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Rick Srteves packing List - Total List or Packed List?

I appreciate the packing list here and in the RS books. However I am not sure what this list actually is:

  • Total list of all things to bring including what is worn on your first air travel day...or...
  • List of only things that get packed in my bags.

In other words, it says two pairs of pants...is the one to wear on the plane and one in my suitcase, or one to wear on the plane plus two more in the suitcase?

Thanks.
SS

Posted by
3259 posts

Depends on the size of your suitcase? Seriously; it's a guideline. Pack what YOU think you will need and according to how often you want to do laundry.

Posted by
5697 posts

I believe in one of his books Rick has a photo of everything on his list, laid out on a bed, representing everything he took or wore. So the list includes the wear-on-the-plane stuff. But the list is merely a suggestion, not a mandate.

Posted by
11234 posts

It's whatever you want it to be.

Rick's packing list, and guidebooks for that matter, are not Bible's or rulebooks. They are just suggestions.

Posted by
18298 posts

I don't care what Rick does¹, but my "packing list" is what I actually pack. I have a second category on my list of what I carry with me in my personal item and what I wear.

Limiting my packing list to what I actually put in my bag allows me to use the list to calculate the weight of just my carry-on and to make sure I have everything when I pack.

  1. I think in one of his early books, Rick showed a picture of everything he took with him laid out on a bed in his hotel room, and said he took the picture while naked, so that "hints" at what his list includes.
Posted by
21041 posts

My packing list certainly includes what I'm going to wear on the plane. It represents everything I'll have available to me during my trip (unless I go shopping). I'm female and do not take skirts or dresses. I wouldn't head out with only two pairs of slacks unless I was wedded to the idea of carry-on only and flying an airline with an extremely limited carry-on weight limit.

Posted by
1556 posts

I pack what will fit in my suitcase and I can lift into the overhead bins on the plane. I use travel sized toiletries and take two pair of shoes (one packed) and a light weight sweater or windbreaker, and a small umbrella and rain poncho.
I never travel during cold months, but I do take one pair of slacks just in case of cooler days and rain. My travel clothing consists of four thin skirts and 6 thin blouses. Each blouse goes with every skirt and my slacks. I take enough underwear for five days. All are sink washable and dry quickly.

Posted by
2705 posts

I include what I wear/carry onto the plane. The reason for me is that my “plane outfit” needs to fit in with everything else I bring. I don’t have a specific outfit only for the plane, my plane clothes get washed and then worn mix-and-match with everything else. Even more important for the shoes I have on the plane, since I might only have 2 pairs total.

Posted by
2635 posts

Unless my trip is only about a week, I would bring 3 pairs of pants, including the pair I wear on the plane, which is usually the heaviest so that I don't have to lug it around. But those 3 have to be travel friendly: light weight, I don't want to lift 3 pairs of jeans into overhead bins; easy care / not too wrinkly, I don't want to iron during my vacation (or at home, for that matter) and base colors that go with whatever tops I'm bringing so that I'm never stuck with a clean pair of pants that don't match my clean tops.

Posted by
1598 posts

Packing light is a challenge. The list is a guideline only. Decide what you want to wear on the plane, set aside, make your own list which includes what you wear on the plane. After all you will wear those clothes again. Test pack, weigh and measure your luggage, repeat process until you are happy with what you’re taking, revise your list. If in doubt, leave it home. Keep your list so next time packing light will be a snap.
Hint: all the sundry things add a lot of weight. Pack only what you need.

Posted by
128 posts

My travel list includes what I wear on the plane. I do carry-on only and my suitcase is never full or over the weight limit even with a generous packing list. The most important thing is what will you be comfortable wearing for the activities you have planned. Weigh your clothes, it sounds OCD but it really helps when deciding what to pack. Even as an enthusiastic Rick Steve's travel person I always take more than 2 pairs of pants as well as 3 pairs of shoes.

Posted by
18 posts

Thanks for all the input.

I just wanted to get an idea. My wife and I have been to Europe a couple of dozen times, usually for one to two weeks...and always get by with a roller bag (20-21") each -- plus small shoulder bags for under-seat.

I have always taken three pair of pants - one to wear and two to pack...but I was curious as to whether RS thought it reasonable to get by with only one in the suitcase.

The last two trips involved AirBnB in the middle -- with a washer and dryer...as does our upcoming trip to Rome/Sicily...so, if I'm feeling brave, I might try the" two-pants" option. I'm always looking for ways to cut down. :-)

Thanks, again.
SS

Posted by
18 posts

...and yes, we NEVER check bags and always save our packing lists from trip to trip -- deleting anything we realize was not needed on each trip and unlikely to be needed on the next one.
SS

Posted by
9682 posts

I'm of the belt and suspenders school of thought so when a regular posted that she had only packed 2 pr of pants then had a zipper failure with one of them so was going to make 3 her minimum from then on, I thought that was worth noting! So....I take 3 pr of pants total - one for wearing in transit and two packed.

Posted by
4449 posts

Hi Steve,

My packing list contains everything that will be worn or inside the suitcase. In other words, everything that needs to be clean and ready to go. The day before the trip, I place the items I’m going to wear on our dresser; I pack the suitcase a few days ahead.

I print out the list a month before after I’ve done a trial pack, etc. and modified any last changes. Then when I pack, each item is physically checked off of the list. The morning I leave, I check off the items I’m wearing...to not forget a coat or sweater if I had planned to wear one, etc.

I just asked my husband, and he takes two pair of long pants and two pairs of shorts. I take one pair of long pants, 2 dresses and one capri. Our trips are 3-weeks long. We only do carry on.

Posted by
2705 posts

On the how many pants issue...I have a 10-12 items of clothing rule. That’s regular clothes like shirts, pants, dresses, skirts, not shoes, or underwear. It counts “fashion” jackets/sweaters but not a necessary raincoat. Mixed and matched between pants, skirts, tops, dresses, and shorts depending on weather and destination.

If I only wore pants and shirts (no skirts/dresses/shorts), I’d go with 3 pants and 6-7 tops, and maybe a sweater, depending on weather. Including what is worn on the plane. That’s a week’s worth of clothes since I don’t wash pants daily but wash tops more often.
I do think only 2 pants is limiting for anyone who doesn’t wear shorts or skirts. 3 pants is better.

Posted by
3021 posts

I'm a procrastinator. As I scramble to pack at midnight the night before I depart the US, I pull out the RS packing list just to try to make sure I don't forget something.

Some folks are comfortable packing very little and sink washing every night, sleeping naked (joking here - somewhat), flip flops and no socks. Then, I have a friend who packs her whole wardrobe for a 3 day car trip.
Get out a sheet of paper. Write down your must-haves. Try to get your laundry done every 4-5 days at a laundromat. Then, try to pack your list. Pare back if necessary. Keep it as simple as you can. Remember your 3-1-1 kit.
311 bag = 3 oz. Bottles of liquids - 1 quart bag - 1 bag per person. In other words, all the 3 oz. or smaller bottles of liquids you can pack in a 1 quart-sized bag. (Shampoo, toothpaste, booze). Use 1 quart freezer, zip-tab bag from grocery store or similar.
311 bags only matter if you are packing liquids and doing carry-on. If you are checking a bag - then, liquids are not an issue.

Posted by
18 posts

I appreciate all the opinions and recommendations -- I really do -- I'm not being sarcastic. It never hurts to hear other folks' ideas, and I'm not too old to learn.

However, what I was trying to find out specifically was whether the RS packing list refers to total items or just packed-in-luggage items. I know the list is only suggestions, but I'd love to know exactly what those suggestions are before I evaluate them vis-a-vis my own needs.

[Sigh}...I guess only RS himself can answer that. :-)

Steve

Posted by
1761 posts

In one of the early editions of Europe on $5 a Day, one traveler was mentioned who carried 1 pair of underwear and her toothbrush in her purse. That was it for her !

Posted by
5697 posts

LOL, Stephen, I remember reading in the late 1960's about that woman, who said she did not carry a suitcase, just a large purse -- rinsed out her underthings and her navy lace shell nightly (she wore a navy suit!)

Posted by
1179 posts

I’m am fairly sure it is an “everything” list. I know that I usually take less.

It’s an advantage to think of it that way. It ensures that your worn clothing coordinates with your packed clothing.

Another rule is wear the heavy items on the plane.

I agree with the 3 bottoms rule. For me it is 2 pants and a skirt. But it ensures you’re not stuck with just one item of clothing if another fails.

Posted by
11234 posts

It's everything. A good packing list should include everything you take with you.

Posted by
418 posts

I love Mira's 10-12 item rule --- one of my favorite packing rules. It's so simple and straightforward. Just pick whatever clothes work for your style and destination, and cap it at 12 items. And, yes, that includes what you wear on the plane.

Posted by
111 posts

Mira, I try and follow something similar from the Vivienne Files. 5 items (2 bottoms, 2 tops and a sweater/blazer/outerwear) is the base for all trips. Then add one item per day of your trip, up to 15 items. I find in most cases, the strategy works well.

Posted by
114 posts

Hi, I have used the Rick Steves list as a guide (I am female in my 50s). Best tip I have (and it is from a Rick Steves YouTube women's packing video) is if you have 2 things and you can't decide which one to take (eg. two sweaters or two pairs of shoes) weigh them (kitchen scales work well) and take the lightest one. It is surpising how much weight difference there can be between two almost identical sweaters. I usually travel by public transit (tram, train, bus) when overseas and a lighter bag is certainly easier to deal with.