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Impossible packing!!!

Hi everyone. I'm new to the forum and sure hoping some of you more experienced travelers can help. I am traveling to Europe for the first time from May 24th through June 7th and really need to pack light. We'll be traveling by train and visiting Paris for a few days followed by 4 days in the Bernese Oberland and then to Lugano for the last leg of the trip. Looking at the weather, it will be warm in Lugano and Paris but cold and probably wet in the Alps. I have no idea how to pack all that I'll need in a carry on. My hiking boots alone take up 20% of my bag. And I sure don't want to wear them on the 8 hour plane ride over. I want to look stylish in Paris and be warm in the alps. We will be hiking a good deal in Switzerland. Has anyone, especially you ladies, dealt with this issue successfully?

Posted by
32231 posts

joly,

Unless you're going to do a lot of heavy-duty hiking, I doubt that you'll need hiking boots. I manage quite well with a robust pair of outdoor shoes, which are used both for walking in cities as well as light hiking.

If you take lighter clothes which can be used for layering as well as some light rain gear, that should suffice. I'm sure the others will be able to provide more suggestions.

Posted by
3972 posts

No matter where we are going, I wear my bulkiest pair of shoes (never felt the need for actual hiking boots) onto the plane and then pull out my flip flops or a warm pair of socks for the overnight flight. I don't care how odd I look at LAX.

Posted by
2768 posts

Wear the boots on the plane, if you need huge boots in the first place. That really depends on your hiking plans, but sometimes a more modest-size outdoor shoe will work. If the boots are needed, wear them on the plane. If necessary slip a pair of fold-up ballet flats or flip-flops into your underseat bag so you can wear these when walking around the plane and while sitting in your seat.

OR use your hiking boots in your suitcase strategically. Fill them with your socks, or other small items in ziplock bags to keep them clean, so that that 20% isn't totally wasted space.

Think in layers - a cute t-shirt in Paris is an under-layer in the Alps. Some pants can be dressed up for the city but are functional for hiking. Or a basic hiking top can be dressed up with a necklace or scarf and better shoes. You will need to have mostly pieces that can be used both for city sightseeing and for hiking - it's a tricky balance but it can be done. Layers (for the colder climates) and accessories (to make hiking wear fashionable) are your friend.

Finally, there is nothing wrong with checking a bag. Don't fall into the trap of lugging a ton of stuff, but one roller bag that is slightly larger than carry-on limits isn't the end of the world. Not a huge 30 inch monster bag, mind you - just a 24 or something.

Posted by
2393 posts

Think multi-purpose and layers. Pick a color scheme and take only clothes that fit in it.

There are a couple of great links to what is being worn in Paris right now - all pretty casual. Check it out - no reason you can't hike in the same trendy grey jeans for Paris. Seems to be fairly simple with an added splash of bold color.

You do not need a separate outfit for every day - no one will care what you are wearing.

2 pr jeans
1 pr slacks - or yoga type pants or leggings
2 - 3 short sleeve shirts
2 - 3 long sleeve shirts that can be worn over the short sleeves
1 sweater
1 jacket

1 pr shoes for city wear and your hiking boots.

Posted by
5837 posts

I wear my hiking boots and jackets. (Plural on winter travel jackets, a fleece insulation layer plus wind/rain shell). Key to traveling light winter or summer is layers. Just keep adding layers for cold/wet conditions, shedding layers for warm/dry conditions. Extra clothing is wear one plus two extra in the pack (one washed and drying, the other in case its humid and dying takes more than a day). Extra socks for heavy rain days don't take up much space when you stuff them into your trainers.

If you don't want to wear your boots in the plane, take them off and wear your shower slippers in the cabin. (Shower slippers are handy for trekking to saunas etc) and don't take much space or add much weight.

Re "looks". When traveling, form follows function.

Posted by
2393 posts

If you wear the boots you can then tie your hiking boots to your bag when traveling around if they do not fit in the bag.

Posted by
16507 posts

Our trips almost always include a range of activities from hiking in the Alps or Dolomites to opera. I take my hiking boots as we do moderate to strenuous hikes. As they are ladies' size 6, they fit in the bottom of my hiking daypack, which I take on the plane as my "personal item." That was before British Airways started limiting the size of the personal item. Now I still take the backpack with boots inside, but check my roller bag.

Posted by
7365 posts

We had a similar packing challenge two years ago - Bernese Oberland in Switzerland, ending in Rome. Cold & wet forecast for Switzerland and hot in Italy.
I packed:
Shoes: Black Rose-style Keens & flats (the sole of the Keens was fine for mountain hiking)
Black Columbia rain jacket
Black lightweight formal cardigan
2 dresses
2 pair of black nice pants
2 pairs of capris: brown, black
4 colorful blouses, 1 black micro-thermal top, 1 maroon micro-thermal top
2 scarves & nicer earrings to dress up for evening
2 pairs of tights; black trouser socks

In Switzerland, I wore tights & trouser socks under my black pants, a micro-thermal under the long-sleeve T-shirt and rain jacket. On the coldest day, I also layered the cardigan under the coat. Throughout Italy, I was wearing the capris & dresses during the day; long pants & micro-top or blouse with a scarf for evening meals & strolls.

Posted by
1194 posts

Hiking boots are for carrying heavy loads across unstable terrain. You will not be carrying a heavy load (day hike only) nor will the trails be unstable. Hence, you do NOT need hiking boots. What you DO need is shoes with a decent tread (good traction) and a way for them to stay firmly attached to your feet. Many good looking shoes fall into this category. In fact, they will be good looking enough to wear in Paris. I have some Merrells and some Arcopedico that fall into this territory. They are either waterproof or water resistant. I hike in them all the time. These are the shoes I wear on the plane. They look great.
The other mistake is thinking you need different types of clothing for different places on your trip. You don't. Think layers. A tee with pants when it is hot. Add a sweater as it cools down. Add in a light base layer as it gets colder. Top it off with an unlined waterproof jacket to seal in the heat.
I take temperature extender prices to beef up my regular clothing:

  • silk long underwear top. Mine is scoop neck 3/4 sleeve so I can wear it under street clothes. I bought mine at Wintesilks. It is nice for sleeping in. Put in zip loc for day hike
  • Leggings. Great with a dress, works as an insulating layer under pants, nice to sleep in when it is cold. Put unzip loc for day hike
  • A good sweater that is synthetic or wool. Cotton is bad when it gets wet.
  • An unlined waterproof jacket
  • A light hat
  • Thin gloves
  • A thin cami or tank for extra thermal protection.
  • in fall or winter I'll bring my nano puff jacket

I usually take my nice walking shoes and one pair a ballet flats or sandals. That's the only shoes I need.

Posted by
4 posts

I am faced with the same dilemma as we are going on a 3 week trip to the Berner Oberland, Paris, London, and Iceland with a lot of hiking and city walking. I am also a runner and hope to get a few runs in as well. My current plan is to only take a medium sized cross-body purse and a 30L backpack bag (with a cargo net on the outside if my purchases get out of control! I am taking 3 pairs of pretty minimal active shoes that can double as comfortable city walking shoes: a pair of Vivobarefoot Gobi Hi Top that I can dress up in the city but use for ankle support in the mountains, a pair of sport ballet flats (in silver!) from Soft Star Shoes and a pair of minimalist sneakers for running and walking (also from Vivobarefoot). Planning on wearing the boots on the plane, but they squish down to almost nothing. Barefoot shoes take a bit of getting used to, but they are great if your feet are strong enough. The Soft Star are probably the most comfortable somewhat dressy shoe I've ever had. I am going pretty minimal on my clothing and relying on layering and things doing double duty like many of the other responders:

  • REI breathable raincoat with pit zips and hood (pretty big!)
  • Mountain hardware Ghost Whisperer packable down jacket (tiny)
  • Small form fitting hat
  • Glove liners
  • Navy long merino V-neck cardigan
  • Black/charcoal Pez long merino sweater (zip up hoody) for extra warm/urban coat
  • Gray cashmere sweater
  • Tissue weight dressy merino cardigan (may leave at home, still debating)
  • White reversible tank (V-neck and scoop neck)
  • Gray-purple metallic performance fabric tank (can dress up or wear running)
  • Gray tank dress and extender/slip
  • 3 Merino T-shirts (gray, navy, and patterned that can be dressed up or down, also used for sleeping)
  • Pair of skinny grey pants that are stretchy enough for light hiking and look good in the city
  • Navy Athleta skort for running and dressing up a bit
  • Light tan Arcteryx skort
  • Olive Ex Officio convertible skirt (pulls down to below knee length if modesty needed for cathedrals)
  • 2 large scarves for dress up (blue patterned and silvery/white)
  • Buff
  • Mammut water resistant hiking pants (maybe, still debating)
  • Two pairs of warm merino tights (navy and grey) for warmth with skirts and layering under pants if really cold
  • Bikini (with supportive top to double as sports bra perhaps?)
  • 4 pairs of underwear
  • 2 merino bralettes
  • Merino boy shorts for sleeping
  • 3 pairs of socks (1 short running, two long hiking/mulitpurpose)

If I take out what I am wearing on travel day and the Pez Long Sweater as a travel coat, it all fits using packing cubes (including the coats and shoes) in 30 L with plenty of room for a picnic kit, first aid/hiking/running kit, large linen towel, laundry supplies, packable day pack, cosmetic/dry toiletry kit, and water bottle.

The cross body purse will have my 3-1-1 bag, iPad Mini, phone, phone camera lenses, portable shopping bag, journal, passport, pens, and chargers/electronic doo-dads.

For warmth, forget packing a bulky coat and sweaters. Instead, wear a zip-up fleece jacket or vest and a very good quality rain coat with a hood that packs up into its own pouch. No cheapie rain ponchos. You can wear both layers for warmth, have flexibility, and these items pack flat. You can check out Bass-Pro online for very good raincoats or ideas.

Posted by
11 posts

Wow! Thank you everyone for the excellent ideas and suggestions, especially the packing lists from you ladies. I have thought about leaving the hiking boots at home and taking my lighter and smaller trail running shoes, but they are not very waterproof and when I look at the weather forecast for the Murren area for the next couple of weeks, it is raining every day and very cold. Hopefully it will warm up, but the rain seems like a daily occurrence there this time of year and I am sure the trails will be quite muddy and slick. I feel like my boots will be needed for support and traction. And they are water resistant so will keep my feet dryer if we end up hiking in the rain. That being said, I think I'm going to try and take them, even if I have to leave out something else

That being said… Here is my list so far, not including toiletries.

Black leather motorcycle jacket (will wear on plane)
Waterproof rain jacket with hood
Black cardigan sweater
1 pair Black leggings
One pair of skinny jeans
One pair light weight stretchy black ankle pants
Medium weight running tights (for hiking)
black yoga pants from betabrand
Short-sleeved white T-shirt
Short sleeve black T-shirt
Two black tanks
One long sleeve black T-shirt
One long sleeve Silk base layer shirt
One short sleeve tunic
One blouse
Three assorted scarves
One stretchy travel skort from Betabrand
One dress that can be casual or nice for dinner
Hiking boots
Converse low tops
sketchers go walks
Tieks ballet flats
Running shoes
Hat

And of course I have no idea if all of this will fit in my suitcase yet. I am going to practice tomorrow and see if I can get it all to fit comfortably, and if not I will have to start scaling back . I probably should get rid of one pair of shoes… But the ballet flats don't take up much room. And I will wear the sketchers or converse on the plane.

This is way harder than I thought it was going to be when I first started planning this trip. :)

Thanks again everyone for the great suggestions and feedback.

Try to trim down your list. You are heavy on the footwear. Even cut back to 1-2 scarves. I would leave the leather motorcycle jacket at home as well. Wear the black cardigan on the plane instead. Think multifunctional clothing items.

Posted by
94 posts

Parisians are no longer stylish. Get that outta your head. You will be grouped in the tourist category no matter what - along with Germans, Japanese - and they all wear goofy and/or outdoor stuff. You won't fool anyone tripping along in your ballet flats and scarf for miles on the Champs Elysees. Took me a few trips to figure this one out. Tromp along in your hiking boots or whatever is comfortable. Definitely wear those big shoes on the plane. Wear the same clothes every day for a week in colors that mix and match. Wash and wear them the next week. No one will care or notice. I know, sad but true. Fashion is frivolous. I liked the Under Armour tees, a thin black fleece for layering, and a waterproof-gortex type jacket for cold and wind/hiking. Enjoy the freedom of minimalism. I'll bet you're cute as a bug no matter what you've got on.

Posted by
201 posts

In the interest of packing light, it is advantageous to have the 'packing for the best case' mindset. It helps to realize you won't need to be capable of handling every -- single -- possible circumstance, weather or otherwise. Be cognizant of how easy, or hard, it is to both be in transit and living out of whatever you call a suitcase. Be vigilant of the individual weight of items, do not talk yourself into items/outfits that have any 'issues' (don't really love, limited interchangeability, kinda sorta not totally right and, gasp, heavy). There's a LOT to be said for being simple in your needs. I am not the most well-traveled but I did quickly convert to packing less and less and being pleased with myself and never in a bind I couldn't pretty easily make work out. I would definitely have a pair of flip flops for use in hotel rooms/bathroom. Since that is technically another pair of footwear, if it were me, I would cut out a different pair of shoes you've listed. Either way, when you take the time to lay out all you wish to take, pack all into your personal bag and your carry on (include absolutely everything; toiletries, electronics, etc., etc.) you will then be able to best assess if you've overdone it. Regardless of how many stops, how many plane rides, how far distances are from spot to spot, you will be your best assessor of whether it is to your liking/capability. Layers are totally the way to go and be sensitive that any wardrobe, limited or not, is going to feel repetitive and 'nice' stuff doesn't have the same thrill after day 8, 9 or 10 or when you've cursed the weight of your bag(s) for the very last time. Have a fantastic first European trip and best wishes it will not certainly be your only and last!

Posted by
8980 posts

Wow, you have 5 pairs of shoes. That is 3 too many. Good pair of sneakers/running shoes and ballet flats if you think you will be dressing up a lot. Otherwise, I would bring 2 pair of sneakers/running shoes so if one pair get wet you can switch.
A leather coat is a bit heavy too. Replace it with something lighter and you will be thankful for the extra space and less weight.

Posted by
2635 posts

I'd take a lot of things off your list but the thing that merits the most attention is the shoe count. Way too many. I bring two identical pairs of Merrill mesh walking shoes on most trips...one off white and one black. They do light hiking, the walk 15 miles a day. They're sort of cute with a skirt. That's it. Sometimes I throw in a pair of $5 flip flops from the grocery store.

Posted by
11613 posts

Five pairs of shoes? Cut two of them. Keep the ballet flats, wear the boots, pick one other pair to pack. Still a lot, but I can see you are attached to the shoe wardrobe.

Posted by
11 posts

Yes it's not the clothes.. It's the shoes!! You are so right. I need to cut back there... Sadly I'd also really like to take my ankle boots and a pair of sandals but I know that's not happening. :( The ballet flats are for going out to dinners. They are very comfy and very small. They can even easily fit in my purse so those will stay. And my hiking boots are a necessity.. Muddy wet trails and all, so those stay. So.., then either the converse or the sketchers. Really hard to call that one. I'll have to think on it.

Posted by
1194 posts

Joly,
I hate to be harsh, but you are taking way too much stuff. Not just the shoes (eek) but clothes too.

If there were more time I'd advise you to get some waterproof shoes from Zappos. Hiking boots are a big mistake. You don't need ankle support unless you are carrying a heavy load. (With heavy loads your foot slams down harder, hence the need for support). Do you realize that most AT and PCT hikers hike with running shoes? Even in the rain and snow. You are day hiking, not backpacking. You will go back to a warm place where you can wash and dry out your shoes each night if needed. You can switch out your socks and put on another pair of dry shoes. Who cares if your feet get a little wet during the day? You are going back to dry shoes each night. Just make sure you wear wool socks. Really. I hiked that whole area in low cut Merrells.

I see you trying to justify taking too much. That's a problem. Instead of asking yourself "will I need this?" ask yourself "what bad thing will happen if I don't have this?" If you can't think of anything then leave it home.

On clothing: 2 pairs pants, 4 shirts, a skirt, a dress, 1 or 2 sweaters, a raincoat, 1-2 scarves.
You can run in your leggings and ankle socks. Leave the running tights at home.
Leave the motorcycle jacket at home if it will be hot.

Both the motorcycle jacket and the hiking boots are huge and heavy.

My pick on shoes is the running shoes, the Sketchers, and the ballet flats.

Posted by
19119 posts

Learn to pack in layers to stay warm (that's what skiers do). In the summer I wear slacks and knit, golf style shirts. I also take a lightweight summer jacket, and I pack a sweater. If it's really warm the jacket goes in my bag. If it's really cool, I wear the sweater under the jacket. When I go in colder weather, I take a ski parka instead of the lightweight jacket, and I pack the same sweater. When I went over New Years, I also packed long underwear.

As for shoes, I'm not sure what to tell ;you. In summer I wear a pair of good walking shoes; in winter I wear hiking boots. Once, again over New Years, when the lodge was having a formal dinner on New Years Eve, I packed a pair of dress shoes along with wearing the hiking boots, but that is the only time I've ever packed shoes to Europe.

I can understand being warm in the Alps, but stylish in Paris? You're the guest. Dress as you like. They're the ones who have to look stylish. The'll take your money even if you don't look stylish.

Posted by
10255 posts

As Cindy H said, the running shoes, not hiking boots. The only place you really need high-tops is the rocky terrain of Provence. But I would advise bringing at least one pole. And leave the leather jacket in favor of a wool sweater or fleece that can go under a windbreaker. Finally, Paris in May/June can be hot, warm, cool, or cold. We've hit it all. No guarantees.

Posted by
301 posts

I had a similar itinerary (not so much hiking, but rugged terrain in Iceland and Norway) last summer. It took me weeks to pack, but I think I got it more or less right.

I understand wanting to be stylish in Paris. I felt the same, but you need to ask yourself to what purpose. Do you want to be stylish in order to look like a Parisienne (not going to happen, even if you speak flawless French) or do you want to be stylish to please yourself. If it's the former, you can ruthlessly purge your list. If it's the latter, you can be a bit more selective, but still cut some stuff out. I'd say think "simple" and "put together" and you won't get any odd looks. You will do more than fine in Paris with the stretch pants, skinny jeans, and a single dress or skirt (and a top or two, of course).

Do you need the leggings AND the yoga pants AND the stretch pants? If the leggings are primarily meant to be an underlayer, and perhaps PJs, consider substituting with a pair of cheap footless tights for Target. They weigh much less and serve the same purpose.

With the caveat that I'm not a hiking expert, I'd second ditching the boots. I would think a shoe with enough support and tread to be a dedicated running shoe will be fine.

The Sketchers and the Converse fall into the same cute, casual, and comfortable niche; get rid of one of them.

Also, your list doesn't include bras, socks, panties, etc. They can be stuffed into shoes, but definitely add to the weight.

Good luck! Paring down the shoes in the hardest part!
Caroline

Posted by
188 posts

In 2014 we took a month long trip to Great Britain and Ireland in May-June which included lots of rainy cool days. We did a 9-day hiking trip in Ireland. I took low-cut waterproof Merrell hiking boots, waterproof walking shoes for city walking and my running shoes because I always take running shoes! I used all three and was so glad to have waterproof shoes and boots. I cut back on clothes and take items that can be worn many ways but I want dry shoes and happy feet. I packed in a 22" Travelpro wheeled bag and Tom Bihn Synapse 19 backpack that I used hiking. Carry-on only and it worked for me.

Posted by
715 posts

I count 5 separate things to wear on you feet. I would reduce that to two. As others have posted think in layers. A heavy leather motorcycle jacket? Really?

Posted by
5697 posts

How many times will you be moving between cities? It's not just the plane ride over and back, but wrestling your bags and coats and other stuff on and off subways/busses/trains and up and down hotel stairs. And every move seems to get worse.

Posted by
2528 posts

Advice: ditch the hiking boots and use layers of lighter clothes to manage temperature requirements. Have a great trip and please report back with your post-trip thoughts.

Posted by
14580 posts

Hi,

You're going over the same time period when I go over, ie, ca. end of May/June. I don't pack light, say for a month's trip but in your case, you have too much for a two week trip. Bring only two pairs of shoes. Weed out a lot of the rest. Be advised that you cannot rely on finding an elevator at the train station (out of order, etc). Plus, you have to get that luggage on and off the train without holding up everyone else. You have to carry that luggage up and down the stairs usually full of people. Bottom line here...you don't want to be encumbered with luggage esp in Paris.

Posted by
7365 posts

Ditto on the bike jacket, three extra pairs of shoes, and the jogging pants. If it helps, think about how you want some room left in your suitcase to bring home some nice souvenirs since it's your first time to Europe. What would you be willing to eliminate to be able to bring something home?

Enjoy your trip, coming soon!

Posted by
11 posts

Hi everyone! Wow so many responses. Thanks so much. OK… According to the majority of you, I should not take my hiking boots, and instead take my lighter weight trail running shoes. After thinking it over, I am in agreement. They will take up less room and they weigh less. I think they should be OK as long as I don't get on any really rough trails.

I'm also going to ditch the motorcycle jacket, as much as I hate to. It's pretty much a staple in my wardrobe and looks cute with all my clothes. BUT... In reality, it's definitely too big for my suitcase which means I would have to wear it or carry it the entire time. So that's out.

I'm going to scale down the pants as well and take only three pairs: jeans, black ankle pants and either the leggings or the yoga pants.

Now… That leaves the hardest choice of all… Which of the other pair of shoes to eliminate. I WANT to take my converse, as they go great with almost all of my outfits. BUT... The sketchers are definitely more comfortable for walking, even if they are absolutely anti-fashion. :( What I may do, is leave the converse out until the very last. If there is any room to spare, I'll take them, if not I'll ditch them. Or I could possibly let those be the plane shoes. The sketchers weigh almost nothing and smoosh up fairly small.. The ballet flat are a must but they fold up and are very small and can even fit in my purse.

Posted by
524 posts

I took 4 pairs of shoes for 10 days and am glad I did, one I wore on the plain. One black high peep toed wedge for evenings, and 2 walking sandals I switched back and forth deoending on what I was wearing. One water shoe for the ocean. I took tons of clothes it seemed, rolled very tightly.m I think I counted 19 items and I wore all of them. I don't like to look the same all the time. It's, hat, big rollers, curling iron, just tons it seemed in the 20 inch RS bag and the veloce bag. I used that as a foot rest on the plane.

Leave the jacket, you will tire of lugging it around. Leave behind one shoe and one scarf. Wear one on the plane and pave the other. Roll your underwear small and stick them in your shoes.

Worse comes to worse, don't worry about carrying it on.

Posted by
14098 posts

Please go with the comfortable shoes! Even if the Converse are cute, if they are not comfortable they have not earned a place on the travel team! There is nothing worse than trying to sightsee thru blisters or hurting feet.

Posted by
541 posts

I would definitely skip the hiking boots. I have hiked in the Alps and also the cobblestones in Salomon XA Pro 3D waterproof tennies. I love, love, love them and they have the pull style laces that are super convenient. There are bright colors and plain colors too. Here's a link, but you can look for sales at places like 6pm.com or Sierratradingpost.com for better prices http://www.amazon.com/Salomon-XA-3D-CS-WP/dp/B00GHTOZ7C/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1463453787&sr=8-8&keywords=salomon+xa+pro+3d+ultra+2
I have always worn them out-of-the box with no break-in required.

You will not be unhappy that you packed light, believe me. Just wear layers and like other posters have said - cashmere and merino wool are light and warm and stylish. Buy those stylish scarves in Europe - good souvenir too! Have a great trip!

Posted by
524 posts

Take your converse if you love them, but only if you are planning to wear them on days you don't walk a lot, or in the evenings. I can't stress enough how important comfy sandals and shoes are after 5 to 10 miles of walking each day. I was bummed that my favorite expensive walking sandal turned out to be not near as comfy as my unfashionable Clark sandal. I think the best walking shoes are those with the thickest soles. Next time I will try to find those Clarks in black.

Posted by
61 posts

I went to Vienna then joined the RS tour group for Prague and Budapest last fall. I only took one pair of shoes: a dark brown suede and cloth pair of New Balance Hiking Shoes (black just looked too orthopedic to me!). Prior to the trip, I sprayed them liberally several times with Kiwi Protect All and survived the rain in both Prague and Budapest with dry feet. I took 2 pairs of pants, a black ExOfficio Fly Q trench coat with multiple pockets (highly recommend!), 2 pairs of smart wool socks, 3 tee shirts (1 merino wool, 2 synthetic ), 2 long sleeved shirts (1 buttoned), a wool pullover sweater, a gown/5 underpants/2 bras/swimsuit for Budapest baths, and 3 scarves. The hiking shoes took me to 2 concentration camps, including one with a hike down a hill to a quarry. In 2014, I went on the RS Venice/Forence/Rome trip and took Dansko ankle boots and Sketchers (already broken in--important!) and a few more items of clothes. For the next trip, I wanted more foot comfort and got the New Balance. My next trip will have even less. Other people do not notice what you're wearing, esp if it's subtle and not garish. I agree with the layered approach: in Prague it was much colder than expected and I rotated the shirts and sweater, wearing a different one on top each day. I don't travel with jeans for the usual reasons, just 2 pairs of technical pants. In Europe, there are often towel warmers that can dry your clothes fast, and I've found an inflatable hanger to be better than the rubber clothes line. I had a small travel umbrella that was most handy. Have a great time and you will learn your travel wardrobe style vs. packing weight restrictions.