Tricks for Packing Light: 2008
Share your creative tricks to fit your world into a small bag for a European trip.
- Please don't post questions here. Use our Travelers Helpline.
Women's Travel Tips
Long Silk Scarves are my mainstay when packing light. I pack 1 or 2 in a neutral pattern that go with my khakis and my light mid-length rain jacket. I have dressed up this combo enough to attend an impromptu invitation to the opera and also used it while traipsing around in cool rainy weather during my tour. A cool place to get clothing items and travel items you discover you may need on the way are Eduscho and Tchibo... I know, they are coffee retailers, but they also sell a host of travel gear, backpacks and thermal underclothes at an inexpensive rate.
Durham, nc USA Tue 12/16/2008
Looking good while packing light
My husband and I just spent 23 days in Europe this September and our goal was to pack even less than Rick! Let me tell you (ladies especially) It is completely possible to pack light and still look fashionable! As tempting as it sounds to be one of those people who packs their junkiest clothing and throws things in the trash along the way, I'm not one of them. Honestly, I want to look cute in my vacation photos. I'm also a former girl scout who lives by the mantra "be prepared". But somehow I managed to scale down and enjoy an unencumbered vacation during which I wanted for almost nothing. Between my husband and I we took 1 carry on backpack (slightly smaller than Rick's) and 1 small day bag which was mostly empty when we left so we could use it to carry groceries, and later souvenirs on the way home. That's right - 1 ˝ bags for 2 people for 3+ weeks! The freedom was unbelievable! Every time we slid past a bickering couple with their oversized twin rolling suitcases and squeezed onto a departing train that they were missing, my husband just looked at me and said "I'm so glad I married you."
Clothes I brought: 1 Sundress (strapless jersey knit from J Crew that can be worn as a dress, swimsuit cover up, or fold over the top and wear it as a skirt) 1 Skirt (mid-length, wrinkle free) 1 pair khaki knee-length shorts/capris 1 pair black leggings (I wore them as PJs, under my dress/skirt and even under my shorts (pushed up so they didn't show) for extra warmth while hiking in the alps) 2 bra-top tanks (to wear while sleeping, hiking, worn alone on hot days or underneath on cooler ones) 2 "nicer-looking" tops (to wear in big cities like Paris) 1 white button-up shirt (great for keeping the sun off my shoulders) 1 hoodie jacket 1 rain shell 1 black cardigan (to layer for warmth or to dress up a tank and skirt outfit) 1 cotton scarf (for warmth, fashion, or to cover my face/head from the sun) 1 swimsuit 1 pair flip flops Keen shoes (the best ever! For hiking, biking, swimming, etc.) 2 pairs socks (look kind of dorky with keen shoes but necessary in the alps where no one cares anyway) 5 pairs undies 1 convertible bra (to wear strapless with dress, or regular) 1 sarong (wear to the beach, use as picnic blanket, wrap up in it on drafty airplanes)
Clothes my husband brought (guys' fashion is so much simpler!): 1 pair long shorts 1 pair khakis 1 pair track pants (also used as PJs) 3 t-shirts 1 long sleeve shirt (the "wicking" kind for layering) 1 button up shirt 1 windbreaker/jacket 1 pair flip flops 1 pair athletic shoes 5 pairs boxers 1 swim suit
We also brought all the toiletries and other items straight from Rick's packing list. We packed everything into several of those ultra thin grocery shopping bags (Chico bags would work great) to keep items organized (one for his clothes, one for mine, one for laundry, etc.) and then we also used the bags to shop with while we were there. So now that I know it's possible, next time I'll challenge myself to bring even less! You can do it too!
Edmonds, WA USA Fri 12/05/2008
Packing and Unpacking
I'm all about packing light. In high school I took a EF tours trip to London for a week with some girls from my theater class. They were all amazed that I had actually packed only one backpack of things and a small purse for everyday use.
When I pack things, I try to think of the climate/time of year I'm going to and then think of how often I actually use the things that I'm packing when I'm at home. For example, I live in Seattle and when I travel to Germany/France in the spring time the climate is just about exactly the same. If I haven't use a certain lotion or pair of shoes in the last few months at home, why should I carry it to Europe when I know I'm probably not going to use it there. Be selective with your "I might need this for..." packing.
Also, after a trip it's a good idea to go through all of your things when you're unpacking and make a list. Write down all the things you used, all the things you didn't use, and all the things you wish you had brought. Write the location you went to at the top, time of year and how the climate was. Save this for the next time you pack and it'll make things a lot easier. I forget stuff all the time and then forget it on the next trip because I never wrote it down!
Seattle, WA USA Wed 11/26/2008
I love the idea of making a list with things used, things not used, and things you wish you'd brought! I'd seen the suggestion for two of those three categories before, but not all three. And you're right--travel destination and dates of travel are important as well. I read a LOT of travel tips, but I'd never seen this idea expressed so thoughtfully. Kudos!
My current favorite weather site is www.wunderground.com. You can click on any of the next five days and get temperature predictions for every three hours, starting at 1:00 am. Historical, air quality, earthquake activity, astronomy, and sports weather info, too.
San Jose, CA USA Wed 11/26/2008
When camping, or traveling, anywhere, I always take a pillow case or two. They are small, keep your dirty clothes separate from your clean clothes and when camping, you put a jacket in one and it works as a pillow. Also, it can go into the laundry along with your clothes.
Pasco, WA USA Sat 11/22/2008
TRAVEL TOWELS!!!! If you plan on packing a towel, bring a micro-fiber towel. These towels take up a small amount a room and dry very quickly. When it comes down to it, a normal towel is much larger and takes much more time to dry, do not even try to use a normal towel if you can get a micro-fiber towel (like the one in Rick´s store).
Tacoma, WA USA Sat 11/01/2008
I like to bundle wrap my clothes (Google "bundle wrap" for details) but I don't like to shove them into my Classic or Appenzell without putting them into a pouch.
I used to recycle plastic bags for this purpose, but the new LLBean Sack Pack is a modern, slightly enhanced version of the high school gym "cinch pack" that works even better.
It's only $12 and serves as my destination gym bag too.
San Francisco, CA USA Thu 10/30/2008
Travel Purse vs Money Belt
I know that Rick Steves recommends the use of a money belt, and for men, I agree. However, if you are a woman and like me cannot travel without a purse, I recommend using the PacSafe Metro 200 Secure Shoulder Bag by PacSafe. I found that the money belt was awkward and clumsy, and just didn't work for me. However, by putting my change purse in the Metro 200 Bag, I felt that my valuables were completely safe and secure. I kept my camera, money, and credit cards in the bag, and stashed my passport in the hotel safe. The bag has room for a water bottle, an umbrella, and has steel cords in the shoulder strap and steel mesh in the bottom. I won't travel again without this purse!
Charlotte, NC USA Tue 10/14/2008
More on the Appensell as Carryon
Michael W. has written a very thorough and useful review of the Appenzell backpack in service not as a day pack but as one's main carry on luggage. I bought an Appenzell for exactly the same purpose and would like to add that the main compartment will hold a fully loaded Rick Steves Large Packing Cube at the bottom of the bag and that leaves about enough space at the top for a not too chunky pair of shoes. As Michael pointed out there are numerous pockets and compartments which allow great flexibility in the use of this bag and should serve a wide range of travelers. With the fully loaded packing cube in place the bag is not over tight, so there is plenty of depth left to use the other compartments or squeeze another item or two in the main compartment. I have used this bag on a week long business trip with a load of about 14 pounds and was really happy with its performance. If you are not familiar with Rick's bags, on an absolute scale, the bag construction and materials are very good to excellent, and for $39 (and its been on sale for less!) the value is off the scale. If you have made the transition from wheeled roll aboard to maximum legal sized soft sided carry on and want to see how much further you can lighten your load the Rick Steves Appenzell Backpack is an ideal place to start.
Houston, TX USA Sun 10/12/2008
The best way to have a pulled-together look while traveling is to limit your color coordination to either black or brown clothing and accessories. I go for black, because it's easier to take care of and looks nicer longer. I bring two knee-length black dresses (one with spaghetti straps, one short/long sleeves) that is made with lyrca (or quick dry material). prAna is awesome and keeps its shape, even after several wears. Dresses can be casual enough to wear with walk-ready flats (Clarks, Born are best and cute and usually in the $60-115 price range) or clogs (Dansko Mary Janes) and easy to dress up with a colorful wrap or scarf and a cute pair of cheap strappy flat sandals (which you should buy at a flea market once you get to your destination). Dresses are best for traveling during warmer months (unless you are hiking) because they are easy to walk in, look great, comfortable and don't require additional clothing. I also bring one pair of lightweight black pants -- not cargos or zip-offs -- that can also be casual or slightly dressier. Khakis are a good option too.
I walk everywhere when traveling and swear by SuperFeet insoles and Smart Wool socks. Always, always, always wear socks -- smart wool makes thinner versions to wear with "cute" flats.
(I typically also pack one pair of jeans and one pair of shorts, for hiking.)
For hostels: Silk sleep sheet ($60), pillowcase, quick-dry towel and earplugs.
Seattle, WA USA Thu 10/09/2008
Steves Backdoor Classic and Alpenzall Mini-Review
Two months ago, I purchased the $79, nicely redesigned and upgraded, convertible carry-on luggage/backpack (now called the Classic Backdoor Bag, since there is also an "upmarket" Convertible Carry-On edition with a couple of extra features) for my trip to Southeast Asia. The Classic is head and shoulders above the original Steves convertible backpack in terms of quality, appearance and features. But guess what? The Classic was actually too big for this short (one week) jaunt to a warm-weather country! Who would have thought the airlines restrictive carry-on rules could actually allow TOO much?
Anyway in the long run the Classic's great volume won't really be a bad thing – it's great to find a bag that's truly "maximum legal carry-on size" but not an inch over, and that and doesn't waste a cubic inch of packing space with senseless bulk or useless features! In the future I will use the Classic for "cold weather" trips where my clothing is bulkier, or for business trips where I need a suit.
But for future Asia trips to visit my friends, I need a more compact alternative, and I think I've found it in ANOTHER Steves' bag, the Alpenzall which is classified on the travel store website as an oversized daypack instead of as a carry-on piece.
Admittedly the Steves on-line travel store does tout the new Alpenzall pack as an alternative to the Classic for your kids - but would it work for me, too? I just got one in the mail, and the Alpenzall has an "honest" (thanks to its square shape) 1,400 cubic inch volume, which is more than ample for me, and the square shape allows very efficient packing, based on my trial packing efforts. (I would also take along a tiny "personal sized" daypack for my "seat side" items, which I like to keep at seat level during my flights.)
Here's what I like about my new "find:"
* Unlike conventional daypacks, the Alpenzall one is very "rectangular," which allows very efficient folding and packing of clothes into the main compartment, which is spacious. I "bundle wrap" my clothing, following the excellent suggestions of Doug Dyment as echoed on Practical Hacks (Google for more information on bundle wrapping, it really stops wrinkles dead).
* Right above the main compartment there is a second compartment, which has a full-length zipper along one side, in which I can stow the jacket or sweater I wear to the airport in the fall or winter, or to stow the jacket or sweater I'm likely to need to keep warm during a long overly air conditioned flight. I like not having to rummage in the main compartment for my jacket.
* There is a lower front pocket which has a keychain and an organizer panel for pens and small electronic devices (although seem my comment below on how to pack a laptop so you don't have to remove it for inspection). There are also two useful upper pockets. Since I use a smaller daypack for seat side items, I may not need the extra organization provided by these 3 extra pockets/compartments, but they don't hurt, since the material isn't bulky. I'd rather have 'em than not.
*There are no waist belts or sternum straps to dangle in the way and present a messy appearance. On the other hand, the shoulder straps are nicely padded and so is the back panel. Let's face it, this pack is for ultra-mobile travel, not for traversing a glacier.
*The mesh bottle containers on each side of the pack have useful cinch straps and will easily hold a short water bottle, paper back book, or sunglasses. Be careful, though, the mesh panels don't run up the side of the pack as far as I'd like, and things might slip out if you don't keep the pack upright. (The mesh bottle holders are the reason this pack doesn't open completely flat for complete ease of packing.)
*The materials look nice, but are designed for maximum efficiency - thinner nylon, one way zippers (not two zippers to open from either end). A nice touch is the use of sturdier ballistics nylon on the "foot" of the pack for added durability in the heaviest wear area. I much prefer the "functional minimalism" of this travel pack to the more luxurious appearance of more expensive day packs, which are overbuilt, overpadded, and under useful.
*There is a useful laptop compartment which I can use for either for a full-fledged laptop or for a DVD player. If I put other hardware (power brick, cellphones) in my seat-side daypack, the Alpenzall should fly through x-ray inspection without removal of the laptop, since there are no heavy metal items (like buckles) in the pack to obscure TSA x-ray inspection (according to latest TSA guidelines, laptops can stay in their bags provided you can orient the bag to lay the laptop flat, and provided there are no items which would obscure or confuse a clear view of the laptop - so move nail clippers to your TSA "1 quart" bag, move power bricks etc. to your "seat side" bag). The TSA website also has a helpful explanation of why "tidy" packing makes their x-ray inspection easier and is less likely to result in personal inspection. Be warned that this laptop compartment isn't as thickly padded as the compartment in a typical computer bag. If you want more shock protection you will need to add a Neoprene sleeve to your laptop. On the other hand, since my clothing bundle is going to be right on top of my laptop, that will be all the extra padding I'll need.
I highly recommend the Alpenzall for travel use by adults, not only kids, if: (i) you are fanatic about traveling ultra light; (ii) if you are going on a shorter trip; (iii) if your trips will require checking some luggage anyway, but you want a few days of supplies in a carry-on bag to survive until any lost luggage is tracked down.
The full height slot on the Alpenzall is especially appealing as a place to put your TSA "1 quart", magazines, sweater if you are only carrying a single bag.
Finally, the external pack material used in this pack is the same as on the Backdoor Classic; it's not the microfiber cloth used on the Civita personal sized daypack.
All this for $39!
Administrators: I haven't found a "reviews" section on the Steves website, feel free to relocate this post there if I missed it.
San Francisco, CA USA Wed 10/08/2008
Try to take layers. That way if it's cool in one country you can wear two shirts. When it warms up take one off. We packed light and took the Tide laundry packets to wash our clothes in the tub or sink. Just remember, if you can't carry it on your back, you don't want it! Getting in and out of trains and metro stations with large luggage is cumbersome and the locals look at you like you're crazy. I took a large backpack that also had wheels. It's more comfortable to pull them then carry them. Then take a smaller backpack to carry with you on your day trips. This gives you room to bring home gifts!
Vassar, KS USA Tue 09/30/2008
Don't bother packing hairdryer in France
Don't bother packing a hair dryer for France. Every hotel we stayed in, all from Rick's book, had one. Just a waste of space.
Portland, OR USA Sun 09/28/2008
Rick's Luggage & Accessories
I just packed Rick's 21 inch rolling bag (unexpanded) for a 2 week trip. I used the Eagle Creek 20 pack folding board for the first time & love it. I packed 11 itmes in it (5 tees, 4 pants, 1 jacket, 1 ls shirt) but should hold close to 15. It fits neatly into the 21 inch case. On top I put two full RS packing cubes with undies, sox, pjs, & miscellaneous stuff, 2 one qt ziplock bags with clock, chargers, etc, and a small cosmetic bag. In the long side zipper, my travels brochures are stored along with the compact RS extra bag for souvenirs. I have shoes in another zip compartment and my rain jacket in another. I have an empty zip spot.
In my Civita bag are my 3-1-1 bag, medication ziplock bag, toiletry bag from LL Bean, camera, travel info folder, paperback book, a ziplock bag for journal, pens, etc. I will stick in my LeSport Sac Madison bag at last minute.
Passport & tickets in RS neck wallet.
This trip is just in US and Canada but I'm very pleased with the EC 20 pack folding board. Packing was never so easy.
Keizer, OR USA Thu 09/25/2008
When traveling from North America for a multi-week trip, pack light and mobile. Suite cases with wheels are useless in old metro systems with no elevators and lots of stairs and the discount airlines will really penalize you for over weight suit cases. Next time I will take my backpack.
Red Deer , AB Canada Wed 09/24/2008
Travel odds and ends
I have a small nylon bag I fill with pens, pencil, tablet, needle, threads, buttons, safety pins, asprin, pepto bismol pink tablets, chocolate kisses and any other odds and ends I think I might need. It's my bag of travel comforts. Anything happens, I'm prepared. Happy traveling!
Arlington, TX USA Sun 09/21/2008
I think the "disposable" undies idea is great (for a short trip). It is insane to think that tossing a pair of end-of-their-life undies is "wasteful". Come on, wouldn't it be ruder to think that someone would actually welcome that donation??!!!
Elkton, FL USA Sun 09/21/2008
Not just for the office anymore...
Add paper clips to your list Patty! I lost a significant amount of weight in Morocco due to eating a bad date (at least that's what they told me it was). I strung together 1413 paper clips to make a belt and it WORKED...up until I decided to ride a mechanical bull.
USA Tue 09/16/2008
Extra Packing Items
Packing safety pens and electrical tape are a must for me. The zipper on my carry on broke enroute to London. I was able to saftey pin it shut until I could replace it. Yay Harrods! I also take extra buttons.
Arizona, USA Mon 09/15/2008
womens packing light
A few things I loved on a recent European trip: Underwear by Victorias Secret that is a Modal fabric. Breathable, and dries FAST. Three pairs are plenty. Tinted moisturizer with sunscreen...who needs screen, coverup, foundation....colored lipstick or crayon to use for lips/cheeks. Nylon capris by either a travel or outdoors company...again, washable and fast dry. Oh, and Rick's convertible bag. Even packed I can carry it easily myself, and I am 5'2" and 110 lbs.
Carbondale, CO USA Fri 09/12/2008
When it comes to long johns, I bought some silk long johns that takes up very little room. Google in wintersilks. They are affordable for silk, and I bought many clothes there for my November trip to Italy and the Swiss Alps.
Austin, TX USA Tue 09/09/2008
A few items that help me pack light: 1. L.L. Bean long john pants and shirt. Works great for layering and for pajamas. 2. Fleshy color underclothes work with anything. No packing different colors for different outfits.
Los Angeles, Ca. USA Fri 09/05/2008
Europe in summer.
Definitely bring shorts if you're younger anyway, I was in Prague and surrounding for two weeks, and on hot days, all the Brits, Germans and French were in shorts and no shirts on at all (flip flops). Do not bring jeans to Europe in the summer, too humid- man there's no AC anywhere! Even on cold rainy days, a sweater/sweat jacket and rain shell were perfect. For guys especially, get used to washing what you wore the day before every day (Dr. Bronners Peppermint castile soap) and hang dry or something, and you really only need to bring two changes of clothes and what you're wearing, along with a set of PJs/ track pants to sleep and perform ablutions. Toiletries, camera and stuff, some books/maps and admin, a good pair of shoes and sunglasses and you're set. You can definitely get it under 20#, which makes looking for things/hostels/restaurants so much easier. Don't bring a water bottle, they sell it everywhere.
Los Angeles, CA USA Wed 08/20/2008
Champion Bras at Target
For a great travel bra, visit the sporting goods section of Target for the Champion sport bras. This is my bra of choice for vacations. just took a couple on a hiking trip, and they are a must for airline travel. They are quick to wash in the sink and quick to dry. There are 2 styles, one more sporty, the other one has thinner straps. Not for really large busted women, but work well for A-C cup ladies.
USA Tue 08/19/2008
Bras for easy wash and wear
I found some microfiber bras at J.C. Penney. No underwires, so comfy for travel. They wash and dry with ease.
MT USA Mon 08/18/2008
Great travel bra
I know it isn't marketed that way, but the Spanx Bra-lellujah is a terrific travel bra. It's made entirely of hosiery material, with no hooks, no underwire, and stretchy comfy no-slip straps. It isn't terrific if you need a lot of support--they don't even pretend to offer more than a DD cup--but for those of us less generously endowed, it's fabulous. It's incredibly comfortable on long plane rides and it washes and dries in a flash. (I've washed mine in the sink before dinner and it's ready to wear again after dinner!) It isn't the most elegant bra out there, and it takes a bit of getting used to, but I love it. And it packs down to nothing in weight and bulk.
USA Sun 08/17/2008
I second the ISIS brand for women for travel clothing. I found my skirt and skort and top at my local outdoor store.
ISIS has a website, you can find a local dealer, or purchase on-line directly from this company. www.isisforwomen.com
If you like to travel light, have clothing that doesn't wrinkle, washed well in the sink, and drys quickly - you need to check out ISIS!
LA, CA USA Sun 08/17/2008
Isis and Athleta
Two great sources for packable good-looking clothing are Isis (available at REI) and the on-line catalog Athleta. I have 2 Isis wrap skirts that are great for travel - knee length, made of a soft nylon so they are packable and washable. Athleta has a lot of great quick-drying tops and casual dresses, including camis with underwire bras. Great-looking, great-fitting stuff. After all, even though we are packing light, we want to look nice!
Seattle, WA USA Tue 08/12/2008
I am a true believer and will never travel with more than a carry-on bag again! Just returned from 8 days in Europe (Berlin-Prague) and using Rick's packing list for women as my starting point, I packed everything I needed in one bag. The smartest move was packing three pairs of capri pants, a skirt, and a plain jersey dress. It was incredibly hot, and these along with some Columbia polyblend t-shirts were terrific. The only thing that I would recommend is increasing the quantity of undergarments. This is the first time I've traveled without overpacking, and it was awesome!
Ann Arbor, MI USA Fri 08/08/2008
Foot comfort abroad
My biggest advice after 2.5 weeks in the UK with only rail passes is to take an extra set of gel insoles for your sneakers! Even if you already have a pair in your sneakers, take along an extra pair. They're really expensive (in Britain at least) and I almost wanted them enough to shell out $40 for a pair - but not quite. Even if you wind up not using them, they're small in your suitcase.
Also, if you're prone to foot blisters, take some of that moleskin stuff for blisters. That was also expensive.
Nashville, USA Thu 08/07/2008
Target Has Some Lightweight, Full Synthetic Clothing
Don't forget to be on the lookout for light stuff all year round. For example, this past summer Target offered full-synthetic, black polo shirts in the same department as their athletic tee shirts. Similar to the high tech materials used in expensive clothing from Marmot and Patagonia, but only $16 for a polo, even cheaper than the cotton budget polos from Lands End and LLBean - and they wash easier and dry much faster (hours instead of days) than cotton.
The synthetic athletic tee shirts are also a bargain, if you can get away with tee shirts (I buy all black) and the full synthetic gym shorts are a better alternative to expensive cotton shorts.
San Francisco, CA USA Wed 08/06/2008
Vanity Fair Nightgowns
Vanity Fair Coloratura nylon, sleeveless nightgown shrinks down to just about nothing and hang dries in a couple of hours... making it GREAT for travel pjs. Way less bulkier than packing an extra t-shirt! Keep in mind it is on the sheer side, so I wouldn't recommend it for hostel sleeping...though, the black may not be as sheer! It's not exactly young and hip...but who cares!? http://www.herroom.com/Vanity-Fair-30-107-Coloratura-Night-Gown.shtml
IL USA Tue 08/05/2008
Skip the Toilet Paper
I discovered some decades ago while on a four week trip to India that most people there thought the use of toilet paper a disgusting habit. Now, while at home, I use a wonderful Toto "washlet" for personal clean-up, and on the road an empty half-liter bottle (filled at the last minute in the washroom with warmish water) accomplishes the same thing. Warning: Practice at home first. And, for heaven's sake, wash your hands afterwards!
Redlands, CA USA Mon 08/04/2008
When I read the questions about packing light, I am reminded of our method of returning home with less.
Wherever we stay on our last morning, we always contact the cleaning crew and give them all the old clothes we dont want, groceries, and un-needed items we can do without.
They are always thankful and even help us carry out luggage when needed. In that way we ALWAYS pack light when we head home.
DALLAS, TX USA Mon 08/04/2008
At the beginning of each trip, I write down everything I'm taking in my travel notebook. On the flight home, I note how often I used each item (if at all), and write down the things I wish I'd brought. As a result, I'm becoming more efficient at packing; my trip to the UK next month is a week longer than last year's, but I'm planning to take 1/3 to 1/2 fewer clothes/things.
Northern VA, USA Sun 08/03/2008
I just got back from Europe and I only used lipgloss and mascara most of the time. I only used the rest fo my make up once, so I am not going to pack the rest of the stuff next time. Even in pictures you can't really tell.
South Florida, USA Sat 08/02/2008
Will you wear it twice?
Some of the best advice I ever received: If you won't wear it at least twice, don't bring it.
Pittsburgh, PA USA Tue 07/29/2008
Packing light for Europe
I bought the Rick Steves Back Packs/suitcase,not the roller ones, for both myself and my son. We bought the black cubicles to store clothes in. I bought the toiletries kit and the clothesline, washclothes and the large towel. I used everything I bought at the Rick Steves store except the tote bag in a little pack, because I did what Rick recommended and sent my souveniers home through the mail. I also took the advice of not bringing it unless I would wear it more than once, I took 2 pairs of jean shorts, one pair of jeans, 2 short sleave shirts, one long sleeved shirt, a sweater and a windbreaker, and 7 pairs of socks and underwear. I also brought a K-State T-shirt and shorts to wear to sleep in, for the hostels, and just to have an extra set of clothes if I needed them, which I didn't. My son did the same. I washed the whole load once after the first week and then just the underwear and socks in my room with Rick Steves laundry soap and used the clothesline. We were gone for 2 weeks and we never checked our luggage on the plane we always carried it on. I also had a canvas tote purse bag from Rick Steves that I kept my guide books and camera in plus maps. We wore moneybelts under our clothes, even slept with them. I brought suction cups to hang the money belt on while in the shower or sometimes to hang the toiletries bag up in the bathroom. I used Rick Steves locks for my backpacks and the travel alarm clock and the little key chain with the celsius/fahrenheit thermometer and compass to figure out the temperature for the next day. We were hot in the Czech Republic (shorts and T-shirt weather) and cold in Austria and Germany, (jeans and sweater weather) all in July. I just wore my new balance walking shoes all the time and some slipper socks at night in the hotel.I also bought some T-shirts for souveniers as we traveled which increased my wardrobe. I also put Kansas key chains on our back packs and I sewed the Kansas State Flag to the front of my back pack as a conversation starter. We hooked our backpacks to the upper rack of the train like Rick recommended but never had a problem with theives. I'm a Rick Steves fan for life.
Kris A. Berger
Whitewater, KS USA Tue 07/29/2008
Make up for travel
I with the minimal make up when traveling group.....I take mascara,eye liner, blush, lip tint, that's it. I have lotion for my face and a small bottle of make up remover for the mascara.
Most days I don't even bother putting any on...and I don't think you can tell in a photo (unless it's a real close up) that someone even has make up on!
All that being said, there are just some ladies that cannot be seen without makeup, so it's important to them to take their regular stuff.
I went on a camping trip with a gal that had a full face of makeup each morning, eye shadow, etc..it looked pretty dumb on the trail in the middle of no where when all the other ladies had nothing on, but, it was important to her to look "normal" I guess.
Culver City, CA USA Mon 07/28/2008
Makeup for travel
I'd like to enjoy the pictures of me when I get back - so I do pack the makeup. However, the makeup counters at dept. stores do "gift with purchase" deals. Many times, those gifts are perfect for traveling. I always use the tiny mascaras from Estee Lauder for traveling, and the multi-shadow compact 'palettes' - often times those have a very dark shadow and an "eyeliner" brush. I even got a small "sample" of lip gloss that was enough to last for two weeks, easy.
For liquid stuff - I transfer that into small travel bottles, well under 3 oz.
DuPont, WA USA Sun 07/27/2008
Leave it home!
Just got back from a week long trip to France. A piece of advice to ladies trying to pack light- leave the make-up bag at home! Even if, like me, you feel naked without it, trust me, a full face will make you feel more out of place as French women wear little to no make-up. Mascara and lipstick were the most I saw anywhere, and even that much was quite rare. Give yourself a break and enjoy it!
Cincinnati, OH USA Sat 07/26/2008
Stuff I Leave Behind for Travels
When I travel abroad, I leave the mountain of makeup behind. No time to paint a face every morning. A small bottle of mostureizer, mascara and lipgloss are it. Pj's I leave at home and use a t-shirt instead.
USA Sat 07/26/2008
On the TODAY show-Great High Sierra bag
Saw this on the Today Show, this High Sierra bag is just what travelers need for packing to Europe!
OH USA Tue 07/22/2008
I found the High Sierra Bag!
Thanks Mary Kay, I found that High Sierra bag on ebags.com. They have a sale going on right now. I just ordered it after reading the reviews. looks good, and just what I needed for our upcoming trip!
Here is the link for other readers -
Stevens Point, WI USA Tue 07/22/2008
Before I left on my 5 week backpacking trip through Europe I wanted to pack as light as possible and had read not to bring shorts or jeans because it will be obvious that you are a tourist. BRING SHORTS!! I didn't bring any shorts and ended up buying a pair in Vienna because everyone was wearing them and it was super hot. If you plan on being in a hot location, (especially hiking in Switzerland or Cinque Terre), bring a pair of shorts. You are most likely going to look like a tourist anyway and if you are in the really touristy areas then you will fit right in with the other tourists! Americans are for sure not the only ones wearing shorts.
Also if you are going to be in a colder place like Paris, bring a pair of jeans. I had also read that jeans scream "American" but more and more Europeans are wearing jeans, especially younger people. Jeans can be heavy to carry around but I wish that I would have packed some.
Just be careful not to pack too light but even if you do, it gives you a good excuse to go shopping!
Marysville, WA USA Tue 07/22/2008
I'll never travel without my packing envelope again! For a 10-day trip to Europe with ten students I packed enough shirts for a different one each day, plus a black and a tan warm layer, and black and tan shoes, and just a couple pair of capri pants. I packed each pair of pants with a matching shirt, a pair of underwear and socks, and put the extra matching shirts underneath, and all of that went into one packing envelope.
I had my extra black/tan shoes packed separately. My smushed, carry-on suitcase stayed SO organized that way, and I had virtually no wrinkles! Dirty clothes went folded into a large hefty ziplock bag so I could squeeze the air out and keep the odor in. I think I'll get an even smaller packign envelope for shorter trips, and I also think they will become a standard gift!
Syracuse, NY USA Sun 07/20/2008
Found this last night. Gonna try it in Dec.
Dallas, GA USA Sat 07/19/2008
A Great Travel Bag
I just received my Jansport Euro Sak from Campmor.com. It is an awesome bag. The design is very functional and user friendly. Excellent craftsmanship.
La Crescent, MN USA Thu 07/17/2008
Guidebook in a Notebook
I take a guide book and tear out the pages to fit in a small 3-ring notebook for easy reference on my trip. I clip the pages I need for the day and remove them. :)
Tennessee, USA Thu 07/17/2008
Tear out chapters
our friend showed us a great trick: instead of carrying the entire rick steves guidebook around with you while sightseeing, just tear out and bring along the chapter that you need that day (i.e., florence from the italy book). it makes for light and compact traveling and you'll still have the section around to reference later if you need to.
Honolulu, HI USA Wed 07/16/2008
Using pantyliners saves washing as often (for women of course!)
Haven't seen this one mentioned yet...especially useful on shorter trips but also helps to prolong times between washings for longer trips. Using pantyliners lets you wear a pair of undies an extra day or two before washing(if you haven't been in extremely hot weather and been sweating). Granted the pantyliners are then one more thing to pack, but they take up little room and you can probably buy them in most countries too. I do this when travelling over a weekend to help me pack light.
BC Canada Wed 07/16/2008
Travel without liquids
The store Lush (www.lush.com) sells shampoo/conditioner in a bar (I LOVE it) as well as lotion in a bar. Makes plane travel easy without liquids.
ramstein, APO USA Mon 07/14/2008
Best Soap in the World.... Now Travel Sized
I was looking at REI's website trying to figure out what small bottles I would need for my shampoo and stuff on my trip (honeymoon to Paris!!!) in just under 3 weeks.
I wandered over to my favorite soap website www.drbronner.com to see what they had. Their Classic Peppermint liquid soap is the best stuff ever! And! it's offered on their website in 2 oz bottles! It's great to wash with in the shower (tingly!), I use it to wash delicates in the sink, and I find it works better than hydrogen peroxide for cleaning up lady issues. Plus, it's totally concentrated and lasts forever. A tiny squirt on a loofah and you've got enough for a shower and to shave your legs. I am also going to test drive the Rose flavor as shampoo. I have pretty short hair and use pomade, so I figure, it should work ok.
I did end up buying a couple containers from REI for my pomade and stuff, but I think the Dr Bronners soap fixed most of the issues I was having.
Salt Lake City, UT USA Thu 07/10/2008
we did it!
I just returned from 3 weeks in Scotland and England with my 2 daughters and we had only carry-on luggage. Thank you for your insistence on packing light! Each time I declared at check in that we had no bags to check for an overseas flight, we got a surprised look.
It was so liberating to walk off the plane and head into adventure as everyone else headed to the luggage carousels. It also gave peace of mind to know that everything was right there with us on the plane.
Packing light requires more thought than taking everything with you, so I recommend doing lots of research, so you can choose the items most important for you and your family. I spent a lot of time reading this and other sites and began carefully packing way before we left.
For our 3 week trip I had only a vague idea of where we might be and when. But I had spent lots of time researching stuff in advance. In fact, I got a little nervous when friends asked what we would be doing and I replied that I didn't really know. But we had the most incredible trip, and it just seemed to evolve in the most perfect way. I know not everyone would be comfortable traveling this way, but especially with kids, you have to constantly read what they're up for and balance that with what you'd really like to do.
As long as we carried several light layers in our daypacks (including a fleece, rainshell, and travel umbrella) and food (always had granola bars, clementine oranges, and water) we were set for whatever. We can't wait for our next trip!
Charlottesville, VA USA Thu 07/03/2008
dressing in italy
yes some places dont let you in if you are wearing shorts but if you are wearing pants because you dont want to stand out as a tourist, remember; You are walking around with a day pack and a camera while staring at everything with a huge smile on your face. I think they know you are a traveler. Be comfortable! happy travels :)
aiken, sc USA Thu 06/26/2008
The plastic boxes that "wet" toilet paper comes in makes a great packing case. I find the size and shape lends itself to the carry-on bag size and shape. I have one that protects my iPod, headset, LED penlight, compass and GPS unit. Another is first aid box, post-its, pens, etc. When the boxes are secured with a large, rubber band everything is protected, fairly waterproof and organized. I love packing light. Thank you Rick!!!
Atlanta, GA USA Wed 06/25/2008
Jogging shorts and t-shirts (Coolmax,etc.) make good travel underwear. They are light, breathe and dry overnight. If you need to walk to the shower down the hall, they are normally outer wear.
Salt Lake City, USA Wed 06/25/2008
Shorts In Italy
While shorts are not appropriate in churches or in the metropolitan cities, they are being worn by more and more italian men.
When the temperature is above 87 would you rather be comfortable, or dress for some one else's approval? See this quote from www.beginnithwithi.com
I may have to eat my words about Italians not wearing shorts. I'm seeing more and more of them doing exactly that. And men in baggy capri-length pants, with big clunky sneakers, yet! What is Italy coming to?
This site has many good ideas for men and women on dressing for travel in Italy.
Dressing in good taste is a good idea, but comfort is also a major consideration during the hot, humid, summer days. You can do both.
Branford, CT USA Thu 06/19/2008
Not so easy to find
FYI self service laundry's in Germany are not as common as the Rickster may lead you to believe so plan on your sink a bit .
USA Mon 06/16/2008
Not that a razor takes up space, but I recommend getting waxed. It saves time not having to shave everyday. Do not get waxed the day you leave! Do it a couple days before as the skin might be a little irritated and that would not be fun on a long plane ride.
Newbury Park, CA USA Wed 06/11/2008
Don't Wear Shorts!!!
I don't recommend ANYONE wear shorts in Europe, and certainly NEVER in a metropolitan city or small, traditional town. Better choice for women are capris or short skirts/sundresses. Long pants for men, always.
Shorts scream "Tacky American Tourist", and are considered at worst rude (in churches and cathedrals) and at best really cheesy pretty much anywhere else. (The only exception MIGHT be on the beach or a strenuous hike in the country.
Don't embarrass yourself, or the rest of us!!!
SF, CA USA Tue 06/03/2008
Shampoo Bars = Perfect
Lush makes great shampoo bars, and they work really well. They are lightweight and create lots of lather. You can always cut one bar in half or into fourths and only take part. Added bonus: it's not a fluid so you don't have to worry about airline regulations. Lush makes other multi-purpose soaps that can be used to clean both clothes and bodies. Their products are eco-friendly and quite a few are vegan (e.g. no animal products.) Their stuff isn't cheap, but its quality. My shampoo bars have lasted a good amount of time. The only "downside" is that my shampoo bar from Lush is more fragrant than my regular shampoo (I'm not a big fragrance person), but I don't know notice the smell if my hair is dry. If I walk in the rain, though, I get whiffs of my shampoo!
Portland, OR USA Mon 06/02/2008
I swear by the ExOfficio undearwear. A couple of years ago I went on a cruise and forgot to pack my underpants. I was fine with what I had on because I just washed it every night and it was dry by morning. Now I travel with only 1 extra pair. I also like their ladies short sleeve undershirts. I just wash it out every night and my outer shirt can go longer between washings. I use ivory liquid or baby shampoo for my hand washings and a big ziplock bag if there is no drain stopper. You can really travel light if you just do a bit of hand laundry every night and you have a clean wardrobe to choose from every morning.
PA USA Sun 06/01/2008
Great underwear for women
I'll mention ISIS for women too here. I've tried their "daisy" boy shorts and bikinis and the matching bra. So comfortable!
They are seamless fabric, so no chafing, and they wash and dry so quickly!
I bought my first set at Title 9, but I've started to see it in local stores too.
Stevens Point, WI USA Sun 06/01/2008
Carry on packing
My husband and I were introduced to traveling with only one carry on and a back pack each when we went on a 10 day Rick Steves Tour to Venice, Florence and Rome in 2007. We were sceptical about packing that way but encouraged by all the success of our Rick Steves forerunners (and the rule saying that was all you could take!). We did it!! And have been doing it ever since!! It's the only way to travel! No lost suitcases, no overpacking! We even convinced our daughter and son-in-law and their two children to fly with us and pack that way!! Thank you Rick Steves! It really can be done! Looking forward to our next Rick Steves trip!
Cheektowaga, NY USA Sun 06/01/2008
Check out Lucy's Activewear (lucy.com)for great lightweight women's pants in a variety of colors and lengths (no hemming!). I am partial to the spa pant with the cargo pockets. They travel beautifully, wash and dry easily and if you get a spot on them, you can just wipe it off with a damp towel. Second the croc ballet slippers. I walked all over Ireland in them and they never hurt. I also travel with two microfiber washcloths in a zip lock bag because many places don't have washcloths.
CA USA Fri 05/30/2008
ISIS for women
I just discovered the ISIS travel collection called "journeys" at my local outdoor/travel shop, and this stuff is amazing.
The pants are lightweight/technical fabric that look very stylish. They don't wrinkle, and pack well, and dry like a dream for travel.
They also have some shirts that have an SPF rating of 35+, thus great for sightseeing without worries about getting sunburned.
I bought mine at Changes in Latitude in Boulder CO, but I'm sure you can find this brand elsewhere in the US. I found their website too --it's www.isisforwomen.com. Looks like you can shop on line too - or find a local store that carries their stuff!
Happy Travels to you.
Boulder, CO USA Fri 05/30/2008
Has anyone ever heard of a shampoo balm called ShamBALMpooh? Thought not! Not only does it wash your hair without water, but for long durations, it only needs to be reapplied every 12 days. It's like Chapstick for your hair!
P.S. I would avoid using the ShamBALMpooh in humid regions. The product tends to turn to syrup by the time you're ready to bite into your Brown-Bag Bean Burrito.
USA Thu 05/29/2008
Ex Officio Give-N-Go Underwear
I bought two pairs of these boxer-briefs from my brother who works at Backcountry.com. I would change them when I took a shower, wearing one and washing the other in the sink before hanging it up to dry. They dried in just a few hours with no problem, and over my entire two-week trip I only needed two pairs of boxers. They're a bit pricey, but well worth the investment if you ask me.
Salt Lake City, UT USA Thu 05/29/2008
Lea, Thanks so much for the great hints!! I especially liked the hint about linen slacks because I was not sure if linen would work for a three week trip. It will for me because I will have them laundered after the second week of my planned trip to SE Asia. I will also take some extra through-away T-shirts. I also will take a hat and one of those "cooling" bandanas to use around my neck---available at Vermont Country Store and REI.
Instead of flip-flops, Crocs have several styles some of which are great on the plane and in your hotel room and weigh absolutely nothing.
Ft. Collins, CO USA Wed 05/28/2008
White Sierra clothing
I have a few pairs of White Sierra capri pants that are indispensable in the summer. They have an elastic waist with a built-in belt that cinches up also. They are so lightweight that they weigh almost nothing. They look like you could see through them, but they cover you up well and are extremely cool and comfortable in the heat. I bought mine at Gander Mountain (similar to REI) and also one pair at REI online. They are really the most comfortable summer pants I have ever found. That is saying a lot since I have a weird shaped body that is hard to find good fits in clothes, especially pants of any kind. The quality of the White Sierra clothing is also very good, so they will last a long time. Plus, they take up barely any room in your backpack or suitcase and weigh next to nothing. I am going to be looking for a skirt in the White Sierra line also. I highly recommend their products.
USA Tue 05/27/2008
traveling light -- menstrual cups
I'd like to add to the "traveling/packing light" list that, in addition to the Divacup(silicone), there is also The Keeper reusable menstrual cup, which is made of natural gum rubber (latex). (The Keeper has been on the market since 1987.)
You can find more on www.keeper.com.
Oak Park, IL USA Tue 05/27/2008
Latex menstrual cup
Be careful of a menstrual cup made of natural latex. If you have latex sensitivity or allergy they can put you in the hospital. Also, prolonged exposure to natural latex by someone who is prone to allergies could eventually lead to allergy or sensitivity with potentially fatal consequences!
San Antonio, TX USA Tue 05/27/2008
Useful items on my trip
I just got back from a 2 1/2 week trip in Paris, Berlin ,Prague and used a 13 pound duffel bag that met the airlines tight restrictions, im glad i did even though they didnt really weigh them, it was so easy to hop of a plane straight passed baggage out onto the city or on trains having the bag directly over your head so you can see it.
Things that I found usefull
Febreeze is a lifesaver, for wearing a shirt twice in a row, three shirts for six days, ususally you only stay in a city for 3-5 days so its not too noticble
tide single sink washes and a sink stopper/jar opener, sink washes saved me two washes by just washing 3 pairs of underwear and 3 pairs of socks and letting dry a few days ahead of time
adult wipes are a must have, your system is always screwed up a little and the toilet paper is not so soft, plus they only want you to use very little, it keeps you clean and comfortable until your system cleans up
a compass was very helpful in navigating when cominng out of a subway and also knowing what train to get on by seeing what direction its going, but also mine had a keychain which was helpful for using as a keychain with a hostel room key, making sure you get that $10 deposit back.
a cheap dollar store umbrella and shower shoes, both can be discarded if needed at end of trip
This site helped me alot!
Tampa Bay, FL USA Mon 05/26/2008
More Patagonia Sol Patrol shirt info + White Sierra
Earlier I recommended the Patagonia Sol Patrol shirts, both for men and women. One more good thing about the women's: there is a small zippered pocket on one side, high on the collarbone. I put my chapstick in there. It's convenient there. It's too small for a travel tissue pack, though.
A bad thing I forgot to mention: the women's shirt's cuffs are HUGE. I have small wrists, but those cuffs were ridiculously oversized. The nice Patagonia store staffer said they have a snap installing machine on-site because people tend to lose snaps. Unfortunately the Sol Patrol shirt has a new style of snap that is too small for their machine to handle.
The Patagonia staffer gave me extra snaps and the names of a couple local tailors who would install them for me. He said Patagonia would reimburse me. It turned out neither tailor had the equipment to handle these new, smaller snaps.
The second tailor I went to offered to tack down the cuffs so at least they wouldn't billow in the wind. She took up 2" of cuff width! Patagonia reimbursed me the $10, no problem.
I recently bought a White Sierra Gobi Desert shirt at REI. I couldn't tell from the tag whether it was on sale or whether REI always sells that brand at that price. Anyway, it cost about 75% less than the Patagonia Sol Patrol shirt!
White Sierra's Gobi Desert shirt has UPF 30. It has two chest pockets covered by flaps that velcro down. One pocket is zippered, while the other is open beneath the flap. Of course if you actually put something in a pocket, it will bulge quite noticeably. Even though each pocket is 4 1/2" by 5", neither is as usable as the Patagonia shirt's small, collarbone-level zippered pocket.
The fit of the White Sierra size small shirt is equivalent to Patagonia's size 2, regular fit.
The White Sierra shirt is not peplumed below the waist, whereas the Patagonia shirt is. The peplum is more flattering on me.
The White Sierra shirt has normally proportioned cuffs. The White Sierra shirt has buttons rather than snaps. While this is less important when there aren't giant cuffs to alter, it is nice because I can open up the neckline indoors without making snapping noises.
The White Sierra shirt in Azure, like the Patagonia shirt in light blue, is opaque enough not to require undergarments.
I haven't decided yet whether the more flattering cut and cleverly placed pocket of the Patagonia Sol Patrol shirt makes it worth four times more money than White Sierra's Gobi Desert shirt. I do like both very much.
Bay Area light packer
Palo Alto, CA USA Mon 05/26/2008
Flattering hot weather shirts
Patagonia's Sol Patrol shirt wicks away moisture and protects you from the sun. The one for men seems to accommodate my boyfriend's broad, deep shoulders, big wrists, and belly (not too bad--he wants to lose 20 lbs) without billowing at the waist like so many other brands' shirts. He teaches outdoor classes in the desert and vouches for their hot weather suitability. These are the UPF 40+ shirts that are especially good for men, who don't seem as diligent about sunscreen as we women are. :-)
I myself wore a Patagonia women's Sol Patrol shirt this past weekend. At noon it was 98 degrees. My lightweight jeans felt like a radiator, but my shirt was comfortable! It also looks polished enough to feel appropriate for most restaurants, if I change into a casual (and cooler) skirt.
The Sol Patrol shirt from Patagonia is cut along their Regular Fit lines. It is much more form-fitting and flattering than many other brands' sun shirts, like the one I have from Solumbra. I've tried on travel clothes from TravelSmith, Eddie Bauer, and a few other big names; the fit, even in XS Petite, was boxy. I won't tolerate unattractive clothes, even if it means staying indoors. :-p
The Patagonia Sol Patrol shirt I have is the light blue color, which was opaque enough to wear without anything underneath. I've ordered the green color, sold out across the nation, hoping for the same opacity.
These shirts have the advantage of being thin and taking up little suitcase/backpack space. Plus you can carry less sunscreen, if you button up the neck and cuffs! This will really help when I fly with this shirt, as my one-quart baggie is stuffed full. :-(
Bay Area light packer
Palo Alto, CA USA Wed 05/21/2008
Packing light to hike the Inca Trail
I just got back from 2 weeks in Peru. We hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Here's what I had in my carry on: 2 pairs Prana nylon pants. 1 pair Prana capri pants. 5 pair underwear, 3 sport bras. 5 pairs hiking socks/liners. 6 t-shirts, 3 REI brand moisture wicking shirts. 1 fleece jacket (Isis), 1 Whisper Down jacket (Isis), Wool hat, baseball cap, gloves, PJ's. Shampoo, etc in a zip lock bag.
This was enough for the 2 weeks. I washed the underwear once during the trip, other than that, I had plenty, and it all fit in my carry on size bag.
I wore my Chaco sandals on the plane and put my hiking boots in my daypack (for the plane ride) that I used during the hike. I wore my rain coat on the plane too.
We checked on bag with our trekking poles and necessary items for the hiking portion of our trip.
you really don't need a ton of stuff for travel, and no need to "toss" clothing away to make more room.
USA Wed 05/21/2008
Student Travels in Egypt
Here's some tips from a place a little off the beaten track of Europe. I just got back from an amazing trip to Egypt with two friends of mine, where I had four full days in Cairo and Luxor and two days for travel (as a student I hadn't had enough time to do more). This is what worked for me, packing-wise:
The only luggage I used were a medium sized backpack that functioned as a carry-on and a purse. Both of these are what I've used for travel in Europe all this semester and have worked beautifully.
As far as clothing I had: very lightweight pajama pants, three light-colored t-shirts, khaki-colored linen pants, and a pair of jeans for backup, as well as undies and ONLY three pairs of socks (not recommended for everyone, though it worked for me!). I wore the socks until they were nauseating then tossed them because I was determined that stuff like that should took up less room in the backpack. The linen pants were a godsend, I cannot recommend them enough for travelling in a hot climate. They were very light and breezy--I was so comfortable!
I wore hiking boots which were very nice for trekking the desert sands--and protecting my feet from the not-so-clean streets of Cairo. I also brought flip-flops for the shower and for relaxing in the hostel.
A hat or bandanna is an essential as the sun in Egypt is very intense even on days that don't feel unbearably hot. Drink tons of water--I'm talking tons: after only an hour of walking around Karnak Temple and drinking what I thought was a good amount of water my face was getting pink and blotchy. And pack salty snacks to help replace minerals you lose when you sweat.
For a longer trip to Egypt, I think I would have either packed a couple extra plain t-shirts to throw away during the trip or else brought a little bottle of detergent to wash my clothes in a hostel sink. The dry air of Egypt makes clothing dry quicker than normal.
Public bathrooms in Egypt tend to be disgusting, and seldom include toilet paper or soap, so bring your own toilet paper for sure and hand sanitizer.
You have to haggle for nearly everything in Egypt, and people might try and overcharge you especially if you look American or European (as I certainly do, being very fair-skinned). Egyptians are very friendly and hospitable, but the constant hassling can be grating. Just be pleasant and firm--there's no need to buy something you don't really want or to buy more than you originally wanted, no matter how insistent the store owner might be. Also, tipping is common for pretty much everything, and people sometimes try to slip you an unwanted service in return for a tip. There are even children who will, for instance, hand you a flower and demand baksheesh in return! Definitely carry a bunch of small bills with you so you'll be able to leave these tips. Some Egyptians will accept American dollars as tips as well.
As a student, my ISIC card was handy at every museum and major site. I got half off everywhere with that gem.
A tip for female travellers: travelling with a male in Egypt is something I would regard as essential, as the culture over there is different in regards to women. Knowing a bit of Arabic is also useful.
Being in Egypt is an incredible experience--there is so much to see and the culture is fascinatingly different from what I'm used to in the US and Europe. I would heartily recommend anyone with even a passing interest in travel to go there at least once in their lives!
MN USA Tue 05/20/2008
The "Diva Cup" sounds interesting. But when I travel I'd prefer not to need anything like that. I just take my BCP continuously and avoid my cycle altogether. My Doc advised me how to do this. She said it's safe to do that and you only really need to have a complete cycle once or twice a year. I think the "Seasonale" pill does something similar. If this sounds like a better more convenient option, speak to your Doctor, Pharmacist or Planned Parenthood.
Canada Mon 05/19/2008
Diva Cup Takes Up Less Space
Francesca! Thank you so very much for telling us about the DivaCup!! I didn't know about this product,and I'm thrilled to find this out. It's always been a concern of mine to find good tampons in another country, and you're right, bringing our own takes up space. I bought one on line at I Herb for only $18, no tax and only $1.50 postage. Retail is $32! And this is the "DiveCup." I can't get over all the wonderful tips we get here!
Austin, TX USA Sat 05/17/2008
I am going to try a new tactic next trip. I got a "flyweight" duffle and pack from The North Face - total weight for both quoted at 12 oz. (I think it is closer to 16 oz.) for a total of 51 liters of volume and both definitely carry on so don't need the ruggedness that one would for checked bags. My other carry on bags have less capacity and weigh 5 lbs and 7 lbs. That should help with the 22 lb. weight limit for carry on.
Canada Thu 05/15/2008
Mens Travel Pack List
Check out my visual packing list.
copy this to your address line.
Gainesville, va USA Thu 05/08/2008
The 6 essential items for any woman
There was a time when I would spend hours trying to fit everything I might possibly need during my trip into a suitcase. However, with experience, I've learned there are really only a few things one shouldn't be without and I've also discovered some multipurpose items that allow you to lighten your load without leaving all the luxuries of home behind. So whether my travel plans involve camping, trekking or sightseeing, these are the items I take with me wherever I go:
1. Good shoes. There is nothing worse than hobbling around a fascinating part of a new city because the shoes you brought gave you blisters. You don't need to bring a lot of shoes as long as you bring one pair that you will be comfortable wearing all day. Leave your brand new shoes at home. If you must get new shoes for a trip, be sure to wear them a few times before you leave to break them in, and not just around the block. If you plan to walk a lot then make sure you will be comfortable being on your feet in your shoes for a whole day.
2. A Diva cup. Finding menstrual products in other countries can be difficult and bringing your own can take up a lot of space in your luggage - unless you bring a diva cup. It's a reusable silicone menstrual cup and generally, once you've tried it you won't want to go back to pads or tampons. Visit their site to find a retailer in your area http://www.divacup.com/
3. A hat. A hat provides protection from the sun and rain so you'll be able to get out and about no matter what the weather is like. A lightweight fabric hat that can be stowed easily in a purse is the best, but find a hat that suits you. A hat's no good if you won't wear it in public.
4. A Towelini. This just may be the world's most versatile travel accessory ever created. If you are heading to a beach destination, Towelini and a bathing suit is all the clothing you need. Made from 100% organic cotton, the Towelini is fast drying and super absorbent, yet still lightweight and compact. Thanks to its revolutionary design with two long handles integrated into the top, it can be wrapped and tied it dozens of different styles and worn as a dress, sarong or robe. Or it can be unwrapped and used like a beach or travel blanket or travel towel, or it can be rolled up into a soft pillow. The collection is manufactured in Montreal and available via their website: http://www.towelini.com/.
5. A reusable shopping bag. More and more communities around the world are doing away with shopping bags so don't be caught unprepared. Anyways, it's better for the environment, takes up almost no space in your luggage and comes in ultra handy in the event you pick up more souvenirs than you can fit in your suitcase.
6. Writing supplies. A mini note pad and golf pencil will do fine. It's handy for jotting down directions, making lists of places you want to visit, recording contact information of people you meet along the way, letters home, notes to self, …
Montreal, Quebec Canada Sat 05/03/2008
Avid (and fast) readers rejoice!
One of my biggest challenges in traveling light is that balance between bringing enough books for me to read (not even counting the guidebooks) and not making my bag so heavy that it is difficult for me to handle. Books have always been more my "security blanket" when traveling - I also read quickly, which means one novel won't cut it usually (unless it is a lengthy one).
The Amazon Kindle solves that issue! Rejoice readers who also travel!!! Its lighter than a lot of the books I read - and it can hold many, many books! I'm in love with it... easy to read, easy to hold and use, and makes traveling light(er) a snap. Recently took it on a (domestic) trip - and no worries about where to stuff an extra book or two in my suitcase.
I won't stop buying "real" books - esp. if it is a book I fall in love with - but I certainly won't be traveling with them anymore (unless its a guidebook.... but I know at least one of Rick's books are on the Kindle, so maybe not!)
DuPont, WA USA Wed 04/30/2008
The most important factor for me is taking the right clothes. The info below is based on cool weather:
1. All of my shirts (5), socks (5) and underpants (6) are made from relatively new material (ie, Coolmax) that doesn't wrinkle, breaths, wicks moisture away from the body and washes/dries quickly: www.travelsmith.com for underwear, www.tilley.com (socks-the only place that I've found quick-drying socks that i like) and www.exofficio.com or www.royalrobbins.com [long pants (1) and short or long sleeved shirts]. I've used these companies for 10-20 years. The ability to wash and dry clothes overnight or in less time has made a big difference with my wife and I and allowed us to take fewer clothes. They also look great.
2. Pants: I also take two pair of casual chinos (www.eddiebauer.com) which are wrinkle and stain resistant. If I want a more formal looking pant, I'll bring one of their khakis, which look a little more formal and always look fresh. I use a third pair that I buy from Royal Robins or Ex Officio for flying, lounging in the room and as a backup in warm weather (it folds up to a tiny size and the wrinkles fall out when hung up or worn). They have some zip compartments inside the pockets for credit cards, cash, etc. Disclaimer-I know that flight attendants are correct when indicating that these lighter newer material can easily catch fire in an air accident.
3. Sportcoat (optional): On trips where I might want a sport coat (ie, Paris in winter), I use a Travel Smith blue blazer made from a polyester-wool blend that DOES NOT wrinkle. they're now $189 but I bought mine on sale for about $40. I had a hard time wanting to wear anything that had the word "polyester" in it, but this jacket looks and feelsgreat.
4. Shoes: For me, Mephisto work best. I have a pair made from nubuck named Match that are lightweight, rain resistant, warm and unbelievably comfortable. If I had do some wet/muddy or trail hiking, I would use Lowa Tempest II (lowrise extremely comfortable boots). 5. Layering: I agree with this approach. I have a older wool blend ( 88% wool, 10%nylon, 2%lycra) dark brown-green medium-weight sweater (Brooks Bros) that does not wrinkle nor stretch, looks great and is warm. Over that, I wear a rain resistant wind-proof jacket that has a hood. The wind-proof part is key. It also breaths. If it might be cold, I'd bring a warm scarf and some gloves. I'd always bring a baseball-type cap which adds some warmth (very little) but does offer sun-protection abd prevents eyestrain.
5. I like to bring a light cotton scarf which is multi-purpose: folded tightly and tied around my neck for dinner like an ascot (dresses up any outfit), for keeping neck from getting cold or sunburned, for cooling my face with water, to wipe off perspiration, freshening up, drying hands if no paper towels are available and, in an emergency, a sling/tourniquet/dressing.
Once I get the clothes right, the rest seems easy. I use travel cubes for packing which are invaluable in that they keep everything visible and organized. Everything, even electronics, goes into a cube of some size.
There are, however, two things which add weight and bulk but my wife and I have found to be essential: a plane pillow and Bose noise-reducing headphones. I've found most airplane pillows that are shaped like horse collars do not work for me. I've bought a type that has pillows that blows up next to the ears so that my head does not move side-to-side (it lloks similar to one of the pillows on Rick's website). I can now sleep in coach, an impossibility before.
I have always been a skeptic on noise-reducing headphones. Here's what I've found: they allow you to hear the stereo armrest music and the movie dialog easily AND, more importantly, shut out almost all airplane noise, even when unplugged for sleeping. And a big bonus, they have significantly reduced jet lag (departing and returning) for both of us. I've asked other users and they have agreed about jetlag reduction enthusiastically. We use the type that cover the entire ear, since we found the other smaller ones hurt the ear over time.
Lastly, standing on museum floors for long visits used to knock us out. Since we've started using collapsible museum chairs, up to six hours on museum marble has no effect. Most of these are too large to pack and quite expensive ($100 each). But I found a backless camp chair at the SF REI store (www.rei.com-not sure that this is on their webpage) that costs $19 and folds up to approximately 2"x2"x14" and weighs 21 ounces (in a little cavas bag). Also, they are high enough when expanded into a chair (18 inches) that we don't feel like we're almost sitting on the floor. We bring these only when our trip involves extensive museum visits.
All this and more will easily fit in a standard roll-on bag. Everyone's needs and tastes are different. This is what has worked for us over many years. Hope that's helpful.
San Francisco, CA USA Sat 04/26/2008
Less is more...
With airlines changing the checked bagged allowance and weight restrictions changing as well those pack everything but the kitchen sink packers will learn to pack light in one suitcase very quickly after being dinged for overweight luggage and/or more then one checked piece of luggage.
I learned to pack light after my first backpacking trip to Italy with friends many, many moons ago in college. Having haul all my so called "have to haves" around was nauseating at best. I dreaded moving from city to city, hopping on and off trains, buses and walking to and from hostels. My friends even has a nick name for my backpack "Jo-mama".
I have not had to be told twice not to over pack. You really do not need that much stuff. No one is going to notice that you wore the same pair of pants 3 times in a row, trust me. A couple pair of pants and a few shirts and comfy shoes and undies and few toiletries and your are set. My friend never leaves home without a bathing suit just in case she runs into a pool, spa, or beach.
Travel is about the adventure and experiences not what you wore. I have never heard anyone telling stories and laughing about some silly dress, pants, or short they wore on vacation unless the sat in something or there pants split up the back.
Newport Beach, CA USA Thu 04/24/2008
packing light , shop when you get here
I just want to tell you all when you get to Ireland or uk why not just buy in Penney's in Ireland, or Primark in uk. This chainstore has shops in most towns http://www.primark.co.uk/locator1.shtml you can see branches at this link.They carry the latest fashions and are so cheap .. okay they aren't designer labels but are hugely popular here in europe for their prices.
dublin, ireland Thu 04/24/2008
Packing Tip Websites
For a handy selection of websites with packing tips for travelers, visit this site:
Richmond, VA USA Wed 04/23/2008
great light second pair of shoes
I just bought a style of Crocs I had not seen before "Malindi". They weigh almost nothing and are sling-back closed toe flats. In black, I expect to use them as my slippers, back-up shoes, shower and beach shoes and as dress shoes too. I have been wearing them all week and find them to be very comfortable.
Wheaton, ILL USA Tue 04/22/2008
Courtney, what a smart idea--the blow-up hanger subbing for a blow-up pillow. I always carried both and never saw the connection.
Los Angeles, CA USA Mon 04/21/2008
Packing very light for Britain
I just got back from my first-ever overseas trip, which was 2.5 weeks in England, Scotland,and Wales,from mid-March to early April. I haven't checked a suitcase in years & was determined to pack light - carried only a standard day pack (North Face brand, which I use for dayhikes) and a combo purse/shoulder bag that I got from the ETBD store & used for non-clothing items (camera, valuables, maps, knitting, address book, etc.). The weather was very similar to Seattle (home) so I had a good idea of what I would need for the temps/rain/etc. Did laundry once in a laundrette, and otherwise did handwash of socks and underwear in our B&Bs.
I didn't feel I was underdressed or missing anything important, and in fact could have done without a few things. The only downside (if it's really a debatable) is that I had extremely limited space for any souvenirs. I also got out of airports quickkly and on/off trains much more easily than others with more or bigger luggage.
Moral of the story: it's possible to pack for 2.5 weeks in pretty cool weather using a standard day pack (not a convertable or rolling suitcase).
Bothell-near-Seattle, WA USA Mon 04/21/2008
Clothing ages so rapidly when traveling that I can feel worn and sloppy after a week! I think packing clothing that will age well is important- blended microfibers with some elasticity are nice. Repeated wearing and washing stretches clothes too, so I pack things on the fitted side.
Toronto, Ontari Canada Sun 04/20/2008
Here's another use for an inflatable hanger. Take one with you on the plane, partially inflate it, wrap with a shawl or sweater and use as your pillow. Just as comfortable as any other blow-up travel pillow and does double duty as a hanger.
San Diego, CA USA Thu 04/17/2008
More about hangers....
In addition to the inflatable hangers I brought a few plastic hangers with clips. They are flat and didn't take up room, but they were great when we washed clothes in the room for hanging pants or anything else that would slide off the inflatables.
Sacramento, CA USA Thu 04/17/2008
Inflatable hangers. They are the best purchase you can make for your trip. When deflated, they take up no room in your suitcase. They can serve as extra hangers in your hotel room. After washing your blouse or shirt hang them on your hanger and they are dry by morning. Those fat hangers keep the fabric separated so it dries faster. I also take powder detergent in a small baggy. Never have to worry about liquid leaking. Just a small pinch in a wash basin will do the job. I take black polyester slacks, two pair. They can be washed and dry overnight. Foxcroft blouses are wonderful. Mine have come from Nordstroms and Pendelton. I've discovered I can buy them from Ebay for much less. I have several, solid and plaid. They refuse to wrinkle. I take about four cotton tees to coordinate with the blouses and it's amazing how many outfits you can put together in a very small package. Plus throw in that scarf, a Gortex Rain Jacket and a warmer jacket or sweater. Two pair of shoes are a must. When we were in Rome, we had to walk to our hotel from the train station after a rain storm. My shoes were soaked. Lucky for me I had a dry pair in my suitcase. If you like to use a wash cloth bring a couple thin ones from home. The hotels we have stayed in, mostly those recommended by Rick Steves, rarely provide them. We just put the wet one into a small plastic bag to use again. Then throw away after a few uses. Ziplock baggies are a must. Take extra in the bottom of your suitcase. Always remember to put any bottle of liquid into a ziplock bag before packing it. Just to be safe. Several years ago, we purchased a Rick Steves clothes line. I highly recommend one. They're great! After many trips to Europe, the most important advice I can give is Pack Light. We learned the hard way. Dragging a huge suitcase up and down stairs can be a very good learning experience.
Springfield, IL USA Tue 04/15/2008
I've become a fan on the new synthetic fabrics that wick moisture. As a man I have purchased some in basic black at my local sporting goods store. They look nice with slacks and are easily hand washed. Same thing for slacks. I bought some putty colored Columbia Titaniums at Bass Pro and they are great. Hand wash, roll up in a towel and twist and you could wear them right then in a pinch. Dressy too. Also look in "odd" spots for travel clothes. I have bought some good travel items (men's underwear made of hi-tech material)at Marshall's. We always travel with a small bottle of Woolite, small bungees that link together to form a closthesline, and small closthes pins. I also wear a khaki multi-pocket vest when in Europe. You fit in with locals and you can't beat the security and flexibility of the vest.
St. Louis, MO USA Mon 04/14/2008
Spinner roller bags
I have been traveling around Europe since 1966 and have learned to travel very light - only one carry-on bag. Several years ago I noticed travelers in Italy with rolling suitcases/carry-ons that rolled in all directions. They are finally easily available in the US and are wonderful! So easy to navigate and roll around. In the US they are called "spinners"and are made by many companies (mine is a Samsonite). Best invention since sliced bread,
Pompano Beach, FL USA Sat 04/12/2008
Saving stuff for memory book
I take gallon-size zip-lock bags and label them for each city we'll be visiting. Then I can put postcards, receipts, etc. into them as we go. When I get home and start putting our memory book together, everything is already corralled.
USA Fri 04/11/2008
my packing light tips
We always pack light, just one small suitcase per family member. I take only black and/or khaki pants and then tops that will coordinate with either. I wash things out in the sink at night and am ready to go the next day. The only jewelry I take is two pairs of hoop earrings, one gold and one silver. I leave my diamond wedding ring at home and wear a simple wedding band. Prior to our travels, I save all of our undies that have seen better days. These go with us and are washed once then tossed after the second time being worn. This is a great space saver, especially with men's underwear. As your trip progresses, you gain more space. It is also a nice bonus not to have dirty undies in your suitcase. Items that have been worn and not to be worn again I roll and place in the bottom of my suitcase. Rolled items take up less space. Toiletries are always sample sizes. As I use them up, they too are discarded. Leave your camera case at home. Most mid size cameras fit nicely in a sock and are well protected. Also, take along a pair of ballet slippers. They can easily fit in your purse and can be worn in a pinch if your feet suddenly decide to give you fits. They can also be worn to dinner and look nicer than your travel shoes. It is amazing how much you can pack into one suitcase if you are cleaver! Then, as your trip progresses and you have thrown things out, you now have room for items you have purchased.!
dayton, oh USA Wed 04/09/2008
Maximizing Space & organizing clothes
I use a rolling duffle bag. I organize clothing in 12 square inch plastic zip bags, squeezing out all the air, of course. Then I stack them like books in my duffle bag. That way I can remove only what I really need.
Richmond, VA USA Thu 04/03/2008
Packing lighter and lighter
After once again packing things I did not use/wear I have learned my lesson. I am a petite woman over 50 and refuse to struggle with that 21 inch rolling bag and a carry-on over cobblestones ever again. My new plan is to get a rolling tote to use as my suitcase that I will check. I will also carry a large purse or tote big enough to fit my plane needs and a small purse, a change of shirt, socks, panties, a pashmina, and a sweater. If things don't fit, they don't go. I know I can survive with 3 shirts, 3 pants, one sweater, two pretty scarves to make things interesting, undies, socks, a thermal shirt, a change of shoes. This includes what I wear on the plane. Other than a pair of jeans (with lycra), everything is easily hand washable. I do some hand wash every day. I did great on the toiletries this trip. I collected little plastic sample jars from Origins. In these I put my face lotions and hair creams. Perfect for two weeks. I found I can place four or five of these stacked up in a plastic Rx bottle. All year long I keep my eyes open for things that will travel well and wash out easily. The things that work best get put aside strictly for travel. I keep a packing list on the computer and update it after each trip. I make notes about what worked and what did not work. This trip I ripped out parts of a Rick Steves book. Felt like sacrilege tearing up a book, but turned out to be quite helpful to have that menu decoder in my pocket!
FL USA Wed 04/02/2008
This is for Wally...
When I travel, I usually wear boxer briefs which usually eliminate chaffing. You also may want to consider compression shorts as well.
PA USA Tue 04/01/2008
Tips from a Traveling Student
I'm studying abroad in Ireland this semester, and so far this is how I pack for a chilly climate when I travel.
Thermals. I cannot overstress the importance of thermals!! Especially in Ireland, the UK, and othe chilly areas of Europe. Never ever pack for Europe without including a good set of thermals (a top and bottoms). As a student, this has kept me warm during many a chilly walk (and you will be walking everywhere).
Ziplock bags. Great for putting away garbage if no trashcans are available, for storing dirty socks/underwear, and for protecting your cellphone or camera if the weather turns wet.
Baking soda. It's the best deodorizer for shoes/socks/feet. I put a little in each sock before packing them in my suitcase and some in my shoes before putting them on. Your feet may still get a bit sweaty but there will be no odor.
Waterproof shoes/Hiking boots. This is definitely an essential!
When I pack, depending on how long I am gone, I of course pack as little clothing as possible. For a weekend, I plan on wearing the same outfit everyday, and maybe pack one extra pair of pants in case it rains. This saves a heck of a lot of space. For longer travel, I include an extra sweater and shirt, and one nicer shirt and pair of pants. That is all.
For shampoo, get a small bottle of shampoo + conditioner. This can double as bodywash if you are really serious about to saving space.
If you are a young person like me and plan on staying in hostels, if the place sounds iffy when it comes to cleanliness, bring your own sheet. Take an old sheet, fold it in 1/2 lengthwise, and sew the long open edge shut to form a kind of sleeping bag. Ta-da! Your own linen. If you pack really light it shouldn't take up a lot of extra room. Plus remember your flip-flops for the shower.
MN USA Mon 03/31/2008
The boredom factor
There are two problems to overcome when packing light as I see it. First is having appropriate clothes for the weather/activities and the other is boredom with the limited supply. For the first problem, having two complete outfits that would suit your activities/likely weather should solve this problem. A basic pair of pants, a short sleeve top and a sweater or light jacket should suit just about all occasions from sightseeing to plays/concerts to restaurants. Depending on the weather, add something cooler or something warmer. Comfortable shoes are a must.
As far as the boredom factor, I imagine people who wear a uniform for work (nurses,
dental assistants, etc.) must get used to this. Just pretend what you are wearing regularly
(and washing reasonably regularly) is your travel uniform.
Vancouver, B.C. Canada Wed 03/26/2008
Another view of the
My packing light strategy is based around various black pieces and the layered technique. I travel for at least three weeks at a time, if not longer. Rather than getting bored with my "combos", to me it is part of the freedom of being on vacation to not have to figure out what to wear in the morning, like on a work day at home.
I think the uniform comparison is apt- just, instead, it is your travel uniform! You can always add a new scarf or tie or piece of jewelry you pick up along the way.
USA Wed 03/26/2008
Don't take socks, use the anklet stockings. Cheap, tiny to pack, wash and dry easily, no problem throwing a spare pair in a handbag to change into after walking in sneakers for a few hours in 30degree heat.
Auckland, NZ Sun 03/23/2008
Layering to stay warm
I highly recommend layering when traveling, just came back from two weeks in Ireland. I took two pairs of silk long underwear, combined with Spanx tights and light cashmere sweaters (available at LL Bean). I wore black jeans and black knit pants and purchased an Aran sweater to wear under my black leather knee-length coat, I was warm and dry.
Important also were my black gore-tex leather gloves and Tilley wool hat to keep me warm and dry. Hardly used my umbrella for the light rain and high winds encountered. Also wore a wool scarf wrapped around my neck to keep out the wind. Smart-Wool socks kept my feet warm with Rieker leather boots that are waterproof.
ON Canada Sat 03/22/2008
Packing Rick's Convertible Carry-on
I just bought Rick's convertible carry-on and plan to follow his suggested packing list.
Would anyone be willing to share with me how they pack using his convertible carry-on? For e.g., what do they put in the main compartment, the outer compartments, and the two white draw string bags?
FYI, here is a link to his neat bag:
Seattle, WA USA Thu 03/20/2008
Donate those travel clothes
For business reasons, I spend the month of June in Lillehammer, Norway each year. I save clothes througout the year that are "at the end of their natural work cycle", that I don't really like anymore, or that I have grown bored with -- then I ship them to Norway 2 weeks before I am due to arrive. This enables me to get on the plane with one carry one bag. At the end of the month, I donate all my clothes to the local Salvation Army; they are always thrilled with the donations.
Norfolk, VA USA Tue 03/18/2008
Do/don't take it
I have always found the following to be true (no, I'm not being flip!) -- pack 1/2 the clothes you think you'll need -- and twice the amount of money:)
USA Tue 03/18/2008
Clothes aren't the heavy part!
All the debate about clothes is valuable, but don't forget that shoes, guidebooks, toiletries and gadgets usually weigh more than the clothes. Never take more than 2 pairs of shoes (if your feet ache it will help to alternate). Don't take any appliance you don't urgently need - forget the laptop and just relax. Let your hair air dry. Cut out the guidebook sections you're really going to need and leave the rest at home. Take travel-size toiletries (you can always buy more).
Atlanta, GA USA Tue 03/18/2008
layering with fleece and windbreaker
Golf waterproof/windproof light jacket over fleece jacket for layering up. Could remove the one that was not needed. Spent 10 days in Ireland with this combo and never was cold or wet!
Berlin, DE Sat 03/15/2008
yes to old clothes!
Nobody said the clothes have to be "shabby". I, too, have left clothes all over Europe and have been thanked many times by people getting them. I've always looked just fine in my photos. Too many Americans want to show off when they're in Europe. I prefer to immerse myself in the travel experience.
Helotes, TX USA Wed 03/12/2008
Are you watching OPRAH ?
Talking about wearing your old throw away clothes to travel? Oprah is on right now, and they are talking about how sloppy American women dress (men too).
You don't need a lot of clothing to travel, just a few nice pieces - not your toss away junk. We arent' showing off in Europe...look at Italian women!
USA Wed 03/12/2008
Donate My Travel Clothes
That gives me an idea. If I don't want to take my more high maintenance clothes on my trips, I can go to the flea market and get some easy care used clothes to take. I won't worry so much about them. I could also donate them when I'm done with them. :)
LA, CA USA Tue 03/11/2008
No Old Clothes for Me
My problem with taking old clothes on trips is that I want to look my best in our photos. My husband takes lots of pictures on our European trips and posts them online for all our friends and relatives. I don't think I'd feel comfortable in shabby old clothes.
Missouri City, Tx USA Tue 03/11/2008
Leave 'em as you go
For women as well as men - we always have clothes that are basically good, but that we no longer like. My husband and I pack those items, wear them and then leave them in the hotel room or give them to the maid or concierge, asking them to donate them. In 40 years we've never had anyone take offense - in fact, quite the opposite. We may not be stylish, but it's wonderful to get rid of things to people who can really use them, and still have plenty of room for souvenirs. Plus when you get home, you have no laundry!
San Antonio, Texas USA Mon 03/10/2008
Brand for Women
For women: Lucy (they have stores and a website) make some great travel clothes, specifically pants. They come up with this special hook system so they can be washed out and hooked onto a clothes line to dry. I have a pair of capris and long pair of black pants that work perfectly for traveling light. Their pants come in lengths, which is important when you're short like me. The pants are more stylish than hiking pants, which is a bonus, yet they are as functional. They make quite a few yoga and other exercise oriented pants but if you poke around you can find the travel trousers, etc. I've had good luck finding travel wear at Athleta and Title 9 as well, although some of their technical clothes are too sporty. (Which is great for a run, not as great when going through Europe with my system of everything in triplicate—three shirts total, etc.)
Portland, OR USA Tue 03/04/2008
Everything must do double duty
I have travelled alone all over Europe for up to 3 weeks at a time every six months for the last 15 years. Sometimes, I don't know in the morning where I will end up that night (I love Eurail passes!!). When I first started out, I took way too much, and every trip my bag gets lighter. I started out using an eaglecreek switchback with the detachable daypack, later used just a Jansport airpack (the gel filled straps really work) and now use a Kavu bag called a "bicoastal". It is essentially a backpack on a messenger bag strap that the top folds over, or if it is stuffed full, stands up like a backpack, kindof odd, but perfect for my needs, which is to always carry everything with me. To do that, everything must do double duty. For three weeks I take the following: one pants with zip off legs so shorts and pants (Northface porter), one pants, black supplex that I can wear under the others if it is cold or for dressy dinner. A pair of mens ex officio boxers (yes I am female!), they are long, like shorts, dry really really fast and you can use them as underwear or to sleep in. A long capilene T shirt (shirt and nightshirt or beach coverup), an REI guide shirt, a tank top that has a built in bra and a bikini (top is bra and bottoms substitue for panties when not at the beach) I also love the buff tube, it is a hair band, neck warmer, eye mask and in a pinch, a towel. For shoes, I wear Keen sandals, with one pair of fleece slipper socks (the kind with the rubber dots on the bottom) if it is cold or for walking around hotel room. A REI one jacket (windbreaker and rain jacket in one) is the only big thing I carry and it squishes down on top. Toiletries consist of a bar of johnson baby soap (it works on hair skin and cloths) hairbrush and a toothbrush. I buy toothpaste in Europe (always a fun thing to try)and I have a little first aid kit. I have been sick in Paris to the point I had to see a doctor, and needed bandaids and cough drops in Rothenburg. I have found that where ever you are, you can find what you need and people are always willing to help you, don't cary it just in case! At night, I wash everything I wore that day and it is dry by morning. It is great, I have walked the Louvre with this bag (all 300 miles of hallways!!) and then gone outside to catch an overnight train to Florence, never having to check a bag or worry if anything is being stolen or having to go all the way back to where the bag was left. If I don't like where I am sitting on the train, I can go to another car, wander around, and everything I have is with me. I used to spend most of my time lugging my bag or standing in line to check my bag or standing in line to pick up my bag, now it is with me. An added benefit is if I need to change (such as when that chocolate crepe spilled down the front of my shirt), I just find a ladies room and am back on the road. I would encourage everyone to take as little as possible. You can buy clothes everywhere, and if you run into a situation where you have to buy a sweatshirt, then you will always remember where you were when you wear it again. Just go (but bring lots of extra money because the dollar has tanked !) Happy travels.
Los Angeles, CA USA Thu 02/28/2008
Yodlea e hoo...
I generally hike the Swiss Alps once a year. My dilemma is that I can only wear corduroy pants while hiking. My inner thighs are still chaffed from last June! I refuse to wear lighter pants or shorts for that matter since I once lost my footing and rolled 2 feet into a burr patch. Since that life threatening incident, I only allow myself to wear corduroy pants for business and pleasure. I would like to know if there is any lighter way of carrying a pair of corduroy pants (navy blue) in a check-in suitcase. From my past travels, I have been able to wear two pants at a time at the airport and while hiking to save on room, but I've gained some weight from eating Fillet-O-Fish sandwiches. Any thoughts?
Mansour, USA Tue 02/26/2008
Dockers are your friend
Only pack Dockers (shorts or pants). They are great and you can dress them up or down. I like to pack the tan/khaki and a navy blue or black pair. You can wear one of the darker colors on the plane with a t-shirt (solid color) and cardigan (solid color). Pack another 3-4 t-shirts or polo's in different solid colors or you can exchange a t-shirt or two for a cotton button-up shirt also in solid colors. Add in one or two more cardigans for layering. For your feet wear your tennis on the plane and pack a very comfy nice dark color shoe if you plan a nice evening out. For ladies you can throw in a couple scarves to help dress up your outfit and men can add in a couple ties if they choose. Keep all toiletries to the small 3oz size or share if you are traveling with a partner. For pj's use one of the t-shirts. Add in 3-4 pair of undies and socks, bathing suit), a hat (that goes with all clothes). If you are a belt person invest in a nice reversible men's belt. You can wear it with brown or black pants. If you take meds do not bring the entire bottle. Ziploc your supply and photo copy the prescriptions to bring along.
You should be able to travel a two weeks to a month with ease. Wash in the sink and roll excess water from your clothes in towel. They should dry by the next day. If you must bring a towel use the mirco-fiber ones they work like a dream and those puffy bath balls will help your soap to go further.
Newport Beach, Ca USA Tue 02/26/2008
A pair of zip-off-leg pants that convert to knee length walking shorts made of heavy cotton might be a good idea. J.C. Penney has some. Happy traveling!
Lake Tahoe, NV USA Tue 02/26/2008
My vote for a perfect day bag
As to a good day pack... I've a friend that swears by Rick's Civita, but my favorite is Magellan's packable "Daytripper" bag. Ultra lightweight, made of rip stop nylon, and can hold a LOT. I've given a few away as graduation/wedding/Christmas presents.
Cupertino, CA USA Mon 02/25/2008
Linda, I think you meant www.flight001.com Flight 101 is the website for a aviation company.
Moorhead, MN USA Sat 02/16/2008
Try www.flight101.com. They have an amazing amount of packing light-friendly products on that site and they seem very reasonable in price. I just purchased several things from there for my upcoming trip to Italy.
MI USA Fri 02/15/2008
Move over expensive travel panties...Hello Hanes!
Ladies! Forget spending $15+ dollars on travel panties, Hanes has the Perfect Panty, called just that, the Perfect Panty or Perfect Stretch. You can purchase 2 pair for about $7.00-9.00 depending on where in a variety of cuts, boyshort, bikini, high-cut, thong and brief.
THE BEST PART(S). They line dry insanely fast, within a few hours if your ring them out really well. And they are tiny, they stretch to fit. They come in sizes S(4/5) M(6/7) L (8/9) and thongs go up to XL (10/11)
Also, the brief, boy short and the bikini offer nice coverage to avoid the dreaded VPL. The high-cut bikini, if you find it, I do not really recommend as it does cut strangely across your bottom. You will love these for travel, between the compactness, the quick line dry and the coverage and the price...
Chicago, IL USA Wed 02/13/2008
I've switched from using woolite in a REI plastic squeeze bottle to lingerie delicate fabric wash. Forever New is great, Holistia, available at Nordstrom lingerie dept., is unscented and even better! Powder also- no leaks!
Mukilteo, WA. USA Mon 02/11/2008
Which pack is best
Here is a good article about what type of backpack to use to pack all the good suggestions below! http://www.vagabondish.com/how-to-find-travel-backpack-luggage/
Mobile, AL USA Fri 02/08/2008
The best place for discussion of one bag travel is:
It is the Rosetta Stone for the one bag traveler.
Topeka, Kansas USA Fri 02/08/2008
Confessions of my first time...traveling with one bag
I recently returned from eight days in England and used only a JanSport Eurosak and a RS Civita day bag. It was brilliant. I have traveled around London several times previously and lugged large suitcases up and down Underground steps, and on and off trains and this time I was jogging around those people. To those who say "I can't possibly pack that light," I reply I used to be one of you. I travel a lot for work and constantly throw in one, two, three more outfits, shoes, lotions "just in case." If you can stop the "just in case" mentality and scale it down to what you truly need it is freeing. A previous poster really summed it up: Pack as if you were going to your friend's house for a three-day weekend. You're probably not going into the wilds Africa, so if you need something you did not pack you will be able to get it at your destination. For me, trying this whole "one bag" idea for the first time I relied heavily on a check list. I started the list about a week before I left and wrote down everything I REALLY used in a day, not what I "might" use. Then I packed a couple of other things that I would use on the trip like a wash line, microfiber towel, travel pillow. The only thing I wished I had brought was the directions to the hotels!
St Louis, MO USA Tue 02/05/2008
wrinkle free clothes
I have found the BEST shirts are the "wrinkle" ones -- I wash them wring out in a microfiber towel and hang on a blow up hanger --- dries overnight!! This also means I have more room on my "pegless" clothesline for undies sox etc. I have travelled round the world with ONE carryon + 1 backpack for times up to 8 weeks (in Summer I admit) and never had a problem :)
PERTH , Australia Mon 02/04/2008
Wrinkle-Free Women's Clothes
I found some great wrinkle-free clothes at Magellans - on sale. Their "Jet Set" line of tops and bottoms fold down very thin and are really comfortable.
I also have some of the Travelers line of clothes by Chico's - some bought on Ebay so not as expensive.
Both sets of clothes have elastic waistbands, so you could wear them when pregnant, or like me, when I eat too much Italian food ;)
Ontario, Canada Sun 02/03/2008
Packing Light when expecting
Any pants with an elastic waist will work. Also try my old trick. My regular jeans fit every where but my waist so looped a rubber band through the button hole and other end went around the button. Gave me a few extra inches of room. And with your tops out no will be any the wiser.
Warren, OR USA Sun 02/03/2008
I agree with Tara about the perfume. Leave it at home. People who insist on wearing perfume on airplanes, buses, the supermarket, post office, etc. make it hell for the over 14 million of us who have perfume sensitivities. Perfume is the #1 migraine trigger. Please don't make your fellow travelers sick.
USA Sun 02/03/2008
Chicos Travelers Clothing
I am almost 55. On a shopping tour to Italy in 2003, I wore mainly the Chicos Travelers knit pants, dress, and tops (accessorizing with belts,scarves, and costume jewelry). They roll up without wrinkling, and I washed them one night (using Woolite from packets) in my tub in Florence, hanging them up to dry. The next morning they were dry. Sister travelers were amazed at how little I packed,and I received many compliments on my outfits. Also packed foldup duffel for my purchases.
Vienna, VA USA Sat 02/02/2008
Use your shoes!
Don't forget to utilize the space INSIDE your shoes! Stuff them with nylons, trouser socks, toiletries, jewelery, etc. Of course you can put the items in ziploc bags first so you don't "contaminate" them with foot sweat, etc.
Chicago, IL USA Sat 02/02/2008
Powder, dry, sample when you can!
Ladies...If you want to pack light and only deal with carry on size luggage like I, but can't go without your foundation, face wash, etc. There are many powder option available. Mineral powder makeups are offered from thrifty prices to super spendy prices. Dove sells some fabulous dry face clothes that just need a faucet for a fabulous face washing experience. Plus, sometimes you only need to use 1/2 a cloth! Burts bees sells a small shampoo bar. Which is great for natural curly heads like me who need more space for conditioners and hair serum. And don't forget to look online for free samples...deodorant, toothpaste, lotion, feminine products, pain relievers, antacids. A simple search of any of the above followed by free sample will turn up many results!
Chicago, IL USA Sat 02/02/2008
Packing Light when expecting?
I'm going to Italy in May and will be 4 months' pregnant with my first child. So I have no experience packing maternity clothes for travel. Does anyone have any ideas on what might pack well for this trip? I usually wear 1 pair of jeans & 2 pairs of khakis/black pants on other trips I've taken and been fine. Looking for a reasonably priced option for maternity wear.
Editors Note: All questions MUST be posted to Travelers Helpline
Raleigh, NC USA Sat 02/02/2008
Pack light!!! Just do it! Especially if you're traveling by train! I've been to Europe twice and wished to high heaven that I hadn't brought all that I had. The first time was for a month, the second time for 3 and both times I wished I had left things behind. I ended up throwing out things I wish I didn't bring or grudgingly packing them around for the rest of the trip! You don't want to be calling your backpack dirty names while trying to figure out where you are, and where you think you might be going! Make it easy and pack what you would pack for a 3 day weekend at a friend's house rather than packing for weeks or even months. You'll find what you need there! Be bright! Travel light!
Portland, OR USA Fri 02/01/2008
I save my old clothes, those hole-filled socks or worn out t-shirts, etc. so that when I backpack I can pack what I need, and then throw it out as I go. It's an easy way to travel lighter and lighter as the trip progresses. Since I often travel in the winter, I wear the t-shirts under a sweater, and the sweater stays fresh, with less to carry. True, not a good strategy for those who dress to impress, but when backpacking my main concern is a light backpack.
Grapevine, TX USA Sun 01/27/2008
I have found a sports bra is great for layering. I can wear a sweater and t-shirt over it when it's cold. When it's toooo hot (in summer), I can take the shirt and sweater off.
Fort Collins, CO USA Sat 01/26/2008
Lightweight travel layer
The best lightweight travel layer I've found is the L.L. Bean Fitness fleece. It's under $20 and it's a nice lightweight fleece-- perfect extra layer or wrap for on the plane. So lightweight and comfy-- takes practically no weight and space in a suitcase!
Europe Thu 01/24/2008
LUSH Cosmetics, as suggested by Penny a while ago for solid shampoos, also has retail locations throughout Canada and the US. So if you're not comfortable ordering online, you can always go to the stores. I just got one of the cinnamon shampoo bars (but haven't yet tested it out to see how well it works).
USA Sat 01/19/2008
For travel items I'm only going to use a few times, I go to Walmart and get inexpensive stuff. No regrets losing something or leaving it behind. Happy travels!
Kokomo, Ind. USA Wed 01/16/2008
I bought second-hand clothes before my trip that were lightweight and didn't take up much space. This way, if I found clothes in Europe I wanted to buy, I could toss the thrift clothes I didn't care about and I'd still have enough room in my pack.
Anchorage, AK USA Sun 01/13/2008
If you don't wear underwear, you don't have to pack any. This saves lots of luggage space.
USA Fri 01/11/2008
I like to take camies with built in bras for layering. Also cuts down on the underclothes I need to pack.
Denver, CO USA Fri 01/11/2008
Wrinkle-free, lightweight clothes
I recently tried Magellan's "Jet Set" line of polyester/spandex clothing. I felt they were expensive but went ahead and bought a tank top and a matching shirt. They packed tiny (TINY!) and came out of my suitcase ready to wear. I had packed my bag about a week before my trip and still can't believe that there were NO WRINKLES! Magellans is having a sale now and I will purchase another set at a significant discount from what I paid for my first set. I don't care for all of the offered styles but the tank and shirt are perfect for adding variety to my take-everywhere black skirt and slacks. I can wear each piece alone or as a coordinated set.
Orange, NJ USA Wed 01/02/2008
Travel Size Products
If you're looking for travel-size items, I've found a site that has a great selection: http://www.alltravelsizes.com/
They'll even ship the items to your final destination!
Hayti, MO USA Tue 01/01/2008