What's your best advice for packing light? I'm going to be traveling for 4-5 months and the longest I've ever been away is 3 weeks! We'll be traveling through Europe with a jaunt or two to Morocoo Nov-Mar/April.
Posted on Jul 29, 2011
Take things that are easy to launder and only half of what you think you need. Not being by burdened by too much of your stuff will make it easier to dress local. Europe has everything you need if you have regrets later about some article. I went to China for 10 days with the equivalent of a big diaper bag. I pile everything flat, then fold it once and vapor-pack.
Posted Jul 30, 2011Add a comment
In a few of the places you are visiting - long skirt (not see thru) and long sleeved modest, light blouse, caftan style. Bring a cotton scarf to match both garments and a cool belt with gladiators and you are ready to tour conservative sites/cities/countries. Also, I bring a lot of black and white with two or three prints or brights to dress them up. I also bring all my older underwear and wear and throw as I go. Same with socks. Same with shoes if I have an old pair that feels good but looks terrible. Then you have room to bring home interesting things from abroad! I always buy ladies undergarments in Germany. And Josef Seibel shoes. Oh! Little facial towelettes in their own one use envelopes for a cool down while I am out and about. Also prevents skin from getting truly haggard. When I discard used clothing I do it in Europe where they have donation boxes and recyclables. Then it isn't someone else's problem, it might be someone's solution. Of course if you have enough money for light woolens like the REI variety, that might not make sense to you. Man! That stuff is sweet but expensive.
Posted Jul 30, 2011Add a comment
Yay for the rolling. One item that I have absolutely loved in terms of being able to launder frequently and anywhere (hotel rooms, campgrounds, etc.) is a particular type of clothesline. (I've even dried clothes inside my rental car.) There are several brands, I'm sure. The one I got (ordered on Amazon) was Rick Steves brand. But there may be cheaper options. At any rate, it's a rubber, braided line with velcro strips at the ends. All you need is to find two things that you can wrap the velcro around. You push a piece of the clothing into the braid and it holds it fast and tight like a clothespin. For me, I have an easier time packing few clothes when I know how easy it is to wash and dry them.
Posted Aug 01, 2011Add a comment
I too have the Rick Steves clothesline. It is the best I've found because the velcro wraparound on either end makes it possible to hang almost anywhere. Also, the Rick Steves quick dry towel is well worth the investment. The towel is great and I have gotten a ton of use out of the mesh bag that it comes in.
Posted on Jan 23, 2013
A wise person once said take half of what you need in clothes and twice as much money! Keep to a color scheme that works together and use scarves to add color. I use a combination makeup removal and moisturizer sheet (Sephora is one) for night and a basic moisturizer and SFP for day. I also take stuff like underwear like in the previous post that I'm willing to throw out. Finally, I roll everything (you can find tutorials all over the internet) and usually travel for two weeks abroad with only a carry on. Have a great trip!
Posted Jul 31, 2011Add a comment
Good answer Sally, rolling up your clothes (vs. folding them) is a must!
Posted on Aug 01, 2011
The pricetag is high, but I swear by wool shirts from Icebreaker in any weather. They hang nicely, are lightweight, layer perfectly and can look very smart if you pair them with a skirt and scarf. They are available in really light weights that are great for summer, something about which I was skeptical until I tried it out on a long hike in SoCal in high summer. It was fantastic. Big bonus: the wool is odor resistant, so you don't smell funky for a long while. The long sleeve versions will be especially helpful in keeping the sun off your arms and being more modestly dressed in conservative areas.
I know some people advocate traveling with lots of disposables, but I think that generates more waste more rapidly than it would otherwise be generated. It makes junking things somewhere else someone else's problem, and the convenience of use-and-leave isn't that worth it to me. That said, if it is truly time to retire something en route, I will do it, but I will not organize my trips on that principal.
Posted Aug 01, 2011Add a comment
Embarrassed to see that I wrote "principal" instead of "principle".
Posted on Jul 12, 2012
First, make a list of the things you use every day that you can't live without and must have (prescriptions, etc). I always pack three times before I leave on a trip longer than a few days. I'll pick out everything I think I'd like to take with me and put it in my suitcase. Yes, it's always three times larger than what my suitcase can hold. Then I come back a day or two later and take out half of the pile. Put it all back in the bag. Walk away. Come back a day or two later and repeat the process. You'll soon find you have so many different outfits if you keep your color scheme basic (think Garanimals if you're old enough to remember those). Try to keep your shoes at a minimum, they take up so much room. Sure, you won't necessarily be the fashion plate you can be at home, but you'll get lots of wear out of the few clothes you take. Also, you can think about taking clothes you're considering giving away and leave them along your way. You can also shop markets and second-hand clothing stores along your route. Don't obsess on socks, you can buy them cheaply just about anywhere!
The longest I've gone in a 22" rolling bag and a backpack is about 6 weeks. Sure, I was pretty sick of the clothes I'd been wearing for that long, but you can always accessorize with scarves bought in foreign countries and earrings when paired with a black or white t-shirt or blouse. Use your imagination.
Posted Aug 02, 2011Add a comment
Rolling your clothes works great...but my other trick is to bring mostly clothes that I can toss or donate along the way...So bring clothes that you don't really care about and leave them in the hotels. That way you make room for souvenirs and if you wanted to buy a local tshirt or whatever.
Of course take all of those little travel size hygiene products as well and shoes that will work for walking around and/or going out.
Good luck and happy trails!
Posted Aug 04, 2011Add a comment
Have clothes do double duty. Take something for sleeping that is good for warmer nights and, if it is cold in the room, sleep in a sweater as well. Don't take slippers. If the floor is uncarpeted and cold, put on a pair of flats while in the room. Less is more. You'll be so glad you packed light.
Posted Aug 04, 2011Add a comment
The one piece of advice I can offer from my own experience is to consider this:
While you are traveling for 4-5 months you will probably find clothes and other things you would like to buy and bring home. Keep in mind that you might end up very disappointed if you couldn't bring something you love back with you because there is no room. Using this idea I have traveled for weeks with only a bookbag but with the freedom to buy things I like when I see them. Which for me - since I love flea markets - is part of the fun of traveling.
Hope you have a great trip!
Posted Aug 05, 2011Add a comment
I lay out outfits for each day making sure i bring as many things as i can that i can wear over and over. on a 10 day trip 2 pair of jeans and 2 pair of shorts will be all you really need. I also like putting them in plastic bags as it will make it easier to fit in small luggage. Also as far as toiletries dont bring anything you can scoop for a few bucks local. wear your nice shoes back your flops and save much more room!
Posted Aug 17, 2011Add a comment
Compartmentalize!! If you will be moving around a lot, make sure your backpack or suitcase is organized in a way that will allow you to find things quickly without having to take all of your belongings out. I just bought one of the Eagle Creek Pack-It Folders, and it seems like it does the job really well, though I was skeptical at first. At a minimum, you can get mesh zipper bags or even ziploc bags cheaply (I got mine at a 99 cent store!), and they will be a godsend when you have to access something on the move. I also try to leave enough room in my backpack to throw my purse in there when I am walking around so that I don't have to deal with wrangling multiple bags. My backpack is super, super light and has really good back support, and that has been priceless on longer journeys: http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/web/exos_series
My favorite packing-light item has to be a quick-drying microfiber towel, like this one: http://www.rei.com/product/783080/rei-multitowel-lite-x-large-towel-49-x-295. It dries fast, dries your hair fast, and can be used to squeeze excess water out of clothes you've washed or as a easy to clean beach blanket. I got mine in a size that's big enough to wrap around me if I need to cover up in a hostel-bathroom situation, and I absolutely couldn't imagine traveling without it.
Packing a travel bottle full of detergent is another must for me so that it's easy to clean your clothes on the road. I thought that I could buy mini bottles or packets in Europe, but in all my travels I've never seen them over there, so now I always fill a medium GoToob with Tide and it will usually last me far longer than I need. The GoToob makes a good dispenser since it's leak-proof and squeezable, though a little pricey for a travel bottle (still highly recommended!): http://humangear.com/GoToob.html This would go well with the already mentioned laundry line (I usually bring a little string or thin rope but the elastic one sounds awesome!).
My big rule for packing light, though, is to only pack things that I actually wear and am comfortable in in my everyday life, not things that I think I would like to wear in Europe. I pack the clothes that I wear the most at home, since I know that those work well for me, and I try to avoid buying anything new for a trip before I leave or packing things that have been sitting in my closet just because I think they'd be great for a trip (you may find out that those new shoes give you blisters or the fabric of a new shirt wrinkles too much or is uncomfortable, etc). If I follow that rule but have still underpacked, then I can pick up whatever I need over in Euope. Even in places with a less favorable exchange rate, it's pretty easy to get clothes for great prices in most countries, and then you have a practical souvenir! Layering is always good, and an easy to wash, sleeveless black dress made out of something that doesn't show too many wrinkles can be used in so many different situations that I always try to have one with me. A Pashmina is also crucial as a scarf, a cover-up in more conservative places when you're sleeveless, and as a blanket on chilly trains/planes/buses.
Technology-wise, if you have an ipod touch, it is SUCH a great travel tool and so so small! I never had to worry about accidentally getting charged for data since it's not a phone, but I found it really easy to find wifi in most big cities and could make skype calls, check and send email, read books, play games, access online maps that I had downloaded before my trip, as well as view notes/travel guides that I had created for myself, not to mention listening to music and even watching the occasional video.
Good luck with your packing and have a great trip!
Posted Aug 19, 2011Add a comment
Instead of bringing liquid soaps and various body products I bring a bar of soap in a plastic bag. Doesn't take up any of the precious liquid allowance, and you can use it for months before it's gone.
You can get a nice soap or a biodegradable one, any kind you like really
Posted Aug 22, 2011Add a comment
Ex Officio's give-n-go underwear is pricey, but amazing:
They are super comfortable. You can just bring two or three pairs and rinse them out each night. They'll be clean and dry in the morning.
Posted Sep 08, 2011Add a comment
Everyone has had great advice so far. I am taking a break after traveling for 11 months and my best purchases came from REI a few days before I left. For starters, I used 3 Ebags packing cubes...small for first aid, medium for underwear, swimsuits, a sarong (you can rely on this for almost anything), and the large for clothes. But the best purchase was 2 medium sized pack-it compression sacs by Eagle Creek. I don't know how I would have done it without them. I put my packing cubes inside them and rolled out all the air, making my load 1/2 the size. I took one long spaghetti strap knit dress that doubled as a night gown and I would throw a shirt over it in the day if I needed to wear something long enough to cover my legs. A light weight but good sized scarf will be good to cover your shoulders. You might also want to buy lots of neat things along the way, so just take essentials. Safe travels and enjoy every minute!
Posted Jul 11, 2012Add a comment
I highly recommend the Rick Steves book titled Europe Through the Back Door for all kinds of great travel advice with details including packing lists. I have been on multiple, multi-week trips in Europe including ones where I have brought my kids and we each only had one small rolling bag and one small backpack. My very first trip (25 years ago!) was with a friend right after college and we only had one carry on each for a 3 weeks trip. We did check luggage on the way home as we had brought some collapsible, very light weight bags that we used to carry on our precious souviners and we checked the stuff we had brought from home. One of the recommendations from the Rick Steves book was to have someone else go through the items you planned to bring and find a few to remove. It really worked. Also, as at least one of the other travellers answered, it really is easy to get laundry done while you are one the road. If you plan it right you can drop stuff off at a wash and fold in the morning and pick up in the evening or the next day so you don't lose time doing laudry. (Although Rick Steves says it can be great fun meeting people while doing laundry.)
Posted Jan 23, 2013Add a comment