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Packing report what worked and didn't June 2023

Here's my packing report in two postings for my June trip. My separate, soon to be finished trip report will post soon. This trip included solo independent travel pre- and post- RS Berlin, Prague & Vienna tour:

Packing light is always a challenge for me. I use a RS Rolling Carry-On, a RuMe cFold tote (discontinued) and a very small Travelon purse. I also take a packable Eddie Bauer backpack if I need to carry more than my purse during the day.

The absolute best thing I took this time was a packable shopping bag weighing only one ounce that clipped to my tiny purse. Also handy was a 12oz water bottle I could clip to my purse, put in the shopping bag or carry in the backpack. Restaurants filled it whenever I asked.

This trip I got the weight and measurements right for United’s carry on requirements and for train travel. I could easily carry and lift everything. My suitcase weighed 20 lbs, the tote 7 lbs. My luggage scale came in handy. If I hadn’t bought a lot of Christmas ornaments that filled the tote, I would not have had to check luggage for the trip home. Because I had a tight connection at SFO, I wish I had learned that lesson beforehand. Next year buy flat, lightweight ornaments only. Who am I trying to kid? With seven Christmas trees and a sister-in-law who loves Christmas as much as I do, I buy lots of ornaments as souvenirs.

A better idea is to plan longer connection times so my checked bag doesn’t make it home the following day. Along that line, I used Air Tags for the first time. Best thing in the world if you check luggage. Told me that my bag was at SFO in the wrong terminal and still there when I arrived at PHX. I took three Air Tags, one for my suitcase, one for my tote and another for my purse/backpack. The purse one was a little silly because my phone was usually tethered inside. If my purse had gone missing, I wouldn’t have been able to see “Find My” app. When I was taking pictures or following maps, my phone was on a lanyard around my neck so I wouldn’t drop it or set it down.

Here’s a short list of what worked and what didn’t:
First of all, my traveling wardrobe colors are black, gray, red and white print shirts. Everything is mix and match. I took 3 pair of leggings, two black and one gray, folded in a small packing cube. 5 sets of undies/socks in a small packing cube. 7 shirts total, 4 long sleeve and 3 short, all folded not rolled in a large packing cube. Also packed a knee brace and ankle brace which fortunately I didn’t need this trip. PJs were a tank top and running shorts that fit in the undies cube.

I wore everything and did hand wash nightly or every other night. I took a string backpack as a laundry bag, a small jar of Forever New powdered laundry soap and folding hangers. I almost left the RS clothes line home but it came in handy in the least expected way. Motel One Sendlinger Tor in Munich had a self-closing bathroom door which was very annoying so I used the bungee clothes line to tie it open.

I only wore my jacket once, on a chilly day to Dachau. Also wore my bright red plaid rain poncho once. But I’m glad I had both with me, along with a gray sun hat. Most days were warm enough that I didn’t need my sweater; it’s cashmere, lightweight and takes minimal room. I took a lightweight cotton hooded poncho that I love for travel, but it decided to stay in Český Krumlov hiding in the dark recesses of our group dinner restaurant.

I only took two pair of shoes instead of my usual three to save weight and space. I wore the Ryka sneakers on travel and long walking days and Fitflop sandals (not thongs) when my toes needed a break. Walking on cobblestones is hard on my toes, so I bandaged them daily plus wore silicone toe protectors. I was also suffering from seed corns so bandaged the sole of one foot daily. I can cut half of the foot protection supply next trip.

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2872 posts

What really took up room and weight were all the old(er) lady supplies, lotions and potions. I can’t decide how to cut those, but the weight decreases as the supply is used during the trip so I guess it really didn’t matter. Using those gave me room to haul Maalox anti-acid tablets home, which I can’t buy in AZ, and several boxes of Hansaplast bandaids for sensitive skin.

I wore KN95 masks on travel days and on public transportation, also in crowded museums. I took more than I needed but they are more bulk than weight. I’ll reevaluate the quantity for next year. As a precaution I got another covid booster shot a month before I traveled. I don’t want to go through another bout of covid like I did last year.

To cut weight I left my camera home. In its bag along with a spare battery, it weighs 1½ lbs. Glad to cut the weight, but I missed the picture quality of the camera over the phone. I packed phone and other cords and chargers in a Travelon mesh zipped pouch so I could easily find them. Hint: use colorful elastic hair ties to wrap and color-coordinate cords.

Other packing I will reevaluate: Kleenex, 6 packs was overkill; extension cord, only used three trips ago; umbrella which was in the hotel room both times I got caught in rain; too many glasses wipes; didn’t use bug repellent wipes. My paperwork folder adds weight, but keeps me organized, holds printed tickets and is a back-up if my phone dies.

My RS Rolling Carry-On barely made it home. During the trip the handle gave me problems retracting. By the time United delivered it to me, the handle stayed up. I’ll have BeerEngineering (my hubby) see if it’s fixable. There is an old forum post that says it’s not fixable and there are no replacement parts. So I’m sure I need to buy a new suitcase before next year's trip because “carry-on” doesn’t mean “carry”.

Rolling Carry-On life expectancy report: I used it for three Europe trips, one Hawaii trip and several domestic ones since 2017. Actually I’m a disappointed it didn’t last longer. It has not had hard use. Bag’s in good condition (I don’t stress the zippers), just the handle is poor quality.

Posted by
14175 posts

What a great assessment!

RE: Your bag handle. I've not had that problem with my old RS roller but I do have that problem with my Travel Pro. I went online to look at videos for a fix and found some. It worked temporarily but has not stayed fixed. It was a 22" and heavier than I really wanted for carry on so was going to move down a size and in weight as well. IF you are not traveling until next year you can do your research and look to pounce on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

My advice is to keep the umbrella in no matter what. I took mine out in April and wound up having to beg one off of Kateja who swore she had 10 stockpiled. Well, I could have bought one but she offered, lol and I HAD bought one on the 2 previous trips!

I love that you brought home so many ornaments. What great memories those will provide for you and sIL!!

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3208 posts

Thanks HW!
I do like to read the post trip packing reports.
I also find a lightweight shopping bag invaluable.
I’d rather put my stuff like a sweater or umbrella in one than a backpack for a day out.
Sorry you lost your favourite poncho in a restaurant though!

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3303 posts

Thanks for posting - you found a way to make a packing report interesting!

I have an inexpensive High Sierra rolling carry-on that I bought in 2005 from Amazon before a trip to Italy and Switzerland. I traveled a lot for work, checked it frequently, and it is only just now starting to show its age.

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6850 posts

horsewoofie, great packing report! It sounds like for the most part, everything went well. I had to laugh when you wrote about buying Christmas ornaments. I totally get that! I just can't stop buying gifts, and I've sworn next time I'm going to buy each of my grandkids something on Amazon and have it shipped home. Then I might get them a very small souvenir as well.

Sorry about your bag (and Pam, you, too). I have not had that problem with my TravelPro spinner (knock on wood!). And I'm with you on the Air Tags - invaluable!!!

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2872 posts

What I forgot to mention: I use a Stashbandz money belt. Love it because it's stretchy for comfort and has four pockets to distribute the bulk. However because I wear it all day every day it get sweaty and gross. I'm lock deficit so don't use hotel safes. Next trip I will also take my old silk neck wallet so I can wash the Stashbandz and give it plenty of drying time.

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2872 posts

Roubrat, sure. Doesn't everyone? A tree for every room and sometimes two or three. Of course, with the exception of the living room's 9ft skinny tree, most are 4' tall. Each room has a theme, so I have to buy ornaments to fit the themes. Oh Oh, I forgot a critter for the critter tree! I'm sure I have something stashed somewhere that will work, not to hurt it's feelings.

Pam, you're right, the umbrella weighs almost nothing and takes up little space. Of course, if I carry it, it won't rain!

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1867 posts

European Christmas ornaments are fantastic souvenirs. Love them!

My family is nearly entirely of German ethnic heritage, and we have many antique ornaments that have been passed down for generations. Every year some have simply disintegrated as the glass somehow turns to powder. Resupplying in Europe is somehow more fun than ordering online, etc.

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2872 posts

BethFL, that bag was from London last year. This year I bought several with stuff bags that also weigh 1oz and a couple with zippered pouches that weigh 1 1/2oz. They are all lightweight nylon but this years' have hanging cords instead of clips. I like the London one best because of the clip and ease of stuffing into its storage pouch. I didn't see any with clips this year. You can find bags in souvenir shops; good little gifts for friends. I could stuff a lot in them; weight when carrying at the end of the day, 6 lbs.

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7404 posts

Thanks for taking the time to share, Horsewoofie! It’s always great to be able to see what worked for you and also what didn’t.

Posted by
454 posts

Thanks HW for posting. I just bought a lightweight tote bag from ikea today for my personal item. Only 6 ounces. Do you stack your tote on the rolling bag? I’m doing the Prague Budapest tour in Oct and also adding Vienna so I’m anxious to read your trip report.

Last May coming back from Greece I saw a carryon bag with a handle that refused to retract. Belonged to a gentleman sitting in row behind me. He and steward fought with it to no avail. The flight attendant did manage to get it into the overhead. That’s when you pray to the travel gods it never happens to your bag. 🙏
I replaced a beloved bag because the handle just started to seem a bit rickety and I was worried what the future might hold.

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1863 posts

Thanks, great post. My daughter invented the greatest hack for sweaty money belts. I take several sheets of adjustable size paper towels in my bag. I fold the smallest size & place between the plastic insert and the material that is against your skin. The paper towel soaks up the sweat and I air out the money belt at night and put in a new paper towel the next day. I have had my Rick rollaboard in 2008. I just had to replace it this spring to get ready for my fall trip. Nothing was broken, but it was looking really sad.

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3208 posts

I like the paper towel tip for moneybelts!