Saturday, February 16, 2008

Packing Light

I have a new approach to packing. Inspired by my friend and traveling companion KC, I purchased a Samsonite Aspire 26 inch Expandable Spinner Upright suitcase for our upcoming two-couple almost-4-week trip to Europe in May. My plan is the Spinner and a small backpack and that’s all.

I always take way more than I need, packing for any eventuality. There have been many times when I didn’t even wear all the clothes I packed. That will not be true this time.

At lunch the other day, we made up a packing list:

1 dress
1 skirt
3 pairs of pants
6-7 tops
1 jacket
3 pairs of shoes
etc. (but not much more)

The last time we traveled together and my husband and I were struggling with our luggage, KC showed up with a 23-inch suitcase and managed just fine with a little help from Woolite.

When I went to Europe after college, I traveled for 6 weeks with a backpack. As KC says, it makes deciding what to wear a lot easier when you have so few choices.

The really good news is we are becoming more or less the same size, so we may be able to share our meager wardrobes on the trip. This would mean that she has to quit losing weight and I need to shed a pound or two.

KC will be our official group spokesperson this time around because she is learning Italian with a vengeance. She has little yellow stickies all over her house to name everything from the table in the entry hall to the days of the week. Rosetta Stone is proving to be a good teacher. This will mean we will be spared the embarrassment of watching our husbands gesture in their attempt to be understood with hand-speak Italian.

I’m starting to get really psyched for our upcoming trip. The real question for me is whether I will take a computer or simply beg time on my husband’s new 3-pound Apple laptop and hope for an Internet connection. A bridge to be crossed sometime before we leave.


Blogger Pauline said...

oh goody, another trip. Can't wait to hear about italian chocolate ;)

Traveling light is always a good idea. When I went to England for 6 weeks in November one year, my hostess suggested I forgo packing my heavy winter coat (and bulky sweaters etc.) and buy used ones there. I could easily return the items to the charity shop before my departure.

5:33 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- Your English friend was so correct. I found a prized sweater for $5 in the flea market on Portobello Road. Only I couldn't part with it upon leaving.

I'm considering taking a month-long break from Blogging on this trip. There will be pictures after the fact though, to be sure! And maybe even some Italian chocolate.

7:55 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

I am planning a 6-7 week trip to Australia and New Zealand in July and August. I am grateful for these packing tips, as I struggle with how little I can get away with taking. Since it will be winter there, albeit not a Midwest US winter, my biggest problem is a jacket. I am searching sales for a convertible jacket that has perhaps zip out sleeves to create a vest and a liner that can be worn or not. The one dress/one skirt idea I had already "confirmed" for myself and since I will be staying with friends most of the time I can wash and dry as I go from city to city. I like your suitcase a lot and will consider purchasing yet another piece of luggage which is more versatile like yours seems to be. Thanks for this post!

9:18 AM  
Blogger Aileen said...

How exciting! Should be a great trip!

I still have not mastered the art of packing light. I usually need an entire suitcase just for shoes! (sneakers, hiking boots, walking shoes, cute shoes in various shades of black or brown, sandals, strappy get the picture!)

10:43 AM  
Blogger Kellyann Brown said...

I think you will find more cyber cafes in Europe than the US. Of course using a MAC is ALWAYS a good idea!

I don't know what I would do if you took at total four week blackout from blogging, I barely made it through my brother's week and a half of silence!

Consider using your camera phone as a backup camera, I know using mine has helped me lighten up!

Some of my best conversations on the road have been in laundromats. With nothing to do, there is always time for conversation, even with a stranger! Plus, time to write those postcards!

11:42 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kate -- I'll let you know if I actually missed anything I couldn't fit in!

Aileen -- Your approach has always been mine in the past. It's only when I remember how hard it was to lift those heavy suitcases onto and off of trains and buses that I am happy not to take it all this time. I also think of the 60 steps up to our rental house on the Amalfi coast and know that light is better.

Kelly -- I'm sure I can't go for 4 weeks without posting anything, but it may be here and there as time and Wi-Fi permit. I have plenty of room on my camera for lots of pictures.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Looks like that will be a perfect fit and hold just enough. You can always ship stuff back!

Wow! You must be so excited! I hope we get The Daily Report as we did last time!!

5:22 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

MOI -- This trip may be different. We will be on a ship for a week and I have absolutely no idea if the Internet will be accessible. I will be keeping a written diary and taking pictures, but it may take a while to post.

10:45 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I'm a big fan of packing light. Even still, I always seem to kick myself for carrying something I could have done without.

8:26 PM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

Definitely ditch the computer. You'll be glad you're not lugging it around. Internet on ships is usually not a problem...just expensive.
Nice to have someone along who can speak Italian. When my husband, kids and I went to Italy we were convinced that while my husband was trying to get unleaded gas he was actually saying "the kazoo is in the well". Fortuntaley, I spoke it well enough to get around easily.
Speaking of post-it notes. I wanted to put one on his forehead that said "stupido Americano" Ha! as if they couldn't already tell.

9:33 AM  
Anonymous Olga F. Richardson said...

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11:43 AM  

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