I did it - one suitcase!!!

Just wanted to check back in on the Packing board & let everyone know that...I DID IT! All my clothes & stuff for two weeks fit in one carry on suitcase (and my tote bag) and it weighs just under 22lbs. Yay me! Thanks for all the suggestions on how to pack light. Here's what I'm taking...

3 pairs of capris
1 pair of black dress pants
1 pair of jeans
7 tops that coordinate with all my bottoms
2 dresses (for special dinners out with my honey - its our 40th anniversary trip)
1 sweater
Rain jacket & umbrella
2 pair of shoes
7 pairs of undies & an extra bra
Sleepwear
Personals & Medications
Additional items in my tote bag - iPad, iPhone, reading material, RS London guidebook, snacks, empty water bottle...you get the idea.

DH will be checking a bag & I've stowed a few things in there too (including my RS Paris guidebook).
I am so looking forward to this trip to London & Paris. The wait is almost over...
Europe here we come!!!

Posted by Grier
Carmel, IN
1167 posts

Congratulations! Happy Anniversary! Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
12226 posts

Still think that is too much - BUT - make a complete list of everything you took. On the way home, when bored on the airplane, evaluate each item on the list as the number of times worn, how it performed, AND whether or not it should go on the next trip. Add anything you think you should have had, what would have worked better, etc., Save that list and the evaluation. That is the first thing you should consult for the next trip. I am willing to bet that there will be three or four items from the above list that will be dropped for the next trip.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
10880 posts

Congratulations - I know it has been hard.

Well done....

Posted by Sarah
St. Louis, MO USA
1571 posts

Once you travel like that, you'll probably never overpack again! When you return, please post your trip report and tell us how you fared. Have a fun and safe trip!

Posted by Kristen
Chicago
516 posts

Wonderful! Happy anniversary and have a great trip. I look forward to reading your trip report!

Posted by Leigh
Missouri
383 posts

Congratulations! You will love having less to cart around, and now you will take even less next time. At least that's the way it worked for me! Happy Anniversary and have a wonderful trip.

Posted by Pam
Troy, Idaho, USA
1296 posts

That is wonderful! I agree with doing a post mortem on your wardrobe on the way back. In my journal I usually list what I wore each day so I can remember once I start looking at what I can change for next time.

My guess is also that you will find you can cut down. With 2 dresses, I will bet you don't need the dress pants or keep the dress pants and take out one of the dresses. I'll also bet you can chuck one of the capris. Does this include your transit clothes or are those on top of what you have listed? Hopefully you are wearing the jeans and sweater on the plane. Does the sweater go with both dresses as well? If not, I would probably consider adding a sweater.

I hope you will come back and say what worked for you! It is always a learning process everytime you pack and travel.

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
2327 posts

Diana,

congrats.

i think once you get back and if you think about what you packed, you may realize you can do without or with less.

but have a great trip.

happy trails.

Posted by Cindy H
San Jose
119 posts

Congratulations on achieving your goal.

I think you'll find that you still packed slightly heavy and that you could do with less clothes. I bet you can get it under 20 pounds if you get rid of a capri and 2 tops. I also hope that this includes what you are wearing on the plane. I'm going to bet that you'll come back thinking that jeans are a bad choice for summer (hot, heavy). To sum it up, I would personally take 3 pairs of pants max (1 worn on plane), 5 tops and 2 dresses. Hopefully one of the dresses is a day dress that you can wear touring when it gets hot out.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2911 posts

You will be so happy that you only have one suitcase to deal with...Just watch some of the other travelers struggling with all their bags...then take a look at them...do they look any nicer than you do???? Chances are you will lighten your load even more next trip, but this is a great step towards making your trip a little easier....Plus, you will have plenty of choices on what to wear...Have a wonderful trip.

Posted by jenandvic
21 posts

Have a great trip. Happy Anniversary!! Thank you for the motivation. My husband and I are taking our 10 and 13 year old kids to France, Italy and Spain this summer for a month. We are each taking a European size carry on and using packing cubes. I plan on taking about the same number of items! Wish me luck.

Posted by Sylvie
9 posts

Diana;
I am the queen of over packing. This time around I will be going as the queen of under packing as per RS suggestion.
We are going to Italy and France for two weeks, each one of us with a carry on, woohoo!!! Even my twelve year old is giving me the thumbs up!
Two things I am not leaving behind are my RS Italy and Paris books!!!

Happy anniversary!

Posted by Rebecca
Nashville, TN, USA
956 posts

Once you travel light, you'll never go back to carrying five times more stuff than you need. Congratulations from all of us here who travel with one bag.

What works for me personally is "the rule of 3"; that is 3 tops, 3 bottoms, counting the outfit I wear on the plane as one of the outfits. This translates to 2 nice T-shirts and 2 pants in my carry-on bag. I wear a rain jacket with a hood onto the plane, so I don't have to pack it. No umbrella; I rely on the hood on my rain jacket. If I will have a dressy occasion, I slip in a black lightweight knit dress, scarf, and ballet flats. (And that knocks out one of the Tshirt/pants outfits.) Every trip, I take less. Have a great trip! And Happy Anniversary!

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7738 posts

Not to discourage you but it won't be long until you look at your list and think, "I traveled with all that?"

I generally cut it to 3 pants, five tops (mix of button-up, polo or t-shirts), 1 or 2 light sweaters (depends on the season), rain shell, 2 pairs of shoes, 3 pairs underwear and socks (I hand wash a pair of each daily in my room), a pair of warm up bottoms (for pjs, really casual, or laundry days), shave kit in two quart zip locks (one for wets, one for drys).

Extra stuff: Ipod touch (travel alarm, music, WiFi internet, email, Skype, reservation and lodging information spreadsheet), cell phone (travel phone originally purchased in Europe, I pick up a SIM card locally), travel guide(s), picnic gear (plastic fork, napkin, and Swiss Army Knife purchased first thing in Europe), and money belt or neck wallet. Maybe a few other odds and ends. I carry a Civita bag but only when I'm using my carry-on.

When I'm done I still have a third of my carry-on bag empty - which is good because loads always expand on the road. I can use the extra space for trip specific stuff if I need to.

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
2496 posts

Anyone can do it on one bag. I recently returned and didn't even use half the items I took.

We always get khaki pants and jeans starched heavily before leaving at the laundry, and I wore the jeans for another week after returning home--still looking great. I know my wife gets tired of seeing me in the same shirt for 4 days at a time, but she's not complaining.

Posted by Edgar
Medford, OR, USA
1053 posts

David's "Anyone can do it on one bag" only applies to regular tourist. Adventure travelers carrying special items that must be checked are an exception to that statement. Skis and bikes are common items that must ride in the cargo hold because of size. Ski and trekking poles, ice axes and a number of other sports items are considered terrorist weapons and must also ride in the hold.

Posted by debbiesue22006
43 posts

Diana,
Have a great time, but leave your jeans at home. I did 2 weeks in London and Paris a couple of summers ago and took jeans, but I never wore them because they were way too hot!

Yay for your anniversary abroad!
Debbie

Posted by Terri Lynn
Nashville, TN, USA
343 posts

I hope you have a great trip! Our family never travels light and only stay at luxury hotels where the staff tends our luggage. You certainly sound like you packed what you need. Happy anniversary to the two of you.

Posted by Ginger
TX
210 posts

I find it difficult when you're in one area where it's hot, and then moving on to somewhere else that's cold.

We are using two bags for 3 people, and will be checking them because they're too big for carryon, 24".

Posted by Diana
Michigan, United States
252 posts

Wore my jeans on the plane both ways & also once in Paris since it was chilly & rainy while we were there. The only thing I didn't wear was one of the 2 dresses I packed so for next time, I would only pack 1 dress instead of 2. I did laundry once, in Paris because the apt had a washer/dryer combo. In London it was only a washing machine, no dryer. I had to use Google Translate to figure out how to use the thing too! LOL

Posted by J.
Omaha, NE
120 posts

Congratulations, Diana! I remember my first trip overseas and how excited I was to fit everything into a carryon size suitcase. I even did a "test pack" a few weeks before! :)

I am now preparing for my second trip overseas, but this time with potentially colder weather, so I'm starting planning early (hence why I'm currently on this board).

Posted by Sarah
St. Louis, MO USA
1571 posts

Yes, congratulations! You'll never overpack again, now that you've experienced the ease of packing just right! :)