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Men’s Travel capsule.

I told my son yesterday (not a small man, wears size 13 shoes ) that we are all taking just a carryon and back pack to Italy for 9 nights. His response was “really”, followed by silence. I told him not to worry, I felt the same way the first time but it’s doable. It’s not just what he takes, it’s how he packs it. All his room is for clothing, as he only can take a quarter size bag. He’s concerned about perspiring, and wanting to clean his clothes.

Anyway, so for you fellow’s, how many pants, shorts, shirts, tees did you take. We are in 3 cities, so I told him he can wear the same item for touring each place. Same dinner outfit each place. Plus a couple extra shirts. My husband dresses up a bit more and differently. He will take a sports jacket jet, my sons won’t.

Posted by
11213 posts

The guy who's name is on this website has a whole primer on packing light:

https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/packing-light

I normally travel for three months with just a carry on and a backpack. I have 3 pants, one pair of gym shorts, 5 shirts, 5 underwear, 5 pair of socks, 1 sweater, 1 jacket. (2 sweaters and a heavier jacket in winter.)

One pair of shoes.

Packing cubes help me pack more efficiently.

Posted by
859 posts

Wow Frank, I’m impressed. However, I don’t think they’ll go quite that light. I told him 2 pairs of shoes. The sneakers he’ll wear on the plane, plus some nicer ones for dinner. A jacket he can wear on the plane. DH has one of those flat shirt packing things he loves.

Posted by
164 posts

I have been packed for a month for our March trip to Greece while my husband has been working on his stamp collection. I always knew that there were men that thought about what to pack, but I've never had the experience of knowing one. Kudos to you.

After 40 years of marriage my only request is that he doesn't look like a hobo. We've had marginal success.

Posted by
1760 posts

Let him take what he wants. Is he incapable of handling his own luggage?

Posted by
1298 posts

I agree with Stephen.
When my adult son travels with me, I tell him how many days between laundry and that's about it. He handles his luggage and what he packs.

Posted by
244 posts

The best packing advice I learned is to pack for one week regardless of duration of your trip. How long is yours? His concern is valid so maybe he needs a few extra t shirts. I would ask him to lay out on the bed or floor what he would take if there were no luggage limit, and then go from there with the parking discussion. Visualizing it still helps me, and would help him as someone new to the capsule/downsizing concept, rather than an ultimatum?.

Posted by
1716 posts

@ musicmoll1

I have been packed for a month for our March trip to Greece while my husband has been working on his stamp collection. I always knew that there were men that thought about what to pack, but I've never had the experience of knowing one. Kudos to you.
After 40 years of marriage my only request is that he doesn't look like a hobo. We've had marginal success.

I am dying with laughter right now.

I pack for my husband. He is far easier to pack for than myself. Your son is a grown man. Give him our suggestions for packing light and then leave it to him. If he overpacks, let him deal with the consequences and don’t help him out. I allowed my daughter to learn from her mistakes from the time she was little.

Posted by
8387 posts

Years ago my husband learned that it wasn't only quantity but what he brought, that it had to be quick drying. Since he's never paid attention to this sort of thing, together we put together a wardrobe of dark solid colored golf pants that could hand wash and quick dry, wicking shirts, synthetic underwear, and thin knit wool sweaters for layering. He sometimes has a sports jacket for nicer restaurants, too, that he'd wear on planes and trains.
Yes, the sweat for the young men can be an issue. Jeans can be an issue, too.

But from how you describe your son, it sounds like he could handle a lot of luggage.

Posted by
6617 posts

Bigger people have bigger clothes, so what works for average folks may not be feasible.

I pack like Frank II. My plan is to pack for one week, and do laundry as often as I need to. One pair of shoes (worn) and no dressing for dinner.

Posted by
226 posts

hehe I support "tell him to pack light and then leave it to him." he will suffer if he packs heavy or not appropriately and learn for all his future trips. clothes can be washed and a t-shirt or underwear bought in an emergency. packing is a bit personal based on needs and problems (sweat too much!) so he needs to figure it out. I refer to Rick's list but pack what i want, as light as it makes sense to.

Posted by
119 posts

OP said a carryon and a backpack. 9 days. I don’t see the problem. I wear a size 14 shoe and I only bring one pair of shoes. Size matters, space matters. Most people here probably don’t carry more than a backpack or some other similar main bag and then a carryon for the plane.
I don’t see the problem. What is the problem as from your son’s point of view?

Posted by
1721 posts

First time we went to Europe with our adult children it was to Greece for 14 nights. We were renting cars for part of the time so luggage size was an issue. Everyone was allowed one carry on suitcase and one day pack. Everyone had including my husband who wears a size 13 shoe had at least two pairs of shoes. We had laundry facilities in 2 out of 4 places and the one hotel we stayed in offered laundry services (10 euros for as much as could cram into the bag they gave you).

I was amazed by how much my kids were able to cram into a suitcase. I did provide a packing list but they all brought more!

Posted by
13526 posts

Tell him to pack appropriately for what ever your plans are. Nothing more, nothing less. I travel to enjoy, not to prove anything. Sure, anyone can travel for 6 months with a 2 kilo underseat bag, a gallon zip lock and 30 detergent strips; but that doesn't fall into the enjoyment category for me. The only thing I will agree on is that you really only need to carry clothes for a week; Europeans do have laundry service.

For me it might fit into a carry-on and a back pack .... then again might not; all depends on the activities and time of year. Budapest in February .... NOT .... between the warmer clothes and the clothes for the theater .... generally not.

Most often my obstacle is the 8kg carry-on limit on the airline I most often fly. If I packed my carry-on to its capacity it would exceed the 8kg; even with the heavy stuff in the weight unrestricted "personal item".

Posted by
13471 posts

I'm with Liz and Stephen, Lulu. While urging him to lean to the light versus heavier side, as long as he can handle his own bag I don't see the problem if it's a size he has to check...although I'd sure stay away from giant 30-inchers! And we both ALWAYS bring two pairs of shoes as our feet tend to do better when rotating them. Yep, both are broken in and can be walked in all day.

As we don't return to the hotel from morning until after the evening meal, unless there is an unavoidable reason for it (and it had better be a good one), outfits just for dinner don't make it into the suitcases. :O)

Posted by
157 posts

Sounds like your son really cares about personal appearance. Have you even begun to mention a limit on his personal care items?

Remind him he is in Italy. He can buy more clothes if his packing was found to lack something. Good Luck. Have fun

Posted by
4249 posts

My husband wears size 14 or 15 shoes. When we used to consolidate our bags, I packed my shoes inside his. Because of the size of his shoes, my husband often brings just one pair of shoes. Your son should be able to pack quite light for 9 nights. We always do rolling carry ons and have been gone almost a month, at times. Key is quick drying clothes including socks and underwear. We've especially appreciated quick drying clothes and socks when we've been caught in the rain. We did not feel the need to pack "dinner outfits" for Italy. Usually a clean shirt (not a tshirt) was fine for a guy. My husband makes good use of "convertible pants" (zip off legs into shorts). The navy convertible pants he has look dressier than say an olive. Not to be too gross, but no one sweats more than my husband. He just does a quick rinse of his clothes, sometimes while in the shower. He just uses body soap or shampoo.

Posted by
1757 posts

My suggestion - give everyone a sample packing list. If your son can carry his own luggage, no problem. Packing light is a process.

Posted by
97 posts

Lulu, I agree with others who have advised you to let your adult son pack for himself and manage his own luggage. Do tell him the number of days you’ll be traveling and your best guess for the weather (Italy in March is different than Italy in August). It may also be helpful to let him know if you are doing any activities that require special clothing, like a swimsuit, hiking boots, warm gloves, etc. (I’m assuming you are doing the planning!) If you are feeling especially helpful, give him a sample packing list and/or buy him some packing cubes. Then leave it up to him!

Posted by
159 posts

Lulu, I have a 6'3" 17 year old son myself. Thankfully he's pretty low maintenance. I do understand all the advice about having him learn this life skill while he's young.

That said, I also understand that, if this is his first major trip as a young adult, it might not be practical for him to wing it with no assistance right out of the gate. For me, at least, paying the consequences of poor packing while abroad doesn't quite seem worth being rigid about a life lesson. Seems there's a middle ground? I like the idea of having him lay out everything he wants to bring then paring down.

If he's like my kids, all you have to do is keep suggesting he needs dozens of odd things and bringing him stacks of clothes and he will say how silly that is and assert his independence, lol!

Posted by
3680 posts

Where are you going to be in Italy and on exactly what days? The weather in each of those places should be a big determining factor in what you pack and how much any of you might sweat.

Needless to say, if you're going during hot weather, and your lodgings aren't air conditioned, that could also affect how many times a garment can be worn before it's washed.

To get more detailed weather information than averages use Timeanddate.com: https://www.timeanddate.com/

You can find historical data for the locations you're visiting on the exact days you will be there for several years. That will provide a better understanding of what to expect.

When it gets close to your departure date, you can get the weather forecasts for where you will be. That could result in some tweaking of the packing.

Nine nights is really a very short time, and the "pack for a week" plan will work well with it. You may be able to do sink laundry, DIY at a laundromat or have it done for you by the hotel or a laundromat only once on the trip. Quick-drying clothing will make that easier. Jeans take too long to dry so sink washing is not an option if the sons insist on taking them.

I just gotta ask, what's a "quarter size bag"?

Oh, and be mindful that males must dress respectfully in churches just like females.

•Men should expect to wear pants to enter most major churches.

•Short or long sleeve shirts are fine.

•NO tank tops.

Posted by
128 posts

My husband packs everything into a RS backpack. He has a separate kit for chargers and small electronics that go in the outside pouch 6 x 8 in size. For clothes he takes 1 fleece jacket, 2 pair of neutral colored long pants, 3 long sleeve shirts, lightweight, 4-5 pair socks, 6 pairs underwear, 1 undershirt, 1 pair of Rockport walking shoes that he wore on the plane and 1 pair Ecco hiking sandals. Rounding it out he took swimming trunks and a shaving kit. Miscellaneous items included a dry bag and clothesline. On one trip he actually got a tuxedo into this backpack for a black tie affair. For that trip he also had a smaller carryon bag for the electronics and the black dress shoes. Normally, we don’t do things requiring dressy clothes though.