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Packing for this trip is Hard, but I feel better now......

I usually pack a carryon size suitcase that I check and then use a backpack as my carry on item plus purse as personal item.

As luggage meltdowns occurred this summer, I decided to do the carryon size suitcase as a carryon plus a small under seat bag that my purse could fit in. I just about made it. I had to put my hiking poles aside, not bring water shoes (even though they were highly recommended for the beaches) and cut everything to the bare bones. On top of that, I needed to pack masks, covid tests, and OTC medications in case of Covid.

Finally this morning I had an epiphany. My trip had changed. I was no longer going to Venice where luggage handling would add significant extra challenges and I no longer had under seat storage available on my transatlantic flight. I wasn't transferring through Heathrow any more and I was transferring at Frankfurt instead. I would be at my first destination for 5 nights. Checking a suitcase was back on!

I pulled out my back pack and declared the suitcase would be checked both ways. Things have fit so much better and I get to bring my hiking poles. I had already arranged a shuttle (Go-Opti) that will take me right from the airport to my hotel and the cost for the backpack added just 1 euro to the cost.

The backpack has my "survival" items in it in case there is an issue with my checked luggage. I'm feeling much more positive about how the luggage is organized and I am still keeping # of items and weight down.

How have you dealt with packing/luggage issues this summer? Did the luggage handling meltdown cause you do to anything differently? Do you wish it had?

Posted by
1694 posts

Although I did carry on for my recent trip to Alaska, and it was fine, I am going to check my 22" bag (and my hiking poles!) for my Adriatic tour too.

The deciding factor was the need to do the transatlantic flight a day earlier because the flight had been moved later, leaving me almost no time to catch my second flight in Amsterdam.

I really hated dealing with the 22" bag in the airport and on the plane.

Posted by
1405 posts

Carol, thank you so for this post. I needed it. I began packing today (trip to England in 2 weeks.) I started with 2 piles. One was for my rollaboard I have to check because Aer Lingus carry on sizes have shrunk since 2019. The other pile was for my under the seat carry on (Euro bag from Uncle Rick's store.) I got out my list and start checking off items and deciding which bag things should go in. I, like you, am putting the survival things in my carry on. At this point and I am maybe 2/3 finished with this first pack it looks like I may have the lightest rollaboard ever. Now I will have to resist the urge to add to the checked bag. If this works I figure I may be able to repack the Euro bag & contents in my rollaboard when I get to England and only have 1 bag. That will make boarding busses and trains much easier.

Posted by
5131 posts

I really challenged myself this year in June to minimize everything I bring. I always just do a carry on, but since I was staying longer (to make up for lost time) and staying at 11 different cities, the suitcase was going through a lot of train stations!

I didn’t miss anything I didn’t bring, and the clothes all dried easily overnight or the next afternoon.

I’m heading back to Italy tomorrow and adding an extra pair of quick dry pants because of rain forecasts. Otherwise, it’s my new norm.

I sure wish I could leave the home proctored Covid tests at home! At least they’re very lightweight.

Posted by
1898 posts

I was flying Swiss on my return this year, with an 8 kg (17.6 lb) limit, and I stressed quite a bit over that. (They also said your personal item could only be four inches thick - good grief.) My bag usually weighs 17 pounds when I leave home, but I got it down to 16 this time. In the end, no one at Swiss in Zurich even looked at my bag or my personal item, much less weighed it. (I understand that this was a lucky break.) I am always grateful to be carry-on only when I get to my destination and don't have to worry about baggage claim.

Posted by
1869 posts

Thank you Carol! I’ve been stressing about packing and other things for weeks. I’ve packed, unpacked and repacked what feels like a dozen times. My nightmare is having to gate check. I feel like you’ve given me permission to check my carryon if I need to, regardless of philosophy and forum views. One last test pack this weekend to see what fits within United’s sizes and if I want/can leave anything else at home.

Posted by
1467 posts

Carol, I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with this prior, but yay for this silver lining! I hope you have a wonderful trip!

Jean, you too!

I always do carry on, but as this time I brought a lot of extra meds this early summer, I really whittled my clothing down. I regretted a tank I’d taken though, from Prana that was too hot for Greece (and showed sweat way too much) My inexpensive one from Banana Republic performed much better. So although I’m not afraid of minimal clothing, it sure has to be the right ones!

Posted by
2842 posts

Due to the lost luggage nightmare, this is the first trip my wife was willing to give carry-on a shot. The only sacrifice was that she needed my 1 litre liquid bag as well as hers, meaning I couldn't pack my hair gel, toothpaste or shaving gel. Not a big deal as we found a Boots and bought everything that couldn't make the trip for $10. She's so proud of herself that we're doing carry-on only again in 2 weeks when we leave for England.

Posted by
562 posts

It is comforting to read how we all handle packing dilemmas….

We just returned from a 1 week stay in the Caribbean. We are always carryon, no matter where we go or how long we’re away. One week in summer to a bathing suit destination should be a piece of cake, right? Until I realized I needed to pack a life jacket in my son’s suitcase (he can’t swim on his own, he’s an odd size, and we knew the life jacket was mandatory for the trip), and I also needed to pack an inflatable cooler in mine. Good grief….

So, I managed to fit everything in. I usually pack for 5 days; this trip I packed for 4, no extra layers needed or bulky items given our destination (well, ok, that life jacket was not insignificant, and ok, snorkel gear…..hmmm, bulky…..). So I made the “essentials” fit.

We had a washer/dryer at our lodging (a must have for any trip now), and guess what? At the end of the week I realized I had WAY overpacked, as per usual.

So next trip, I promise myself (again) that I will NOT pack so much stuff and I WILL remember that I can wear the same shirt every other day as long as I have a washing machine.

I promise.

Posted by
86 posts

Carol - your plan makes perfect sense to me. Isn't it a grand moment when a decision just feels so right? Looking forward to hearing about your trip. Hope it is fabulous!

Posted by
1189 posts

How have you dealt with packing/luggage issues this summer? Did the luggage handling meltdown cause you do to anything differently? Do you wish it had?

My dear wife has refused to authorize flying this summer (two fall domestic trips coming up). Am I going to do anything different,y? No, I have been carryon-only for many years. If anything, the three year break has improved my craft with the fun of reconfiguring, making new lists, and weighing everything.

Posted by
2175 posts

When I booked my KLM flight to Italy via AMS for this Fall, back in April, it was a really great deal that actually included checked bag and seat selection in the total price, and was nearly half what I paid for the same journey back in 2019.
I was very happy!
Since then: travel chaos in airports, baggage woes everywhere, my flight home was changed , by KLM, to give me 25 mins between flights in AMS, ( unbelievable) and I lost my seat selection coming home that I had carefully chosen.
So…..back to planning for carryon, and like the rest of you, I’ve become a bit obsessed with getting it right.
It should still be warm in Italy, so everything is lightweight; and I’ve got dry, bar or solid versions of every toiletry that comes in those forms.
I’ve got washing machines in most of my accommodations, so I can pack light.
As one of you said, the biggest worry is that my carryon will get gate checked due to lack of space on board.
I will have “survival” stuff in my personal item , I’ve always done that for years anyway.
I do appreciate updates that people on the forum have been posting about their recent trips from the point of view of the flights and baggage….please keep it up, it helps us all, and thanks!
Those leaving imminently: have safe and uneventful journeys!

Posted by
10436 posts

We almost succumbed to carry-on only due to reported luggage issues, but anecdotal reports here on the Forum provided the reassurance we needed that we could check bags. Like you, we take hiking sticks and did not want to have to but new ones especially in Europe. Plus we have an 8 week trip where temps will very from mid-80s to low-40s!

We checked bags on our non-stop to FRA and all was well! There was no pile of luggage at FRA as reported a few weeks ago.

Posted by
2874 posts

Yes, thanks for the post. I went to Croatia in June and had a problem packing. It was like I never packed a bag before. Had things I didn’t need, forgot some I wished I had. Then two weeks ago we went to Florida to visit family. I actually packed one carry on bag for both my husband and me. Much better. We’re headed out the end of September for 3 weeks in Spain and I feel a bit more confident. Still have to work on reducing my toiletries.

Posted by
1189 posts

Two quick things: a) It seems most of the luggage horror stories are within the European sphere and on flights back to USA. b) Like flipping a coin, successful luggage arrival is a binary event, completely unaffected by one's previous experiences or the experiences of others; one's bags are on the carousel or they are not.

Posted by
8976 posts

We made a change: we're moving, so somehow we ended up with a 30" suitcase and four carry-ons, but luckily we were in business class, which allowed such a luggage load. However, our tickets obtained with miles, had us going through London, which greatly lessened my confidence in ever seeing the 30" again. So I sent the 30" bag with Send My Bag. I think it would have been too unwieldy on the train from CDG to our city anyway. Four carry-ons were enough to handle.

But then, at the last minute, the day before leaving we were able to obtain some back-ordered medication that wouldn't pass TSA. Therefore, change of plans: we stuffed all our dirty laundry, the medication, extra shoes, anything to lift the weight from our other luggage into a Rick Steves backpack. This was checked through Heathrow to CDG. It did make it, and, yes, the luggage mess did motivate us to use Send My BAg for the 30" suitcase. Ironically, we're till waiting for Send My Bag; I think it's in Germany somewhere with most of my summer clothes LOL.

Posted by
9219 posts

I always carry on my suitcase unless I’m delivering things to someone that I am seeing on my trip. For the 10 week trip I’m currently on I was really stressing myself out. I knew I would have to gate check for my United flight, then because of scheduling changes I had a 9 hour layover before my Aer Lingus flight. They are much stricter for size and weight and after much inner struggle I decided to check my bag. I discovered at the gate at SFO for my Aer Lingus flight that they didn’t have a bag sizer or scale, and I saw many people who had bags the size of my suitcase and backpack or bigger. Oh well. used AirTags and my bag arrived safely and on time in Dublin.