So I'm headed on an RS Greek tour in March. Today, I threw some new socks into the suitcase and chuckled at myself. (There is nothing better than putting on new socks when your feet are tired from a long day of walking.) Anyway, I saw a few other items I'll need and added them. I am a packing addict, I'll admit, and everything I buy I look at with a rating system of whether it would be good for traveling, because if it is good for travel it is great at home, IMO. So am I way off base by throwing items into the suitcase 2 1/2 months ahead of time? I will say, the suitcase is in the closet still so it is not like it is in the guest room being filled...although when that will occur I can not say. And I am thinking I'll need more clothes or varied, because I'm on a tour versus independent travel, when I wear the same thing; i.e., a suitcase with 2 navy blue and 2 black tee shirts. Anyway, when do you start packing and how does it progress? Night before packers need not respond as you clearly don't have the packing gene...said with love. ;)
Wray, you caused me to laugh out loud; what a great post. For me, it's never too soon to start packing-or at least "collecting". I wouldn't worry too much about having new/different/more outfits just because you're on a tour. I can take stuff enough for nearly 3 weeks and still get it all into my carryon. No one on tour really notices and actually, it always seems to me as if we're all in the same boat anyway. I love your rating system and absolutely agree with you. I'm going to Berlin in May and already have a few things in the "collecting" stage. And dare I admit it? They have been there for a while!
As a day before packer, may I respond?
Getting your suitcase ready is a BIG part of the travel experience!!! Anyone who doesn't do this is not experiencing the full flavor of travel!!!!!! I have a trip planned for 8 months from now and I am already checking headphone, jackets,layover times. It's part of the joy/stress of travel. I wouldn't ever want to become so blase or complacent that it didn't matter!! =]
Wray and Andi,
Gosh...you both get "extra credit" for getting your homework started early!! Is it too early? Not if you are comfortable doing it now!! I think it is probably a side effect of your being excited about the trip, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!! You should be excited :)
I typically start making piles a month-ish ahead of time, but more seriously about two weeks out (when I can see a more reliable weather forecast). Then I start rolling and putting things in packing cubes, etc. 4-5 days ahead of time (as the weather forecast is more likely reliable). Then it all goes into the carry-on and personal item tote bag, just to make sure it all fits (a day or two prior), and then items are deleted if it's too tight of a squeeze.
Wray, I agree with Andi..... take what you are comfortable taking, and do not worry about re-wearing the same thing.....likely no one will even notice.
We were on a 16-day trip (it was actually a Seabourn cruise around Australia/New Zealand), and I remember how our fellow travelers were totally shocked (sincerely shocked) when they saw our small carry-ons as our only luggage at the end. That usually happens to me on every non-RS group tour. One lady said to me: But, you always looked so nice!! Asking: How did you do it? (She REALLY wanted to know, as she stood there with four suitcases, which were just hers, not her husband's). Did you iron your husband's shirts each day? (No). I did wash undies/socks on the ship (just because free laundry machines were available), but other than that, scarves and shawls are my secret weapon. Change a scarf and no one will realize you are wearing the same pair of jeans leggins and the same black skirt over and over. I also take 2-3 black t-shirts (depending on length of trip) and then 2-3 other colors. For dress-up nights, I wear a long-sleeve black Target t-shirt with a faux pearl choker and a nice big Chico's scarf (or similar) as a shawl, and an ankle-length black JJill skirt, ballet flats and done!! Basic black is so neutral and easy to dress up/down. If there are two dress up nights, I simply change the shawl.
If you are going on an RS tour, I think fellow tour mates will judge you more on how light/small your luggage is vs. how many different outfits you wear (I say affectionately).
When packing, I also keep a list of those last-minute things that must be taken, and morning of departure, I carefully check them off as they go in the bags (lipstick, medicines, comb, etc.).
Oh, and I should add that I am the packer for my husband, too. It reduces stress, as he would be doing it the morning of (I know from decades earlier). The rule is that he is not "allowed" to get things out of his suitcase once on the trip, otherwise I won't be able to find his things on demand if he tosses everything about. It just works for us...and he seems to like it (otherwise, he would be left to his own devices). But, it might not for others.
I'm admittedly a night-before packer, with a bit of pile-making in the weeks before. However, the basics are stored in my suitcase year-round. I decided that it was easier to own two toothbrushes, hairbrushes, deodorants, etc., than to have remember to pack those on the way out the door. Also includes an old swimsuit that I don't wear at home, travel towel, sewing kit, day bag, umbrella, and what not. For you, I'd think that a couple of pairs of socks and t-shirts could also live in the suitcase, after washing.
It's never too early! We don't drag the suitcases out until the week before but I have a "Gather Box" that I'll set out a month or more before a biggish trip. When we think about something we want to remember to take - and we don't need it before the trip - into the box it goes!
I know exactly what you mean about new socks. :O)
Like Laura, I have 'travel stuff' that lives in the suitcase. Toiletries, spare baggies of different sizes, first aid kit, sewing kit, OTC meds, umbrella or poncho, etc. are all in the bag all time. I do update the meds and toiletries as needed. I usually organize our prescription meds a couple of days prior to the trip (I now use 'pill pouches' to set up each person's pills for each time of day). . But since we've had to cut our travel down to mostly overnighters (had to stop longer trips due to family health issues a few years back), I now keep a change of underwear in the bag, too. So I only have to double check things (we do 2 and sometimes 3 overnighters a month- I kid hubby that he is trying to regain his youth because we go to concerts to see aging rockers). The few times we've been gone more than one night, I pack clothes 2 or 3 days ahead of time.
LOL. I love that we all have a sense of humor about our packing. I, too use, scarves/shawls to change it up a bit but I was thinking if the same people saw me all day they might figure that out...but who really cares, right? Maybe I'll be daring and exchange a blue T for a RED one! My self imposed limit on my wheelie is 20 lbs, but I think due to the bus I will actually have a day bag rather than just a camera bag/purse...which irritates me because I really like to keep things light but every trip is different. I also like reading about your systems, so thanks!
And Laura, I think you are teasing yourself about being a night before packer! :)
Wray, I'll say faciously that one has packed too early if you are going to work nude because yr clean clothes are being packed. Therefore , if you are not leaving the house nude, you have enuf wardrobe items that you are allowed to pack whenenver you want :)
We always start with the list. About six weeks, maybe two months prior to departure will print the packing list. More critical for the wife than for myself since I tend to change the list very little. But she starts looking at the list to see what is still wearable, maybe needs to be updated, changed out, etc. About two weeks prior the suitcases come out and items are tossed into the bags as we find them and we start time shifting. The weekend before, serious packing, folding begins with the target to being totally pack at least three days prior to departure. The packing list is strictly followed. Not on the list, not in the bag. The day before everything is by the front door ready to roll. For us parking is not part of the travel experience. It is just something we have to do. We have boasted that we could pack in an hour but I think it is true if we had too.
PS Weather never has an impact on what we pack other than summer or winter. Pretty boring. We pack nearly the same winter or summer.
I agree that it's never too early. I do the same thing; as soon as the trip is finalized (where and when) I will start throwing things in the suitcase as I purchase them or find them in my closet or dresser. If I'm not going to be using them at home before I leave there's no reason not to start gathering things together to check off my packing list. I'm not talking about a full packing job, that will take place a few days before I leave (with enough time to add/subtract/change items if needed) - suitcase is usually fully packed and ready to go at least a day or two before departure. I definitely have the packing gene. I'm too paranoid about forgetting something to leave it till the night before.
It's never too early! You don't want any unnecessary surprises like I had one trip... I was packing day of departure (evening flight) and had new slacks, just hemmed, to include. When I pulled them out of the plastic wrap the tailor put them in I discovered they weren't my pants at all! Luckily I had ample time to dash over and they found my pants quickly.
I have a suitcase full of summer stuff ready for my April cruise. I figured since I pack it away for the winter anyway I might as well put anything that might make it to the final cut in the suitcase. So I've been "pre-packed ' for months.
I do find packing a bit stressful so like to have it started well in advance. On only one trip have I managed to get the packing exactly right -- very light and completely appropriate.
I will "collect" some items early, but only if they're somewhat special and idiosyncratic (and tailored for a non-typical trip). For example, I prepared early for a major hiking trip spanning ten days in Utah and bought things months before as I saw them on sale, etc. simply because I didn't have them or need them for the "easy-does-it" kind of trips (e.g. hydration pack, topo maps, first aid kit, compass, sturdy hiking boots that needed breaking in, etc). So basically things that I couldn't readily round up last minute or the night before.
I figure out when I have to leave the house - then, I start packing about 3 hours before that time. I actually have a basic packing checklist on my computer. Sometimes, I print out a copy - modify it with a pen if necessary. Then, have at it. If I have to leave early, then I pack the night before.
It's never too early wary. I always purchase new toiletries, toothbrush, paste, deodorant, etc., before I leave so when I return home the used is replaced with the new so my toiletry bag is ready for the next trip. I use travel as a way to keep my undie and sock drawers in control. I always travel with new so if 5 new were purchased 5 old gets tossed. This year I bought all new travel packing paraphernalia, my new RS rolling carry on and back pack, a day bag, cubes, new containers, a clothes line, more stuff I can't remember. I'm out of control. I've always checked my bag. This upcoming trip I'm going carry on only. I've practiced packed multiple times. I need to practice more ugh.
I would say that any time before 6:00 AM is too early to pack.
In December of 2015 I started packing for a trip to Scotland in October 2016. Through out the year I purchased items for the rainy cold and windy weather I expected. I threw everything into the suitcase. I live in a warm weather climate and NEVER wear wool so this was easy. About a month before the trip I sorted everything and started getting serious. I like to pack early and get to the airport early and I always check my bag, I do not want to lug it around. So this trip I completely misread the TSA instructions. I packed a lithium battery in a shoe in my checked luggage. When I arrived in Edinburgh my shoe and battery were gone, SOO, I had to go shopping for new walking shoes. Also, I brought long sleeve everything. The weather turned warm and it never rained. The only time I used my rain gear was too and from Mull and Iona. I am planning another trip to Scotland and decided I will pack just a few things the week before and buy what I need when I get there. I know all the great shopping spots!!
My wife has a list on the computer that she modifies according to where we're going and when, then prints and checks off the items one by one. Her suitcase is out now, accumulating stuff for a trip that starts in three weeks. I keep mine in the garage and bring it into the house about a week ahead, gradually adding stuff as I think about it. My list is in my head, and so far I haven't missed anything I really needed. By the night before departure, everything I'll pack is either in the bag or sitting on a counter or someplace obvious to be packed before we leave.
I don't care if I wear the same pants every day for three weeks, as long as they're comfortable and look decent. Last trip I packed another pair of lightweight nylon pants because a friend insisted that I might need them, and sure enough there was a little heat wave and I was glad to have them. We each fill a carry-on (which we usually check) plus a small backpack for me and duffel for her. (I like to have hands free in case I need to grapple with anybody in an airport, or jump onto a galloping horse, or such.) I don't like to wear the same shirt five days in a row when I'm with a group because something tells me someone is keeping track. But my rational mind actually knows better. But even so I try to vary the sartorial menu a little just in case (and to keep down the odors).
Packing light is for trips that involve flying. For road trips, it's the kitchen sink. Oddly, I'm more likely to forget something for a road trip than for an air trip. Maybe because I don't think about it as much.
Glad to know there are enough of us to have a recovery group. However, as we are the sane ones, a recovery group will never be needed. And I am thinking the "day of" packers who felt the need to comment are men. My wonderful husband was one of those until he got tired of forgetting something or not having something available to pack, while I had everything I needed and was always comfortable. He now uses an ongoing list, as do I, but doesn't pack until a few days before. We both like to look nice on trips. I used to be business casual, but now I do bring my black jeans so I'm down dressed a bit.
The day I return from a trip (usually three months, Schengen and non-Schengen), I empty the suitcase, daybag and messenger bag. I immediately count the leftover euro and put them back in the change purse, in the top outer suitcase pocket.
Anytime during the next six months, I pack the cube for undies and socks, and the cube for toiletries, and the 3-1-1 bag.
Next meds refills go in about 30 days before departure.
About a week ahead, I pack the clothing cubes (rolling, nothing wrinkles).
The very last things are e-devices and cords, morning of departure. Put on neck wallet, print out boarding passes, ciao.
It's never too early to enjoy the anticipation of an upcoming trip! I don't place items in the suitcase ahead of the 1-2 weeks before, but I do move the clothes I'm considering into a section in our closet for several weeks to think about them and narrow it down to the final cut.
On the other end of the spectrum, I had some friends who were going to Italy for the first time, and I invited them over to show them how to pack light. I packed my suitcase from nothing to "ready to walk out the door" in less than 5 minutes. So, I guess I'm always ready for the next trip!
Agree with the previous postings that scarves can really stretch the outfits. They're my "go to" for evening outfits, and so versatile with a black basic dress for daytime.
I pack differently than everyone else here, I guess.
I found that I take the same equipment on every trip. The only thing that really changes are my clothes and a couple of additional items. I may add in some binoculars, or a day pack, or rain pants, or a sun hat. But everything else mostly stays the same. About the time I discovered this I also had to make a lot of emergency trips. So I started to prepack my suitcase.
I have a dedicated toiletry kit, 3-1-1 bag, electronics kit, collapsible water bottle, travel comfort kit, spare eyeglasses and sunglasses in a case, spare Ziploc bags, a basic jewelry set, my passport. They live in my carryon bag. When I return from my trip I refresh these items as needed and then they are staged and ready for the next trip. All I need to do is add trip specific clothes. My purse has my phone, my wallet, and travel size makeup.
Normally I will pack 2-3 days ahead of time for my trip. But some emergencies mean that I am rushing out the door. In desperate situations I've been known to pack a capsule wardrobe of dirty clothes and then do laundry when I get to my destination! Having a pre-packed suitcase allows me to pack and get out the door within an hour.
I should also note that I have created a complete capsule wardrobe in my home wardrobe. This lets me create a travel capsule wardrobe easily from the main wardrobe because most of the items mix and match. This is also true for rain jackets and puff jackets. These are my "main" jackets at home so I just grab and go as needed with these items.
I have a basic packing list in the Packing Pro app on my iPhone. This makes sure I don't forget anything. It takes less than 5 minutes to go through the list.
I'm already practice packing for my trip in September! I'll be gone for just over three weeks. I've lost quite a lot of weight since my last trip to Europe in 2015 so I'm eager to see how much more I can take with me this time, ha ha! I'm NOT a minimalist traveler. I am a maximalist! I will have a carry on sized roller bag that I'll check, and a full sized backpack- hopefully less than half full so I have room for souvenirs- and my pacsafe sling bag/purse with my mini laptop and kindle. I'll start compiling a list and comparing it to what I packed last time and try to adjust what I didn't really need vs. what I wish I'd had. I'll gather everything I want to pack and then start narrowing down. Then I'll practice "creative packing", rolling vs. folding, air bags vs. cubes, tucking, sitting and squishing, praying, etc.! I imagine I'll start seriously packing during the summer. It's just as much part of the fun as planning trip excursions and pre/post days! I'm awaiting my goodies from the RS online store, bought with my trip credit. Of course I'll have to see how those goodies will pack up too!
I'm an early packer, too. I think about it for months ahead, hang things together in the closet and work toward the "perfect" very few garments for the trip.
I have a list for everything and create a visual document showing all the clothing pieces in a way that I can see them together in my mind's eye. That last part has been very time consuming and a bit of a pain.
Very recently, a friend sent me a link to an app that looked like it would be very helpful with controlling my closet, creating outfits and packing for trips. It's called Stylebook. I was thrilled, until I realized the app was only for Apple products.
So I went looking for similar apps for my Android devices and found this reviewed group. I'm sure there are many other similar apps.
Has anyone used anything like this to help in trip packing?
I'm in the "never too early" group. Usually after I get back from Europe, within 2-3 weeks my spinner is more than 75% repacked, refitted. The supplies are mostly replenished. The basics I replace right away.
No, you are not "way off base" by throwing items in 3 months in advance. I do likewise.
Has anyone used anything like this to help in trip packing?
Nope. We are very casual travelers so as long as the top goes with jeans (and can be rinsed out/drip dried overnight), it gets packed. Works for us! I do have a to-do list for chores that need to be done before we leave home; stop the mail and garbage, call the bank and CC companies; buy trip insurance if leaving the country; etc.
I usually pull the suitcase out a week before and start putting in some little things that I don't want to forget (like the ticket printouts and chargers and plug adaptors). Usually two days before I'll start with the clothes and the day before finish up. My husband, on the other hand, no matter how much I nag - packs the day of - if we are flying Halifax to London, the flight isn't until almost midnight, so it's not like he only has a few hours.
Funny - for Xmas, hubby got me a pad of paper from Knock Knock that is a 'pack this' list. Lots of sheets - it'll last me a lifetime...lol. I have to modify it a little, but I do love me a packing list!
Wray, I too like new socks when on my travels,always buy new ones to wear first day of travel and a few days on the holiday,also new underwear is a must and these tend to be packed at least a couple of weeks before my travels. I am away on a trip in 11 days time and the case is already partially filled.
I like others have a lot of items that are just for travelling and they are on a shelf under all my travel books and maps to easy to get at and I usually check them and put them in my bag a couple of weeks before my trip. I already have most of the clothes I am using on my trip in a section of my wardrobe so I can just fold and pack them the day before I travel.
Wray, you mean you unpack?
jkc, lol. Yes, unfortunately, because there is usually a gap between trips. :(
I must unpack my clothes, as the ones that go are the ones I wear all the time... And really I must unpack because I might finally find the perfect suitcase and need to shift everything anyway. I do have an old suitcase full of travel items; such as, kleenex packs, travel organizers, etc.
I usually set a box down in my room and start adding things in as needed. It can be weeks ahead of time but it works. I can also keep a list in the box of things I want to pack, too. I keep a notepad on the bedside for things I think of the night before a trip so I can write them down.
I'm with jkc -- unpack?? After a trip my suitcase goes into the spare (travel staging) room, emptied of everything that needs to be washed, and anything left is laid out on the bed for the next packing. (Except, of course, when my daughter visits and expects to use "her" room and bed.) Like Wray, all shopping is done with a view to "how will this travel?" Same basic packing list, just adjusted for weather/location -- parka for Christmas markets, hiking boots for Switzerland.
Maybe I'm just trying to fool myself that the time at home is just a temporary aberration from my "real" life of travel.
Since I typically wear the exact same clothes when I travel as I do at home, I pack the night before I leave. Any earlier and I will be without clothes to wear at home and to work. I do pile up non clothes items I will be taking in or near my suitcase as I think about them but not earlier than about a week before departure.
I have to admit that the first item i think about once I have booked the flights is -
what will i bring to read? Hey, they don't call me a bookworm for nothing! The
size and weight of the books I bring have to be figured into the packing equation,
as far as I'm concerned.
Never !!! I have a packing list on Excel that I start by copying from a similar trip (like winter in Spain for winter in Italy which is what I'm using now). That list started as son as I decided on Italy as my next destination (before I had fixed dates), and I've been over it several times to refine it and adapt as my plans evolve (like adding the GPS after I decided to rent a car) or if I read a great tip (like taking a compass this time). With just 5 weeks to go, two weeks ago I started wearing different shoes every couple of days and different socks with each pair of shoes - some socks work well with some shoes, horribly with others.
I usually start physical packing 2-3 weeks in advance, because it makes me like the trip is closer and in case there's an issue (like suddenly finding out that your favorite top has a hole in it). Then there's my problem that I need to take what for me are winter clothes (long sleeves, sweaters, etc) when I go to the more northern parts of Europe in summer. I have 3 piles, checked bag, carry on backpack and what I'm wearing, putting in my pockets and my "personal item." I do the actual packing 2-3 days in advance, using the Excel sheet as a checklist. I like to have my things all packed the day before I go.
As for variety . . . I've been on 2 RS tours. On one, some women dressed up for the final dinner, others didn't, both were appropriate. On the other, one woman who was literally backpacking wore the same couple of black tops and pants every day (she told me at the end of the tour) with several different scarves. I never heard anyone comment that she wore the same thing every day. Frankly I wouldn't worry about impressing a bunch of people I didn't know and most, if not all of whom, don't care. And if it's chilly, mostly you'll be wearing the same sweater or jacket all the time anyway.
My travel documents are the first thing I start printing out and placing in my accordion folder which is organized by location. It is bright pink and lives in my tote bag that I bring on the plane. About 4 months before the trip I start looking at electronics and start making a list of what needs to be purchased like adaptors (I always start out with 6 and land up with 1), batteries, camera accessories, hair tools etc. I then move on to toiletries and clean out my clear case and start making a list of what is needed, clean out the old Goob Tubes and buy more if needed and get that packed about a week before we leave. Like a PP stated, I use clothes from my closet so can't pack too soon or I would have no clothes to wear, plus I always think I am going to loose weight and will be buying some new items, so clothes are last but a list of what I am bringing is made, just don't know what jeans or which shirt till about a week before. I purchase items all the way up till the trip so that I don't have a lot of expense the week of the trip, so if I go to Target within the next few months I will pull out my list and see what items I can purchase. We may do one "trip shopping" adventure as we need to travel about an hour away to hit Target or any outlet stores. Packing is very important to me and I am super detailed about it and it pays off when we are on the trip and my anxiety level is down because I feel prepared.
I'm definitely part of the early packing club. I start with a list a couple months in advance and start "living with it" in my mind asking myself, "will I be happy doing (insert activities here) with only these items for X number of days?" It all depends, of course, on the season and the type of trip I'm going on. I spend a couple months editing the list and changing my mind, then about a month before the trip I do a reality check test packing to see how everything really looks together and how it fits together in my bag. I then unpack and put everything away unless there are seasonal items I don't need in the interim.
The remaining few weeks are spent meticulously studying the weather of wherever I'm going and making any final adjustments. I don't really go back and pack everything until a day or two before my trip for 2 reasons. I'm usually super busy at work up until the last minute, and because I've already done the hard part so the actual packing takes a very short amount of time. I keep basic toiletries packed at all times so it's just a matter of rolling all the clothes on the list and putting them in.
I loved reading all of these replies because it has made me feel a little less crazy. My family is always teasing me and calling packing my hobby. They can make fun of me, but I get the last laugh when they plan to go somewhere and they're having a packing crisis with everything they own strewn across their bed the night before they leave. Guess who they call to fix it? :)
It is fun to read everyone's technique and reassurance that I am not alone. I think I'm going to refer back to Andi's post (the first response) and call it 'collecting' from now on. Because that is what it is, until the bulk of my clothes go in...as the clothes I bring are generally the clothes I am wearing every day. Thanks all! Wray
Late to the conversation, but I call it STACKING before packing, usually 2-3 weeks out. As I think of things, I stack them on the cedar chest in our bedroom. Also put hanging clothes that I want to take at one end of closet rod. Suitcase comes out a week before departure; this is also when I start checking the weather and making sure everything is purchased and/or washed. On packing day (usually day or 2 before departure), I put everything on our bed and put half of it back. I lay out my 4 bottoms, 8 tops, 1 dress, 2 outerwear to make sure it all goes together. Then I pack.
In some ways I am a night before packer (or that morning depending on the departure time), but in other ways I am always packed. I also have a well tested list from which to pack, so, as long as everything is clean, I can pack at the last moment without fear of forgetting anything. I adhere strictly to my list; if it isn't on the list, it doesn't go.
In order to pack as light as I do (about 10# of contents, independent of the length of the trip), I have to wash every night and often depend on what I wash being dry in the morning). So, over time, I've accumulated a special set of travel clothes, particularly shirts and underwear of cotton/polyester blend, that dry quickly. I only use them for travel, so they are always stored in my suitcase, ready to go.
I leave Australia mid-winter for a mid-summer trip in Europe, so it's important for me to plan what clothes I'll be taking while the weather is still warm here, i.e. in February for a June-July trip. If I leave it until our winter then I find I simply can't imagine ever being warm enough to wear a cotton short-sleeved top. Mind you, because it's cold on my way to the airport I find I'm then wearing a few warmer garments and have been glad of them on an unseasonably wet and/or cold day in Europe, and also of course on my return.
As far as I'm concerned, it's never too early :) And I'm not ashamed to admit that I spread my packing all over my guest room a few months in advance. I find it helpful to see my choices, try different clothing combinations, and narrow down my selections. Happy packing!
I have not read all of the other posts, so I apologize if this is redundant. Here is what works for me.
I am heading out in May this year. I now have an open suitcase in a spare bedroom. As I run across something that I may use or wear, I chunk it in the suitcase. No organization at this point...just get the stuff in the bag.
Usually about two weeks out, I glean through everything and start taking out the non-essentials. I do refer to my "master" packing list at this point to see what I usually take. I then pack fold my clothes/organize toiletries, etc If it weighs too much .....or cannot get it zipped EASILY......the serious purge begins....lol. Virtually every day thereafter I keep updating my bag. Hope this helps.
What a fun thread! I tend to "collect" and "redirect". About a month before departure, I will begin collecting the cloths I want to take as they come clean out of the laundry. They get redirected to the bed in the spare bedroom where they get organized by function. Pants, capris go in one stack while tops go in another. PJ's and undies and socks go in another pile. Scarves, any jewelry will go in another. Shoes, sandals on the floor. I'll take a weekend afternoon a couple of weeks before the trip and spend it in the room with the clothing covered bed and make sure I can get several mix and match outfits out of what I have collected. Once I'm satisfied, I begin to roll and pack in the packing cubes and in the suitcase they go. Toiletries like shampoo, deodorant, creams and lotions, toothpaste etc., I keep year round in a plastic tub in my closet. Throughout the year, it thins need replaced or I find fun, interesting new things at the dollar bin in Target or Wal Mart, they go in the tub. A week before the trip I go through that tub to get my toiletries all bundled up in my toiletry kit and that goes in the suitcase. Then I move on to what will go with me on the plane as carryon. This includes a change of underwear (I've been stranded overnight at airports one too many times to not take this precaution}, toothbruch and paste and all medication in little pouches you can buy at WalMart. Electronic equipment comes with me also on the plane. That's it. I love leaving everything laid out on the bed so I can check and re-check before actually packing it all away.
This is my travel/packing method: I start a packing list long before the trip. I itemize every single thing and put them in categories (i.e. personal bag, toiletries, clothes, electronics, medications, etc). I have a basic list that works for general trips but will copy and past that to a separate list for a specific trip. As I think of an item I add it to the list. About 3 to 5 days prior to traveling I print several copies of the list, set out my luggage, start packing, cross things off the list as they go in the appropriate place. I always pack an extra copy of my list. This comes in handy - especially if you've been in one place for a while - as you pack to return home. It keeps you from leaving something behind.
I do fine tune my packing list regularly before the trip, too. I don't have a spare bedroom that stays spare that long to be able to stockpile in there, but I do have a corner... I think I'm spending more thought on this than usual, and I usually do spend quite a bit of time anyway, because it seems to me that I've been waiting for this particular trip longer than usual as it was set last June! Ah, but getting close now. Thanks for all your packing secrets!
...My suitcase is officially out of the closet. ;)
Go, Wray!! I still haven't figured out the last week of our March trip (but the suitcase is open ...)
Mine is out, too, with some of the only-for-travel items already in their plastic baggies and/or packing cubes.
Sorry to comment so late, but since the topic reopened....... IMHO it is never too early or too late to pack or repack. Depends on the person. I start the actual packing (as opposed to preparation process) about a month before I leave. The first week I will generally get paperwork ready: am I taking guidebooks or part of guidebooks, copies of airline/hotel reservations, itineraries etc. Next week I get my toiletries case in order (a bit of a task as it includes my meds, first aid kit and repair kit [including emergency sewing]). The following week I will prepare my cameras and as much of the electronics as I can as well as packing cubes with socks etc. The final week I select shirts and pants, then usually have my bag(s) as packed as I can 3-4 days before I leave. That gives me a chance to "fiddle" with them should I feel the urge to do so. My main bag is fairly set in stone (I've traveled enough I pretty much take the same things every time) but my underseat bag (and I have several, depending on the trip) will often have the contents modified a bit and, on occasion, I will even change which bag is going a day or so before I leave.
Laura B, I love your travel staging room, although I don't think my college daughter will like the idea! Since I usually leave on a trip after having worked a full day the previous day, I need to start packing weeks in advance. I try to keep as many things packed permanently as possible and try to discipline myself to restock my bags immediately when I get home. There are so many things I can't do in advance-like taking the cats to board-that I need to get packing out of the way sooner rather than later. I do have certain clothes and shoes just for trips and we travel enough that I get my money's worth out of them. (NY last Dec, a weekend in AL in Jan, Guatemala in March, Spain in May, Williamsburg and Gettysburg in July) And I have both a base packing list and add-on lists for different climates/situations(city vs. beach condo).
I feel as if I've become Sarah Murdoch...I just weighed my shoe horns to be sure I took the lightest one (yes, I can't live without one). That .25 of an ounce is very important. :)
LOL! Weighing the shoe horn! Wray, good topic!
"When is it too early to pack"
When I returned home from my trip to England last spring, I removed all my clothes from my carry-on bag, and laundered them. Then folded them, and put them back in the bag. They will be ready for me this spring when I return to England. All I have to add is toiletries and meds.
I do tend to change some of the tops in the bag the day before my trip.
I start thinking I'd like to have some splashes of color I didn't have the year before.
Also the day before leaving...I pick out 2 scarves to toss in.
Well., I too am an early packer. My trip is end of may. A river boat cruise then a RS 8 day tour. I think I will be gone from home for about 3 weeks or so. I have gone to Kohl's and chicos to find a couple of tops that wash and dry quickly in the sink. My mind had been roaming at bed time on my packing ideas. Arrggh keeps me awake . Lol. Haven't got my suitcase out yet!!
I leave for a long trip on April 30. I've nearly finished counting out the 124 doses I need of my numerous vitamins and supplements. I'd take care of the prescription meds now, as well, but I can't get my hands on those this early.
'Tis a pity I'm lagging behind on planning where I'm actually going to go...
So it's a month later and my suitcase is no further along -- except that we are flying in five days. Actually I am packing for TWO trips -- jeans and sweaters for Austria/Germany in March, and in a separate part of the room piling up tank tops, sandals and light cotton bottoms for Italy in May.
Kim, get your suitcase out and you will sleep better!
Mine is packed with everything but clothing and prescription meds (love those insurance regs).
I guess we're pretty much out of the mainstream, as well. We generally pack the day before the trip. I do ask DH to bring our backpacks down out of storage a couple of days ahead of time - I feel more secure being able to see and touch mine :-) And like acraven I pack our supplements and vitamins ahead of time, but just a few days. I always need to replenish some of them, and that usually means a trip to Tulsa to get my favored brands.
We don't have special travel clothes, but we always wear the same things, with minor variations for weather. So the main thing I have to do is make sure the clothes we're going to take are clean, and to remind DH to start sorting through his stuff so it can be laundered.
I use a food scale to weigh our bags, but weight has never been a problem (well, luggage weight, anyway.) My packed Appenzell bag usually weighs around 12 or 13 lbs.
I'm loving the stories, though; keep 'em coming!
For those without a spare room or "staging" room - isn't that what an ironing board is for? That's pretty much all the use mine gets!
Actually it works pretty well, if a bit small. I can't use our spare room because the cats would nestle on any laid out clothes and the ironing board cover doesn't attract cat hair.
Andrea, You made me laugh. Our 'guest' room has too many uses for me to put my suitcase etal in. Mine is on the floor on my side of the bedroom somewhat under an antique commode...where you have to walk most of the way into the room to see it... but I need to be careful not to trip on piles in the middle of night...is injured by packing a covered reason to delay trip? LOL (Just joking universe!)
Zoe- suitcase is still in the closet but close to the bedroom. Lol. My staging area is my dining room table. It will come out probably end of April or first of may. I really need to start on a to do list. First thing., I need to start deleting pics off my phone for more to be added. It has been to much of a hazzel to take my camera. I find my phone is easier on me.
Kim, I use my iPad instead of a camera. I make albums by city, so when I am editing the photos for the album, I discard the ones I can bear to part with.
I would think I need to unpack to start packing early. We travel about every 2-3 months, so I am in a perpetual state of taking things out of the suitcase and putting things in. I think I should have travel and home stuff just so that it never comes out of the case.
Kim, I don't know how iPhones work, but it's simple for me to get photos off my android phone and tablet. I just use the charging cable (with the electrical plug) to connect the android device to a USB port on my computer. I can then use Windows Explorer to copy all the photos onto the computer, burn them to a back-up CD or DVD (or a couple of extra hard-drives), and then delete them from the phone or tablet.
It can take a few minutes to figure out which folder the photos are stored in on the device (I never remember), but the process is very simple. This is great since I don't have to rush to cull the photos before my next trip.
I leave in about 2 weeks.
I actually "test packed" a new toiletry bag last night. Trying to cut the size back. (I am never going to make what those professional Rick Steves packers do, but....)
For the rest of it while I have not "packed" I thought I knew exactly what I was taking and now the weather seems to be turning much cooler in Madrid. That's why I am so impressed with those of you who can pack early. I generally adjust for weather right up until the last minute.
(Of course after 20 years of weekly travel, if I have to I can pack in 20 minutes for a week.)
I think the early test packers are still fluid packers. Everyone should check the weather and adjust if necessary! ;)
It's never too early. I'm always in pre-packing mode and on the lookout for travel-sized toiletries, lightweight clothing, etc. Packing and planning is half the fun 🙂
Most health plans don't force you to wait until you only have one day's worth of medicine to refill. If you refill a bit early each time, you can eventually build up a few week's supply of "spare" prescription drugs, which makes packing in advance a lot easier (and probably is a generally good idea to deal with interruptions in supply caused by weather and other unexpected events).
You must be in the finally stages now. What's your departure date? When did you get the final tour info? My tour is in about 6 weeks and I'm waiting for rest of the "tour package."
Paul, the refill window is usually a week to ten days, but you can get a "vacation override" for prescriptions, although it takes some effort. Allow a couple of days for it to be approved.
Chani, Sent you a message.
Paul, My doctor will just write an additional 30 days, separate prescription and I've had not problem. Usually, on top of the ones I've squirreled away, I'm good. But I didn't see how long you would be gone (just read Zoe's note).
I'd like to update my initial post: I am still wearing/bringing two identical pair of black NYDJ, so if anyone out there is on my tour I'm not wearing the same pants for the entire tour. LOL I have changed the 2 navy blue and two black model tee shirts, to 3: black, navy and red(daring!). Plus, I've packed 2 shortsleeve tops, just in case, which I hope not to have to use. I am wearing one of the above model tee tops. I'm essentially packed. Full weight 28 lbs. including final 'stuff' (wheelie=20lbs; underseat bag 8lbs) Much of the underseat bag is my DSLR and mini-tripod. Two pounds of both is coinage, which will be spent. There you have it. Now just 10 more days until departure! Wray
We go on our holiday a month from today...and I really REALLY want to dig out the bags. I tell myself I'll wait a few weeks, but ya know I'll be getting them out of the closet by next Sat...hahaha
I'm headed to Italy at the end of April and also want to pack. Maybe I can satisfy my urgings with reading the Packing forum here and spending hours looking at Eagle Creek and Tom Bihn (I can't buy anything because 1) too expensive and 2) too much for shipping, so no real danger there).
Andrea, I love your comment about what ELSE would the ironing board be for. And Wray, i hope those on your tour have paid attention so they'll know you have TWO pairs of identical pants!!!
Laura, I like your idea of 2nd items. I'm going to purchase my brushes, and even the curling iron I always use. I always hate getting ready and then just throwing them in. It's frustrating enough doing that with makeup.
I pack way ahead. My DH got a folding, plastic 4' conference table at Home Depot. He sets it up for me in a spare room, so I can put suitcase on top and shoes beneath while I sort. The table size works well - and it's double-decker.
Years ago I read about a woman who kept 4 small packed "kits" ready: first aid kit (with bandaids, blister care, meds, etc), laundry kit, electronics kit, tea/picnic, etc. I've found this helpful, and maintain a list of what goes in what. When pre-packing (say, several months ahead), I work at restocking and streamlining the kits. I use small Tom Bihn organizer pouches for this (color-coded and compact), but ziplocks would work too. I've added a plane kit, a TB Side Effect bag that I keep packed with in-flight needs like headphones, tissues, pencil, Advil, etc. This bag clips on the plane seat pocket, and keeps small things handy - no more rummaging through the bag at my feet. This plane kit stows easily in my personal item.
Relieved to hear I'm not alone in early packing. I don't want to overpack, but I hate being caught without useful things like a decaf tea bag or a teeny binder clip for hotel drapes that gap.
I don't want to overpack, but I hate being caught without useful
things like a decaf tea bag or a teeny binder clip for hotel drapes
Tavapeak, I like this idea of a binder clip for hotel drapes. I'm adding it to my packing list right now! :)
I needed to see this topic. We leave for a trip in a month and my travel stuff has taken over the dining room table. My husband packs the night before the trip, so he just rolls his eyes at me when I start to get ready in advance. So, I'm glad to see there are "others" out there like me LOL.
Although he has it easy - all he has to do is pack his clothes. I have to make sure we have the laundry stuff, electronics, medicines, toiletries, etc. :)
Safe travels everyone!
A little under two weeks to go and I have started digging out the toiletries...I imagine in the next few days I'll start tossing in the clothes...
OK -- bags pretty much packed for our return flight tomorrow, so I will start the packing list for the NEXT trip on the plane home. Tried a (checked-in) rolling duffle, but it was too easy to add just-in-case items, so the next trip will use a hard-sided 22" roller bag. Also, next trip will be in warm weather in Italy versus March in Germany, so lighter weight apparel.
Hmmmm, well leaving in 4 weeks and the card table in the utility room where I stage stuff has gotten too cluttered, so I went thru it today organizing my money, money belt, passport, maps, and started topping up my shampoo and conditioner. I also sorted thru my OTC meds which had gotten out of control (was meeting up with a friend last fall and had to ask them to bring me Immodium - which I never need, but did then! Now I'm gun-shy but really, I don't need dozens of them!) and made a list of what needs restocking.
Clothes have been washed and shirts are hanging separately since it does not appear that it will be short sleeve weather in N. Idaho before I leave, lol!! Good travel undies are set aside because heaven forbid they should wear out if I wore them 4 more times!!
Pam- I don't travel without Imodium (pill form). That stuff works so fast and without a gallbladder I never know what will upset my tummy. I seriously do not worry about it with my Imodium. That and Tylenol are the only OTC medications we take.
I know this is an older thread, but decided to resurrect it.
I love all the replies: it's wonderful being surrounded by like-thinkers. While I start packing in my head 2-3 months out, I have a container, kept on the top shelf of my closet, that I've named my "Paris box." (I travel other places, too, but Paris the most often.) Inside it is the stuff I always take: nylon small bag for trips to markets, shops, flea markets; a few plastic grocery bags and small ziplock baggies; 1 and 2-gallon baggies that I use as my packing cubes; Paris city map; travel umbrella; passport; neck pouch ... and when a trip is booked, so months out, I'll start tossing in, as I buy, things like travel sized toothpaste, deodorant, hair spray, contact lens solution, etc. That way I have all the little stuff I might otherwise forget or scramble to find all in one convenient spot.
Plus, I just love having something I call my "Paris box." LOL
Shelly, I love your "Paris box." The bottom drawer in my filing cabinet holds a number of our regular travel items - mostly money belts, change purse, and small travel bags. And one general area of our linen closet has (but is not limited to) travel toiletries, ziplock bags, etc. I may rearrange my filing cabinet drawer to get all those pesky old files out of there, and make it our travel drawer. Hmm... Italy drawer?
I am 97 days out - I too have my "travel stuff" all kept in one spot. I keep adding to my packing list - this trip has some logistics that we've not had before so it is taking some real planning. Plus we are going from Paris in August to Boston & NYC in November to the Caribbean. Talk about layers! FDor me this is all part of the planning and helps the time go by.
I have a drawer in my bathroom for travel toiletries. My 3-1-1 bag is always packed - I travel a lot for 1-3 nights visiting family or for work so I can just grab and go. I also will buy things like travel size toothpaste when I see it on sale so I can switch out as needed. Before a big trip I'll refill or switch products that are low.
My travel electronics also have their own bag. I'll take them out as needed
As for clothes, several months ahead I start "packing in my head" with lists of clothes. Figuring out what goes together and will be practical. Color schemes, that kind of thing. I'll shop if I need something new (example - summer in Italy will be hot but I need knees covered for churches. Buy a breezy maxi skirt).
About 2 weeks before, I will lay all the clothes I consider out on my bed. I'll try on each, make outfits, see if anything has mysteriously shrunk (hahaha). I'll decide on my final items and wash them. They will go in the bag except what I need in the remaining time at home.
I, too, have a list in my head, but I don't start packing until the weekend before we leave. Although I do store and re-stock specific travel items as the departure date gets closer.
One thing not mentioned is the reaction of animals -- especially dogs -- to the early packing. Our old dog gets very upset when he sees our luggage out. He becomes clingy and trembles like a leaf! Even though our oldest child (who is now an adult) will be with our dog at home during our trip, the dog of course doesn't know this. I've been talking with my husband about how we should perhaps "hide" our luggage in the closets until the last minute, at which time we'll have our son take the dog on a walk, store the packed luggage in the car, and say our goodbyes.
Just writing this sounds a bit ridiculous, but I hate to upset the dog like that.
@Deidre - my cat sleeps on our luggage. I ordered new bags from RS and they have been sitting out - she spends hours every day sleeping with them...even though she knows she always comes with us!
Oh Deidre, it sounds sweet, not ridiculous at all! Poor sweet thing... I guess if you think he'll be ok/not as freaked out, then you might try not letting him see you pack or leave.
My last dog didn't tremble, but would clearly get anxious. And my mom's little dog would jump into the suitcase on the bed and not budge. Dogs are smart, for sure!
Our cat always knew when we were going away...I'm sure animals pick up on more than the obvious things like open suitcases as objects, though they love to sniff and explore them. I believe they sense our feelings, our anxiety or disturbance or excitement...I would not leave the open suitcase lying around ahead of time because everything would be coated with cat hair from her sleeping in it...so my pre-packing (always my happy place) was best chosen while she was already asleep. Our kitty wanted only to be right under where I was "ranger rolling" my shirts. She would walk right on top of the shirt, sit down on it and nuzzle my face....Finally, I would give up and just pick her up and hug her. That's all she wanted anyway....I sure do miss her...on the other hand, our clothes have no more "pet hair adornment..."
We leave next week, but I've been thinking about packing since last year and had done a couple of "preliminary" packs. Today, I did a serious pre-pack with everything I can think of that I need/want to take, including all the maps, guidebook pages and printed tickets, tour documents, etc. I came in at 21.6 pounds -- our Aer Lingus carry-on limit is 22 pounds -- so I'm legal, but will be taking a hard look at things in the next couple of days to see if there's anything I can do without. I had hoped to be under 20 lbs., but it'll be tough to cut anything.
I'm now securely at the point at which I purchase clothing that I know will work well on my next year's vacation (short sleeve modal tees). So now I guess I pack all year long. And Stoutfella, glad to see you are one with the rest of us!
My packing had success and failures for my recent Greece trip. Rethinking cross body for my dslr too heavy on one side after all day.
I think I've done pretty well with clothes, although my guy slacks probably weigh more than my wife's capri pants. But what really adds up is all the little stuff. My 3-1-1 bag is 18 ounces., for goodness sake. Those maps and other paper items are 17 ounces. Pills and Metamucil (taking a wild guess here that I'm not the only one on this forum taking a pile of Metamucil packets to Europe) and other toiletry items are a pound or more. Chargers and cords another 7 or 8 ounces. The good thing is that a lot of that weight will be left behind as supplies are used, but it's frustrating right now.
2 1/2 weeks till I am getting on a jet plane bound for Paris, river boat cruise down the Rhone, then hubby comes to meet me in Barcelona for our RS tour Barcelona/Madrid.
Just got my cruise packet in the mail today and Friday I find out who our travel mates and tour guide will be.
Went shopping for a few clothes today that can be washed in sink/shower and backup battery for my pocket point/shoot camera. Decided to try the camera on this trip.
My trip last year used my IPhone and had to buy extra space on "the Cloud" for my pics.
Have not had time yet to go to apple store to get a lesson on what to do this with phone.
I only have had this a year, I am totally a non-techy person. Arrgghh.
Can I make it another 2 1/2 weeks.
Stoutfella, I think you were involved in the conversation a couple of weeks ago regarding sewing extra security pockets inside of slacks.... I'm having a case of the giggles thinking of that and the gentlemen in Shawshank redemption who discretely disposed of dirt from the tunnel they were digging by putting it in their pants pockets.... let's sew a series of pockets inside yr slacks so you can get the Metamucil overseas without weighing down yr luggage. However, this might draw the attention of a very confused Drug dog.......
Nah, that wouldn't attract any attention on the full-body scanners at all. Great idea! ;-)
Metamucil? Travel where olive oil is used for cooking.
Hah! Maybe I should not reply as I am leaving in one week and I have not packed a thing! I was thinking I was a bit behind, but after reading this, I know I am ;) I am planning to really get into it this weekend, so I can semi-relax next week before departure on Thursday. I can't pack so far in advance...I just can't! I need to know the weather and I keep buying things I want to bring. (This is my first trip to Italy, and really first trip to Europe so I do not have a bunch of travel stuff ready to go.) And I am still wearing some of the things I'm going to pack. I do have a general plan of what I'm going to pack, so I'm feeling mostly ok with everything. But I do admire the early packers-you guys are awesome!
OK - we are 88 days out. I am already gathering! I purchased new coats for us both - definitely not needed in South Texas. I have my travel staples all in one place, My EC cubes have finally gone to the luggage "great beyond" - the past couple trips I have used 2 gallon ziplocs and really like them. So for the next 88 days I will keep slowly but surely gathering.
Adding my 2 cents to the long thread - fun read! Im also heading to Greece/RS Tour later this late summer! Many years ago when I started becoming a devoted Rick-Nic and drinking the ETBD Coolaid (and loving it!) I started weighing each piece of travel gear and travel clothing in my arsenal and recording on a spreadsheet so I could pick/choose specfic shirts/pants/jackets/bags and track weights up to 8kg (for Lufthansa/Swiss carry on limits).
I still use it for big trip planning as it comes in handy to keep my carry on compliant. I try to travel with MerinoWool based clothes (from head to toe as much as possible) since its very travel firendly and you dont need much to last for a few weeks.
I also have a small luggage scale which I highly recommend and carry with you for the trip back home! Otherwise the Post Office scale works well.
I also try to find ways to pre-travel with all the research and planning aspects like everyone else here - and usually well packed ahead. I always try to have everything ready and packed and lay out the travel gear 1-2 days ahead. And try to wear anything thats Necessity/Heavy/Expensive on the plane (aka - Hiking Boots, $$ Gortex Jacket, Camera etc - items that you must have from day 1 or dont want to risk being without if you had to gate-check a carryon). At least until after check-in counter! (put the heavy books in your jacket pocket until you get to the gate!)
I love this thread... So interesting to see how other people prepare for their travel!
I'm a last minute packer, and strive to under-pack but always end up bringing something that I don't use. I started Goodwill-shopping for a month-long trip to Peru about 2 weeks out, started gathering toiletries and such 2 days out, and finished actually filling my bag the night before our 6am-flight. I managed to get out with my 50-liter pack and a day bag. We packed for a family three-night trip to visit family in just the kids' 2 school backpacks.
In 2 weeks, we're leaving for 3 weeks in Germany, Poland, and Czech Republic, and I've started thinking about what we'll need at least. :-) But I spend a lot more time beforehand on the research and planning parts... Have had our flights since March (so 4 months) and most of our accommodations booked since early April (so 3 months).
I'm leaving on the 28th for a week in Austria. I returned Wednesday from a trip to visit family over the 4th, so as soon as I unpack... I can start! I'm kind of a slacker I guess.
I do, however, have a spreadsheet where I'm planning outfits and compiling a packing list.
This is a GREAT thread! Love it!
We always have a bag in the spare room where we toss travel things that will go on the next trip. I also have a spare brush, spare deodorant, spare this & that which go into the dedicated travel bag. That is an ongoing collection, so things are always added to it. That's also where the European adaptors for plugs live as well as the emergency trip flashlight.
As far as packing clothes, I usually wait until 3 days before the flight but only because I was afraid it was too obsessively eager to pack before then. Now that I have read this thread, I think I may pull out my suitcase tomorrow for our next trip! ;-)
I am starting to think I am always packing in my mind. I have not yet formulated my next European trip...but it is starting to brew, I feel it bubbling up, for next year. Nonetheless, I'm always analyzing my system and have a drawer... However, we have a trip in the US coming up in September that is still only in theory as I have not looked at logistics even, because as much as I will enjoy it, it's still not the same as leaving the country, for me.
Wray, I put myself to sleep at night thinking about what I should pack and what bag(s) to use. Some people count sheep, I mentally pack LOL. I can fall asleep in less than 30 seconds, so I never fully pack mentally LOL
And I have upgraded my travel drawer to a full bureau of travel "stuff" - clothes, bags, packing cubes, etc. LOL
Pilgrim, That is so funny! I have done that as well! Usually in the months running up to a trip. I haven't been sleeping well the last couple of weeks, time to plan a new trip and pack in my brain. Thanks for the reminder. ;)
GASP! Oh my... I'm the same way! I often "pack myself to sleep". LOL!!!
I think we should be professional packers. :-) Or, maybe we should all plan to go on the same trip together!
i have a suitcase open in the spare room, we are leaving in 6 months - as i buy things for the trip i put it in - i am also super excited - 2 months in europe for us!!!