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How I packed carryon for 3 weeks with temps ranging from 47 to 76 degrees....

Hello Fellow Travelers!
Thought I'd share how I packed for 3 weeks in Paris, Bruges and Amsterdam with high temperatures ranging from 47 to 76 degrees. For you "one bag wonders" this will be a yawn, but hopefully for all those ladies who are struggling with this issue, it will provide some help and guidance!
So, here we go:
Bag: Briggs and Riley Explore Expandable Commuter upright
Personal Item: eagle creek briefcase - similar to the Eagle Creek Emerson carry all -dimensions fit "personal item" carry on for Air France which was airline I was flying.
Packing cubes
Activities: Sightseeing

List includes everything I took, including what I wore on the plane:

Shoes: Born Trinculo boots, ecco black sneakers
Pants: blue boyfriend jeans, blue skinny jeans, black skinnies and grey skinnies
shirts: 3 long sleeved tees (black, grey and white), 1 blue and white stripe, 1 short sleeved t (grey and white), long sleeved chambray shirt and 1 dressy blouse
Sweaters: merino wool black cardigan, merino wool grey cardigan, merino wool black pullover and 1 blue linen cardigan
scarves: 3 - 1 merino wool, two modal
socks: 4 pair crew (black) and two below ankle (for sneakers)
bras: 2
underwear: 4
2 uniqlo camisoles - 1 airism, 1 heattech
pajamas
black leggings
jackets: 1 REI black waterproof shell
1 Lands end black primaloft packable jacket
leather gloves
small crossbody bag
camera (small point and shoot style)
ipad
kindle
chargers
toiletries
medications
travel laundry kit

Overall, the wardrobe worked very well. For warm days (only two or three of those) wore short sleeved t shirt and linen cardi in the morning when it was chillier.
Cooler days a combo of long sleeved t shirts, a sweater and either one or both jackets. For the Bruges/Amsterdam leg, added one of the camisoles, wore both jackets daily along with gloves.

What I could have ditched: linen cardigan
What I could have brought: uniqlo heattech leggings.
MVP's of the trip (most valuable pieces) - boots, primaloft jacket and gloves

Hope this helps those of you struggling with carry on travel!

Posted by
14288 posts

You hooked me in with the title!! I love to read packing lists along with what worked and what didn't. Looks like you did pretty well! Your high temp range was surprising. Paris has looked cold this week.

Thanks for sharing.

Posted by
54 posts

Hi Nancy -- this is an awesome list! I'm trying to do a 3-week trip this summer with carry-on only, and this list looks like a great starting point. Can I ask more about your laundry strategy? What's in your travel laundry kit? Did you only wash in the hotel sinks, or did you also visit a laundromat?

Posted by
697 posts

I didn't realize Uniqlo had camis. I've been looking for an inexpensive shelf-bra cami for a while and found one there.
Thanks!

Posted by
81 posts

Love love love your list! Thank you for sharing.

Posted by
119 posts

And where did you get the merino wool cardigans?

Posted by
111 posts

Thank you for sharing your list! I took a full size suitcase on a two week trip to Spain last summer, but that was with a different tour company. I sometimes wonder how I will ever manage with just a carry-on for our RS trip to Italy in the fall - two and a half weeks. Your list encourages me!

Posted by
3263 posts

Thank you for your list. Do you know how much your suitcase weighed?

Posted by
11613 posts

Doing my final packing now for a trip that begins next week. I won't have as much variation in temperature as you did, but it's still a difference between weather in May and August (all in Italy).

I hate the idea of carrying an extra piece of clothing that I won't need after the first part of the trip, but my experience in May is that it can be chilly at night away from the coast.

Posted by
173 posts

Your list is helpful. Especially glad you noted the MVPs and what you would have ditched. Thanks.

Posted by
503 posts

Glad you all found the list helpful - my packing lists are always a work in progress!

Cathy -was in a airbnb first part of trip and actually had a washer so was able to do a load of laundry (no dryer) but most of the time I just do sink laundry - which is what I did for the balance of the trip. My "kit" is in a quart sized baggie and has a flat rubber sink stopper, Rick Steves clothesline,small bottle of woolite, small spray bottle of wrinkle release and a tide stain pen.
Sandra - glad you found one at Uniqlo - love that store for travel wear!
Doric - Uniqlo colors for camis and such are pretty basic as I recall - black, white, navy, pale pink (?) and maybe light blue.
Dee- cardigans - I realized I needed another one a few weeks before my trip when all the summer stuff was out - found one at Banana Republic on clearance so I lucked out. The other one I found online and my pullover is from Uniqlo. I think both Lands End and LL Bean carry them in the fall. I really like the merino because it's thin so packs easily, doesn't retain odors and isn't too hot.
Wray - good question! I know it was under AF's limit but I didn't weigh it before I left - good thing to do for my next trip though!!!

Posted by
470 posts

Very helpful post. Thanks for taking the time to write it. Small birdwalk...how did you like Air France? We have been looking at their routes and the Premium Economy class which seems like an affordable compromise to improve comfort. (We also fly from CA which makes the trip a lot longer, and having some leg room makes a big difference.) If you have any advice we would greatly appreciate it.

Posted by
501 posts

Nancy,
I love you. I'd ask you to marry me if I weren't already married to a packing monster exactly like this.
Which, by the way, we both read your post and want to know more about PACKING CUBES - why do they work, and how, and where do we get them.

Posted by
503 posts

Jtraveler - LOL!!! Yes the packing cubes do work IMO. My husband was a skeptic when I bought him a set - the old "what in the world would I use THESE for"? On this trip, he remarked twice on how much he loves the packing cubes!!!
You can get them a number of places and there are different versions - both Eagle Creek and Ebags make them. Mine are from Ebags - had credit so used that to purchase a set - small, medium and large.
As for packing - I don't get very fancy. Jeans and sweaters go in the larger one, shirts and pajamas are rolled in the medium one and I use the small one for underwear and socks. Big one goes on the bottom of the case, medium and small ones on top with the smallest ebags toiletry kit. Laundry kit and power strip get tucked in between and the tennies get squished and tucked along the sides. If you look on the Ebags website, they have some videos on using the cubes and show how one might pack them in a suitcase.
So why do I like them? Saves me from having to completely repack my suitcase every time and keeps things together - which for trips with hotel changes every 3 - 4 days helps tremendously.

Traveling Mom - I wouldn't fly Air France again if my life depended on it and am currently filing a claim against them in the EU. It's a sad and sordid tale. The short version is that they "rebooked" my husband for a day prior to our ticketed departure. Excuses ran the gamut and changed depending upon who we talked to. After about 8 hours of phone calls, we ended up on a Delta flight through Minneapolis - first half in their Custom Comfort section - which is not the same as AF's Premium Economy - which is what we paid for.
Now having said that, your "mileage" might vary and no airline is free from customer stories just like mine. It seems these days that no matter who you fly with, you buy a ticket and hope you get what you paid for but there are no guarantees.

Posted by
501 posts

Cool! It seems like the cubes would be great for keeping the contents of your bag in a geometric shape so that everything doesn't just drop to the bottom of your bag in a blob. I think I have seen cheap ones at MUJI stores, I will stop in next time I pass one. (Not sure if the rest of America knows MUJI but we have them here in Manhattan..)

Posted by
11613 posts

The RS Travel Store sells packing cubes, too.

Posted by
15717 posts

In regards to packing cubes, I have them from a bunch of places however I just started using ones from Bago. They are slightly smaller than most other cubes so they fit easier in smaller size carry ons. Very lightweight and they come in different colors. Also a lot less expensive than Eagle Creek.

Muji's cubes are very lightweight but tend to be very wide. Of course, if not filled to capacity can be made to fit.

What I use is an Eagle Creek clean/dirty cube, one side for clean clothes, one side for dirty clothes, and the above mentioned medium Bago cube for t shirt, undies and socks. Side by side they fit perfectly in both the RS Rolling Carry On and the RS Ravenna rolling bag. I use a large Bago for pants and sweater.

Posted by
380 posts

I always go carry-on only, but could never fit 4 pairs of pants and 4 sweaters and 7 tops -- I'm a size 14-16. I know that when I was a size 10-12 I could fit in a few more clothes than I do now, but still not as much as that. I also only take 2 pairs of shoes - pack one, wear one. For me, I find that 1 or 2-gallon ziplock bags work better than packing cubes, for squeezing out air/getting more in.

Posted by
3521 posts

Thanks for sharing. I want to find someone who packs like you do to travel with!

My former travel companion took her entire closet with her -- and then I had to carry it around! ;-)

Posted by
106 posts

Thank you so much for your information! We bought the Rick Steves rolling carry-ons to take on our 2 week trip to Europe. We have used carry-ons on previous trips but these bags are smaller to fit European standards. We are concerned if we will have enough room for a 2 week trip.

Posted by
682 posts

Texas girl,

I use a RS rolling carry-on for 5-7 weeks of travel. You can do it!