes. Thank you.
Bloomington, Minnesota USA Mon 02/06/2006
Rebecca - clothing to pack
Rebecca, consider taking linen. I have a skirt in linen that I took to Sicily in May last year and wore it almost everynight out to dinner. it was black, so I matched it with a light sweater of an off white, or with a t-shirt cover with my Pashima.
I have jersey knit skirts too, but they are "warmer" to wear. They don' wrinkle as linen does, but then linen is really designed to wrinkle, so it looks OK to wear it without ironing.
so my list:
1. Pashima (in a color or black) 2. skirt in place of a dress (much more versital) 3. one pair of "dressy sandals" i.e. leather straps - flats- so you can wear them out at night as well as during the day for sightseeing) 4. capri pants (NO shorts) 5. t-shirts/ strappy tops (for nights) Think patterns and solids
That's my list. I manage to take very little and mix and match for 2 weeks of travel each time. I wash every few days (in a sink) and my clothing looks clean and presentable.
USA Mon 02/06/2006
Black vs. other colors
While I do agree that black is always fashionable, I disagree in saying it doesn't show dirt, etc. Actually, other dark colors such as brown and gray are vastly superior in hiding stains, wear, etc.
The problem with black is that it shows dust and scuffs so much faster. Just think of a black car vs. any other color. It also seems to fade more quickly from wear and washing. Brown looks good so much longer than black does.
Even more disguising is a dark tweed.
So, I would recommend you consider other colors which may even look better on you than black and won't need as much maintenance to look good.
FL USA Mon 02/06/2006
Karen, do you have any specific recommendations for the black dresses? Dress in a bag, etc?
New Orleans, LA USA Mon 02/06/2006
That seems to be the mantra on this part of the Graffiti Wall- and it works! It doesn't show spills and looks sophisticated. Jersey-type knits that don't wrinkle are comfortable and you are lucky to have a washing machine, so you don't have to take very much. I swear by a black tank-style dress in two lenghts- one long (almost ankle length) and the other just above the knee...as well as an above-the-knee lenth black skirt. Then add your tops-only several, and a cardigan-type option if the nights are cool. And the requisite scarves...although, if you pack less you can shop there! I found a pair of black Birkenstock sandals that look pretty dressy- if you don't have your shoes yet you should start wearing them now so they are fully comfortable by your trip!
USA Mon 02/06/2006
I have no idea what to pack....
My husband and I are going to Europe for the first time in June - we've only been to western Europe in December. We went to Greece 4 years ago and it was hot, but we were sailing - shorts were more than fine! This time we are goingto Amsterdam and Paris and I have no idea what to pack. I know I have time, but I can't even think of what to pack. I did see a suggestion for a dress. Would skirts and nice tees and walking sandals be acceptable in Paris? Any suggestions? As a side note, we have an apartment in Paris, so we do have a washing machine.
Columbus, OH USA Mon 02/06/2006
Bundle packing reduces creases and wrinkles
I arrived in Berlin with clothes uncreased and almost wrinkle free thanks to the bundle packing method. Details at this link http://onebag.com/pack.html I used a small packing cube packed with my underwear as the centre and when I finished wrapping the bundle it fit neatly into a large packing cube. A little cumbersome if you're moving every other day but the only way to go if you are staying three or more days at each hotel.
Bellevue, WA USA Sat 02/04/2006
If you don't want to go all black, Territory Ahead(www.territoryahead.com) has mix-match separates in a great Tencel knit travel fabric, in black, dark red, and some in white (the tops). Sleeveless long dress, skirt, pants, V-neck tank top, longsleeve Tee, and a V-neck cardigan. They are not inexpensive, but are well worth the price.
USA Thu 02/02/2006
Great jewelry case
While the topic is momentarily brand names,instead of our usual ingenuity, I wanted to share my recommendation for a purchase from Magellan's online- a jewelry holder called the "Baggelini", apparently part of a whole series of travel items designed by flight attendants. After years of creatively using recycled items (such as retainer cases) to save weight and money, I splurged- it's just under $15.oo, plus shipping. It's not that big (about 4 by 4 inches) but it holds quite a bit all neat and tidily and since it's soft sided it just slides in among the ziplocks or RS packing cubes. Sometimes you just know you will use something forever!
USA Thu 02/02/2006
Coldwater Creek carries that acetate/spandex material type clothes that DOES NOT WRINKLE. Check when there's a sale because their stuff is really marked down. I have packed these on all my travels (mostly mix & match pieces), but found that I wear them all the time because it drapes well on the body (good for big dinners). If there isn't a store near you, you can shop online.
Los Angeles, CA USA Mon 01/30/2006
try stores like target, walmart, and kmart for this fabric in all sizes. also, qvc and hsn have their own versions--citiknits, slinky brand, and carolyn strauss. all these sources carry larger sizes. and it is great to have a black skirt and black pants in this fabric as well. easy to mix and match.
pacific grove, ca USA Mon 01/30/2006
Unfortunately, Chico's has not seen fit to offer clothing for plus-size women, so that's not an option for many of us.
USA Mon 01/30/2006
Mara - black dress
Mara I got my little travel black dress at Banana Republic on sale for $19.99. It's jersey so it travels very well. Others have mentioned Chicos. I'm 52 and won't shop in there...too old looking for me, but I know lots of women have suggested it for travel.
You might also try Dillard's or a personal shopper at Nordstroms to help you find that inexpensive dress...but do try for jersey fabric. It is the one fabric that travels very well.
I usually take a skirt now a days...then I can do a different color top and add a scarf for more color and not feel like I'm wearing the same item every night for dinner.
Last trip I took a linen skirt that I found at Gap, it's a wrinkled look after the first wear, but very comfortable and I wore it several times in Italy last May....
USA Fri 01/27/2006
Chico's (stores and www.chicos.com) has a collection called Travelers. There are many attractive non-wrinkling pieces - dresses, skirts, jackets, tops - new styles are added all the time and they all work together. They aren't cheap, but they are top quality and there are often sales and coupons. I always pack a Travelers skirt and jacket.
Santa Maria, CA USA Fri 01/27/2006
The tv shopping channels sell these dresses under various brands: slinky, citiknits, etc. Used to find them at kmart once in a while. They are also all over ebay and certainly cheaper than other sources. chicos sells them as travelers but expensive.
Pacific Grove, CA USA Thu 01/26/2006
Travelsmith.com 800 950-1600 has several to choose from....I seen at least five....!
LA, CA USA Thu 01/26/2006
Little Black Dress
Try doing a Google search for "black travel dress" - I found Travelsmith had quite a few.
Ontario Canada Thu 01/26/2006
little black dress for Mara
I checked my usual supplier, Eddie Bauer, online, and maybe it is too early for the dress they sell variations on every year for summer- but they are one consistent source! Mine is about ten years old, and I took it to Italy, too! It's black and made of t- shirt material, modest shoulder straps and doesn't fit super tight. It's about mid- shin length. They usually sell a shorter knee- length version, too. The only downside is that it's not an option to access the money belt (if you use a waist one)and it doesn't just wash-n-dry. I have another out of a "nylon-y" knit that dries more quickly and is shorter- but you can easily wear them several times without washing anyway- I use that spray wrinkly stuff, spritz and hang overnight. It's a great travel piece, especially in Italy- with all the churches. I kept a big scarf in my bag, for the shoulders. Happy travels!
USA Wed 01/25/2006
Gore-tex Jacket & Shoes @ LLBean - WOW
I'm in the process of re-building my travel wardrobe following RS advice. LLBean has two of my essental items in their Spring Catolog:
Gore-Tex jacket item PP49375 $99.00 (Double L Rainwear) black olive.
Gore-Tex walking shoes item PP49854 $89.00 (Gore-Tex country walkers) - black.
I figure for $500.00 I'll have RS bag, shoes, jacket, and everthing else. Not bad....! I placed my order.
LA, CA USA Wed 01/25/2006
Looking for a Dress!
I'm going to Italy this summer and want to bring ONE black/wrinkle free/washable/jersey-type dress. (with straps if possible.) Any suggestions where I can find such an item?
Denver, CO USA Wed 01/25/2006
Baggies and More Baggies!!!
I was in Portugal for 1.5 days and found that the lightest way to travel is to put items such as lotion, shampoo, and toothpaste (without tubes or bottles) into zip lock bags all of which I color coded and numbered so I would know which is which. It saved my life! A good tip for savy travellers such as myself.
Chicago, IL USA Tue 01/24/2006
MEC Shuttle Bag
Did some research....it's item #4014-835....$43.00 CAD....$36.84 US...avail in blk only...looks like a pretty decent bag! MEC has a rock solid return policy...which I think is important!
LA, CA USA Mon 01/23/2006
MEC Shuttle Pack
According to the MEC catalog, the height of the bag is 19 inches (49cm), well within the carry-on limit. If 38cm is the width, that is 15 inches. The total volume is 2135 cu. in. (35 l), so it is about 80% of the volume of the ETBD bag, which is the max carry-on size. Of course, it is more rounded, so the max dimensions might be a little more than a squared-off bag of similar volume.
I have an old ETBD bag that I routinely pack to the 17.6 # Lufthansa weight limit, and it is nowhere near full. In fact, its underfill is almost a problem. If you stay within the weight limit, the smaller bag might be preferable.
USA Mon 01/23/2006
Re: great travel pack for under $50
Bruce, do you have the measurements of the MEC shuttle pack to show how it qualifies for carry-on status? Thanks!
Boston, MA USA Mon 01/23/2006
Re: great travel pack for under $50
Bruce, do you have the measurements of the MEC shuttle pack to show how it qualifies for carry-on status? Thanks!
Boston, MA USA Mon 01/23/2006
Comfy Shoes & Makeshift Clotheslines
I spent three weeks in Italy and Sicily and found my Josef Seibel (German) shoes to be unbeatable in terms of comfort (try zappos.com). All leather, hand sewn. All that I needed for a clothesline was a roll of dental floss. Worked great! Can tie it around most anything.
Cedar Rapids, IA USA Sun 01/22/2006
great travel pack for under $50
Anyone looking for a great travel pack should consider the "Shuttle" pack from Mountain Equipment CoOp" (also known as MEC www.mec.ca). As their website says: This travel pack is a combination of soft briefcase and travel pack, and is perfect for travelling light and fast through airports, bus stations, and subways. Can be carried like a backpack, shoulder bag, or soft briefcase. Side and top webbing handles are easy to grab when it comes off a conveyor belt. Handy document pocket for passports, airline tickets, etc ... all for under $50. I used this as my only pack (as did my partner) during a two month trip to Eastern Europe. It more than lived up to the description. During travel days I wore it as a backpack, but while in the city I wore is as a softsided brief case. The pack is designed to last forever. I found it to have more than enought room for all my clothes and gear. For an extra 2 $ you can get a chest belt and the webbing/clip to add a hip belt. All said and done you get a great travel bag for under $50.
ps did see Rick' s packs in action while in Europe.. they also look like a great way to go!
Vancouver, BC Canada Fri 01/20/2006
I go to Paris regularly and there is a chain of Japanese stores in Paris and London called Muji. They sell reasonably priced small plastic containers, as well as toiletries and other housewears. Everything is miniaturized and lightweight, and also really well designed. I always get new stuff there whenever I go to Paris, where they have several stores--Marais, Les Halles, and other locations. Their web site has photos of products and a list of stores in Europe: www.mujionline.com
NYC, NY USA Wed 01/18/2006
Swivel head plastic hanger
My favorite trick is to pack a swivel head plastic coat hanger for drying clothes. The swivel head means that it can hang from almost anything, at any angle and weighs next to nothing. An extra bonus is to get one with the little molded-in skirt loop hooks. You can use them to hang pants to dry by hooking the belt loops to them. Since discovering swivel hook plastic hangers, I never travel without one. I got my latest one for 5 cents at a yard sale
Just a Traveller
USA Tue 01/17/2006
Use Contact Lens Cases
You may have heard this one before... but maybe not!
Use contact lens cases to store shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc.
Obviously, it'll save a ton of space in your carry-on!
Albuquerque, NM USA Sun 01/15/2006
Great Avanti Bag!
A little advertisement for the new Avanti bag. I ordered it in black for my college- age daughter, for a conference, who has started doing a lot of traveling and was using her old beat up school back pack. She is able to fit her Apple notebook (12") in it, in the protective computer sleeve, if it goes in at an angle, which works fine with lots of room on either side, still. I like it because it doesn't look like an obvious laptop case, security- wise. I think she likes it because it's sturdy and practical and doesn't have a "briefcase" look to it, yet it's more grown up than a backpack. I am going to get one for myself, too!
USA Sat 01/14/2006
Carrie On or Check it in!
Earlier I left a message and was surprised by the response to my bottle opener. I was trying to make a point that regardless of the reason, for your decision to check your bag. With a small bag you have that choice. With a large bag you do not.
MN USA Wed 01/11/2006
Healthy Back Bag-redux
I think I see the difference in experiences with the Healthy Back Bag. The microfiber one is very light and so won't hold its shape and slips off the shoulder. My leather one, being a little heavier, is easy to use and stays on my shoulder, without being held, since the leather gives it some structure. Hence, I don't have any trouble finding things and/or getting things in and out without putting the bag down. I do agree that it doesn't work well worn diagonally, due to the shape. Maybe Rick needs a new Graffiti Wall topic: "Stuff and What to Carry It In?"
Just a Traveller
USA Tue 01/10/2006
Face Cleaning Cloths!
When I travel I don't bother with soap, facial cleaners, make-up remover and face cloths. I buy Daily Facial cleaning cloths, which come either moist or dry and you add a little water. I prefer the dry ones, like Olay Daily Facials, which are super moisturizing and contain more cleaning product than the wet ones, which can dry out. They're durable enough to use in the shower, then you toss-em and you don't have to wait for your bar of soap to dry before you pack it.
Brooklyn, NY USA Mon 01/09/2006
As Mr. Miller points out, doing your laundry in a foreign city can be a wonderful opportunity to meet local people, as well as to write postcards, read a local paper, or just relax. We did our wash in the (apparently) only coin-op laundromat in the Savigny-Platz neighborhood of Berlin a few years ago, and were helped in negotiating the rather confusing directions by a couple of charming young men, evidently univeristy students, who (contrary to what everyone tells you) spoke no English. My mediocre German, and a lot of sign-language, sufficed. Their washing was finished before ours, and they left wishing us a pleasant time visiting their city. I will always remember their sweet, serious faces, and their patience with our ignorance of the laundry system.
San Francisco, CA USA Mon 01/09/2006
Healthy Back Bag
I got one of these (medium in nylon) and now I'm sorry I did. It's true that the bag is roomy and has pockets and compartments for everything. But what I didn't realize is that, in order to keep it on my shoulder, I had to hold the strap the whole time. That gets really tiring. Even letting the strap out all the way didn't make it long enough to wear across my chest diagonally.
And, as another poster mentioned, most of the time when I wanted to take something out, I had to put the bag on my lap before I could open it.
VA USA Mon 01/09/2006
Packing Light and Laundering
You can wash your clothes while on vacation and not "lose valuale time." I have found that time spent in a local laundromat gives you a chance to speak to "locals." Very exciting and some times you learn more than you do from guide books on what's where. Try it, you might become a convert! I know I did, more than fifty years ago.!
Graham W Miller
Chapala, Jalisco Mexico Sun 01/08/2006
I went over for 3 weeks with my mom and my sister, and I made them bring only one backpack each to carry on. They both complained while packing and didn't think that they could fit all their stuff in one bag, but when we got to Europe, we mailed two boxes of clothes home because we had packed too much! Now we all pack lightly for our trips and when I go back to England this summer, I plan to take even less clothes. I think only two outfits are needed--one for hot weather and one for cold weather. I hope this helps!
Birmingham, AL USA Sat 01/07/2006
Ellen - please call our Customer Service at 425-771-8303 x220, or e-mail us at email@example.com.
USA Tue 01/03/2006
Whether you check your bags or carry them on, always make sure your boots and warm jacket are with you in Winter. We just came back from Garmisch, and my bag was lost for 2 days, necessitating the purchase of a less than beautiful winter jacket in order to avoid freezing. I must say that Lufthansa was incredibly nice, giving us 50 euros and 2 washkits for our inconvenience. And they delivered my lost bag to my hotel, a fair distance.
Pacific Grove, CA USA Tue 01/03/2006
The Civita as a day touring pack, the Appenzell as a carry-on and the Convertible Back Door Bag as a cargo bag are all great for me. I say the quality, convenience and weight can't be beat and the prices are great too. My daughter has the Roll-Aboard--it weighs half as much as any other rolling bag.
Lewiston, ID USA Tue 01/03/2006
Daypack..Civita or other
If you want value for your $$ then check out High Sierra. www.hssc.com for some great daypacks. More bells and whistles (great pockets, plus extras like great waterbottle pockets, ipod pockets, sunglass pockets) the go shop on www.ebags.com for an easy purchase. The Civita bag is fine, but not as useable as most of the High Sierra bags.
More color choices too!
USA Mon 01/02/2006
More on the Civita bag
I got mine for free when I ordered the wheeled bag for my husband. The latter held up very well through lots of rough conditions and the zippers are really tough and strong. The Civita bag is very lightweight and I found the way it's organized to be very useful for a daypack, whether on hikes here at home or when traveling. I would suggest (as maybe you already have) checking out your local outdoor shop so you can actually heft some options on your shoulder. The RS bags certainly seem to be fairly priced and very well- constructed when compared to the Eagle Creeks, etc- less "bells and whistles", I think.
USA Mon 01/02/2006
I've used a Civita pack as my long weekend bag for several years and am very pleased with its quality. It's lightweight, comfortable, and quite roomy.
NC USA Mon 01/02/2006
Roll your clothes and rubber-band em. They take up less room. Keep in mind that you can buy all kinds of things in Europe, so you neednt bring so much.
Paul n Sara
USA Sun 01/01/2006