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Packing Report for Ladies after three weeks abroad.

Let me start by just saying what a fantastic time we had in Europe! We were in Amsterdam two nights, Bayeux two nights and a night in Paris before joining our two week RS BOE Your Way Tour on 9/21. We saw so much that I am completely overwhelmed and can hardly wait to go back! I'm already bored.

So, regarding the packing phase - thanks to much flailing about plus a large dose of common sense PLUS the wonderful advice from many seasoned women travelers on this forum, I succeeded in packing light, felt I looked presentable and best of all, didn't feel like I wanted to never wear these clothes again when I got home. Here is what I packed - I sincerely hope this helps other women when packing for "shoulder season:"

3 Eileen Fisher for Garnet Hill long sleeve scoop neck t shirts - two black, one white
2 Eileen Fisher whisper weight high low hip length sweaters - one black, one dark green
Eileen Fisher black/green checked thigh length tunic
Eileen Fisher black crepe pants
J. Jill black ankle length leggings
2 Grace Elements swingy pleated knee length skirts - one black, one khaki
Black whisper weight cotton maxi tank dress - worn as a nightie
Black Alfani supersoft cardigan
Two pair black tights - one footless
Three tank tops - two black, one white
One light denim cotton button up shirt
One dusky pink cotton/poly button up shirt
Two belts - one basic black, the other funky silver
Three scarves - one black/white, one khaki/black animal print, one charcoal/green/ pink paisley
Eight pair Jockey Elance supersoft undies
Three bras - two black, one beige
One pair compression knee length black hose for plane
One FootJoy black waterproof rain jacket - purchased at my hub's favorite golf shop - go figure
Three pair of shoes - Black Aravon walking shoes, black Aravon ballet flats with 1 inch heel and black Aravon walking sandals
One black Nike swim skort - the only thing I didn't get to wear due to cold weather in Cinque Terre

I took Rick's advice regarding jewelry seriously and just wore my everyday jewelry - wedding ring, watch, silver cuff, my Mother's George Jensen silver ring, faux diamond earrings and my large silver hoop earrings. There was no need for anything else. I didn't include toiletries and makeup on the list but they were minimal, believe me. You can buy whatever you need there.

I owe a very large thank you to a fine group of women on this forum (you know who you are) who convinced me to leave certain things at home, the most important being my new black trench coat and the tunic length sweatshirt that I bought - I had this idea in my mind that I'd be slinking about Paris in that coat - well, nobody slinks over there, they're way too busy running around in their jeans, leather jackets and scarfs, and if I had had that sweatshirt with me in Italy I probably would've thrown it out the bus window.

Cheers folks! Ciao Ciao Ciao Ciao Ciao. Keep on traveling!
Best,Liz

Posted by
154 posts

Carry on size. I was amazed. Rolled everything. My suitcase weighed 19.5 pounds. We checked them anyway. No problems.

Posted by
630 posts

Thanks for sharing. I'm planning a trip to Italy next year and will attempt my first travel with only a carry on. :)

Posted by
4083 posts

I'm amazed you were able to take so many garments and the weight was so low, including the carry-on weight and that of all the other stuff in it.

If the 19.5 pounds in a 22" carry-on was the bag and everything in it, that's a great testament to layering with thin layers -- or maybe to your small size.

Posted by
13237 posts

So...before you forget, write yourself notes on what worked and what didn't. I always think I will remember but I don't!! Also if you have ideas for next time write them down too!

Glad it worked for you. I'll bet your suitcase will be lighter next time.

Posted by
154 posts

On the contrary, Lo. I stand 5'8" and wear a L/XL in most brands. I should've clarified that the weight of my suitcase was minus the EF pants, t shirt, cardigan, walking shoes and socks, all of which I wore on the plane. I also carried the raincoat over my arm. But yes, I think the light layers were key, not only regarding keeping the weight of my suitcase down, but also in giving me some options so I didn't think "Oh no, I don't want to wear this thing again." And scarves help tremendously to change things up a bit, particularly the new beautiful green pashmina I purchased in Venice. I forgot to mention that I took a very light tote bag with me and did it ever come in handy, particularly on the bus for water, snacks, notebook, sweater, etc. Also for carrying laundry, which we did in Venice - all part of the experience. I'd wash a few things in the sink the first night at each destination so they'd have two nights to dry and it worked out just fine. I was doubly glad that I had packed light when I saw several young women struggling with very large suitcases getting on and off of trains, not to mention the water taxis in Venice!

Pam, thanks for the tip regarding making notes regarding what I packed. I will indeed follow your advice since next up (next year) is Scandinavia!!

Posted by
67 posts

What a great packing list. I think one test of a good list is, like you said, you don't hate the clothes when you get home.

Posted by
154 posts

Thanks, Jaye. I was pleased on so many levels and knowing I could really get by with only a carry on was very empowering. I will never travel with a large suitcase again. I can't say enough good things about Eileen Fisher clothing. I've got several pieces in my wardrobe (dress, tunic, crepe pants, vest, 2 sweaters) that I've had for 10 years or more and they look as nice as the day I purchased them. Are they expensive? Yes, but well worth it, since they don't pill or fall apart, and the waistbands on her slacks don't twist and look peculiar after several washings. I invested in a few new pieces for this trip and will happily wear them for years to come - when I look at them now I remember where I wore them and it makes the post trip blahs a bit easier to bear. One post trip thing that I didn't anticipate was, after living out of a carry on for three weeks, opening my closet doors and feeling a wave of absolute disgust at the excess. How did all this stuff get in my closet? Well, the answer is quite simple - I put it there, and now am taking it out. If something hasn't been worn in the last year, it's OUT! I've got three big bags for a charitable organization here in Minneapolis and I'm only half done. If this is fallout from our trip, it's a positive fallout. It feels good.
Cheers! Liz

Posted by
13237 posts

Oh Liz, that is so funny! It is amazing how a small suitcase and limited wardrobe can actually be freeing. I did Project 333 a few years ago (33 garments for 3 months) and while I currently have a bit more than that for all seasons it is actually even easier to pack than before.

Posted by
154 posts

Pam, I'm going to check into this 333 Project. 33 garments for 3 months? You are my new hero! Since I live in Minneapolis, the winters here mandate so much warm clothing/outerwear that I don't know if I could do it, but I could certainly learn from it. Seriously, this trip changed my perspective on so many levels. We had a terribly difficult 2014 - I lost both of my parents and hubs lost two good friends, throw a knee replacement in the mix and well, I don't have to say anymore. It was time to do something really nice for ourselves, but I was afraid. I'm a nervous flier, but I was fine - the plane didn't crash and I'm still here. I am afraid of heights, but when we reached Lauterbrunnen I told myself that I could hang out in town, bumble around in the cafes and sample cheese or be a brave girl and go up to the Schilthorn with hubs. I did, and was rewarded with the most spectacular views that I have ever seen. I cried. We hiked from Murren down to Gimmelwald and had lunch at a little Mountain Hostel and watched the hang gliders. Simply spectacular. It just goes to show that you never know what you are capable of until you try and get out of your comfort zone. I'm bored now at home and can't wait to go back. Pouring over my Rick Steve's map and planning our trip to Scandinavia next fall - how fun. So grateful for our experience and grateful for the lovely women friends I've made on this forum.

Posted by
13237 posts

Agree about the outerwear as well. I did not include that or shoes/boots into the mix altho the originator does. To me the idea is to get you thinking about what you actually need more than the actual number of garments, if that makes sense. The originator of the Project and others do get pretty tied to the numbers.

I, too, have height fear and made myself go up the Schiltorn too, with the help of my RS guide and tour group. I agree it was fabulous.