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Packing report – 2 weeks in sizzling hot Greece

I almost didn’t write this. Usually, it seems like when I take a trip I discover something that is totally wonderful and changes my packing game, and who wouldn’t want to read about that??? But this time, nope, it was pretty straightforward, no magic.
But then I remembered how much I love reading everyone else’s packing reports, so I thought I’d write up and contribute my straightforward experience.
This was a 2-week trip to Greece in June/July. 2 nights Santorini, 5 nights Naxos, 3 nights Nafplio, 2 nights Athens.
The islands were bearable – 80s and a breeze, very dry air – but the mainland was HOT, 90s and humid. We stayed in apartments/houses and had washing machines everywhere except Santorini, the first 2 nights.
We flew AIrFrance, which has a 12 kilo carryon limit (suitcase + personal item), so I packed accordingly. My suitcase ended up weighing 17 lbs and my carryon bag 8 lbs. I was also able to carry on my suitcase on our Aegean flight to Santorini (8 kilo limit, suitcase only).
My suitcase is an RS rolling backpack. I love this bag – it’s pretty light, sturdy, small, fits under most airplane seats in a pinch, and holds what I need for any length of trip. I use eBags packing cubes to organize everything inside the suitcase.
My personal item is a TomBihn Maker’s Bag, nicknamed “Mom’s magic blue bag” because it holds everything, no mater what we need it to hold. You can stuff anything in this bag and it just magically keeps expanding. Everything in the bag is packed into organizer pouches (mostly TomBihn), and everything important is leashed to the O-rings inside the bag.

Here’s what I brought:

-- 4 sun dresses (Columbia and TitleNine)
-- 1 skort (T9)
-- 1 pr tech fabric hiking shorts (REI)
-- 1 short sleeved shirt (Old Navy)
-- 2 sleeveless shirts (T9)
-- 1 long sleeve cotton crinkle gauze shirt (Gap)
-- bathing suit
-- PJs (lightweight cotton pants, cotton t-shirt)
-- 1 capri-length leggings to wear under a dress in case it got chilly at night (what was I thinking???? It never got below 70!) (Duluth Trading)
-- 5 sets undies
-- 4 pr smartwool no-cushion running socks
-- rain jacket (Kuhl Jetstream trench – love this rain jacket! Absolutely did not need it on this trip, but I always pack it in case)

Wore on the plane:
-- linen pants (Athleta)
-- short sleeved shirt (Gap)
-- lightweight tech fabric sweatshirt (T9)

-- Jambu maryjanes (packed)
-- Aetrex flip flops (packed; these go on EVERY trip in warm weather; I can walk miles in them)
-- Keen Newport H2 sandals (wore on the plane)

My suitcase also held my toiletries kit (Osprey Ultralight Zip Organizer), a pack of WashEze Unscented laundry sheets, umbrella for shade (G4free, only 4 oz!), extra Ziploc bags, laundry bag, tiny packing cube with instant decaf coffee packs and tea bags, ziploc containing copies of family’s passport.

My personal item held:
-- medications (TomBihn 3D organizer pouch)
-- electronics kit (TB Handy Little Thing organizer pouch)
-- lightweight plastic binder with paper tickets, backup copies, etc. for the trip
-- day bag (Kipling Arto Crossbody)
-- small wallet bag (Travelon Metro convertible, I replaced the shoulder strap with a lighter one that I had; wasn’t worried about theft, just liked the organization of the bag). The wallet bag nested inside the Kipling day bag and held what I needed every time I went out – cash, credit cards, passport, chapstick, meds for the day, phone, sunglasses etc. So, for longer day trips, I’d carry the wallet bag inside the Kipling bag, shorter trips I’d carry just the wallet bag.)
-- snacks
-- water bottle (a tiny 3-oz one I keep on hand always for taking pills, and then I usually collect a bigger disposable water bottle along the way and keep refilling it)
-- inflatable neck pillow for the plane
-- first aid kit (in a tiny Lewis n Clark packing cube)
-- tiny Moleskine notebook for journaling

Posted by
700 posts

Favorite things from this trip:
-- My Keen Newport sandals were AWESOME in Greece! They were super comfortable, grippy on the slippery cobblestones and marble, great on rocky trails, could have gone in the water if I needed them to (I didn’t). Perfect choice for this trip.
-- The G4free sun umbrella. I bought 2 of these, one for my daughter who gets sun-induced migraines and the other for my son, who is often in his special needs stroller, knees sitting in the hot sun. The umbrellas were great, especially while touring some of the ancient sites with no shade or sun relief. And they packed up tiny and weighed only 4 oz – easy to stuff into my day bag or my daughter’s sling pack.
-- Wearing dresses. So much cooler than shorts.
-- My 2-bag day bag strategy. I thought I was being weird and OCD packing both of them, but I really liked the versatility. I could just grab the wallet crossbody if we were running out for dinner or a short adventure, but if we were going to be out longer, I could stuff it inside the Kipling bag along with whatever else I needed for the day – long sleeve shirt for the sun, water bottle, sunscreen, etc. It worked really well for me.

What I could have done differently:
-- 3 dresses would have been enough. I was worried about dry time after washing, since we didn’t have any dryers on the trip. Turns out, if it’s 85 degrees, no humidity, and breezy (like all of our Naxos days), clothes dry in about 30 minutes!
-- Leave the Jambu maryjanes home. I usually only bring 2 total pairs of shoes, but I was recovering from a bout of plantar fasciitis, and I was worried about sore feet. I wore only my Keens and my flip flops and my feet were fantastic the entire trip.
-- Leave the leggings home. Sure didn’t need “just in case it gets chilly” clothes, lol!!
-- I didn’t bring my mirrorless camera for the trip. I wanted to see how I’d do with just my phone, plus I was really trying to keep the luggage weight down. I missed my camera….. I have some beautiful photos from the trip with my phone, but my camera makes me feel like I’m “really” taking pictures, which is a huge part of traveling for me.

Aside from the leggings and the maryjanes, I wore everything I brought, so I was overall pretty happy with my packing this trip.

Hope this gives other packing fanatics an enjoyable read! And thank you to all of you for your packing tips over the years – so much good advice!

Posted by
1912 posts

Title Nine makes useful, good looking women's travel clothing - 1/3 of my wife's suitcase probably :)

Posted by
700 posts

Agree! They are my go-to — probably about 50% of my daily wear. Great stuff that lasts forever!

Posted by
8245 posts

Sounds as if you have the packing thing down pat. It's nice on long trips if you can book an apartment or Air BnB with a washing machine as it allows you to carry less.

I have a packing routine, and I always seem to come home with some clean clothes.

Posted by
2924 posts

DebVT, I'm glad you wrote your packing report. It's always fun to read what others pack. Good to know what worked for you and what didn't.
Do you pack almost the same things each trip? I do. It's mindless packing; I know which clothes all work together and how all the sundry things fit in travel bags. Good for you not to over pack. That's always one of my challenges.. My choices are starting to get boring. Maybe time to change colors, but that changes bottoms, tops, jacket, shoes, etc, etc, even purse; everything needs to match or coordinate.

Posted by
497 posts

Hi Deb, very curious about your flip flops…. went to their website and they have Maui and Fiji models, which one are yours? And really no leg cramps later on after that much mileage in them? I love my Clarks sandals, the foot bed is very comfy and supportive but I just never think I could really get away with walking several miles in them. I always chicken out and put on my walking sneaks for full day touring.
Totally down for a packing report, thanks! I’m also debating on ways to lighten or downsize my day bag so your go small thoughts appealed to me.

Posted by
3 posts

DebVT, Thanks so much! I am going to Greece in September and this is a great template for packing.

Posted by
700 posts

Horsewoofie, I actually wind up re-thinking everything each time we go somewhere. It seems like each trip has different requirements, either weather- or activity-related, and I have to figure out what I'll need each time. But I love the thought process, so it's fun for me.
I always wear neutral colors on the bottom, home or travel, so I really don't think too hard about a color scheme, and it wouldn't even occur to me to match my jacket or bag or shoes, ha! Remember that I'm from Vermont, which is NOT the fashion capitol of the world!!

Lyndash, when I bought them years and years ago, they were called Lynco flips. When I look on the website now, they are the same as the Maui flips: They are super comfortable, and I have logged many, many miles on cobblestones all over Europe with them over the years, as well as daily use at home for our (very short!) summers. They are the only shoe I bring when we go to warm-weather beach destinations. I really can walk in them all day! Maybe they fit my foot just right and not everyone's, but they're worth a try!

Posted by
9894 posts

Yes, thank you for writing up your packing report Deb. Glad you packed so well for yourself and hope you had a great trip !

Posted by
189 posts

I read the first part of your report and immediately checked out Jambu. I ordered Jambu Bellrose Mary Jane flats on Amazon, and then saw you didn’t even use them!
I’m always looking for shoes I can wear with leggings, or dresses when travelling or here at home. Hope I like them. Always risky buying online for fit, but Amazon offer free returns. Thanks for a great packing report.

I, too get tired of what I pack for a carry on trip. When I was on the Best of England last September, I brought a white long sleeved cotton t-shirt with grey polka dots, and wore it all the time. I haven’t worn it since, because I was so tired of seeing it on the trip. I dreamed polka dots for months afterward. Perhaps on my next trip I will wear something a little less NOTICEABLE!

Posted by
700 posts

susie — I brought the Jambus to be a third shoe I could wear, maybe in the evenings for a while, to give my feet another option if they were sore. Which they never were.

They’re great shoes, and I wear them at home pretty often, but they would not have been good as my primary shoes for this trip — too much “off roading” and bumpy terrain, hill climbing, etc. The Keen sandals were perfect for this. Then I wore my flip flops around town or to the beach and just never broke out the Jambus.

I hope your shoes work out for you!

Posted by
797 posts

DebVT, THANK YOU!! Yes, it's very useful to read a packing list when it's such a successful trip, especially with the 8-KG limit you mentioned. And thanks for the sun umbrella idea, hadn't heard of it before & found the 4oz travel version on Amazon.
I would add a long sleeved Columbia sun shirt to wear over sleeveless dresses, but I guess you used that long sleeved GAP shirt. Assume there was also a hat, I'm thinking I would take a baseball cap & a dorky hat for pools, here comes a warm weather trip!

Posted by
4175 posts

I loved your packing report so much that I looked up those KEEN sandals. I noticed that they have what I'd call "raw" footbeds. Were your feet pretty calloused and tough before you started wearing them? I like the enclosed toes, but I'm concerned that they'd tear my wimpy, soft soled feet up very quickly. Also, did you get much dirt, sand or little rocks in them as you walked around?

I'm a big fan of my KEEN Women's Terradora 2 Waterproof Mid Height Hiking Boots, but I'm a bit reluctant to even try anything that doesn't have a lined footbed. I even wear socks with my Crocs.

But wait! All is not lost. I see pictures of people wearing them with socks.

Posted by
189 posts

I have been using Keen sandals for at least 15 years. They’re virtually indestructible. Mine are slightly different from the Newport because I have a wonky baby toe that likes to hang out outside of the straps. They’ve taken me hiking, to beach vacations, swimming in the ocean, and to Europe twice. My specific style has been discontinued, so when I saw some on a sporting goods site, I bought 2 more pairs. I’ll probably have to leave them in my will, because I doubt I’ll have to replace my 15 year old pair #1.
I have never found it difficult to walk on the footbeds, but I put a pair of black insoles in the pair I took to Europe last year. Cut it to size, making sure the heel portion is actually in the footbed and not on the edge of the heel. and used double sided sticky tape to hold it in place at the heel and toes. You can’t see the insole when your foot is in it.
When I’m walking my dog on a wood chip trail in a local forest, debris does sometimes get in, but I just stop, slip them off and shake out the shavings or dirt. I wear the same pair daily from March to November….and yes, Lo, If it’s not raining or snowing, I wear them with socks December to February. Nerds are alive and well on Vancouver Island! My permanent tan lines in the summer would be a good advertisement for Keen.

Posted by
468 posts

Thanks for the packing report!

I have the JBU by Jambu Nicole Flat and JBU by Jambu Malibu Water Ready Flats. I got both of them on clearance last year. I wear them both often here at home (in hot Tucson, Arizona) and am debating if I should bring one pair with me this coming September to Germany, Belgium & Paris. One of my friends loves her Keen sandals and I'm also tempted to buy a pair for the trip.
I have been having knee and foot issues recently and might break my self-imposed rule of packing just one extra pair of shoes and pack two pairs instead. .

Posted by
700 posts

Sandancisco, yes, I brought the cotton LS shirt to use as a sun shirt. I actually have a Columbia long sleeve SPF shirt that I intended to bring, but it wears warmer than the cotton shirt, so I brought the cooler one. I was really worried about the heat! I wound up not needing it for sun protection -- my sunscreen held up well -- but it was great as a beach coverup or something to throw on over my dress in the evening.

And hats.... I am not a hat person; they make me hot and itchy. I only wear them at home when it's below 15 degrees or so. So no hat for me, but most of the rest of our travel group wore either baseball caps or sun hats. Dorky hats were everywhere; wear what makes you comfortable!

Lo, I am very used to wearing my sandals without socks, but I don't go barefoot much, so I would give my feet a "low to medium" rating for callouses, lol. But.... I was so worried about the heat for this trip and having sweaty feet that might rub -- I was more worried about the canvas straps than the footbed -- that I proactively wore socks every time I'd be out for a long time with my sandals. My Smartwool run socks were great for this: no cushion, so no extra padding to make the shoe tight, and they totally kept my feet from rubbing (although I likely would have been fine without the socks). I was very comfortable! And I really don't think the low socks look that bad, but again, I have pretty low standards.

I will say for anyone interested in trying the Keen Newports that they do have a bit of a break in period. I got them a while ago, but I remember that the canvas was pretty stiff and tight until I wore them for a few weeks. After that initial break in time, they were perfect and I've never had an issue with wearing them. And no, I've not had issues with rocks or anything getting inside of them; likely, if they do, they just fall out before I notice.

slws2137, gotta keep the feet happy! It wasn't a problem for me to bring the extra pair this trip, and it made me a little less worried about developing painful feet. In the end, I didn't need the third pair and won't pack them again, but it wasn't a mistake to bring them this time, given the circumstances.

If I'm choosing between the Keens and the Jambus, the Keens will win hands-down; for me, they are a far more comfortable shoe for long days on my feet (I find this true with all of my Keens vs all of my Jambus -- I have 2 or 3 of each brand).

Posted by
84 posts

Ok, DebVT, I kept reading about your Tom Bihn Maker's bag and how it held so much yet fit beneath the seat that I just ordered one...I guess that mine will have to be my "magic red bag" as they did not have a blue one. I had been looking for something that fits under the seat of MOST airlines for a long time and after using several bags that I liked but that did not seem to hold all of what I needed, I was intrigued by reading your post so I went to the TB site and read the other reviews which were mostly by knitters or artists, but there were a few reviews by travelers. I hope that I like this as much as you like yours!

Posted by
700 posts

ukkrazy, I hope you like it too!

It will def fit under pretty much any airline seat. When you first get it, you will probably look at it and think it’s too small to hold anything. That’s the magic….. something about that empty space in the middle just lets you keep putting stuff in.

If you’re super organized (over organized 😳) like me, you’ll want to put things in pouches or cases inside the Maker’s bag. It has a few little tiny side pockets built in, but that center compartment is vast.

Have fun, and I hope it works out for you!

By the way, TomBihn is great about returns. So leave the tags on and do some test packs to see if the bag holds what you need, but if it doesn’t, it will be easy to return it.

Posted by
797 posts

Dorky hats were everywhere; wear what makes you comfortable!

HAHA thanks for that encouragement!

OK, given your endorsement of Keens, I have a pair I used for fording streams while hiking in Switzerland & will try them again to see if they work for longer distance.

And will give the "Run Zero Cushion Low Ankle Socks" a try, good idea for longer, hot days with added sun protection in Keens. Thanks again, SO many useful ideas!!

Posted by
46 posts

Great packing report. (And trip report over on the Greece page) Thinking about how to optimize packing is such a fun part of the overall trip experience. I too am a Tom Bihn fan - such great bags!

One always has to account for a range of weather and I always give myself a one item mulligan if weather didn't necessitate. (My last trip to London I didn't need my waterproof layer.)