Tricks for Packing Light
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.
- Rick's Travel Tips: Packing Smart and Traveling Light
My wife and I have been devotees of Ricks and light travel for years and we take his basic bags with us everywhere. His cubes are a must have and really help with sorting and balance in your pack. We use his toiletries bag, clothesline and money belts. If you pack right, you could live out a carry on for months! Less is more and makes the trip really fun. Tours are for sheep, plan your own trip and go to small towns and meet real people. Always fly in and out of Amsterdam so you can visit coffeeshops both times. I highly reccomend this. The Cannabis Cup is from November 24-28th 2013, don't miss it!
Wimberley, TX USA 05/23/2013
Packing Smart and Travelling Light
I to would recommend ebags.com. Bit obvious but I find stuffing my socks and underwear into my wives shoes (she always takes a lot) saves a lot of room!
Type of luggage Rick uses
Could anybody provide information as to where I can order the type of travel pack and the day pack Rick uses on his trips?
Canby, OR USA 05/19/2013
My wife and I are seniors and need to sit-down frequently during sightseeing, but there are no seats or benches on the streets almost everywhere. So, in our last trip to Europe, we purchased a combination backpack/foldable seat for a very reasonable price from Dick's Sporting Goods, when we needed to sit-down anywhere, we simply unfold the seats and sit for a few minutes then proceed with our sightseeing.
Glen Allen, Virgin USA 05/09/2013
I list all my items on a spreadsheet. Print it out and bring it with me. I can then see what outfits I can make up. I can go back and look at where I went, season, what worked and what didn't. It doubles as a handy list so IF your luggage is lost you can have an accurate list for the airline. My rule is usually 3 shoes, pack one and carry two. 1-2 patterned jersey dresses for dressing up, scarves, mix and match tops and bottoms. Make sure everything goes with everything and worse case, buy something !
Cupertino, CA USA 04/28/2013
Packing Cubes - Where to buy them.
Ebags.com Or Eagle Creek Good packing cubes at fair prices.
Fl USA 04/23/2013
pack to donate
when i travel i bring mostly clothes that i am glad to leave behind - on my last day, i give them to the b&b owners or hotel clerks to donate to a church or charity - i then fill my almost empty suitcase with gifts and other purchases - the fragile ones i surround with whatever clothes i can't live without!
fort pierce, fl USA 04/23/2013
Packing light with cubes is a breeze. RS sells cubes in the Travel Store or others can be found in luggage stores or online @ Travelsmith or Magellan. They are rectangular nylon ouches with zippers that fit into the suitcase. I use them to pack rolled items of clothing, undies, misc. items. Clothing can be rolled to fit neatly and emerge unwrinkled. I usually use one for shirts, tees, one for pants, capris. No need to unpack and repack all items in the suitcase after rummaging around for one or two items. Even my husband is a believer. Also, I have found the Zenergy line of clothing from Chico's to be perfect for traveling. They are microfiber, travel friendly colors, don't wrinkle, can be rolled, washed out and dry the next morning. A light weight but you can also wear leggings underneath when extra warmth needed. These look nice in cities like Paris and London when you don't want to appear too casual but still need to travel light. These mix and match beautifully!
Birmingham, AL USA 04/17/2013
What are these cubes everyone has been talking about?? I am planning a trip to the beautiful town of Lorenzago di Cadore, Italy. there will be a laundry, but I would like to pack as lightly as possibly, it may even be chilly there in September.
Belleville, mb USA 04/15/2013
Guidebook tip - I always make photocopies of pertinent sections of my guidebooks, and then combine them, along with important papers, and a copy of my itinerary into a bound book at Kinkos/FedEx. This makes both a souvenir, and keeps my stuff together - it also allows me to not have to rip pages out of my guidebooks so that I can use them next time.
Knoxville, TN USA 04/07/2013
My four secrets: 1. Packing cubes - have used for decades for pleasure & business travel. 2. Draw string mesh bags for undies, sox, & dirty clothes 3. ExOffico and REI nylon undies. 4. Zip Lock bags for misc junk - take extra empty bags. Future project - switching to all microfiber hand wash and quick dry wardrobe.
San Antonio, TX USA 04/05/2013
RS Packing Cubes and RS Bag
I have to agree that it is difficult to fit both the large packing cube and the two small cubes neatly in the bag. I did it before, but I guess I am over stuffing them now. Nonetheless, I am very happy with my bag and using the packing cubes.
Lafin, PA USA 04/03/2013
RS Rolling Backpack
For the RS Rolling Backpack I have found that the large RS packing cube fits perfectly but the two smaller ones just don't work. I now use the Large RS cube and two Eagle Creek tube cubes and the RS small Toiletry bag, with this line up I able able to pack everything I need with room to spare plus the rolling backpack will stand up nicely on it's own.
Wichita, Ks USA 04/02/2013
First, measure the inside of your suitcase. If using RS rolling carry-on (13"X20") - you can fit (2) medium ebags cubes, (1) ebags slimline cube, and (2) Eagle Creek full tube cubes. Travelon has a few sizes that may help as well for another option. Packing folders (Eagle Creek) can be a good alternative. Bold Colors are harder to ignore and leave behind.
FL. USA 03/30/2013
Luggage Freedom Rocks!
I'll be in GB/France for 14 days in early May. I'm bringing a single wheeled carry-on and that's it. I have no plans to buy any souvenirs etc. that I'd have to lug around. Traveling light is "de rigueur".
NYC, USA 03/24/2013
Agree with last comment. I use the small plastic bags for prescriptions, jewelry, and other small items. Just toss them when finished! I also peel the label from prescription drugs and attach to an index card rather than carry the bottle. Easy to carry in the money belt in the event there is a question. The index card can be laminated easily. A copy of passport picture page and signature page can be reduced to credit card size and laminated to carry in the money belt. My philosophy is to always have passport info on the body in the event of an emergency!
Birmingham, AL USA 03/18/2013
My local grocery sells tiny plastic bags for holding pills (in pharmacy section).I use them to hold a day's worth of sunscreen which I have to use. Weights nothing, doesn't leak, and even reusable. I pack very light and this is a real help!
Williamstown, MA USA 03/16/2013
Becka, I 2nd your choice of bags. I have the Longchamp tote, and I also bought a Longchamp daypack that folds into almost nothing. My last trip to Italy both these bags were with me. I used the tote on the plane for my extras, camera, ipad, paperwork, etc. The daypack was folded and in my carry on luggage. I pulled the daypack out when touring towns. I have the older version that has a draw type closure, so when the straps are pulled to go over my shoulders, it secures the bag, no hands can go inside, no zippers to open. Longchamp is expensive, but worth it. I bought both my bags in the Duty Free shops at different European Airports and saved $50-60 on each bag over Nordstroms or other US stores.
Centennial, CO USA 02/07/2013
Wow! Sarah from Austin, the idea about clear leftover linen bags is awesome! I love Rick's idea about buying your toiletries when you get there- it's "local" and you might have more interesting souvenirs to take home!
Houston, Texas USA 02/07/2013
For women who want to carry a purse rather than a backpack, the Longchamp 'pliage' bag is VERY light and can fold up to fit in your luggage. I see women with this bag in New York and Paris - it is chic but not flashy. Also, the fabric is waterproof, which makes it functional as a beach bag.
NYC, NY USA 02/03/2013
Amazing how light you can pack!
I've only been traveling abroad for 2-3 years but after my daughter made me spend 12 days in Europe with only a single backpack, I've become a true believer! I use the Rick Steves Rolling Backpack and take 2 pairs of polyester Dockers, 4 Royal Robbins Expedition L/S shirts, 4 ExOfficio underwear, Marmot lightweight rain jacket, Kuhl fleece pullover. Add my Rick Steves toiletry kit and microfiber towel, mini-ipad and small travel camera and lastly the Rick Steves Da Vita Day pack. I wash at least every other night in the sink and could live for a month if needed. I was one of those people who used to take everything possible on a trip, I now find it rather liberating to grab my carry on/backpack and enjoy the journey! I do not work for any of these companies I just did a lot of experimenting and found they worked the best for me.
Wichita, KS USA 02/02/2013
First trip overseas, still packed light!
For two weeks in Berlin, I brought a carry-on and a briefcase. The briefcase was my under-the-seat bag, so I packed snacks for the flight, guidebooks, all my electronics like camera, iPod, etc., and I packed inside another bag that I used as my "daybag," a small Army surplus bag with inside pockets originally used to carry a gasmask, just large enough to carry essentials like maps, a phrasebook, camera, and a sweater, but small enough to not look like a backpack tourist.
Even with just a carry-on, I managed to pack in an extra pair of shoes, a suit (the carry-on had a fold-out suit bag), and a week's worth of clothes. And I still had room to pack in extra clothes I bought while I was there. The trick is using every single square inch--rolled up socks inside shoes, folding big items flat and using smaller items like underwear in the nooks and crannies. If you can fit your fingers in a cranny, it's not packed tight enough! :)
Seattle, WA USA 11/14/2012
Hey .... Don't leave your underwear behind (no pun). No one wants to find it regardless if it's in a plastic bag. Just throw them away at home... And, leave a nice tip for the room attendant instead. Thanks.
Scottsdale, AZ USA 10/22/2012
My fiance and I spent 18 days in Italy with only one carry-on sized backpack a piece. It was fabulous.
What I packed and used (yes, I had more packed but could have done without): -Three quick-dry T shirts from EMS - handwash in sink at night and they are dry in the AM to wear again! -Two pair Northface pants- the kind that can roll up to capris and zip off to shorts -rain jacket from LL Bean with hood -Keen sandals -One dress with pashmina and heels -Zip-up sweater -of course underwear and bras -Toiletries were travel sized- dont forget what you dont bring you can buy. -I also brought disposable cloths from EMS that I cut into quarters to use for washrags. Use twice and toss.
This was the lightest I have ever traveled (not a heavy packer to begin with). I also had a day bag with a zipper that I could lock w a TSA travel lock to prevent pick-pockets. and the standard money belt! We Loved the freedom of not lugging around a suitcase!!
Buffalo, NY USA 10/20/2012
I make my own solid lotion and (palm free) multi purpose soap bars. They are free of nasty chemicals and do not require a plastic bottle so are ecofriendly as well. I use the soap on my hair, face, body and it works for laundry. So easy to pack!
Fairbanks, AK USA 10/12/2012
Packing for train travel
Found out on our recent trip why you really need to pack light, as well as compactly, especially if you plan to travel by train. We used all three varieties of trains [INVALID] the local, the regional and the high-speed. Some of the smaller stops are literally two minutes long. You have to carry all of your belongings, often through aisles obstructed with luggage and get on or off QUICKLY, or you'll find yourself riding to the next station. You can't count on rolling your suitcase (often because the aisle is too narrow or obstructed). And you need to be able to fully lift your luggage over your head, because those overhead racks are high, and often are the only space available on a crowded train. And train stations [INVALID] trains are, of course, at ground level, but to get you to your correct track, you and your luggage are going down stairs, under tracks and up lots of stairs. Larger stations may have some small elevators or escalators, but don't count on them working. We used trains from Wiesbaden to Paris via Cologne, Rome to Innsbruck via Padua, and Innsbruck to Frankfurt via Munich, so these lessons are based on consistent experience. The takeaway is this: the trains are fun and very handy, but be ready for them. You need to be able to move quickly while carrying all your gear (there really isn't anyone to help you with it). Don't know if I could possibly get by with the minimalist set of "luggage" that Rick carries, but the closer you can get to it, the better!
Mentor, OH USA 10/05/2012
Women packing light
Followed Rick's Packing List for Women and used Magellan & Eagle Creek packing cubes. I also used Rick's lightweight red tote bag, the hanging toiletries bag and the folding tote bag - all indespensible!
Venice, FL USA 09/26/2012
Washing clothes while traveling light
In France this summer, we went to the laundry mat to wash clothes. There was a pizza restaurant with sidewalk seating one door over, so we had pizza while our clothes washed. Also we met a nice couple from Australia and another girl from Canada. Loved talking to them about their travels. Another fun thing about packing light! Happy travels.
Dallas, TX USA 09/22/2012
Traveling Light for Several Years
For two weeks of vacation in France this year and Italy last year, I packed 4 outfits: 1 pair of capris, 1 pair of long black pants, 1 skirt, 1 dress, 3 tops, 1 long-sleeve top, 1 black cardigan sweater & a black jacket (all typical clothes from Macy's but materials that dry fast w/out wrinkling), 2 bright-colored scarves, 4 pair of underwear, a pair of black sandals that work with dresses, a pair of comfortable Keens (no socks), lightest silky nightgown. We stay at hotels at least two nights, so we wash clothes every evening or every other day in the hotel sink and roll up in the towel to speed up drying. I bring two 10-packs of Woolite for detergent. It only takes us a few minutes to wash. I bring one hotel sample of shampoo in case the first hotel doesn't have shampoo. Makeup is a tube of foundation, mascara, and lip balm along with toothbrush/paste, comb, and Aspirin. I bring my Kindle for plane/train reading, and the ipod shuffle to listen to music – neither needs their recharger for this time period. I don't bring a purse, just the moneybelt. My husband packs similarly, and he places his backpack inside his suitcase through airports and train stations. My classic RS roller suitcase is about one-fourth empty, so I have room for something fun to bring home. We easily managed the Venice bridges, the Paris subways, the walk up to our hotel in a village in the Dolomites, etc.
Mill Creek, WA USA 09/04/2012
RS Rolling Back Pack
I've noticed some comments about the new RS Rolling Back Pack and tipping when the bag is fully packed. I've just returned from an RS 14 day tour of Scandinavia and used this bag. I found that the way the bag is packed makes all the difference. When I packed the bag carelessly on the fly, it did tend to to tip. But, when I took time to pack the bag properly, it stood fine on it's own. I put heavy things to the bottom and made sure that items packed in the inner lid pocket were evenly distributed. Using our packing cubes with this bag really helps, too. As a bonus, I was able to test the bag in an Easy Jet template at the airport in Stockholm and it fit perfectly!
Rick's Product Manager
Edmonds, WA USA 08/21/2012
I always photocopy pages from my travel books that I think I will use, or I tear them out of the book to bring if I don't need the entire guide. Or - if I need the whole book with me, I throw out sections once I've visited those towns.
As for carrying toiletries, I use lots of ziploc bags. That way you can see what's inside of each one and you won't have a mess in your suitcase if your shampoo leaks. I also carry a large plastic bag for stowing dirty laundry until I get to a place with a washing machine/laundrymat.
Don't feel inclined to buy expensive trial-sized toiletries. You can always take the full size items you already have at home (like shampoo, powder, lotion) and pour them into small containers. Just don't do this with anything that needs to stay sterile in the bottle, like contact lens solution.
Narragansett, Ri USA 08/05/2012
Getting the most out of carry-on allowance
Re: Getting the most out of carry-on allowance
Be careful because some airlines will not allow two carry-ons when you return. No purse, backpack, etc. We had that problem when I brought a group of students back from London.
Louisville, KY USA 07/25/2012
Getting the most out of carry-on allowance
The allowance is one case and one "personal item" - meant to be a briefcase or similar. The Lands End size medium canvas tote is exactly the max measurement, and they have a zip-topped version. Great for visiting a market once you arrive.
Victoria, BC Canada 07/21/2012
As a notorious overpacker, two trips to Italy were made much easier because I made use of laundromats. In Florence I stayed at the Best Western Grand Adriatico and there was a laundromat two doors down. In between the laundromat and the hotel was a bar with patio seating. While my laundry was washing, I had a glass of wine and felt like a local. In Sorrento, I found a laundromat at the corner of Via del Corso (the main street) and Via degli Aranci. I grabbed a beer at the market next door and people watched while I waited. The laundromats allowed me to pack just a weeks worth of clothing for a two-week trip and I got to chat with other travelers and locals for some great dining tips.
New York, NY USA 07/10/2012
Pack As a Couple
If you travel as a couple, pack as a couple. Avoid duplicates in toiletries, co-ordinate colours (so you don't have to separate colours for washing). We use those Eagle Creek Pack-It folders. Take only one folding board. Avoid situations where you have a dressy dress but he only has super-casual.
Victoria, BC USA 07/07/2012
Packing cubes are like drawers in your suitcase. I never go anywhere without them. It's so easy to pull out these cubes as opposed to digging through your suitcase for that one item. Going through the X Ray machine is simplified in case the TSA has any question about what you're packing.
San Diego, CA. USA 07/04/2012
Great travel dress
Just received and tried on the Magellan In Transit dress and all I can say is "Wow". You can wear it so many different ways and it is not complicated to figure out how to do that like some others out there.
It will be the first thing I pack in my Rick Steves backpack along with a pretty scarf for my upcoming European trip.
New Orleans, LA USA 06/05/2012
Wearable carryon sport coat
Someone mentioned a vest below, I'd also like to mention another kind of "wearable carry on" called the Presentation Jacket from Duluth Trading company. It's durable, has tons of pockets including two hidden zipper pockets. When I'm going through security, I zip up all my change, keys, iPhone, money, etc. in the zippered pocket of the jacket and put it through the x-ray. People are less likely to steal a jacket. It also has tons of pockets inside the jacket big enough for passports, phones, tickets, etc.. It also has gussets for freedom of movement for us bigger guys which makes it comfortable enough to wear while sitting down.
Durham, NC USA 06/05/2012
Picking the correct bag
The easiest way to pack light is to first choose the correct bag. If you are doing carry on or checked, first look at the weight of the bag itself. Wheels always weight more. If you are able bodied, consider a convertible style bag, one with hidden backpack straps. Choosing a smaller bag in any case will make you pack less. Consider that you really only need a few days worth of clothing for any length trip. Plan to wash in the sink, or find a laundry. Make a packing list and stick to it. Take essentials, and left the "fashion" stuff behind for standard travel. Layout your "outfits" and make sure everything coordinates (women). 2 pairs of shoes is a must, wear one on the plane and pack the other..your feet will thank you. Always bring a light sweater and a rain coat..you don't need an umbrella, a coat with a hood is better..your legs are going to get wet no matter what!
Cool, Comfy Feet
Before our first European trip I was blessed to discover Grasshoppers canvas slingback sandals (the kind with elastic crisscrossing the arch and velcro across the toes). They are like walking on clouds. Now I practically live in them at home and abroad. This year's version is "Sunrise." (last year's unfortunately was NOT comfortable, but for the past five years, *ahhh*). If you can't find them locally, try Amazon for good deals. A great surprising plus is how comfortable they are without socks. After a few days of constant wear they can, naturally, get a little smelly. This is helped by spraying your feet with deodorant.
Bluff City, TN USA 04/20/2012
All TSA-type "gotcha" stuff (coins, keys, electronics) go in a one-gallon ziploc with NAME on it before I leave home. Instantly thru security line, pick it up, THEN at gate spend time putting everything away where you want it.
Columbus, Ohio USA 04/16/2012
When you need your shoulders covered
Check out Holy Clothing's "Sunita" dress. http://holyclothing.com/index.php/dresses.html It's a sleeveless dress with an over-dress that buttons at the shoulders to covert to a shawl. And a very flattering cut.
Austin, TX USA 04/07/2012
zip locks FREEZER bags best
It's worth the tiny extra weight to always use freezer zip lock bags for packing. Their extra strength means safety and reusability, even in the cosmetic kit. Also, use a brand name one, the cheaper ones can disappoint. A fairly large one is also nice for dirty clothes!
Schenectady, NY USA 04/06/2012
Daypacks not always necessary during the day
Sometimes I think people go overboard on the daypack thing, thinking they must carry a daypack with them wherever they go during the day, even when they're just walking around the city they have a hotel room in. Carrying a daypack around in a town or a city marks you as a tourist and makes you a target for thieves. Ask yourself if you would carry a daypack with you when out and about in your hometown on a Saturday. If not, then you don't need one while exploring a city you have a hotel room in. Daypacks are handy, however, if you are headed out all day into the surrounding countryside or another town for the day.
I also find daypacks handy on small overnight to few days jaunts away from a city you will be returning to where you can store your luggage. In fact, I managed well one time living out of a 12"X15"X5" daypack for 5 days in Greece. In addition to the slacks, shirt, undershirt, boxers, socks, shoes I was wearing, the bag contained a longsleeve and shortsleeve shirt, shorts that could double as bathing suit, undershirt, boxers, socks, cap, synthetic travel towel, silk dreamsack, guidebook pages, book, camera, and basic toiletries. That was some liberating travel.
Houston, TX USA 04/02/2012
Packing Light and Smart
In 2007 we purchased from eBags two of their Weekender eTech Convertible backpacks with lifetime warranties for an upcoming 6-week trip to Europe. We love these bags: They are large enough for relatively light packing for 6 weeks, yet small enough to fit in the overhead bins on the plane. We also use eBags' packing cubes. For a six-week trip through Europe, I packed: 1 rainshell, 1 lightweight fleece jacket, 1 pair waterproof walking shoes, 1 pair walking sandals, 2 tshirts (modal/cotton blend), 2 short sleeve and 2 long sleeve (with tabs) UPF 50 shirts, one sleeveless shirt, swimsuit, 1 casual skirt or skort, 1 pant with roll-up legs that converts to capris, 1 pant with zip-off legs that convert to shorts, 1 pair capris, 4 pairs of socks, 5 undies and 5 lightweight bras, two lightweight nighties, and 2 scarves (one pashmina and one gauze). We did laundry every 7 to 10 days, and I always had an appropriate outfit for every occasion and weather condition. For my day bag, I use either the Rick Steves' Veloce bag, or the Travelon Large Anti-theft Tour Bag, both of which can be carried as a shoulder/cross-body bag or as a backpack.
Surrey, BC Canada 03/15/2012
I suggest getting your guidebooks COMB-BOUND at Kinko's/FedExpOffice. You can remove the pages you want to take with you, but replace them when you get home--leaving the book intact. About $5 each. Also suggest Rick sell his books this way.
San Jose, Calif USA 03/10/2012
Parachute Blanket and CoolMax Blanket
I purchased a "parachute blanket" recently from Travelsmith. It rolls up into its own nylon bag (which remains attached to the blanket) and has four corner pockets which hold sand and/or any type of thing to weight the corners. This was one of the most useful items I have ever traveled with in 30+ years. Both my husband and I have a CoolMax blanket that we also have used for travel for many years now and both these items are invaluable. Both these items can be used for multiple things such as beaches, picnics, warm blanket, covering up in a sunny area, pillow when rolled up, etc. Just wanted to pass my two cents along in this regard.
Scotte Vest: I have purchased 3 items and they work fine to reduce the amount of stuff in your carryon luggage. Easily fit a camera, iPhone, IPad ( inside pocket) documents ahd a whole lot of other things. I even put a Cannon Camcorder in one of the pockets. Love the convertible where sleeves come off.
Branford, CT USA 03/06/2012
This is not a bag
I read an article today about carry-on luggage; somewhere in there they made mention of a coat by Scottevest that doubles as a carry-on bag. 33 concealed pockets, and you can fit an iPad, water bottle, all your documents, toiletries, and a couple of shirts, basically everything you need. I imagine you'd look quite shifty wearing that on the street though! [I'm posting this out of sheer amusement; am nowhere near the USA and had never heard of the company before]
Please be aware that Lufthansa and Allitalia airlines have severe carry-on bag dimensions, basically equal to an oversize briefcase: 21.6" x 13.7" x 9.8" on Alitalia, 21.6" x 15.7" x 7.8" on Luft. Goodbye, carry-on travel.
Estes Park, CO USA 02/28/2012
Goodbye, Carry-on travel
"Goodbye, carry-on travel."
No! Goodbye overpacking. The regulation size is over 2600 cu in. I've pared my "stuff" down to 1400 cu in. Add 100 cu in for the bag, and I still meet the limits with ease.
What I find is more difficult is the weight limit, 17.6#. But by choosing a light weight non-wheeled bag and consciously eliminating unnecessary, weighty things, I meet that limit with pounds to spare.
Littleton, CO USA 02/28/2012
Ok...here's my 2 cents worth...for most trips of at least 10 days for summer travel...I take 3 skirts, 6 tops, 3 dresses, 2 belts, 2 scarves, 1 PJ set, 2 shoes...one sandal, one closed toes...5 undies and 3 bras. The skirts and the dresses are made of that wonderful stretch fabric that packs in almost no space at all. I call them rubber clothes. I take 6 tops because I sweat a lot and hate to wash clothes while traveling. My smallest toiletrie bag that hangs up in the bathroom, my Ipad and charger...filled with books, etc...and that's it...carry on is the best way to go!!
Florid USA 02/26/2012
Scrubba wash bag
I just ordered a Scrubba bag, after having read the previous post. The inventor, Ash Newland, emailed me and said he would send me a prototype, as they are still awaiting enough orders to start mass production. I must say, it looks like a wonderful product for those of us who refuse to send clothing out through the hotel, or to sit in a laundromat for hours.
VA USA 02/02/2012
Reducing clothes when traveling
Last year traveling in Europe I met a guy who invented the Scrubba wash bag. Its essentially a lightweight waterproof bag with a flexible washboard inside. I just saw a video of it in use and thought I would share it here (http://youtu.be/H7lLzVltvmc). I reckon it could easily cut down on the amount of clothes you need to pack and get around having to pay for laundry which I found to be very expensive even in hostels in Europe.
Sydney, NSW Australia 01/30/2012
If you want to pack light, start with the luggage. My wife and I traveled through France for 15 days during the summer. We each brought one carry-on size bag. Don't pack at the last minute, plan ahead. If you pack clothes that coordinate, and are made of light weight, fast drying material, you will be amazed at the amount of clothes you can pack. I packed 5 days worth of clothes and had to hand wash each outfit twice. You may have to wash a few items here and there, but it beats carying around multiple bags through streets, airports and rail stations. Just about every B&B we stayed at had a hot towel bar, it works great for drying clothes fast.
The Woodlands, TX USA 01/16/2012
I don't like the bulk and weight of a regular handbag, so I sew Velcro strips on the openings of the Eco-bags meant for groceries. The bags weigh next to nothing, hold up to 40 pounds, are colorful, and don't look like a purse to potential thieves. Just stick your arm through the handle holes and grab the bag when you are in a crowd. For shopping, keep a second bag rolled up inside this bag.
Burlington, NC USA 01/14/2012
I wear one pair of black Mary-Jane style Merrell shoes all week long. Since I don't like to wear socks, I take 2-3 extra pair of insoles and change those like socks! Super comfortable, really. I also "modified" a lightweight jacket for travel. It's a black car-length with a belt, so dressy enough for Paris, but no "safe" pockets. I sewed a velcro pocket inside for my valuables, tacked the belt down in the back so it wouldn't get lost, and even strategically sewed a button on the shoulder to hook my purse over. Obviously, I still have to hold it but you would be surprised how much it helps not to have to hitch my shoulder all day to hold my bag. When I need cash, it's easy enough to reach inside the velcro pocket. In the spring, it never got too hot to wear, even inside! We take lots of photos so I bought scarves to wear and for souvenirs. They helped to give me variety. I'm taking the same plan to Seattle soon too!
Indianapolis, Indian USA 01/08/2012
Free Cubes & Wrinkle Free
I save all zippered, durable plastic packaging that bed linens & drapes are sold in. They're clear, it's easy to see which items are in which cubes, and they're free. If I know that certain outfit pieces will get paired with others, those get zipped up together. No need to disturb the rest of the suitcase digging for one item. If you carefully roll the clothes and put them into the ones that 'just fit', they won't come out wrinkled.
One more tip. You've seen the travel spray bottles of Downy Wrinkle Free to release wrinkles in your unpacked clothes? You can make the same formula by diluting fabric softener - about 6 parts water to one part softener. Put it in a small spray bottle, and you'll be wrinkle free. Be sure right after you've sprayed your shirt or dress to run your hand down the front & back to help release any stubborn wrinkles.
Austin, TX USA 01/06/2012
A wonderful website I've discovered:
It sells a variety of carry-on friendly goodies that aren't available in stores.
Nashville, TN USA 01/05/2012
Tricks for packing light
Many of the earlier posts have had some great tips: bring 2 or 3 pairs of travel underwear and socks that you can wash out. This is a great alternative to throwing things away, especially if you travel a lot (and most of these items can be used for everyday wear too). For men, Ex Officio and Magellans make good underwear, and I've found that most women's underwear is normally pretty thin and fast drying. My favorite socks are the Tilley travel socks, which are very light weight and dry overnight. They are a little expensive, but they are guaranteed for 3 years, and I love them for everyday wear. Previous suggestions of bringing soap leaves, using shampoo for washing clothing, or bringing a small amount of Camp Suds or other travel wash in a small container, also work well. The advantage of bringing these items is that your luggage is lighter and more compact from the very beginning of your trip.
MT USA 01/04/2012