Updated: November 28, 2015
I preach packing light
After each trip I always seem to find some item, which I thought was necessary, yet I never used. Packing light often causes those who travel with me to struggle with what to pack for their tour. Invariably, they always pack too much and regret it as the tour moves along.
Travel only with carry-on luggage
Limiting your luggage to a small carry-on sized suitcase forces you to pack lighter. Believe me, you will appreciate my advice when you have to carry your bags up several flights of stairs; through subway tunnels, stairs and platforms; and over all the uneven cobbled streets. Many of my hotels are located in the historic city center where a tour bus or smaller vehicle cannot go. There is no option in this case, you will have to drag your suitcase from the vehicle to the hotel. It’s not fun!
Tour alumni, Jim and Roberta, traveled with me in Italy for 16 day with only the luggage you see here. They are my all-time “light packer” champions.
I travel for several months with just one small roller-board suitcase
Regardless of my destination, I travel with one small suitcase approximately 9x14x20 (2100 cubic inches of space) and a small carry-on backpack. Currently, I use a wheeled carry-on type suitcase that seems to meet my needs. However, a backpack or duffle will work just as well. The trick is to make sure it is small, easily transportable, and lightweight. I carry a seven-day supply of clothes and plan to wash items in my hotel sink every couple of days. Additionally, once every two weeks I visit a laundromat to do a proper load of laundry, often dropping it off in the morning and collecting it all, fresh and clean, late in the afternoon.
Think about how long you will be on vacation
My tours generally last eight to fourteen days. I recommend packing enough outer clothing to last at least 1/2 the trip. Jeans and pants are fine. Ladies do not need a dress or anything fancy. Plan on bringing shirts and blouses that can be mixed and matched with different layering options. This makes it possible to design multiple outfits from a few pieces of staple clothing items. Sweaters and jackets are great for layering.
Don’t make this mistake
Sometimes, no matter how much I preach packing light, people don’t listen. This group of high schoolers win my all-time award for the most luggage on a tour. On this particular morning we had to hoof it for about half a mile, through a small medieval town, to get from the hotel to the bus.
Now-a-days, packing for an airline trip requires a great deal of thought. It seems that all the USA air carriers are imposing mandatory “checked baggage” fees of $15 to $25 per bag. Additionally, they are limiting the size and weight of the bags you can “carry on” to put in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you. Unfortunately, these “rules” change often.
Your Adventure Starts Here! Start it by being happy… pack light!
Here’s a link to another article about packing: Cool Weather Packing Tips
If you are traveling in the winter, take a look at my “Winter Packing Tips.”