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Thank you to all who contribute here! Practice packing SUCCESS!

I am so grateful to the many people who actively engage in the discussions on this board! I wanted to share my recent success story - I'm so proud of myself and the progress I've made, and I couldn't have done it without the wisdom here!

My family recently got back from Scotland, where we were touring some universities our daughter is planning to apply to, plus a litte bit of light hiking/walking, distillery tours, small town touring/shopping, and finishing up in Edinburgh. We did check bags, but we brought the smallest bags we have EVER travelled with (21"), and really enjoyed the ease of transfers (5 accomodations over 7 nights).

Coming home, I was inspired to keep our momentum going. I invested in a new toiletry bag and even smaller travel bottles (my old ones weren't huge, but I have never run out of anything on a one-week trip anywhere). I went to Scotland without my laptop and sorely missed it a few times when we needed to set up some reservations en route - I just really prefer a larger screen for the research/booking process. I also took a long hard look at my cords and "other stuff." All of this, of course, just for fun, because we don't expect to do any more traveling in the near future (and would not have done Scotland if it hadn't been for the uni tours!).

Then, recently, there were 2 family and friend events that coincided and I decided I really needed to pack a bag and go to my mom's. I didn't know how long I would be there - perhaps 3 days, perhaps more than a week. I work full time, and needed to bring a portable version of my home office; my personal electronics for fun, but also for some work I do for a local nonprofit; clothes/shoes for under and over 70 F; clothes for heavy duty cleaning at my mom's house; clothes/shoes for possible dinners or drinks out; and clothes/shoes for the funeral of a family friend.

With all the new knowledge I've gleaned about packing lighter, bringing only those things you actually need, I was really looking forward to seeing how I did! I packed a capsule wardrobe that easily handled all the activities I would do. I did not need to do laundry (though I would have if I needed to stay over 1 week). I had to take my work computer & heavy charging brick (no options there), but my new travel setup is barely over 1 lb (tablet & bluetooth keyboard), and I brought my travel power strip (2 outlets + 4 USB) plus ONE phone cord, ONE USB-C cord, ONE micro-USB cord, and ZERO charging blocks. I was able to put it all together in a little over 1 hour, and it all fit very comfortably in my 21" spinner plus my Lug work bag (maybe 20L?). I didn't weigh it all, but it wasn't hard to manage.

It was plenty for a week. And all the things I did! I visited friends at their campsite for dinner & a campfire, did some grocery shopping, attended a funeral, went to my niece's soccer game, hauled trash and donations for a full day, went out for dinner at nice restaurants. We were outside a LOT (you know, Covid). Before I left, the weather was forecast to be mostly below 70F, but in fact was over 70F most every day - including the funeral, but my capsule wardrobe accommodated the change in weather with no problem.. Nights were cold - 50F or so - but I had all the right clothes for everything! Even when I have packed a 50 lb bag, I couldn't say I "always" had all the right clothes!

I can say with certainty how many oz. of shampoo, etc. I need for 7 days, because I was testing that! It was easy to do this test at my mom's - if/when I ran out, I would just use hers. :-)

I was able to test my cord usage - again, if I found I was missing something, I could borrow something from my mom. (And, btw - one of each kind of cord was plenty - because some things can charge at night while you sleep and others can charge during the day.)

I am so impressed by how well these travel tips really work, and I felt so prepared the whole week. Thank you, all, for helping me get here!

Posted by
2538 posts

Congratulations, Isn’t it a great feeling, literally, when not hauling all that extra stuff around. I have to work on my electronics and cords, they are too heavy, next trip I will do better. We are in Croatia now. It is my husband and I, my cousin and her husband and my sister-in-law and niece, an adult. I set up the itinerary and gave it to them 6 weeks before. We are going on ferries, in cars, up steps in Dubrovnik and Korčula, down several streets cause no cars allowed, etc. I told them there is a very quick self service laundry in Dubrovnik and a machine available in Korčula. Our trip together is 2 weeks. I packed one medium sized suitcase for both my husband and myself at 34lbs with a tote bag. Not too bad and very manageable, but even I know I overpacked a little. I could not believe how much luggage my travel companions brought. We all traveled together before and they said then they would try to do better for themselves. I even gifted them packing cubes after our last trip. Two days before the trip one said to me, I overpacked. I said, take half out. She said no, it’s in there already. Agh! After 6 days in Dubrovnik laundry was done by all. We’re in Korcula now and my sister-in law needs more laundry done. I said, didn’t you have laundry done at the hotel literally 2 days ago, she said she didn’t do whites. How many could you have after only being here one week and what is in that huge suitcase if not clean clothes. Agh! again. It’s so frustrating. But, we do have a fun time together and all get along wonderfully so I just tease them, or probably annoy is a better word, as they struggle up the stairs, onto the ferry, down the street, etc. we have a trip to Sicily planned with my cousin and husband in April, only 12 days. I said for 12 days I’ll half our clothes and probably won’t even need to do laundry. They don’t believe me. The challenge is on.

Posted by
150 posts

Congratulations on your packing success, and thank you for mentioning cutting back on your power cords/bricks. That is one area I could still improve. I usually just throw my cords/bricks into a small mesh zip bag, when in reality I don't need all of them. It gives me reassurance to have them, lol. I've cut back my packing over the years to pack really lightly, and as you mentioned, it is so freeing. Great job on packing in an hour with such a useful wardrobe. Unless it is an emergency, I am a SLOW packer. An hour to plan/pack would be really quick for me! My husband packs his bag in about 10 minutes.

Posted by
3453 posts

Thank you for sharing your packing success & Scotland! Many years ago I took a packing class at my local travel store. Something I never forgot was what the instructor shared- It didn’t matter if she was packing for a month or two weeks, she was able pack the same. She had it down to a “fine science” so to speak. Most of her clothing was sink washable. She used a 22” suitcase and a personal toiletry bag that fit over the handle. I too appreciate this board. I always learn something new!

Posted by
385 posts

Your excitement for minimizing is contagious. Thank you for a fun read. I also pack light and make sure that I take just two colors of clothing; black and white. I get color from scarves. If we stay anywhere for two weeks or more, I make sure our rental has a washing machine. Here's hoping your daughter is admitted to her top pick!

Posted by
1885 posts

Which University did your daughter pick?
I did my Post Secondary Education in Edinburgh....lovely town for students!

As far as toiletries: before my last trip two years ago, I packed all my toiletries in the tiniest containers I could find, and used them and nothing else over a period of two-three weeks.
They all lasted just over the two week period, so now I know exactly how much I can take with me and not run out.