For most trips, a carry-on roller bag and day backpack meet my needs, even for multiple week vacations. Can you do it? My favorite wife, Margaret, can for a beach vacation, even if sometimes under protest. Why do it? Lost luggage. Not my favorite. Also, it is really cool when you travel out of the country to go through passport control and walk right past the luggage carousel and all your previous fellow passengers who are waiting and wondering if their luggage will indeed show up.
I pack enough clothes for a week or so. On longer trips, I find a laundry, formal or informal. If you are staying at a hotel or on a cruise, laundry service for a fee should be one of the amenities. If you are traveling less formally, getting laundry done is probably even easier. At a B&B in Wilderness, (no kidding) South Africa, I asked the housekeeper cleaning our room if there was a laundry in town. She took my clothes, cleaned them and had them folded on my bed that afternoon. She charged me an amount that embarrassed her because it was so much and embarrassed me because it was too little. Make sure you confirm when your laundry will be done. Clean clothes in Rome don’t help if you are in Florence.
If you do check luggage, remember to ask yourself what you really need for the first couple of days or so and put them in your carry-on.
At the Athens Olympics, one of my travel buddies, Nick Ball, had been tasked by his family to bring so many international flags home that he was going to have no room in his luggage for his clothes on the way back to Indy. His solution was to take all clothes that he did not need to bring home; he wore them on the trip and then gave them to charity in Greece. Maybe a little extreme. I like to take some favorite travel clothes. I have taken old running shoes or tennis shoes to jettison and replace with souvenirs.
To roll or not to roll (clothes), that is the question. Rolling clothes is supposed to reduce wrinkles and save space. I don’t think it does either and it takes extra time packing and unpacking. One friend I went to the Sydney Olympics with and who shall remain nameless, Bruce Glor, heard that putting shirts in individual plastic bags like you get from the laundry would reduce wrinkles. After packing and unpacking his shirts at a couple of different locations, he was tired. I take clothes that would normally be in a drawer at home: t-shirts, shorts, underclothes etc. and stack them in the roller bag (just like they were in a drawer). For hanging clothes, shirts, trousers and, god forbid, a sport coat, I leave them on hangers. I put two or three items on a single skinny wire hanger. I then accordion fold them, like you would a map, into the the bag, including the hanger. When I get to my destination, I pull the hanging items out by the hangers and put them in the closet. I take the rest of the items out and put them in a drawer. Unpacking done.
Microfiber shirts and pants take up about half the space of traditional fabrics like cotton and wool. They wrinkle less too. If you are having trouble finding low care/ low wrinkle clothes, take a look online at TravelSmith or Magellan. You might also look for shirts or trousers with security pockets. I like to wear a shirt with a security pocket to carry my passport. I moved to this strategy after almost losing my passport in a taxi after having carried it for years in a really cool leather wallet that was too big to put in a pocket.
A pesky problem. Going hiking? Reconcile yourself to wearing your hiking boots on the plane. I know you will need to take them off at security. It takes a minute. I tried attaching them to the outside of my backpack one time. In addition to me not looking cool at all, the boots had a bothersome tendency to whack me in the head and other body parts when I was stowing and unstowing the backpack. Running and other athletic shoes can be effectively squished or filled with socks etc. Men – Dress shoes. Really? One pair max. Women – Although some of my friends think I have too much experience with women’s shoes, its not true. So my best advice for the ladies, try for multi-functional. They do sell shoes abroad.
The most likely reason for me to check a bag is that it is full of wine from the country I visited. Not the liquids you were thinking about? You probably know that for carry-on you can only fill one quart bag with liquids, aerosols and gels, none of which can be in a container of more than 3.4 (100ml) fluid ounces. If you really, really, really need more than 3.4 ounces of a product, there is no rule that says two or three containers cannot hold the same item. And if you are a guy, you shouldn’t “really, really, really” need any liquid that much. Toothpaste, suntan lotion, bug spray and etc. can be purchased at your destination.
The next packing challenge for me, the Sochi Olympics.
This is one of an ongoing series of travel discussions by John Wilson, retired lawyer and trust banker. John was motivated to start this series when he realized that his travel bio was more extensive and interesting than his legal credentials for doing ICLEF talks. He has traveled to forty-five states, over sixty countries and all continents except Antarctica.
If you have travel questions or tips of your own that you would like to suggest please contact the ICLEF travel expert, John Wilson, by Clicking Here.
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