Friday, April 8, 2016

How to Pack Light, Travel Better, Take Less, Enjoy More

 Stop thinking, 'Look how much stuff I can cram into this thing!

In March of 2015, before leaving for England, I followed the Rick Steves packing guidelines and fit everything into the standard 21x14x9 carry-on.  For some odd reason, I stuffed as much as I could get into that thing before leaving home, simply because I could! Result? I got so sick of dragging that carry on around the airport, down cobblestone streets, through train stations...that I decided NEVER AGAIN.

You can almost see my bag in there!
There is no allowing for an extra, like a purse, either.
You get ONE carry-on, unless you want to pay extra.

But, in March of this year, when I made airline reservations on Spirit Airlines (MSP-DFW) because the tickets were so much cheaper, I did it knowing that space would be limited and that I refused to check a bag. (I hate wasting time standing in line). Spirit only allows a small school-type backpack. We have two of those, and we were determined to make this work. You can see in the photo above that my bag fit easily into the 'included' part of the test box.

So here's what I wore on the plane (because you're dying to know):

Blue jeans, t-shirt, unmentionables, Dansko shoes (slip on and off easily and always look nice), and a black kinda dressy coat.

This is everything that went into my bag.

Here's my packing list for 8 days:

1 pr. black dress slacks and dressy top (for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, as our daughter informed us that they had tickets for us! That's also why I wore the nice black dress/rain type coat)
1 pr. black denim jeans
4 shirts (and I notice that most of them are prints, making me a liar for what I told you in the Hodgepodge a couple weeks ago! I guess the prints were bought most recently. I hadn't realized that I've been moving over to prints!) You'll also notice that everything goes with blue or black.

(Important: When you're taking very few items especially, everything needs to go with everything else.)

pretty knit socks to wear as slippers (provided by Nancy at TiredTeacher blog!!) Thank you again, Nancy. I love them.
4 pr. black socks

Did I mention the unmentionables?
black rain hat (crushable)
flat iron (no hairdryer because my daughter has one)
camera (It does fit, it's just that I was holding it to take the photo) Actually, at the last minute, I didn't take my bigger camera, but used the camera on my phone for this trip. Other places, I might actually take my camera or get a smaller, good camera to use - or a better phone.
tiny flashlight
money/cards case
phone charger
extra camera battery
extra SD card
camera battery charger
cosmetic case with all the little odds and ends, including vitamins
quart ziploc bag with any liquid things, such as wee shampoo, toothpaste, soap

Total weight of backpack, loaded? 11.5 pounds.

I did decide to do a small load of laundry once while at our daughter's. For traveling abroad, I'd stay at a B&B or hotel, make sure they had a hairdryer, and I'd buy laundry detergent once there and wash out the unmentionables in the sink. I've done that a number of times. Most places don't notice and don't care. The places that do care probably charge more money than we want to pay anyway.  :-)
What's important to me re. accommodations is: CLEAN, SAFE, CHEAP, LOCATION

Spirit Airlines plane and UFOs at MSP

Waiting - comfy blue jeans.
Did I tell you the cane is part of our vaudeville act?

We plan to pack this way the next time we travel abroad also, if there is a next time.  I know, it seems a little crazy, but it's so much nicer not to be waiting in lines or hauling huge suitcases here and there. From what I understand, even if we get desperate, they actually do sell clothes and laundry detergent in other countries. Wouldn't it be fun to come home with a shirt made in China  Italy? or somewhere else?

And we'll be traveling lighter and cheaper than Rick Steves you-know-who. We always do. Just sayin.'

 This was just before he tickled my knee, hard! and I slugged him.
(In a totally non-abusive, loving sort of warning way) 
You'll be glad to know I did something about that hair!

We might have to renew our passport photos before next time.
Doesn't he look like he's up to something?
Some things never change.


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Pack light. You won't ever wish you'd had more to haul around!



MadSnapper said...

i love that passport pic.. so glad you included it.. this is very smart packing and is an excellent idea..

Lowcarb team member said...

Oh what a simply lovely post with some great ideas and tips ...
I just love the picture of the two of you too.

Enjoy your Friday

All the best Jan

Sandi said...

Great ideas!

I went on a four month trip to Europe with some friends after college and as the weather changed we donated clothes. Returning home I had very few. It was light and a relief. Some...a lot...of stuff got thrown away too. I mean, why bring an old tshirt home and who wants it anyway? And you can mail souvenirs, if you're fancy. :)

Dicky Bird said...

Thanks for the tips. I learned the hard way about lugging around my bag in Peru. I'm going to Ireland/Scotland in October - I will use your tips. Thanks.

eileeninmd said...

Good morning, your two are so cute! Great tips for packing light. I think it is awful they charge you to check a bag anyway. We usually fly Southwest and they do not have any extra charges. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

Arlene G said...

A good tutorial Judy! And I love your passport is nice to see what my silver fox friends looked like before they went gray and gorgeous! No plans to travel on a plane any time soon but the next time I do, I just might pull this up and look at it!!

Julie's Lifestyle said...

Hello Judy, I love this post about how to pack lightly. I'm getting better at it due to the hubs who travels a lot! Your tips were great. You two look so cute and happy together! Wishing you more happy travels.
Have a wonderful day and weekend.

Linda Kay said...

Good advice, Judy. We traveled for four weeks in Europe, and we had only so much room in a rental car, so we had to pack light. We can live with less clothes!

Angela said...

Aww, I *love* that current photo of you and Dad!! And your old passport pics, too, of course. :)

Anonymous said...

You are so cute!! Wow, I'm really impressed with how you traveled. It is true that life would be easier, especially abroad, with a a backpack instead of a suitcase. I saw a quote on a blogn(Mersad) this week about travel “When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.” – Susan Heller
Have a great weekend.

Susie said...

Judy, You and your sweetie are so cute. I love your picture. I learned to take less. I always say if I go to Paris..I am taking an empty suitcase and buying my clothes there. LOL. Hope your trip is safe and lots of fun. Blessings, xoxo, Susie

Tired Teacher said...

Out of habit, I tend to pack more than I need. Thanks for the tips.

A Bit of the Blarney said...

What a delightful post. A handsome couple I must say! Have a grand weekend!

Karen said...

I hardly ever travel these days, but I will pass this along to my son and daughter! Great advice.

Amy at love made my home said...

I wish I could be a no checked baggage kind of person, but that just isn't me! I need space to bring stuff back! Last year we got new suitcases that were about a quarter of the weight of our old ones and gosh though, did that ever make a difference! xx

L. D. said...

You certainly have that down to a science. Sizes change so much in the airline rules I know I will have to get the newest and latest regulations to know what to do.

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Judy, I love this post! Your advice is great. The more we travel, the less we pack! We always wash a few things on extended vacations. When we were in England we washed clothes at the laundry facilities available at the place we stayed. I love the photo of you and your cutie husband. xo ♥

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

Oh boy, don't know if I could do this Judy. The list sounded like ample clothes and I know to make sure everything was mix and match. It would be nice to avoid the lines and wait for luggage where mine always seems last to appear.
Passport photos always make us look suspect when you're not allowed to smile. ;-)

21 Wits said...

Wow, now that was some incredible information for packing! He does look like he's up to something, but all good! Your oldie photos are great!

Tanya said...

Great information on packing! I generally travel with a few pairs of jeans, several tops (usually black or dark colors) and colored scarves for wintertime to change up the look. I used the Rick Steves "backpack suitcase" many years ago when I went to the UK for three weeks. I went by myself and traveled via trains and hostels. It was a great size and easy to carry as a backpack!

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. We have not travelled in years but my niece, nephew and brother travel often and I'll be sure to share this info with them. I hope your weekend goes well. Loved seeing the passport photos.

Lorrie said...

I travel with a carryon size all the time - even for three weeks to Europe. It makes going on the metro and changing planes so much easier.
Great tips!

carrie@northwoods scrapbook said...

Great tips Judy!! I'm so impressed and don't know if I could ever get all of my things packed that tiny! But smart smart smart Lady. ;) Love the pics at the end too! Ha! Have a great weekend. xoxo

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I read this like I was going to be tested at the end. I think this is the only way to go! And I would do this on a trip aboard, for sure. Love the photos of the two of you. Still cute and happy! Hugs!

Rose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rose said...

My goodness, I think you both could have been movie remind me of someone, but not sure who.

As for dressing...I don't like to wear solids because they show spills, etc more than a print would. So it isn't that I don't like them...I am just not safe with them.

Gayle said...

Loved this post. I get a little wiser with each trip; realizing we need less. I see a two carry-on experience in our future.

shortybear said...

such helpful information.

Lynne said...

Great post!
I am much better at packing in 2016 than I was in 2006 . . .
I did leave behind the kitchen sink then but I had everything else!
My overload point is usually with shoes . . .
Need to work on that one!
Loved your passport pics and the "knee tickle" one too!

podso said...

I have to come back and absorb this better but some great ideas. I know it can be done as we toured Europe for three weeks with two kids and just 2 backpacks and a large purse. I hate to pack now and fret about it ahead of time. I'll keep your list!
Great pics of you two--you have not changed all that much (except hair color). :-)

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I love Rick Steves. I just can't pack light and I admire that you can do that! Give me an overnight trip and I could probably use a tiny bag. Great advice here. I will save this for future reference.

Roses, Lace and Brocante said...

You've got it sorted Judy!
I can't drag. Heavy case any longer - especially the tube stations - Metro in Paris the worst - all those stairs!
A great list and photo which I'll save and print off for future reference.
Gorgeous photo of you two - what a team!

living from glory to glory said...

Oh my this was really funny. And yes I guess I never thought about the fact you could buy what extra you might need while traveling daa. Loved the photos of you both. Have a great trip everyday. Life is an adventure.
Hugs, Roxy

Suzan said...

You are soooo correct Judy!!
We're in California right now and packed as light as possible for 6 days.
Heading home tomorrow, with slightly more than we came with -- have to have gifts for the grandkids!!!
I'm like you -- take two black pants and 4 different tops that all go with black -- plus several scarves that change the look and dress it up!!
Happy Trails and God Speed!

Carla from The River said...

Hi Judy,
I was waiting for this post. Thank you ... great tips.

Anonymous said...

Good job at packing small and making it work. Enjoyed your pictures. Do we get to see the new hair?

Terri D said...

I enjoyed this post! We took WAY too much with us to Italy, but fortunately our tour included baggage handling. Now, I only get on a plane when it is absolutely necessary - and it hasn't been for quite a few years now.


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