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Carryon for two weeks in Europe

We spent two weeks in Europe in September, including one week on a Danube river cruise, with carryon only. We were pleased with the results which included time saved at airports and customs and freedom in the streets of Prague and Budapest. I used a Tough Traveler Tri-Zip (no wheels) and my wife used an Eagle Creek Adventure 4-Wheeler, carryon size. We each had a small backpack, too. Mine was an LLBean stowaway pack. I read in a travel forum some years ago to plan on a shirt being worn for 2 days and a pair of pants for 3 days. It made sense to me so I packed 6 shirts and 4 pants, including a pair of wool dress pants and two non-iron dress shirts to wear on board and to musical events in town. Wore Ecco sneakers and packed dressier Eccos for evenings. With wool sweater, pullover fleece, light rain jacket, socks, underwear, toiletries, all fit neatly in luggage. If we were to go for 4 or 6 weeks, I'd take the same stuff and plan to do laundry. One pleasant surprise was the low cost of laundry on our river ship (Avoya line). A shirt washed and ironed for 3 euros (about a third or less of what hotel price lists show), so I ended up doing laundry even though I didn't really need to.

Posted by
23470 posts

You pack more than we do for even longer trips. But you are learning. Make some notes now so you can refer back to them for the next trip. We do three changes - wear one, pack two, with two extra shirts.

Posted by
7463 posts

Glad you experienced the benefits of packing light!

My husband & I wear our shirts once before washing. Dress pants can go 2-3 days; I wash capri pants & dresses after every wearing. We pack enough clothes to have two sets drying while we're wearing two - totally four outfits, including what we're wearing. Sometimes we'll throw in an extra top or two, and always include one long-sleeve for evenings if the others weren't long-sleeved.

I'm posting from a hotel now - another work trip. I pack three pairs of work pants and 5 tops for the week. I wash the outfit I wear on the travel day to wear again on the travel day back home. When it's a 2-week work trip, I pack the same amount of clothes and just wash everything in the hotel room as I'm going through the week. Regardless of the length of the trip, I'm taking a carry-on.

Posted by
6376 posts

Frank's advice is good: wear one, pack two, add a couple of extra tops. You're more likely to wear more than one shirt or blouse any given day, than pants or skirts.

He's also right about making notes now, while everything is fresh in your mind. One of the best pieces of advice we've received from fellow travelers was to add to your trip notes or journal what you would like to have done differently. (My latest was to have DH order the plane tickets, because he carped about our seats all the way home :-))

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks for the advice. Our concern was that we'd be underdressed on the river cruise. It turned out not to be a problem.

Posted by
19170 posts

Somewhere, Rick once pointed out that, if you wash everyday, you can pack the same things for 3 days or all summer. I pack, in addition to what I wear on the plane, two sets of underwear (cotton-polyester, dry overnight) and three or four cotton-polyester, golf style shirts. Two extra pair of washable slacks, that I didn't wash, three pair total, can last me two weeks. My last trip was three weeks and we stayed in an apartment with a washing machine and washed the slacks mid-trip. I also bring along a pair of walking shorts for hot days.

I pack less than 10# in a 2# (non-wheeled) carryon bag.

Posted by
2768 posts

I have a very rough rule of thumb of 10 clothing items, plus a jacket, swimsuit if needed, and underwear. For me that might be 2 dresses, 2 pants, 4 shirts and 2 cardigan/sweaters. Including what I wear on the plane. I've done less (casual trips in the summer...4 sundresses and a sweater. Done), but 10 seems to allow for more mixing and matching for times with varied weather and formality levels.

Posted by
1081 posts

I'm glad you had a good experience! Traveling light makes trips so much more relaxing and fun. As you have noticed we all have our own lists of what to take, I like to wear a pair of pants and take another pair and a pair of shorts for 2-3 weeks in Europe (omit the shorts in England, Ireland,etc) I don't mind washing every 3td night since all my clothes dry fast. I take four shirts plus the one I'm wearing (3 short sleeves + 2 long sleeves), four pairs of underwear, four pairs of socks. I also take a jacket (Scottevest Tropformer) that converts into a vest and has 19 pockets so I load it up with things like iPhone, sunglasses, plane tickets, earphones, etc. and use it on travel days so all I have to do is put on my jacket and grab my bag and head out, Sometimes I'll use the vest out sight seeing if I want to haul my camera, umbella, snacks, etc. with me for the day.

Posted by
4535 posts

I tend to bring along clothing for about 5-6 days (I don't wear shirts twice). That means I plan to do laundry once every 5 days. Usually it is done in the sink/tub at the hotel but on longer trips I will go to a laundry. I only bring one set a shoes and one extra pair of pants or shorts (depending on weather). That plan works well to fit everything in 1 carry-on bag.

I also have travel clothes that dry very quickly. They can be expensive, but since I travel often it is well worth it.

Posted by
4174 posts

My mama, who was a teenager during the Depression, always said that you can get by with 3 of anything: one on your body, one in the laundry and ready to wash and one clean and ready to wear. I pack for a week and a day and can't quite do the 3-item thing, but on trips I do wear outer clothes more than once before washing.

I live in a hot and dry climate and I've never traveled anywhere there was heat in the summer, so I might pack differently if I did. I've also never taken any kind of a cruise or spent more than one night on a boat, so I've avoided that pressure to dress a certain way. But more and more I'm hearing that fancy clothes aren't needed and I'm glad to hear the same from you, jrob48.

Posted by
6376 posts

Lo, your mama was a wise woman. Can she come clean out our closets?