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Packing Follow Up

I'm home from my 2 1/2 week trip with my mom and sister. We were in Lourdes and Amsterdam and took a week long Norwegian Fjords cruise.

I worked long and hard with my mom to reduce luggage. We ended up with one Rick Steves backpack (for me) and two 21 or 22 inch Travel Pro rolling suitcases (mom and sister) that were shipped through. Sister carried on a backpack and mom used my Sydney Love convertible weekender (no longer made, but this is an example: https://www.amazon.in/Sydney-Love-Dogs-Sport-Convertible/dp/B01IWC6T34)
My mom and I also had a Coach packable tote (super lightweight bag, and not too big: 18x12x8).
My sister and I both wore a backpack and rolled one of the Travelpro's and I carried my tote. My mom had a wheelchair in all the airports and held her tote. We never had a problem with taxis (in terms of space). We also never had an issue with checking baggage and in fact, by the time were were at the baggage carousel, our luggage was there.

Despite my best efforts, I did overpack a bit. I never wore my fleece and should have trusted my instincts (I was swayed by other peoples input). But I used my windbreaker/raincoat frequently. I brought an umbrella but never used it. The cruise was much less formal than I was expecting and I could have easily not taken the dress for gala nights and just used a nice top with the pants I brought. Likewise, I could leave out the dress flats.

I used the same dress for sleeping as I did for my swim cover-up. It was this dress: https://www.amazon.com/32-DEGREES-Sleeve-Dresses-Skipper/dp/B07Q87KMFD/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=32+degrees+dress&qid=1565516283&s=gateway&sr=8-4 purchased at Costco and I LOVED it! A great travel outfit. It would be great with leggings for colder weather, was super comfortable for sleeping and was perfect as cover-up.

I began using hair wax just before I left (I have short hair) and it was amazing. I needed a small amount and it took up so much less room than hair gel and hair spray. I'm a convert!

I didn't bring a water bottle and I regretted it. I use a s'well bottle at home (I like COLD water) and would have liked in while in our cabin or hotel room.

I brought this purse: https://pierrebuy.com/collections/womens-bags-crossbody-bags/products/women-waterproof-nylon-shoulder-bag-corssbody-purse-travel-handbags-111771 It was fantastic. I kept my passport and money in the zipped pocked closest to my body, misc items in the middle pocket and my phone in the smallest pocket. I bought these keychain cables from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FY6M1JZ/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 and "locked" the pocket with my money and passport, as well as securing both straps to the purse.

I brought but never used a passport holder to wear under clothes. However, we didn't travel in what I would consider a pickpockets mecca. We did see signs at Zaanse Schans (or maybe it was Volendam?) in Amsterdam warning about pickpockets. I asked at a shop and was told that pickpockets were relatively new to the area and they tended to target Japanese tour groups, because of their reputation for carrying large amounts of cash.

My sister really appreciated our limited luggage, my mom less so (LOL). I like the Rick Steves bag, but would prefer to find something slightly smaller (maybe 35 liters?) But the bags I have found seem to have the same weight, which I don't appreciate. (for my height- 5' 3") the Rick Steves bag seems a little long on my back.

Looking forward to my next trips!

Posted by
2791 posts

Good for you packing so light for this trip. This sounds hard-hearted, but since your mom can't carry her own luggage, her opinion should not dictate what others do.

Posted by
449 posts

One observation. The OP comments that they did not travel in areas that caused them concern about pick pockets and thus did not secure her passport.
From my personal experience that can lead to a false sense of security.
The only time I have (knowingly) had someone try to pick pocketed me was in a little town in Switzerland in what appeared to be an utterly safe area and looked like it belonged in a movie.

I have been in huge crowds in Paris, London, and Monaco (to name but three) and been to the busiest tourist locations. While watching The changing of the Gaurd the Police warned everyone about pick pockets and you are jammed in so close together that in some countries I would now be married to the lady standing behind me! :) But it was on a tiny train station up some little valley that time forgot with 6 people on the platform that someone put there hand in my pocket. While accidentally bumping into me.

So be careful EVERYWHERE.

(PS at most he could have gotten less the 20 euro (probably less the 10 at the time) and some hard candy (sugar free). So I didn’t really worry about it and just accidentally bumped him with my elbow,)

Posted by
110 posts

The OP comments that they did not travel in areas that caused them
concern about pick pockets and thus did not secure her passport.

Just to clarify, I feel I did secure my passport. I carried a small cross body and secured the pocket that contained money and passport with a cable lock, as well as securing the strap to the actual purse (also with cable locks). The purse was never removed from my body. What I didn't do was carry it (my passport) under my clothing.

Posted by
8248 posts

Thanks so much for your post-trip update!

I remember your threads about packing and am glad to know how things worked out for the 3 of you. Thanks also for the links to the purses/totes you all used. That small cross-body purse looks great and I like how you fashioned locking mechanisms for the zippers. That did ensure safety for your valuables.

IF you did a packing list on paper for this trip, I'd advise you to make notes on it similar to what you've posted so you can remember for next time. Especially on things you didn't use as much as you thought.

TBH, I'd guess needing the fleece for this time of year on a Norway cruise would be 50/50. I'd probably have packed it anyway (or a 32 Degree brand puffy vest, lol!).

So happy it worked for your Mom to have a wheelchair. It sounds like you all had a wonderful time!

Posted by
6516 posts

Thanks for the follow up, PandaBear. I love reading how packing works for different people. I am glad you all had a wonderful time.

Posted by
651 posts

OP: >> I like the Rick Steves bag, but would prefer to find something slightly smaller (maybe 35 liters?) But the bags I have found seem to have the same weight, which I don't appreciate. (for my height- 5' 3") the Rick Steves bag seems a little long on my back. <<

The Tom Bihn Aeronaut 30 liter might work. At 2.5 to 3.0 pounds (1.1–1.4 kg), it’s light enough most folks carry it slung or crossbody with a single shoulder strap but it’s really designed as a really good convertible backpack. It is expensive, truly, but would be the last bag you ever buy. You can see it modeled here by many body sizes and types (at 02:35, Amanda is 5’-2” and wears both the A30 and larger A45):
https://youtu.be/U51x7GO4bZA

I have the A30. It’s awesome (!) and holds much more than you might think. I often take it instead of the Patagonia MLC45 just to force me into a lighter packing job. But the A30 is just one of dozens of great bags. Try to have fun if you’re going bag shopping.

Posted by
3526 posts

You might try measuring to find the right backpack dimensions for you. There are many websites online with this information, but I like this REI one best.

Then you can search for backpacks to suit your size. My number is 18 inches long. I'm 5'8. Height may not have anything to do with fit, but most of the negative women's backpack reviews I see online seem to come from women shorter than I am.

I used the RS Convertible Carry-on for 2 trips and never found it comfortable. Duh! It's 21" long. At 18" my Appenzell is perfect, just a bit small for an overseas trip for me, and it lacks a hip belt.

Because of the e-Bags sale, I just ordered 2 women's backpacks to compare. Both are also 21" long, but made very differently. I may return one or both. They are the Osprey Fairview 40L S/M and the Eagle Creek Global Companion 40L W.

If I keep one of them, my challenge will be to keep the weight and volume down.

Posted by
2729 posts

Pandabear:

Just to clarify, I feel I did secure my passport. I carried a small cross body and secured the pocket that contained money and passport with a cable lock, as well as securing the strap to the actual purse (also with cable locks). The purse was never removed from my body. What I didn't do was carry it (my passport) under my clothing.

I agree, you did secure your valuables. It sounds like you all packed well and had a great trip!