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What I've bought so far...

Still trying to get the concept of 'carry-on' only for our Europe trip!! I have myself, husband, daughter & nephew to think about - hopefully I will be confident enough by this June to help us all!! I've read and taken heed of the 'good shoes' posts - so for myself I've ordered two pairs of Keen CNX ballerina shoes (black & blackberry/purple). I've also ordered a secure cross-body purse, a converter/adapter plug-in set, a Merino wool shirt to try out at home before ordering more, and played with the PolyVore app to see how outfits can interchange. We will borrow a money belt from my dad (and probably order more) for passports, credit cards, ATM cards; but still not sure we can do this carry-on.

We travel in mid-June thru end of June and temps seem to range from rainy to cold to hot. Layering seems to be what we need to do. We are 'over packers' for most of our trips (didn't know this until I read all these posts) so layering seems the way to go.

So, umbrella, light jacket, layers seems the way to go. I also really would like to wear comfy Crocs (not the big bulky types but flats with enclosed toe/heel - but not sure if this will be a real faux pas...) and I have a microfiber head cloth for quick drying.

What else should I think about - both for men & women...

Thx!!

Posted by
10344 posts

It's okay if you find it more convenient to check a bag.
You should not feel that restricting yourself to a carry-on only, for a European trip, is something you have to do to please Rick-niks. It should not become a fetish. :-)
We're giving you permission to do what's best for you and your individual travel style and preferences.

Posted by
1832 posts

Here's an idea. Go to: ladylighttravel.com This site has plenty of information for you.

Our preference is to leave umbrellas at home and take lightweight waterproof raincoats with hoods. Mine has a zip off hood. You can put them in a compression bag until you need them.

My wife and I have been using the convertible carry-on method of traveling for sixteen years, and we're oldsters. You can too.

Posted by
193 posts

Thx Kent, I imagine we will check our main bags but put a few essentials in everyone's carry-on 'just in case'. If we all pack fresh underwear for the trip, that's 64 pair minimum for the 4 of us!!! Yikes!!! ;)

Posted by
10344 posts

Re the 64 pairs of underwear, assume you will wash your underwear during the trip, either in the hotel sink, or at a laundromat, or putting them in the hotel bag and letting the hotel send them out.
That will lighten the underwear load.

Posted by
524 posts

I have a list at work, but I'm home right now.
Blister band aids/moleskin or paper tape
Mosquito spray and stuff you put on the bites ( the brand is on my list)
I'm buying some of the fast dry underwear for just half the days, so will wash.
Small binoculars to take in cathedrals
Safety pins, baggies

We are taking one carryon and checking one bag, along with 2 small backpacks. It's strange traveling this way for me, also...but always a first time!

Posted by
5618 posts

A compact umbrella (or even a big one) can be obtained in Europe, should the need arise. Actually, if it starts pouring rain, umbrellas for sale appear almost as if by magic, from enterprising merchants.

Quick-drying underwear pays for itself in time and efficiency. Cotton takes longer to dry. You can use the hotel's soap, but bringing packets or a small bottle of Woolite or other handwashing detergent would be nice, so you can do your laundry whenever the time is right.

Lulu mentions small backpacks above, and it can be handy to have one for a camera, water bottle, snacks, guidebooks, etc. In addition to your main carry-on bag, you're entitled to a "personal" bag, be it a purse, backpack, satchel, etc.

You can get disposable water bottles over there, too, or bring a disposable bottle from home (make sure it's empty before you pass thru airport security) that wouldn't be a big deal if you lost it, but if you want to stay hydrated and carry water with you as you travel (actually pretty important), consider everyone bringing a refillable 12-ounce to 1-quart water bottle.

As Kent mentioned above, checking luggage isn't a crime, so that's always an option.

Posted by
333 posts

So true~ don't be afraid to check a bag! I'll be going this spring using only a carry on and a day pack because that is what's recommended on my tour, since I'll be having to walk with it quite a bit and lugging it multiple flights of stairs. I also ridiculously overpacked the last time I was in Europe and suffered because of it. I'm DETERMINED to keep it simple this time. I spent all weekend practicing what to pack and how to pack it. It wasn't easy! Going through 7 countries in the springtime for 5 weeks also means being prepared for all kinds of weather! I've got my list worked out to 4 lightweight shortsleeved pretty tee shirts, 3 longsleeved tees, a black sweater and a grey fleece vest that will coordinate with most of the shirts, a pair of lightweight jeans, a pair of black pants, a pair of denim capris and a pair of grey capris (These numbers include what I'll be wearing), 5 socks, 5 undies, 3 bras, nightshirt, yoga pants and spare shoes. Also, I microfiber towel, bath puff, brush and make-up. That fills my carry on to capacity. My daypack will have a collapsible duffel bag for souvenirs, my cross body purse, camera and charger, tablet, notebook and papers, one small book and little things like safety pins, moleskin, etc. I plan to buy toothbrush and all toiletries when I get to Amsterdam. I might change my mind on a thing or two, but this is what I found I CAN pack reasonably without bloating my luggage. On the way home I'll probably check the carry on bag and take the duffel with souvenirs on the plane.

If I wasn't on this tour, but going to Europe on my own with my family, I'd definitely check a bag, a small one, in addition to my carry on. But the giant luggage is packed away for good!

Have a great trip!
Lisa

Posted by
193 posts

Great info! Thanks to all!! I also started a Facebook group for our tour. I think that will be a good way for us to update friends & family back home ;). Such good info here!!

Posted by
2 posts

You are going to have a wonderful time and will be so glad you packed light, whether or not you check your bags for the flight. Are you taking RS tour? If not, how are you getting around? Do all of your hotels have elevators? You'll want bags as light as possible to get on and off trains. And 4 22" suitcases will max out many taxi trunks. Please don't stress about a wardrobe faux pas. You will see every possible kind of attire and shoe. After trial and error and keeping lots of notes about what I've packed, what worked and what didn't work on my previous Europe trips, here's what I'll be taking when I go to Europe the same 2 weeks you will be there (using RS 22" rolling bag plus a 17" Timberland backpack). I'm a grandma of a 'certain age' so your selections might be different. My goal is no more than 12 items of tops and pants combined. Even with that small number I often get home and find out that I dragged something around for 2 weeks and wore it only once or not at all.

  • Skinny dark blue jeans
  • Light weight black slacks
  • Black crop pants -- you can take shorts if that's your style
  • Two or three 3/4 sleeve knit tees
  • Two or three fast drying Jones New York blouses (polyester so no wrinkling and sleeves roll up)
  • A light weight sweater that matches all 6 tops
  • A Travelsmith Safari style light jacket that doesn't wrinkle and dries in a couple hours. It is water resistant but not waterproof.
  • For you maybe a dress ( I don't wear them but my daughter is bringing one on the trip. It will be nice for warm days.)
  • My secret weapon: an Eileen Fisher silk 3/4 sleeve tee. Pricey but so worth it. It can be worn on its own but is very thin and fits under all my other tops. If the weather is cold I wear it under a blouse, add my light sweater and my jacket and I'm comfy and not bulky.
  • A tank top, also for layering
  • A scarf or two or will buy there as souvenir
  • 5 or 6 pr undies
  • 3 or4 pr socks
  • Coach sneakers
  • Ecco sandals
  • Sturdyish ballet flats or other slip ons. Nice for dressing up a bit.
  • A Baggalini cross body bag
  • Umbrella
  • Silk or poly pjs
  • Little slippers or slipper socks
  • Yoga or other cozy pants to lounge in hotel room when I'm not ready to put on pj's
  • 2 pair earrings
  • Possibly one necklace
  • Dissolving laundry sheets. Purchase from Magellan or in travel store. Swish clothes in the sink with 2 or 3 sheets. Not a full on laundry result but certainly enough to freshen up during the trip.
  • A Tide stain stick
  • Very limited toiletries. The usual 2 to 3 oz sample sizes are way more than you need for 2 weeks unless all 4 of you will be using the same products. Last trip I used a contact lens case with screw on tops, putting moisturizer in one side and sunscreen in the other. It was enough! i tested it at home a couple months before the trip. Leave the eye and wrinkle potions at home. 2 weeks without them won't ruin your skin.
  • And of course, camera, small note pad and pen, adaptor (you probably don't need a converter), cell phone, power cords, iPad, medications and first aid stuff.
  • Under consideration: a windbreaker/rain jacket
  • Will you need a swim suit?

RS has a really good packing list for men on the site.

Your daughter and nephew are lucky kids!

Posted by
193 posts

What a great list, SpendersMom!! I have worked on my list and it looks a lot like yours (I'll probably add a maxi dress that can be worn a few times). My husband - a jeans/cargo shorts fan (takes up a lot of room) will be trickier. We are going with a group of high school musicians (I posted more about the trip in the General Europe forum) but our dates are June 12-27. We are getting very excited & spent the afternoon watching RS shows on YouTube today :)

Posted by
31471 posts

advocate,

" a converter/adapter plug-in set"

You may or may not need a Voltage Converter, depending on what type of gadgets or appliances you plan on travelling with. Depending on the technology used in the converter, there are some "caveats" to be aware of, especially when using this with electronic products.

Posted by
774 posts

I do carryon only to Europe, but I do have an expandable RS 20 inch suitcase, so I do check that coming back home. I use Travel Fashion Girl maximista packing list, 15 clothing items plus undies. It was really difficult the first time but I now have a packing list my own that I save in a word doc and change it for each trip. I do pack it with me especially on trips that have me changing hotels often,like a tour.

Clothes that wash well in the sink and dry almost overnight is what I look for and pack. I have a few items that are for travel only and some that are from my everyday Closet. I do like layering, as weather history never seems to be right. One year it was really warm and luckily I had a sleeveless shirt and another very thin coolmax T. I wore the T almost daily in the hottest weather as it washed well and dried overnight. I have a black buttondown shirt that is from Tilley, which is pricy; it works well as an extra layer when cool and dresses up well with a colorful scarf.

I do struggle with the shoes. I have a favorite black walking shoe, very boring but comfy. I have some new sandals that I am wearing around the house. I do try to stick to bringing only 1 extra pair.

I do roll my clothes, that works best for me. I do bring a couple of packing cubes that I use to keep loke things together once I Arrive and expand the suitcase.

Those are my tips. I am a clothes addict and a shoe addict, so keeping it carryon is tricky. I do bring a personal item, carefully measured so that it fits under the seat. It contains all my entertainment like ipad, snacks, tissues, etc.

Have a great trip!

Posted by
524 posts

Here are a few more non-clothing items I'm taking.

Bandaids (Compeed Blister Relief packs) but from amazon UK
Fake Diamond
Compression Sock for plane
Neck Pillow cabeau.com
Melatonin for trip - Carryon
Backpack
Pacsafe purse and waist wallet
Light weight binoculars
10 cheap memory cards for camera
Mosquito spray – Ultrathon lotion also
Afterbite (for mosquito bites)
Sunscreen
Minimus.biz has ponds coldcream wipe offs
Wash cloths quick dry (non in Italy)
Plastic wine glasses with wine opener
Alarm clock
Body Glide (for chafing and blisters)
Guidebook, translator and StreetWise maps
Light sink stopper
Safety pins

Posted by
193 posts

Ken/all, I am going to have to study up a bit more on the converter/adapter issue. I bought a 'Bestek 200W Travel Adapter & Power Converter' before Christmas from Amazon. I read good reviews about it (although I am not sure if I need anything converted...) but it can plug in three US items and also has 2 2.4A USB ports and 2 1A USB ports. It came with 3 adapter plugs that should plug into sockets in all the countries we travel (I think). The info page says no matter the voltage the converter always supplies 110V-120V.

So, if I have electronics that are already dual voltage (iPhone, iPad, digital camera, etc) - will a converter hurt those items or will they be ok since the voltage should be ok? The only items I'm not sure about would be any hair items (flat iron) and a cpap machine.

On the other packing tips you all have provided - thank you and I'm starting some lists now. Yes, the kids (17 year olds) can handle their own bags (thank goodness!!) but I might keep track of their passports and ATM cards "just in case". I'm thinking a neck money/passport holder might be good for them.

The last two trips I've taken, I used the rolling method for clothes and put them in a 2-quart ziplock bag. I got all the air out and the clothes compressed and took up less room. I think I'll practice on this and maybe get a few outfits in 2 bags that I can pull out, use bag one for one country, then when we get to place 2, use bag 2, then continue alternating. Not sure if that will totally work but I don't want to completely unpack only to re-pack every third day.

Thanks again for the tips & comments! Looking forward to reading more!!

Posted by
931 posts

It is no sin to check a bag but on the other hand if you choose to only travel with carry-on's you will be amazed at how much more fun it is to travel! You will be the first people through Customs because you don't have to wait for your bags, you will be able to move from town to town much easier, especially if your taking the train. Also, there is something "liberating" about packing light, the first time my daugther and I went to Paris to start our trip I was only allowed a backpack and I had to learn that I needed to only take the things I really needed on a daily basis, it was the best experience of my life as we traveled from Paris to Barcelona to Milan and finished in Rome. You will find that as a society we (USA) place way to much value on things that we own, I was amazed at how the people in Europe lived much simpler lives and yet were passionate about music, art, architecture, food and life in general. I have applied the concepts of "packing light" to other areas of my life and I have to admit I'm much happier. Anyway, have a great time on your trip, you will feel like your different person when you get back because your understanding of other cultures will expand your vision of the world!!

Posted by
193 posts

Thx for the ideas, Donald, and hello from the Wichita area!! I agree that we have way too much "stuff" at least in my home. I love it when we visit condos and have just the basics - not every contraption under the sun!! As I am working on the details for this trip, I am trying to do some purging as I go - clothes we haven't worn in years (Goodwill trips are coming up to donate), getting rid of stuff we just don't use or some 'important' paper I think I may need. With a family of four it can add up!! I am trying to adopt the less is more mantra - it feels good to get rid of 'stuff'!! :)

Posted by
9363 posts

With today's modern electronics it's unlikely that you need a converter at all. Check the nameplate area of your chargers. If they say something like "110v-240v" you don't need a converter, and you shouldn't use one if you don't need it (plus, they can be bulky/heavy). All you are likely to need are small plug adapters so that your US plugs will fit their outlets.

One other subject that hasn't been addressed:
Unless every other kid on the tour has parents with them, yours will probably pretend you aren't there, either. They aren't going to want to have to come to you for spending money, or have you check with them constantly, and they will want to hang out with their friends. Most of the kids will not have parents there, and will be handling these things themselves. I speak from experience as a band tour veteran, so don't take it personally if they want to just be one of the kids instead of your kids.

Posted by
31471 posts

advocate,

You may want to have a look at this Thread, which also concerns a Bestek travel converter.....

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/tech-tips/multi-hub-for-charging-usb

As I posted there......

"So is it bad for the charger itself if I plug it into this charging hub even if it doesn't require converting?"

The short answer is, "it could be". It may work fine but If your phone or camera charger does go up in smoke because the two switch-mode power supplies "don't like each other", that will put a damper on your holiday.

Connecting electronic chargers to the Bestek unit may work fine, but there could also be problems. It would really help to know what type of gadgets you'll be travelling with. In any case, it would probably be a good idea to pack along a couple of inexpensive Plug Adaptors as well.

You may also want to have a look at this - http://www.enjoy-europe.com/hte/chap11/converter.htm

Posted by
193 posts

Thanks, Ken. I actually posted there too and just looked at the CPAP machine plug in. I think it will require a converter. On the plug in cord (like a computer charger but it doesn't actually charge), it says 90W AC adapter. That's the one item I think will need the converter.

Posted by
193 posts

Well Amazon might do me in ;). I just bought one pair each of mens/women's exofficio quick dry undies to try out; a travel clock that came with a battery, a portable cell phone charger, and an exofficio long skirt in a bright color ($22 so figured its worth a try!!). On my 'save for later' list includes some travel laundry sheets, more of the undies, another travel clock (daughter might want one, or the nephew), compact travel pillow, and microfiber towel. I'm trying to spread it out a little. See what works and it's so nice that all will come to my door in two days with Prime ;)

Posted by
10344 posts

They're good undies. You probably want more than one. Minimum is 2, so that if one doesn't dry overnight in the room, given Italy's humidity, you've got a backup.

If you're not checking a bag: Women may even want 3. Guys are only allowed 2. That's the penalty for not checking a bag, guys, you only get 2.

:-)

Posted by
193 posts

:-). Since they are undies, I figured I'd get one pair to try and make sure the fit is correct and comfy - not an item I'd return LOL!! But the prices seemed to be good compared to some sites I've seen so fingers crossed!! If they work, we might buy in bulk!!

Posted by
31471 posts

advocate,

Regarding the CPAP machine and any other appliances you're taking, the specification you'll need to look at is the Input Voltage, which will be listed somewhere either on the device or the charger on a "nameplate". If the Input Voltage is listed as "Input 100-240 VAC, 50~60 Hz", then all you'll need is cheap Plug Adaptors.

If you're packing along a Hair Dryer or other high wattage appliance, note that these can NOT be used with the Bestek Converter.

Posted by
524 posts

Please let us know how the undies work. My plan is to buy 3. I'm doing the same as you regarding spreading out the cost of my travel purchases. I was planning on starting today on non-clothing items. I need to get the RS carryon suitcase to see what I have to work with.

One thing I think I'll purchase over there is a blowdryer. I've been reading about the dual voltage, then an adapter. Even with that some people say you can only use it on low, and oftentimes it overheats or blows a fuse, etc. might be easier to just have one from there.

Posted by
9363 posts

Lulu, every hotel and hostal and B&B I have stayed at in recent years has had a blow dryer in the room or available at the desk to borrow. I wouldn't waste the weight or space carrying one.

Posted by
9692 posts

I love the ExOfficio undies! I splurged and bought 3 pr plus 2 bras for my 8 week trip last Fall. They worked great. Of course I had not worn them enough at home to KNOW they were going to work great so I had a back up underwear and bra which I did not need. My advice is to get them, wear them and yes, do some trials on sink washing them at night. The ExOfficio website has a lot more interesting colors than most of the retailers/etailers carry plus a wider size range. I also pack all my undies in a small packing cube. I try to wash every night, but sometimes that doesn't happen, so I also stick a quart zip lock bag in there in case I wind up carrying over a worn pair.

@Lulu, do you have an AAA office near you? They often have a range of suitcases and our local one (altho closed now,) used to carry the RS brand. I do not think you get the same guarantee as if you order it from the website though.

Posted by
193 posts

I'm pretty sure I've never been this excited about getting new undies!! ;). I plan on wearing them, sink washing and overnight dry next week for sure! When I told my husband I got him a pair to try and that the price looked good ($11), he said "for ONE pair??" LOL!!

I'm not sure I will like the color choice of the skirt I ordered. It's called 'dazzle' and is a magenta color. That was not the color scheme I was considering but it was $22 vs $60 for the black. I also ordered an IceBreaker shirt that is the merino wool blend and it's in an aqua blue color (called Cruise). It also was a good price to see how this 'wonder wool blend' really works - well actually it was $42 so a little pricey.

The Keen CNX ballerina sneakers I ordered should be here today or tomorrow. I got black & blackberry (for color; it's shades of purple/lavender). Probably should have just started with the black pair.

So, it'll be interesting to see these items in person and see if they can work three ways with my base items of 1 pair lightweight jeans, 2 capris, Capri yoga pants. I also have 2 lightweight swing type cardigans that I think will work well for a light layer/jacket. One is black & one is a grey/black/white stripe (I got those a year or so ago at Target and they are good for Spring/Fall temps).

Posted by
1217 posts

Since thin fabric women's stretch nylon panties can fold up into pretty much no space, I see no reason to skimp on the number of pairs of underwear.

Posted by
193 posts

So the merino shirt & both Keen's got delivered right after posting. The shirt is a deep aqua - very pretty - but I'm thinking it will be more a night shirt, or casual workout type shirt. It doesn't look good for layers, but works under the light black cardi/jacket.

The shoes - not sure. Might need 1/2 size bigger for toe area. But I can tell they will rub my ankle/heel area. I am so bad with shoes. I have worn Crocs (slides, Mary Janes, flats) for the past few years because they do not rub, pinch or hurt. I have stepped on rocks before and had a little bruising on the bottom of my foot. But, those may be what I end up with. Never have found tennis shoes comfortable for extended periods. And I don't like the Keen sandals with the straps across foot/ankle. So, shoes may be my biggest issue...

Posted by
524 posts

@Nancy...I read that the hair dryers barely work in the hotels, is that true? Not enough power or air.
@ Pam...Yes, we have AAA. Might have to go check them out if they do have them, thanks
@advocatecare...Looked up your Keen's ballerina and they are cute, but no arch support it says. Plus, it sounds like they bother you. I have ordered like 20 pairs of shoes/sandals..trying to find cute cute cute and it's not happening. I feel a bit like a clown with the Keen Roses, but the straps aren't bothersome at all. As a matter of fact, many of the ones I have went back because of the straps bugging me.

The only think I don't know about the Keen Rose is you can feel the rubber..my toenail rubs against it. Will have to take on springbreak to try out.

I also would prefer the ones without a strap on top, much prettier and less likely to rub or irritate. Here are some ones I loved like that ...but were not wide enough (even the wides weren't).

Nordstrom Bzee Flawless Wedge 63.08
They have a neutral, but I LOVED the Geo Print. These were incredibly soft and comfortable. My saddest disappointment. They will fit a narrow or regular width perfectly. My DH even thought they were attractive.

Nordstrom Bzee Luxury 73.78
Another pretty pair...Bzees just don't run wide enough I guess...I've given up on them.

Sketcher Go Walk Memory Foam was fairly attractive. There are numerous styles.

Posted by
5618 posts

Nancy may also have more input on hair dryers, but (lately) the driers supplied in rented apartments, B&B's, and hotels in Europe have been fine, providing sufficient airflow and heat, and some with extra features like a "cold shot" button or a diffuser cap. It depends where you're staying, but most places do seem to provide a hair drier now. I still bring my light, very compact Franzus travel dryer, which has a built-in voltage switch that has to be manually set to 110v or 220v, and it blows less air when set on 220, but it's adequate. I figure hair dryers are like bathing suits, if you don't bring one, you'll want one at some point, and if you do bring one, you'll never needed it . . . but, as long as it doesn't take up too much space, it's better to have it and not need it than the other way 'round.

Something else, and this is a personal item that not everyone may want, but chewable Pepto-Bismol tablets have saved the day a few times. They don't take up much space in the toiletries bag, and bismuth seems to be hard to find in Europe, if at all.

Posted by
524 posts

Thanks Cyn, that does make me feel better. The B&B we are staying at in Venice wouldnt surprise me if they didn't have a nice one. I think I might wait until I get there and see. If not, I will go buy one there. I will take a travel curling iron, though. Again, if it doesn't work right I'll go guy one.

Posted by
31471 posts

Regarding Hair Dryers, some of the dual-voltage models purchased here may be a bit weak when used on 220 VAC, however I've always found that the models provided by hotels in Europe have been more than adequate. Every hotel I've used in the past few years has had a Dryer mounted in the bathroom, but in some cases these have to be requested from the front desk.

Posted by
193 posts

Lulu, thanks for the info re: shoes. I have a pair of Sketchers Go Walk but they look tired now. I may look online for another pair. If the toe box is too tight, I will get an ingrown toenail! I discovered this from my scuba diving water socks - anything that is too tight - no good!! Although I live in Kansas (no beaches, oceans, mountains, etc), we love to travel to those places so I have more than my fair share of 'summer-type' shoes and they usually work fine on all types of walks - but Europe sounds like power walking central!!

I have very vivid (aka bad) memories of wearing the wrong shoes in D.C., at theme parks in Florida, and walking the Strip in Vegas. In all those cases, I found a store or kiosk selling Crocs and was sooo thankful!!

I may stop into a Good Feet store and get a foot analysis done. Might learn something about my feet that I've only been guessing about the past 40+ years ;)

BTW - I have had the merino wool shirt on for a few hours now - amazing!!! :)

Posted by
9692 posts

I looked back quickly thru your posts and saw where you have had problems with getting athletic shoes to fit. I also can't remember if it is you or Lulu that has Plantar Fasciitis? Anyway, if you do go to a specialty store, look at the Altra Zero Drop line of athletic shoes. They are wide enough at the toe box that I can wear my CorrectToes toe spacers in them and have been fairly miraculous for my PF. The orthotist I went to said they recommend them to all their PF patients. They are dorky looking but I had no problem with my feet over an 8 week European trip including the 10+mile Dimitri-the-Rick-Steves-guide-death-march in Rome.

Sorry the Keen's may not work, dang it!

Posted by
860 posts

Pam, I'm the one with PF...thanks for the athletic shoe tip, I will go take a look. Msomehow I will make those Keens work. They are so comfy on every other part of my foot. I might try stretching them somehow. I tried two more walking sandals at Dicks yesterday and no go.

Advocate...I know what you mean about power walking. I had my broken in tennis shoes at Disney and Vegas. Not the most gorgeous look, but you can wear shorts and I was fine looking like that. Since shorts aren't worn in Italy, I just wanted something cuter. I've seen pics of sneakers with skirts and I think that looks cute on younger gals, but I don't think I can pull that off fashion wise at my age. It's hard to be a Fading Fashionista. Maybe I'll start a blog and that will be my name.

Posted by
193 posts

Thanks Tisa & Pam! I do not have PF but sometimes have issues with a pulled/stretched tendon in my heel area (not really sure what it is, just an occasional issue, not all the time). I'll likely return the Keen's and keep looking. I think we will do most walking in London & Paris and in the smaller towns it won't be quite as much. But I'd better do some walking in our Old Town area to prepare for the cobblestones if it ever warms up!!

Posted by
9363 posts

Years and years ago, we encountered some weak hairdryers in Ireland (built in things, not regular handheld dryers). In recent years, the ones I have used in Europe have been just like the ones here, and have been plenty powerful.

Posted by
24 posts

"I have a pair of Sketchers Go Walk" ... and so do I -- my new favorite "go-to" travel shoes! :-) I just bought a pair for our late March/early April trip to Paris/London/Dublin, but in case the weather's not great, I'll also have my trusty Merrell Jungle Mocs along for the ride: they're sturdy, comfy AND weatherproof. I agree, shoes are always the toughest part of packing-planning!

I'll confess to also being a carry-on-only addict -- SO much easier than checking luggage, and no worries about the airline losing it, either. Our trip over to Europe will involve multiple plane changes (Newark/Toronto/Dublin/Paris ... because it was cheap :-D ), so the last thing I want to worry about is where my checked baggage might be :-/

Back in 2000, I did a three-week trip in France with my Significant Other and three kids (then 18, 10 and 12), and we managed just fine with only carry-on luggage and two or three trips to the local laundromat :-) It's entirely possible to get buy with only what you can stuff in a carry-on backpack, really!

Posted by
193 posts

An update since its been a while: I returned the Keen shoes - they were not comfortable. I also returned the long Icebreaker skirt because I did not think I'd really wear it.

A pair of Sockwell compression socks & trouser socks (and have a call into my doctor to get his thoughts on my swelling from last weeks travel).

I now have 2 pairs of Sketchers memory foam shoes in black; one is GoWalk 3 and the other is the Sweetpea Fashion sneaker (I wore this pair on the cruise and airports - very comfy)

And passport neck holders from The Happy Swede for the four of us (they came 2 in a box). I think we will like these better than the waist belt.

I'm pretty sure we will all check a bag. We will cross pack in all four just in case. But I think we will be happier in the airports not dragging all of our stuff around.

Oh - also found moleskin to take for any blisters!

Less than a month to go!! Still a lot to do, but think we will be ready to start packing in a few weeks just to have everything organized and ready to go! Exciting!!

Posted by
66 posts

Check bags or not,you will want them tobeassmalland light as possible. Once you leave airport you have to drag them around Europe. The packing list shown here are, in my opinion, way too long. You are not going to Europe to dress up and be seen, are you? Aren't you going to see things and enjoy? The less you take, the more funyouwill have.

I suggest:
2 pairs of black trAvel pants, like a polyester knit from Travelsmith. In summer, one of these can be capris.
3 to 5 tops, including at least one nice black top that can be worn with long pants for evening. I also like one of my tops to be a big shirt top in a neutral color I can wear with all the others, or over my swimsuit
1 sweater or light fleece
1 very light rain jacket with hood
3 travel underwear that dry quickly
2 or 3 bras
2 colorful scarfs, or buy some in Europe. Scarf with black pants and black top makes evening wear.
Perhaps a couple pair of smart wool socks, depending on shoes you take.
In summer, I like a good paid or supportive walking sandals, like Clarks Morse Tour. You can add socks if feet are cold. I also usually take a paid of black flip flops I can wear in hotel or to pool, or even in the evening if they are fancy flip flops.
Now takea sink stopped, a twisted clothes line and some soap and plan to wash clothes every three nights or so.

Much easier way to go.

Posted by
3696 posts

In one of your posts you talked about not getting the black skirt because it was a higher cost.... I would say, get it. That one item will be so valuable and you can wear it over and over. The less memorable the clothing it, the more versatile. You can dress it up or down with almost any color. I find if I wear something of a brighter color for too many days I am sick of it... but my black, or boring clothes I can wear till I wear them out!

I also think you might be taking way too much stuff.... there are plenty of items you can leave at home and purchase should the need arise. The issue with packing light is not the airport... that is the easiest place to haul your stuff... it is once you arrive in Europe. Check a bag or not... doesn't matter... it's the maneuvering it in and out of hotel rooms and down busy streets that is the pain. Plus, you need to leave some room to buy a few items, and unless you buy on the last day of your trip you are hauling that stuff too. I like to buy clothing items when I arrive so I make use of them while on my trip... scarves, costume jewelry, etc.