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Packing Light


Packing seems to always be a hot topic on this forum, rightfully so. I'm coming up on the big 3-0. When I travel, I like to pack leggings. For my age group, they are in style at the moment. I've seen women well into their late 50's wear them while vacationing in Europe. They take up as much room as a pair of undergarments and are super comfortable. I tend to take about 4 pair with me and rotate them. By doing this, I just have to find room for the daily sweater so that I have a new outfit each day. Leggings can be dressed up or down, so no worry on having to pack an extra pair slacks if you plan on having a nice dinner. If traveling in the winter, I will grab a pair that have terry cloth on the inside or just wear a pair of panty hose underneath. The weather tends to be no different than my location, so I'm used to wearing them in the cold.

One thing I always take with me is a small bottle of Febreze. Each night, I'll spritz my clothing to keep them fresh for another use, plus I just like the smell of it.

Happy travels

Posted by
8183 posts

We always get jeans and khaki pants heavily starched--like dress shirts. Unless they get soiled, you can wear starched clothes day after day and they still look good.

Remember, the people you run into will never see you again.

I saw my world traveler father suffer carrying my mother's heavy bags. We are believers in carrying only one 21" travel bag and one small backpack. If you cannot carry own your luggage for 2 miles, repacking with less is warranted.

Posted by
181 posts

That's the beauty of being able to pack leggings. When rolled up, they take up as much room as a pair of wool socks. Sweaters take up as much room as a pair of starched jeans. I could easily pack a week's worth of clothing, new outfit each day in a duffle bag because of the leggings.

Yes, people we run into while traveling will not remember us, but that doesn't mean I don't want to look presentable. Why dress any differently than I do at home if I can pack it lightly.

I completely agree on the trouble of heavy bags. Travel wouldn't be fun if you couldn't get around easily. That's why I brought up that particular clothing item. You see too many times, people talking of taking 2 pair of jeans/khaki's. Those 2 items, especially when starched, can add up in weight.

Posted by
1839 posts

I agree leggings are great for travel. However, if you are, like me, a few decades older than Amanda, please make sure to only wear them with loose fitting big tops that hang below your rear end. I have found the tops that J Jill sells go great with leggings. They sometimes have leggings and tops in matching or coordinating colors. I usually add one or two simple, easily packable skirts and maybe one pair of slacks and have lots of coordinating outfits which easily fit in my roll-aboard. Leggings under slacks work great for cooler days and leggings plus a skirt is a fun look.

Posted by
2081 posts

Ive been buying and trying some of the "travel" pants and shirts. Im usually not a synthetic type of guy, but they do work and are thinner than the clothes i normally wear. They also dry faster.

Currently im trying some marino wool t-shirts. They keep me warmer in the winter and i dont feel hot(er) when im working in them. Ive also worn it for 2 weeks without a wash to see how bad they will smell if any and it didnt. They did get dirty though , but since they are black, it doesnt show the dirt as much as my cotton white shirts. I have some marino sox too and i notice the same - they can miss a washing and they dont smell.

The only drawback is that they are expensive.

one plus is that they will dry overnight. Ive washed them in my bathroom sink and place it in a towel and squeezed it as dry as i could w/o damanging it and then hung it up to dry. by the AM it was dry or dry enough to not notice.

happy trails.

Posted by
1 posts

My husband and I went to Europe in October 2013. We each brought one travel carry-on bag and a small backpack and the Rick Steve's money belt. We went on a one week Mediterranean Cruise, a one week "on our own" tour of Rome using the Rick Steve's guidebook and a one week bus tour to Israel where we traveled all over. We have the following tips:

  1. Limit the number of outfits you bring on the trip. You don't need to wear something different every day - no one is going to see you again nor will they care. Coordinate your outfits. This takes planning. Select neutral colors like black and white and beige so you can mix and match. Assuming you are going away for a certain length of time, ask yourself this question when you pick up a clothing item: "Am I going to wear this item at least three times during the trip?" If not, it stays home. There may be special events like the formal night on the cruise ship where you may wear a top once or twice. I brought a simple black dress and wore a scarf that was big enough as a shawl to make it dressier. I later used the same scarf with other outfits. I made a list of all the outfits and articles of clothing and visually matched them to different items to see how many combinations I could get. I took 4 pairs of pants, 10 tops, a black dress and a pair of shorts for the fitness room. I was able to come up with 27 outfits for a three week trip.

  2. Limit the number of shoes you bring. I brought a pair of travel walking sandals, a pair of work-out shoes for walking and a pair of black ballet flats for dressier outfits. I used the work-out shoes for the gym and long walking tours.

  3. Bring a travel laundry clothes line and small packets of liquid laundry soap (not the boxes). Wash your underwear and socks at night and let them dry during the day when you are out. Who cares if the maid sees them? There might be a public laundry mat where you can wash your other clothes. You don't need to wash a shirt or pair of pants every time you wear it unless it gets dirty or smelly. Pants can be worn more than once.

  4. Buy those travel packing pouches to crunch your clothing as small as possible. They really work and they minimize the wrinkles. If there are wrinkles, iron the clothing when you get to your hotel room. Put items inside your shoes.

  5. If you buy souvenirs and can't fit them in your carry-on or backpack, where your heavier clothing and shoes that take up the most room for the trip home. You might also wear multiple layers of clothes too.

  6. Research the weather, climate, typical temperatures, culture and type of season to determine what clothing to bring. For example, people don't normally wear white capris in October in Rome but they do in the summer months. You don't want to wear shorts to the churches in Rome. Bring clothing that is comfortable and suitable for the area you are traveling in.

At first, my husband and I had doubts that we could survive a three week trip to Europe with only a carry-on but we were really glad we packed light. We saw other tourists lugging their suit cases and carry-on bags through the air ports and to/from the cruise port and through the streets of Rome. They looked tired and miserable. Plus they were targets for pick-pockets. Pack light! If we can do it, anyone can!


Posted by
9 posts

I'm about 20 years your senior, and while I sometimes wear leggings, for travel I prefer a matte black "yoga" or athletic bootcut or straight leg pant from one of the companies such as Lucy or Athleta. They make several different styles for different body types. I prefer the thicker ones with large, flat waistband, and fabric that holds one in a little bit. Not only do they wash well and dry (hanging) fairly quickly, but they don't wrinkle, and look sleek and good with sweaters, jackets, etc. I just think they are a little more forgiving than leggings. I usually only need two pair, and they are comfortable and warm on the plane.

Posted by
2768 posts

I'm almost the same age as Amanda, just a couple years older, and swear by leggings for spring and fall travel. I don't find them warm enough for winter in colder climates (I run very cold), and in summer I'm all about dresses. 5 summer dresses take up ridiculously little room, look nice, and can be dressed up or down with shoes, jewelry, cardigans, whatever. Add a pair of opaque tights for colder or modest situations and I can do a summer trip with just a (large) purse. Under-seat, not even in the overhead compartment.

Another plus to leggings is that they can be worn for sleeping, so no need to pack bulky pajamas. I always wear leggings with a long cardigan and scarf on the plane

Posted by
2393 posts

I am actually considering getting smaller bags! Here is what we had for 42 days of travel including an 11 nt TA & 30 days traveling in Europe:

This included 4 bottles of wine, 2 glass wine glasses, a small coffee maker with coffee, creamers the little liquid ones, sugar, a supply of paper plates, salt, pepper, real silverware, 2 netbooks, 2 kindles, 2 umbrellas, a twin size flat sheet, all of my own shampoo, conditioner, bodywash, etc..., a sport coat & zippered sweater for DH (think layers), 3 prs of shoes for me (white dressy sneakers, sandals black strappy kitten heel) and 2 for DH, (1 black walking 1 sandal) plus all of our clothes. We did laundry 3 times in a laundromat and I washed some things by hand at night.

I don't skimp on comfort things when I travel and I take only the clothes I know I am going to wear.

I use packing cubes for most things except pants - they go in the bottom. I have 3 long jersey knit dresses and 2 short ones that travel really well. I can wear them with heels for dressy or sneakers (not gym type but cute white ones) and short dressy socks or sandals for casual. The long dresses are nice as they are pretty warm in cooler weather especially with leggings. I am not a fan of pants and generally choose a dress unless it is really cold. I had 1 pr pants, 2 prs shorts, 4 shirts, 5 dresses, 1 sweater & all the base garments. I carry a good supply of costume jewelry to dress things up.

DH had 4 prs of pants, 2 prs shorts & 8 shirts.

Plus swimwear - we spent 2 weeks in FL at the end of trip.

It just takes some practice - we haven't checked a bag in almost 15 years. I have everything in travel sizes - my poor 3-1-1 bags are stuffed to capacity!

Posted by
191 posts

"This included 4 bottles of wine, 2 glass wine glasses, a small coffee maker with coffee, creamers the little liquid ones, sugar, a supply of paper plates, salt, pepper, real silverware..."

Christi -- This is amazing! How do you get to carry on all that wine? And more importantly, why would you? It is so heavy, and good wine is available everywhere. I sometimes carry my own tea, and always have plastic sporks with me. I take a meal for the plane, because of my many food allergies, but it is all disposable and gone before I get off the plane. To each her own! As for me, I'd rather go out for coffee and wine than haul all that stuff around. Thanks for sharing.