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How to pack for 90 day trip

On 9/18/18, I posted asking for advise for a 90 day trip to France. As I continue my planning, I would appreciate advise regarding packing. Is it reasonable to travel with a carry on bag for a 90 day trip around France. Also, preferences for a 2 wheeled bag vs. 4 wheeled spinner bag?

Thanks and I appreciate the help.

Posted by
8248 posts

We usually travel two weeks and three weekends. We carry the same amount of clothes that we'd carry for one week--or 12 weeks--in a 21" TravelPro ultra light carryon bag with swivel wheels. It usually will go just over 10 kg. (22 lbs.) in weight, but no airlines given us any problem on weight. (TravelPro is sold by reasonably.)
We've finally come to the realization that apartment rentals do us better than hotel/B&B rooms when traveling. That way we can prepare our own meals and the apartments often have washer/dryers.
On our Spain/Paris trip last month, we came home with all clean clothes and we didn't even wear half the clothes we carried due to having the ability to wash clothes.
Next trip, much less clothes will be carried.

Posted by
11535 posts

Having the same question in 2 categories makes it hard to keep track

Posted by
3995 posts

We’ve traveled to Europe three times for >100 days each time. We tried to move from north to south during the semester and we layered. If we had to start out where it was really warm, Israel or Greece, we shipped one small box of “summer” clothes home or donated them. We didn’t often have time/access to laundry facilities so we did sink washing along the way. If you stay in apartments you could easily have access to washing machines. We each took a 24” suitcase and one personal item. It was plenty of luggage space for 100+ days with room to bring home a few treasures acquired over the semester. A 24” wheeled suitcase was easy to handle and was never overpacked.

Posted by
11294 posts

"preferences for a 2 wheeled bag vs. 4 wheeled spinner bag?"


In other words, some prefer 2 wheels and some prefer 4 wheels. Some are very strong advocates for backpacks with no wheels at all.

I strongly prefer 2 wheels. My reasons:
1) The wheels are sturdier, and since they're recessed, they are better protected and less likely to get damaged.
2) While 4 wheels are easy to roll on carpet, other smooth surfaces, and in very tight spaces (you can keep the bag close to your side and still roll it), 2 wheels are easier to roll on sidewalks and rougher surfaces.
3) Since the 4 wheels are totally external, a bag with 4 wheels loses some internal storage space compared to a bag of the same external size with 2 wheels.

But since it's your trip, you will have to determine what you prefer.

Note that if you are looking for 2 wheels, sometimes a luggage line will offer this in the smallest size (20-22 inch) but not the larger sizes (25, 28, 32 inches). So, if you're looking at smaller bags, you'll have a larger selection of 2 wheel models.

Posted by
1194 posts

The answer is yes you can do it.

You may get sick of your outfits (or not) depending on what accessories you bring. Your clothing should be of decent quality since you’ll be rewearing it a lot.

Clothing extenders are important:

  • a silk long underwear top
  • silk long underwear bottom
  • a base layer top (T-zip works well)
  • a good rain shell
  • a puff jacket
  • hat
  • gloves
  • swimwear
  • cardigan
  • scarf
  • leggings if you are female (wear with dresses in the cold)

Versatile clothes:

  • long sleeve shirt with roll tab sleeves
  • pants that cuff into capris
  • rash guard top if you’ll be on the water for a long time
  • a dress shirt/top
  • one short sleeve tee
  • skort (more versatile than shorts)

If you stick to 3 or 4 bottoms, 4-6 tops and a dress you’ll have all you’ll need. And you’ll probably buy at least one top along the way around the 2 month mark.

I prefer a travel pack myself.

Posted by
6113 posts

Others have done it, so you should be able to do so. Personally, I would not dream of taking such a long trip with so little, as the climate will vary significantly during your stay, but Europeans pack differently to Americans. Americans think we are mad for taking so much and we think you are crazy for bringing so little and having to find a laundry so often!

My husband’s camera kit would fill one carry on bag alone.

Two wheels are more flexible than 4. Those with spinners at the airport are always in a spin!

Posted by
15726 posts

All my trips run 75-90 days.

They are currently done in a carry on size spinner with a small personal item. I use a two wheeled bag for years but for the last year I have used a spinner. I prefer the spinner. Whether you use two wheels or four is a personal choice.

I take 5 tops, 5 sets of undies and socks, three bottoms, one sweater( two in winter), and a jacket. In winter, the jacket is heavier and the pockets contain hat, glove and scarf. I can replenish most toiletries wherever I am going but take prescription meds to last the entire trip.

Posted by
2768 posts

Yes, you can. In no universe would you travel for 90 days without doing laundry, no matter how big your bag, so really all you need to do is pack for 2 weeks and do laundry periodically.

Your challenges will be seasons (when are you going? Will you need cold weather and warm weather clothing), and activities (in 90 days it is likely you will go to a beach, go hiking, and go to a nice restaurant or theater requiring dressing up in addition to your normal everyday clothes). Think layers and multipurpose. A simple sundress can be worn for daily touring, or with a scarf and jewelry to be appropriate for a dress-up occasion. Put a cardigan and tights with it and it's fine in cooler weather. A t-shirt can be a beach cover up, a hiking top, pajamas, or just an everyday shirt (and wear the cardigan over it when it's cold).

Shoes - you can get away with 2. Comfortable sneakers or other walking shoes for daily that can also be worn for medium hiking, and flats or sandals that dress up but are also comfortable for walking. If you plan on going to a beach or using shared showers, then flip flops would be important too - the small, cheap rubber ones would be fine. If you plan on doing a lot of serious hiking, or going to a lot of fancy places then that will affect your choices, but if those things are a smaller part then you can make do.

Things like toothpaste, shampoo and deodorant will need to be replaced as you go - bring the travel size, use it, toss it when done and buy more. That's easy to do - no need to carry 90 days of shampoo around.

I used to always suggest 2 wheel bags - they are easier to roll on cobblestone and uneven streets. But lately I have switched to a hard-side 4 wheel. I find that even in Europe I am mainly on concrete and sidewalks and can manage the cobblestones when necessary. The hard side bag just seems neater, easier to keep organized, and actually fits more stuff. So I think it's a matter of preference.

Posted by
11368 posts

No difference in packing for one week or six weeks unless changing to a different climate during trip. All in our 21" rolling luggage, carry on size.

Posted by
16142 posts

Regarding two wheels versus four, I'll just echo our own preferences for two for the same reasons Harold has listed. I can't say for sure as we haven't been able to do an apples -to-apples comparison but I can't imagine spinner wheels holding up to the abuse we've put our two-wheeled, 12 year-old Travelpro bags through. We've dragged them some long distances over some nasty surfaces (e.g. cobblestones) and sidewalks that would have been too narrow to pull them alongside, as spinners are usually pulled.

But also consider how you'll be traveling in France? If the vast majority of your moving around with be via train or bus, as long as you can handle size/weight of your bags by yourself with relative ease - including up/down stairs - then take whatever size works. There's usually no additional bag-checking fees for those types of transit as you would have for domestic fights.

Yes. 3 things to remember: Laundry, laundry, and buy things along the way - like toiletries. If you can pack for 4-5 days - it's the same for 90 days. Just get used to repetitively wearing clothes in cycles. The French aren't tracking how often you wear a certain shirt. No one cares!

Posted by
1884 posts

At home I do laundry once a week. When I travel I do the same. I pack for a week and do sink washes plus find a laundromat weekly.
Recently I tried having my wash done for me as laundromats didn't seem prevalent in Ireland. I just asked for cold water wash and delicate or low heat dry and everything came out great. Although I do admit to meeting some tremendous folks while doing laundry myself in Europe.

Posted by
3961 posts

Excellent tips upthread! I would agree with others who: 1. Carry the same amount of clothes for one week or 12 weeks. 2. Do laundry consistently (sink washing). Better yet if you are staying in an apartment and have a washer. 3. We prefer our 10 year old light weight 22" two wheeled TravelPro. It has survived all types of terrain. Very well constructed. 4. The best thing I ever did years ago was taking a RS packing class. My packing system has never failed me.

Travel laundry tips: 1). Just find a laundromat and do it yourself. (You can find laundry soap in every country or pack a few pods in a zip-lock bag.). 2). Pay the laundromat to wash your clothes for you while you enjoy your day. Drop-off in morning. Pick-up at end of day or next day. This can be money well-spent. 3). Carry Wool-lite in a 3 oz bottle (3-1-1 kit) and a 1 gallon ziplock bag. Put water, soap, and clothes in the ziplock (freezer style) bag. Shake around. Rinse out and dry your clothes. (Take about 10 feet of paracord for hanging clothes to dry.)
(I need to give credit for #3 tip to a fellow RS poster. Sorry, I don't remember your name.)

Posted by
1194 posts

Carry Wool-lite in a 3 oz bottle

I would suggest packets of powdered Forever New. It’s a powder so can be packed in your toiletry kit instead of your 3-1-1 bag. You can use a partial pack and tape/clip it closed. It’s also lighter than the liquid product.

Another alternative is all-in-one laundry sheets.

Posted by
23473 posts

....I can't say for sure as we haven't been able to do an apples -to-apples comparison..... We do on almost every trip. Wife uses four-wheel spinner and I have a two wheel bag. She claims she can drag it in two wheel mode as easy as I do. But it doesn't work. Ya, it great in the airport, in the airplane, on the train platform but it bad on cobblestone streets and busted concrete. It bounces a lot, the small wheels hang up on everything, and it is harder to pull than my two wheel that has the large, roller blade style of wheel. In addition she has been forced a couple of times to gate check when the bag failed the dreaded box. On one trip one of the wheels was slightly damage. And sometimes have had trouble fitting the bag into the over head compartment because of the wheels.

Now a couple of drawbacks to the two wheels. While the wheels are larger, far smooth rolling over rough streets, and more recessed the bag has a lower clearance so the bottom of the bag between the two wheels is scuffed up more so a little duct tape is used to protect that area. However, the duct tape does set it apart on the luggage return. The bag works better being pulled than pushed as you can with 4 wheels. And sometimes the 2 wheel is not as stable in an up right position.

It is probably personal choice and a trade off of the advantages and disadvantages each has.