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I did it and it was easy!

I successfully practiced packing light. I am taking my first RS tour next June. I just got back from a seven day cruise to Cuba with my husband. Here is what we took.

HIM: 1. 19 inch roller-- one pair of jeans, 3 Cabella's long sleeved hot weather shirts (good for business casual and casual), 2 T-shirts, 4 underwear/socks.
2. Personal item-- backpack style laptop bag-- laptop, charger, phone chargers, small hard drive (movies), two paperback books, journal, both our prescription meds, otc meds, snacks.
3. Himself-- Black Carhart cargo pants (business casual), Cabella's shirt in a fourth color, walking shoes, wallet, phone.

ME: 1. Cross body Travelon purse-- passports, money, one credit card, personal bank debit card/VISA, capital one ATM card, 3 pair of glasses (regular rx distance, sunglasses rx, cheaters), phone, pens, pad of paper, keys, Kindle.
2. 46 L Osprey-- six tops (this was more than I needed but I had so much room) (1 dressy, 3 business casual, 2 casual), 2 Travelsmith venture slacks (I wear these every day), 4 underwear/socks, one bra, first aid kit, toiletry kit for both of us. My work laptop. I did attend an educational conference while on the ship during the sea days.
3. Me--3/4 length sleeve casual shirt, Travelsmith slacks, Keen mary jane shoes.

We did not take any jackets, umbrellas, sweaters, extra shoes as I packed for what I knew we would need not what we might need. Would not have used any of these except there was snow on the ground when we got home and getting to the car was cold. We could have done with less clothing but we wore everything. I did one load of laundry on day 4 of 8.

We could have gotten away with only using my Osprey and my husband's laptop bag but we checked a bag on the way back because we bought a bottle of rum in Cuba and I did not want to check my Osprey. We didn't bring much extras back. One T-shirt 10 cigars, 2 baseball caps, painted baseball, Cuban chocolate bars and a flag lapel pin.

What was I ever thinking before when I packed a 50 inch suitcase?

Posted by
14177 posts

"What was I ever thinking before when I packed a 50 inch suitcase?"

Too true! I think about the huge suitcase I used to take that they automatically marked with the HEAVY tag and just cannot remember what I took to fill it up.

It sounds like you did really, really well with your practice trip! Congratulations to you. Well, you've got it written down here, but I do recommend you make notes on a packing list so that you remember what worked and what didn't for next June.

Have a terrific time on your next trip!

Posted by
3580 posts

I always take at least one item I don't need or use and leave something at home that I miss. A travel alarm clock is the thing I often forget to take.

Posted by
6364 posts

I had to chuckle at your last "What was I thinking..." I was just thinking this morning about my first trip to Europe many (many) years ago, with two hard-sided Samsonite suitcases that I had to sit on to close. Packing light is so liberating!

Congratulations! And Pam is right; make notes about what you could have left behind, and what might have been handy on a different kind of trip.

Happy travels!

Posted by
1166 posts

I think "back in the day" I would pack sets of clothes - so I NEEDED a 25 inch suitcase.

Now, I truly smile at people wagging huge suitcases off the train ! And, I'm glad that I can use a 21" for 6 weeks travel.

We just flew on Air New Zealand and their carryon weight limit was 7 kg. I just couldn't do that and I truly think I pack tiny tubes of toiletries, as well as light weight clothing.

Posted by
2124 posts

Congrats, and welcome to the Light Packers Club!!!

Question: which cruise line, and did you like it? large or small ship? What did you like most/least about Cuba? Trip report?

Posted by
1516 posts

I was on the Fathom Adonia. Carnival's experiment in "impact travel". The ship was an older British Isles ship, 700 passengers. It was a great way to get a taste of Cuba without the uncertainty. The ship's itinerary covers the people to people requirements and provides guided tours. We skipped the tours in Havana because it is so easy to get around there, but took advantage of the free tours in Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba.

We wanted to see and speak with the people and see the history. It is a terrible shame that the US embargo continues. The many people we met all asked us to come home and tell our fellow Americans that they want a relationship with us and please come to visit. It is true that when visiting the Irish I thought I would never meet a friendlier people but Cubans will give them some competition. There are so few resources and despite that they have created a wonderful society. I walked alone in some of the poorest neighborhoods in Havana and although I was a bit anxious about not being able to communicate, I felt welcomed.

The infrastructure is poor, and this is why we decided on a cruise. It is cash only, no US credit cards or ATM cards will work there. All guides on the ground are through a Cuban company and are local Cubans with college degrees. Our guides spoke English, French and German. They were open and enthusiastic about sharing their cities.

I am happy to answer any questions.

Posted by
1265 posts

I've been trying to get my wife to pack lighter for 29 years. I would love to show my wife this post, but I fear for my safety.

Posted by
2124 posts

Thanks for sharing the info re: your ship. I'd read about them, but did not know anyone who had traveled on the ship, so good to hear your first-hand experience. And, everyone who goes to Cuba finds it fascinating, often in ways they did not expect.

Congrats again on your light packing. I have a feeling you have many trips ahead of you, so you'll benefit from your new talent many times!!

Posted by
8 posts

Love the trial run idea to try out packing light. I just did the same with my daughters. We are taking a 15 day trip to Europe next June but just did a 4 day jaunt to NYC with their new travel backpacks. My eldest could enlist a sherpa for a four day trip if given the option. It was great for them to feel the bags on their back and realize what they didn't even wear...Very eye opening! (Ps...went and saw the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular...Very worth the trip if you haven't been!)

Posted by
427 posts

I travel every year from Australia to France and then the UK for 5-6 weeks. My strong preference of airline is Singapore Air and their cabin bag limit is 7kg (plus another bag measuring max. 40x30x10cm). As I don't drive, I'm travelling on trains and buses and it makes sense to have hand luggage only, so I don't take a heavier bag that has to be checked in, though I may check mine in on the no-stopover return journey. As I'm leaving Australia in winter it makes sense to wear my warmest/heaviest clothes to the airport and pack them in later in the journey. All other heavy items go in the 'other' bag - books, phone, spare shoes etc. ( I don't take a computer) - and I sling that bag nonchalantly over my shoulder so that it looks as handbag-like as possible!

Posted by
7 posts

Which RS are you taking in June, is it longer then your nine day cruise? I am also taking my first RS trip in June to Italy for 17 days, 18 counting the flight and overnight in Milan. Are you going to take more clothes if your trip is longer or just do more wash?

Posted by
1516 posts

I am going to Scandinavia in June. Total trip will be 19 days. I am ditching the computer and adding a rain jacket and cardigan or fleece. Wearing ankle boots instead of mary janes. Still just taking one pair of shoes.