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Packing Experience

It is entirely possible I spent too much time on the packing forum prior to our trip. That said, without this lovely forum I would have never felt confident enough to venture into the carry-on only club. We spent 14 nights in the UK with only a carry-on sized roller bag and Vera Bradley tote for me and tactical backpack and sports backpack for husband.
Our driver who met us at Heathrow couldn’t believe that what we had was the total of our luggage. He claimed my bag would have been his wife’s shoe bag!
With deep thanks for all of the posts and advice and experiences shared before I left, I would like to return the favor by sharing my experiences.

Money belt or not: Before reading all of the posts on waist belts versus neck wallets it had honestly not occurred to me to worry about this. Full disclosure, I lived and worked in a major city for 16 years and routinely travel around the country to large cities for work. I say this because it has probably made me more comfortable in areas where I may be a target (believe me, I look like a tourist/I don’t know where I’m going no matter how many times I travel to NYC). I wore a small Vera Bradley cross-body bag and husband had a small wallet in his front pocket. We each had a credit card and small stash of cash. We did not carry our passports (except at the end of the trip, when I forgot to put them back in the bigger bag). Yes, we were in high-traffic touristy areas, on public transit, and looked like tourists. We had no troubles. To me, the discomfort of wearing a money belt over rode the extra protection. I am accustomed to keeping a hand on my bag, especially in busy areas, and used to public transit.

Packing list: I took 4 short-sleeved tops, 2 tank tops, 2 long-sleeve tops, 2 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of leggings, a workout outfit, and pajamas, 2 bras and 6 pairs of underwear, 5 pairs of socks and a small pair of ballet flats. I also took some maps, guide books, adapters, phone charger, makeup, and some toiletries. Husband took 2 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of nicer pants, 3 pairs of workout shorts, 5 t shirts, 1 long-sleeved shirt, and underwear and socks and a rain jacket plus another 2 pairs of shoes.

Plane: I wore leggings, walking shoes, tshirt, cardigan, rain jacket and scarf. Husband wore jeans, running shoes, tshirt, and hoodie. I had my larger Vera Bradley tote with my journal and pens, some books, torn-out sections of guide books, and my smaller purse, and all of our travel documents and itineraries. Husband had a backpack that included his laptop (he needed to do some work), a book, and some snacks.

Experience: We rented a flat for the first 7 days and did laundry toward the end so we had clean clothes for the next week. It was colder than expected for May, so we each did a lot of layering. I’m pretty sure husband’s hoodie could have walked across the Atlantic by itself by the end of the trip. That said, this plan worked really well. I wear jeans a lot, and they were warm and also didn’t show dirt or smell, making them ideal travel partners. I had those with at least 5% lycra so they held their shape. I had thin tshirts that were easy to rinse out and layer with a long-sleeved shirt or a cardigan.

Posted by
7273 posts

Be thankful for what you got not everyone has the opportunity to travel. Keep that in mind.

Posted by
11613 posts

Thanks for posting, and welcome to the club!

Posted by
362 posts

Thank you for sharing your experiences! I am not quite down to the carry on only club, but I am working hard to reach that destination. I really appreciated reading what worked for you and how you packed as well as your experience carrying a bag vs. a money belt/neck pouch.

Hope your next trip goes is just as big of a success! :-)

Posted by
106 posts

Thank you for the post mdtraveler. My family of four are leaving for Italy on May 31 and are packing for 2 weeks in the ebags motherlode jr. and one personal bag. We all packed, weighed, unpacked and then a final toss of clothing and accessories before the final packing. My daughter's bag was lighter but she plans on buying some fun t-shirts, etc. for extra clothing and use as her souvenirs. I'm also thinking of ditching a few pieces and adopting her plan.

I found after packing, that I would need more room for any stuff to bring home. I was able to take out at least two days worth of clothes and plan on doing more light daily loads in our apartments.

This will be an experience for my son who doesn't wear anything twice. I told him pants and shorts can be worn 2 to 3 times before washing and I've already warned him, you're laundry is your own; just like in college. He must have done a ton of laundry at school. :)

Wish us luck.

Posted by
34 posts

Twin Mom,

Good luck!! I could have left out my workout pants and the extra pair of leggings, but I was happy I had an extra tshirt. The extra bottoms were handy, but not necessary. Husband had always planned on tossing his racing shoes after the Spartan, so between ditching some books and those, we had plenty of room for our souvenirs.