In my travel experiences, I have come a long way in terms of packing for a vacation. My first 10- day trip to Europe consisted
of a giant wheeled suitcase with everything but the kitchen sink! This irritated many strangers as they had to help me hoist it onto trains, buses, and boats!
Since then, with luggage fees and a lost suitcase, I have
learned how to whittle everything down to one carry-on. Now these have been for no more than a 4-day weekend, but I am
challenging myself this fall when we take a 10-day trip to Italy with only a carry-on. My husband and I will have the smaller
wheeled suitcases they allow on board, along with a small backpack for me, and our camera equipment backpack for him.
I think the key is renting places with washing machines! But here are some of my tips:
1. Travel in warm weather, you wear less, so you pack less.
2. As stated above, rent apartments with washing machines. If that is not possible, your clothes can be hand-washed in the bathroom sink.
We have done this, and bought a clothes line with a sink stopper from Magellan’s to hang our wet clothes on besides chairs or whatever.
You can also get soap sheets, or pack some dry detergent with you.
3. If you do choose to wash your clothes in the room and you don’t have access to or want to pay to dry your clothes at a laundry mat with
a dryer, you will need wrinkle-free, quick dry clothes. Buy socks that are not 100% cotton, not only do they dry overnight, they keep
you from getting blisters if you walk a lot since they don’t get moist and rub against your feet. Some places to get some nice travel clothes
anytime! Now these are not cheap. I have had to save money for a couple months to get clothes, which is fine, if you know far in advance
where you are going.
4. Some awesome packing aids are packing cubes, which really help condense things like underwear, or those air compression bags you squeeze the
air out of (without a vacuum). I have seen these at Target and The Container Store. I love these! You can really compress your
clothes down, and have room for new stuff when you go shopping!
5. If I know I am only going to hand-wash items, I really don’t want to wash my underwear because I feel like that is not clean enough.
I have bought cheap packages of underwear, rolled them up tight into a zip-loc bag, and then thrown away a pair every day so
I am not carrying around dirty underwear. That’s just my preference, I am sure most people wouldn’t care 🙂
6. For the few outfits you will bring, make sure all the colors match, so you can wear any top and bottom together. Or just wear dresses.
7. If you don’t want to bring socks and tennis shoes, or sneakers, get some good walking sandals and wear those the whole
time. A good walking sandal that I found is Merrell brand. I know REI sells these as well as individual stores, and online.
I have some that I have walked several miles around Chicago for 3 days straight, and they never bothered me.
8. Now how about those pesky airline restrictions on liquids in your carry-on?
*Instead of bringing a travel bottle of your facial cleanser, I use those Dove facial cloths that activate when you wet them.
They free up space in my quart bag, and exfoliate everyday that I use them.
*Some things you only use a tiny bit of, like eye cream. Even that small jar is too big to take with you. Go to a
cosmetic counter like Bare Minerals, and ask for a sample of something. Those tiny plastic containers they give
you are perfect for eye cream or some makeup you will use a little of.
*If you are traveling with someone who does not need all the space in their little quart bag, put some of your
stuff in their bag!
9. Do you really need your hairdryer? Most places provide one, but if not, wash you hair at night and let it air-dry
and just wear it in a pony tail or braids while on vacation. If you do it this way, you may be able to cut down on
your liquid items as you may not need to pack hairspray, leave-in conditioner, or styling gel.
10. I know there are tons of tips I don’t know about. What are yours?