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Packing too early?

Our trip to Austria, Germany, and Italy isn't until Sept. I have looked at the avg temp for the areas we will be (70' in Austria\Germany and 75 in Venice) and I know that can change, as it often does here at home.

I am going through my closet to see what I have (sticking with grey\black\tan to mix & match).
Sometimes I feel silly planning my clothes this far ahead. Am I alone in this? Is it too early to plan this part of my trip?

Posted by
2768 posts

Not silly - as long as you aren't actually packing, as in putting clothes in a suitcase. Planning is fine - and a good idea if you are trying to both pack light and be fashionable. That takes planning to make sure the few pieces you have work together to make outfits that are nice looking AND practical AND have enough variety for your taste. You can do it in 10 carefully chosen items plus a few accessories - but you have to think it through. And perhaps you will notice you need a particular item and now you have months to shop for it.

Of course, there is no need to do it this early, but if it's fun and helps you get excited...go for it.

Posted by
375 posts

Planning is (almost) as fun as the trip! Good idea on the grey/black/tan idea, too. Bring a couple colorful pieces to liven it up (scarf or T for example!

Enjoy!

Posted by
40 posts

Love the planning stage! It's never, ever too early to plan :D

Check out the blog unefemme.net -- click on "Travel Wardrobes" on the right side of the home page, and you'll see posts on how the author has chosen her wardrobes for several trips. My problematic left foot won't allow the choices for shoes that she packs, but her clothing selections have encouraged me away from my usual "three black slacks, three black knit shirts, one fancy black shirt, three colorful scarves."

Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
4062 posts

There's an important second step. Pack that gear into your suitcase and carry It up and down a set of stairs -- twice. Then lug it around two square blocks. Once back home, after resting for a spell, begin to discard so the weight goes down and you won't need to catch your breath.

Posted by
8590 posts

No, it prevents last minute searching for that one thing you decide you need. You can always change up to the last minute, when you can see the short-term forecast.

Posted by
27352 posts

I think it's fine, but it wouldn't work for me, because the selected clothes might not fit by the time the trip rolls around.

Posted by
8520 posts

acraven, I find I resemble your remarks and laughed out loud when I read it!

I'm hoping mine will be too big.......

Posted by
3240 posts

I went back through my posts and discovered packing and luggage, etc. are my favorite things to comment on. It also is a favorite thing to do, apparently. Demalkinski, I posted this question one year ago and received some very entertaining answers. You might want to take a look.

I'd just like to add that I pack in my head all year round, and everytime I buy a piece of clothing. Will this travel well? Will it match the rest of my things? I will say a packing list makes one a little less conspicuous amidst one's family... So have fun 'packing'.

Posted by
11444 posts

I'd just like to add that I pack in my head all year round, and everytime I buy a piece of clothing. Will this travel well? Will it match the rest of my thing?

Wray that is so true!

The minute we have a trip planned I start in my head, moving quickly to a written list where I note what I have and what pieces I may need to acquire. Have to get shoes a couple of months in advance, at least, if I am replacing a favorite. I am looking for a nice merino wool red cardigan if anyone has a good lead. :-)

I actually pack the bag about 5 days before we are departing.

Posted by
5039 posts

It's never too early to start planning. I don't actually pack until the day before, but the planning starts months earlier. Learned that lesson the hard way when I had to search for a new bathing suit in January! If there are gaps in my wardrobe that need filling, I want lots of time to find the right piece (s) to fill them.

I've got a packing list in my computer and I start a new wardrobe spreadsheet for each trip. And I keep them, so I can look at what I packed for the last cruise or land trip to see what worked and what didn't. That really helps avoid over packing.

Posted by
166 posts

I pack early to to see how things will fit and what the total weight of the bag will be. One thing I would caution on is that last year I packed my bag early and at the time had several things on my mind and ended up in Europe with too many left eye contacts and not enough right eye contacts, also I ran out of a prescription medication, both of these was due to not staying focused during packing. This year I will go back to using my check list and focusing on double checking everything I take with me. Packing light and accurately helps make a trip so much more fun.

Posted by
2252 posts

You are not alone! I have already begun thinking about what I might be taking for my 10 days in Paris early May plus my nearly 3 weeks in London and Scotland later September/October. I love this "anticipation" part of trips. And I just might need another new packing cube, carry on personal item, etc. I am always tempted into buying something new by what people post on this site! (And I have very little will power.....)

Posted by
985 posts

Nope, not too early. I start planning my wardrobe as soon as I know when and where I am going. That, along with trip research add some excitement to my days.

Andi,
If you are going to Scotland - pack a good quality, hooded rain jacket. That was one of the best pieces of advice I received prior to a Scotland trip. No cheapie rain ponchos. Think basspro here or similar. I like men's coats because of the fuller cut which allows space over a zip-up fleece vest or jacket. Scotland is a good place for a few basic layers. (Shirt, fleece vest, raincoat.)

Posted by
5837 posts

I gather my potential clothing and gear weeks ahead of time to make sure that I don't need anything new and that everything is in working order. As I approach take off I refine my trip list, hopeful windowing down the load to essential. Trail packing a couple of days to a week to go with finial packing and weighing one or two nights before departure.

Posted by
3521 posts

For me, yes this is too early for a September trip -- way too early. But then I don't actually pack until about 15 minutes before I leave for the airport. :-)

I do a quick check to see what I might have to replace a couple months prior to a trip, shoes especially, and I will buy what I need at that time so it can get broken in well in advance of the trip.

Posted by
44 posts

I will be on the GAS Rick Steves tour in July and I’m already planning my clothing! Everything I wear I think, “is this lightweight and will it work on my tour?” I’m so excited (it’s my first RS tour)!

Posted by
15552 posts

What you might want to do is make up a master packing list for travel. I have one on Google Docs. This is your template. Put everything on it you might take on a trip. This list is constantly updated and revised after each trip to see what I may not want to take any longer or if I find something that is better than I have now.

To make your own packing lists, peruse numerous ones on the web. Don't just use one person's list as they may not take something you would. Just Google "packing lists" and you will get tons of examples.

When I am getting ready for a trip, I make a copy of the packing list and paste it into a new document with the title of the trip. Then I start going down the list crossing off anything I won't take. (example--thermal underwear for a trip to the Mediterranean.) I also ask myself if I really need it or can I get it wherever I am going should I need it.

This also helps to make sure I don't forget anything. (And since it's in Google Docs I always have it with me.)

Once that it done, I start to think of how i will pack it. I go so far, and I know this may sound ridiculous, but I get out a sheet of graph paper. I then mark off the dimensions of the bag using each box as an inch. Since I use packing cubes, pouches and sacs, I can play Tetris and figure out how to best pack it. I do this for each bag since they all pack differently. (And of course, I've already decided what goes in each cube/pouch/sac--see below.)

If you really want to be obsessive about this, you can measure and weigh every item on your packing list so you know how it will affect your packing.

To be extra, extra neurotic about it, you could make a separate list of packing aids and under each one put what will be going in it.

Yes.....I do this. I have a lot of time on my hands. Hey, I'm retired and it beats playing shuffleboard.

Posted by
125 posts

Well, I don't feel so bad now.... lol. I haven't gone so far as to get my backpack and packing cubes out but I do have multiple lists in Google Docs. A master packing list, a carry on packing list, a list of things to do before leaving, a breakdown of each city we will be visiting and points of interest in each location. I love to plan and organize!!
I bought my boots (we are hiking the Zugspitze---I'm wearing these on the plane and changing into ballet flats that I can wear as slippers in the apartments) so that they are broken in. I also bought walking shoes to make sure they are comfortable. That's it for shoes.
I've got a few items of clothing picked out and I'm working on the rest.
I love reading all your comments. Thanks guys!!!

Posted by
14159 posts

My name is Pam and I am a recreational packer.

There, I've said it. Everyone here knows it anyway, hahaha!!

"I'd just like to add that I pack in my head all year round, and everytime I buy a piece of clothing. Will this travel well? Will it match the rest of my thing? "

Absolutely, Wray!

Now...I just got back from a birding trip to SW Florida. I've got all my clothes washed and am considering going ahead and packing my travel unders and travel PJs for my mid-May trip. I won't need them before then and I'm going to top up my 3-1-1 stuff today. I'll have to leave myself a sticky note on the packing cube so I remember what is in there but...yep, I'm packing! I won't pack my shirts yet because the way winter is going, going, gone, I might need SS Tees before mid-May!

The capsule wardrobe I took last Spring and last Fall worked so well color-wise that I'm doing it again. Black/gray/cobalt/aqua.

Posted by
5697 posts

We had a good time with Wray's post last year (see her note above) and it's always fun to talk about packing.

I use One Note for my packing list on my phone, with check boxes. Check off items as they are worn. Note other items that would have been useful, so I can remember/ consider them for the next trip. At the end of the trip, I see what was NOT used but got carried around for weeks, so I can remind myself to pack less the next time. So in one sense, I am always packing.
Don't forget that historic averages are just that -- past data. Take a look also at historic highs and lows, and consult current forecasts right before you leave.

Posted by
9769 posts

I'm so glad Wray posted to that thread, it was a fun one. I love thinking about packing, and packing . . .

Posted by
125 posts

Yes, I've read some of Wrays posts, loved reading them.
This is my first international trip but we took a cruise 2 years ago and I over packed BIGTIME. I didn't wear half of what I brought

Posted by
2252 posts

Thank you for this excellent advice Sun-Baked in Florida! I will certainly take it to heart. I never would have thought to buy a men's coat but that makes perfect sense. Going to search out your recommendations as soon as I hit Add Reply!

"If you are going to Scotland - pack a good quality, hooded rain jacket. That was one of the best pieces of advice I received prior to a Scotland trip. No cheapie rain ponchos. Think basspro here or similar. I like men's coats because of the fuller cut which allows space over a zip-up fleece vest or jacket. Scotland is a good place for a few basic layers. (Shirt, fleece vest, raincoat.)"

Posted by
3198 posts

You found the average temp. in Venice to be 75 in September.
I was there last September, and it wasn't nearly that warm.
It rained a lot, and as it's built on water, sometimes the buildings (apartments, hotels) feel a bit chilly inside.
Always pack a raincoat with a hood, and clothes for layering under it.
I was there 11 nights; and wore my open sandals once, and my capris and tshirts: never!
The rest of the time it was everything I had with me, on me in layers!
No predicting really, when it comes to Fall weather in Europe.
Best thing is to be ready for anything!

Posted by
2618 posts

I do a bit of wardrobe pre-planning, I have some pieces that are definites and always want time to get anything else I determine I might need, especially outerwear. Actual placing of items in my suitcase doesn't happen until a few days prior to departure.

Posted by
7395 posts

It's fun!! I'll be traveling in September and have already decided my preliminary outfits, know which shoes I will wear, and what couple of items I will be looking for as possible replacements during the year.

(I've been in Austria, Germany & Venice in Septembers. Venice was so hot during one of those trips that we took a shower and changed clothes before going out in the evenings. Bring a lightweight layer for the other extreme.)

Since I pack very light, I have my standard packing list and just modify a few items to the specific countries. As previous posters mentioned, be sure to print out the list - both to verify it's actually in your suitcase and also to keep last minute "what if's" out of your suitcase. It's amazing what I think I might need the morning of the flight when I see some empty space in my bag - ha!

Having your list also helps you pack quickly. I had some friends over for breakfast who were planning to travel to Europe and had questions. They couldn't imagine being able to pack light, so I said, give me 5 minutes and I'll be packed for your trip! I took the list and had my carry-on suitcase packed and let them unpack it to see how they could do it, too.

Posted by
4427 posts

Mark, impressed that you can do that. I wouldn't be able to find half the things I needed if I waited until the last minute to look for them. Of course, the flip side is that two weeks ago I looked everywhere for a certain pair of jeans before remembering that I had already packed them!

Posted by
439 posts

OK - I am not the only OCD person, started making my packing list for Oct trip this week.

I do start trying out shoes a long way in advance. I need the right shoes or the trip is ruined.

Posted by
7991 posts

Sometimes I feel silly planning my clothes this far ahead... Is it too early to plan this part of my trip?

yeah given the trip is 7 months away and a lot can change in the time.
you have to consider that you are bored with everything else happening around you now

Posted by
125 posts

Ok Jazz+travels. I'm going to answer that while staying positive, because I'm a positive person! If you have read half of the previous comments I am not the only one to pack early....actually, I'm not even packing, I'm planning!
I am happy with what's going on in my life. I'm taking a trip I have dreamed about for years so I happen to be excited!
Perhaps THAT is my reason for early planning.

Posted by
27 posts

I usually have a trip box in my closet where I stash anything I want to take on my next trip. I've been known to toss items in that box six months in advance, especially if I'm going to a warm weather location during my winter time. I have a cruise planned for next January and I'm already working on that packing plan.

Posted by
2529 posts

In response to the original question, it’s never too early if it’s important to you. I wear boring mix and match clothes, that won’t gain me access to spendy clubs. Apart from clothes, I had a random thought while looking at liquid soaps at an outdoors store today. Campsuds, peppermint version, is great while traveling. As I viewed the soap, a flexible sink drain disk came to mind and that it better be near my bag when packing for my next trip.

Posted by
7395 posts

Bruce, I stopped into a Lush store Saturday on the way to the ballet to check out their solid shampoos. Trip planning is never far from our minds!

Posted by
5697 posts

Bruce and Jean, thanks for reminding me -- items to stick on the "think about" portion of my ongoing pack list.

Posted by
1019 posts

Thanks Wray for letting us read your post again. I posted a few things and I am still doing it again. 10 weeks til I leave for my two RS tours and YES..... I have my suitcase out now (RIP Zoe! - She told me to get my suitcase out and I would sleep better) and my clothes pulled out that I think I am going to take.

It will never changed! LOL

Posted by
3240 posts

I'm traveling to Amsterdam in March. My suitcase is now out of the closet and today I dropped a few items into it. The fun begins!

Posted by
14159 posts

Well, I actually hate to mention this BUT you've also got enough time that you can trial your whole capsule wardrobe over a time frame similar to your trip. This is going to mark me as totally crazed...

Posted by
9769 posts

Now Wray, that sounds like fun!! I haven't been to Amsterdam in . . .gosh, over 20 years, I guess. And it's just a few hours away by train from my house!!!!

Posted by
59 posts

I am also in with the early packers! As soon as i unpack from one trip, i start refilling the bag. I top up the 31 1 toiletries, any used up firstaid supplies, find needed adapter plugs, etc. I research the probable weather for the next trip, activities. Then i start thinking about the shoes and clothes. If i am only bringing 10 or 12 items, i really have to like them. I feel better when i put some thought into my appearance. So, the thinking is on. Our next trips are southern italy followed by sicily in april and may. I have clothes set aside already, just picked up a light sweater today. Mind you, this is all a good distraction because we still have snow on the ground! The planning and packing and reading these posts is just part of the fun. I think i am a travel and packing addict! By the way, DH thinks I am nuts. He has not even thought about packing yet!

Posted by
2462 posts

Pam's post made me LOL, because that's me in a nutshell. I am currently in pre-packing stages for a May trip to S. America - last weekend I pulled out all my travel-eligible clothes to determine what still fits (because, truth) and identify where the gaps in the wardrobe are. My current trip is hard because of multiple climates (from beach to jungle to high altitudes).

I often purchase clothes with travel in mind (easy care, dry over night, basics/neutrals that go with everything). I have been known to plan far ahead and then the week before the trip make impulse wardrobe buys (that rarely ever work out well....so I should really stick with the planned items!). I also test wash/dry everything a couple of times, and you can't do that the night before you leave :) Vivienne files is a great place to get ideas as you plan, she has wardrobe ideas arranged by color palate.

Posted by
125 posts

I go over in my head what I want to take, as far as clothing, and it has changed slightly as time goes on. I have bought 2 pairs of "jeans".....thinner, stretchy material than regular jeans; black and blue, plus a reversible skirt I found in the back of my closet! It's the tops I keep changing out. BUT, I am having fun with all of this.....going through my closet and coming up with different combinations.

I broached the subject of clothing with DH the other day and he laughed and said it was too far out for him to even think about.

I also have a basket that i throw things into as I come across them; a flat, lightweight cutting board for picnics, money belt, travel size items, outlet converter, etc. It seems I have more non clothing items!! Does anyone else find this to be true?

Posted by
4574 posts

Yes, Libby, the non clothing item is fondly called 'trinket creep' by a crusty old ex-Marine who is one of those 'light' packers. I will admit that those are the most items in my luggage, but then I rent apartments and am a bird watcher, so there will be extra items that I pack. I don't travel without my binoculars - and my Spork https://www.amazon.ca/Light-Fire-Original-Multi-Color-Spirit/dp/B00JJQOTAS/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1520527648&sr=8-4&keywords=spork

Posted by
4171 posts

I am so relieved that I'm not the only one who pays attention to what to take on the next trip. I have the lists, the item weights, you name it. I always consider anything new I buy in terms of wearing it on a trip.

On my tablet I also have an app called Stylicious. It was designed for closet organization, but I adapted it for travel. I have a "closet" full of travel clothes to choose from. Each item has a picture, a description and the weight. They are classed in different categories. In the past I made the mistake of having only the current trip's items in the closet, but now I put anything I might take on any trip in there so I don't have to create it from scratch each trip.

For my summer RS Best of Scandinavia tour, the weight is particularly important because I'm going to try to do it using the Appenzell as my "big" bag. As soon as it arrives, I will do a test pack of that bag to see if it will be too uncomfortable to carry on my back. If it is, I'll use my spinner or my 2-wheeled bag and do my best to only pack what I would've carried on my back.

So it's not too early for me to test pack for that June trip. Truth be told, I start planning for the next trip shortly after my return from the last one. That includes wardrobe, so like many of us, I think about packing a lot. That must be why my real closet has black, gray and navy pants. The tops are predominantly purples and shades of blue. I wear glasses all the time and now I even have a pair each with black, dark blue and purple frames! There's no such thing as over-coordination for me.

Posted by
1019 posts

That's so funny.... no never too early...

My suitcase and clothes have been out since January and my trip is not until about 5 more weeks.

My weather for my cities are in 38-45 right now.... so my clothes are not set in stone but just playing the waiting game for changes and closer to take off time.

Happy travels.

Kim

edit - did not realize I already posted ha ha

Posted by
1003 posts

In my book it is never too early to think about what you might want to pack! I keep a file with what I have packed for each trip and make notes when we get back on what I could have done without, etc.
I stick to the black/khaki combo with many of my shirts also having a splash of color in them. When I buy an item I seem to always ask myself if this would travel well.

Posted by
1434 posts

Have been reading the Italy forum for years (and lately also taking part in it), but somehow never ran across this packing forum until 2:00am this morning. (2:00am because I am gradually putting myself onto Italy time to avoid jetlag --- it works for me!)

So, my first thought was a delighted "These are my people!" and the second was "I'm so glad I wouldn't be the wackiest or the earliest packer here!"

Posted by
44 posts

Love this thread! I don't think it's ever too early to start thinking about/or packing. I love the idea of sticking to just a few colors so that everything matches. We are going to London/France in 3 weeks and I'm already mentally packing....and we are planning on packing super light (well, as light as you can pack with two little kids) so I really need to make sure each item is multipurpose, etc. etc. I like to keep an empty crate/box in my room and as I think of things just throw them in there! Then I will cross reference with an actual list as we get closer.

Posted by
125 posts

I keep (or should I say kept) a basket on my dresser to toss items in as I thought of them. I've now moved on to a spare dresser drawer.
I am an avid Goodwill shopper & today I scored!!! I found a Lands End top, a t shirt from The Loft & (the best find) a 100% Merino Wool thigh length cardigan! They all coordinate so they'll go into the "possible European vacation" end of my closet.

Posted by
14159 posts

Oooh, Libby! Good job! The merino cardie sounds great.

Posted by
51 posts

I am so relieved to know I am not alone! We decided this past December to go back to Europe in September. This will be our 5th trip to Europe since our honeymoon in 1990. All previous trips were June and July. We are now retired and can go during cooler weather, so I am entering a new era of packing decisions. How to pack in my carry on, but still take into account the different climates. (I am a Southern girl who doesn't like to be cold.) We will be going to Venice, Slovenia, Tuscany, and Paris. Needless to say, I have been planning and researching for months. So in other words, the quest for the perfect clothing (and shoes) goes on!