From the N.Y. Times Travel newsletter, there was a very good article on How to Pack a Suitcase. Love my packing cubes. Just remember that some international airlines won’t allow a 22” bag as a carryon.
That was comprehensive, everything in one article. A good read.
Packing styles differ widely and Rick Steves-style travelers have preferences and recommendations based on different traveling and lodging experiences.
Thanks for the link!
Very comprehensive and covers a lot of our advice (even if conflicting). I'll bookmark it for linking for future questions.
From the article, Rule 1:
- The bigger your suitcase, the more you will put into it
Good advice but I noticed the article had one set of recommendations for how many of each to pack for a one week trip then as I scrolled down there was another more detailed list with different numbers e.g. 7 pairs of underwear/socks. And 2 sets of exercise gear and 2 sets of sleepwear???????? If I plan to work out I usually pack one pair of leggings to wear with a T-shirt already worn on the trip and another soft roomy T to sleep in.
7 pair undies?? Nuts. We buy camping undies. We took 3 pair each for a 4 week trip. When we are in the shower, we take a pair of undies with us, wash them out, and they dry in the bathroom. We also take lightweight shirts and pants, and wash those in the same way.
Pretty good advice. We all travel differently, and there’s no way on earth I’m washing clothes in the shower unless I’ve spilled something and want to prevent the stain from setting in.
And, different trips require different things. Laundromats are getting rarer and rarer in both the USA and Europe and are often not located anywhere near where hotels are or indeed by anything of interest to a tourist. Thankfully there are pickup and delivery services, but you need to be in one place for long enough and I’d allow a day of wiggle room just in case it gets delayed.
The worst mistake I made last trip was moving around too much and thus needing to bring more clothes than I normally would. And, since I was in the north of England in early May, I assumed correctly that I’d need layers.
I’d call this mediocre packing advice.
The simplest way to avoid bringing too many things is to buy a hard-sided suitcase, no more than 22 inches tall (so it can work as a carry-on) with a structured shell so you can’t squeeze in any extras.
I’d call this a logic fail. The simplest way to avoid bringing too many things is to buy a smaller bag. This is usually lighter than a hard sided suitcase and will fit into spaces a hard suitcase can’t.
You could also predetermine the weight for your packed luggage and force yourself to adhere to it. Pack and repack until you are happy with the weight and the contents. It may take you an afternoon (or two) but you’ll learn that a lot of your “must haves” really aren’t needed. This is the method I used when I had to go smaller/lighter. Keep iterating down.
And 2 sets of exercise gear and 2 sets of sleepwear???????? If I plan to work out I usually pack one pair of leggings to wear with a T-shirt already worn on the trip and another soft roomy T to sleep in.
Exactly! Make your stuff do double duty. I like t-shirt dresses for the summer. Combining workout/sleep wear is a great idea. Sleep, get up, work out, wash. Make sure it is quick dry fabric.
It's possible to find rooms which include washers. We did have a washer on our last trip, which was nice.
Washing out stuff as you go along is not a big deal. We don't spend a lot of time in tux and tails. We wear washable, easy-to-clean outfits. We wash as we go along, because having clean clothes is better than dirty.
The T-shirt to sleep in was sort of an accident as I had found a 2fer deal at Kohls and weren't sure how they might shrink in the wash. They were cotton blends and didn't shrink at all so I ended up with a over sized tie dyed shirt. Good for sleeping but in a pinch i figured I could wear it out as well. Think I'll continue this for future packing.
Nowhere in this article does it discuss laundry. I doubt the intention of the author or business travelers is to do any laundry. Plenty of other people also hate to do laundry on the road, in which case the article is not unreasonable.
If you like to get in there daily and launder up your undies, fine. Then this article isn't for you. But not need to tear it down because it isn't 'your' way.
Some of us mortals need to learn with baby steps. Laundering on the road comes later.
7 pair undies?? Nuts.
Typical women's underwear takes up almost no space at all. I probably could fit 10 pairs of nylon stretch briefs inside one shoe from the spare pair I normally pack. For me, it really is no space sacrifice to bring lots of undies.
Which ties into my philosophy that as long as I still have clean panties and everything else I want to wear passes the sniff test, the consideration of laundry can wait until another day.
Hey, Philip, thanks again for the link. Seems some folks must find fault but I think most of us realize anyone’s set of packing recommendations will differ widely from our preferred methods and personal habits.
I think most of us realize anyone’s set of packing recommendations will differ widely from our preferred methods and personal habits.
Most of us do. As an engineer, my problem with the article is that it gives specifics when it should be giving general advice. They are not giving recommendations that can be tweaked for the traveler but instead are giving very specific instructions. And those instructions aren’t even near the best solution.
A good example is the hard sided suitcase requirement. That’s one way to meet the standard but not the only way. Why not give overall recommendations instead?
Another is giving the number of clothing items. It’s not bad, but they forgot to tell the person to make sure they mix and match.
In short, they are giving a very specific implementation for a general problem.
I don’t think it’s good advice. I’m allowed to say so.
There are a lot of people who have never given much thought to packing for long trips, and could benefit from any advice. And more likely to take it from a published article like this. Informed people were not the target audience.
@Cindy H, I can see your point about the first 'statement ', but did you read the rest of the article about buying luggage, soft vs hard side? There is a lot more info that can be considered 'general' the further down the article. However, if a GenX is reading it, they would stop reading at point 1 or 2 and either toss it aside or go buy a hard side 4 wheel roller that looks sleek or pretty and marvel at the freedom of easy move luggage that limits their indecisiveness for what to pack. I know my ADHD procrastinator engineer son would love the specifics to get him started.
Actually, if you read just the 1-6 titles, I believe the recommendations are very good. We can leave the how to up to the packer. It doesn't say pack a 22" suitcase, it says up to a 22" suitcase, which should satisfy the carryon people. What one packs in their suitcase at the desired time is up to the packer, really. We all have different wants and needs. Also, we all can go through moods of levels of packing as well. And, really, if you can manage your own suitcases, it doesn't matter to anyone but oneself how large they are.
I would not dream of taking that little amount of socks or underwear unless I was hiking/camping and even then...I don't know. They are so small and important, IMO. Only when I can no longer carry almost anything will I cut that drastically as I've already played with packing too light...More likely, I'll just mail the items to my destination. I like to be comfortable and so I have my specific requirements for that, as do others.
I think that people look for articles that appeal to them or validate their personal preferences. I have a friend who is just going to pack however she wishes, no matter what. She's not going to read an article about packing at all. For car trips - she takes the "kitchen sink" regardless of others and possible space issues. She's the type that truly likes to pay for valet parking - even when there's a spot 20 feet away - and, have the doorman come out with a large brass trolley to hand truck her multiple cases to her room - all for a 3 day casual trip. (I'm not joking!)
I don't know what she packs when flying!!! (Not doing that with her!)
I just read the brief linked article. I, too, disagree about hard shell cases. Not much thought or time went into that article. It's basically a "filler" article. Fortunately, people can find A Lot of articles and videos on packing and won't just read this one.