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Why does it feel like I'm packing more non-clothing than clothing?

After I pack all camera, tablet, phone, chargers, cords, and prescription meds it feel like I've packed more non-clothing items then clothing. Does anyone else feel the same way?

Posted by
5697 posts

Yes, loaded all clothing and shoes, zipped the bag closed -- and then had to face the meds, tour books, and "miscellaneous" piled on the table. Flying Tuesday, spending Monday culling and re-packing."

Posted by
693 posts

Yep, I feel the same way. Electronics, in particular, take up more space than I would like.

For whatever it's worth, I am getting ready to leave for a cruise to Alaska. The current breakdown by weight is:

  • Clothes: 44%
  • Electronics: 32% (16% cameras and lenses and camera case; 16% computer, hard drive, chargers, power strip, batteries, etc.)
  • Luggage: 16%
  • Toiletries and Medications: 4%
  • Miscellaneous: 4% (hat, luggage lock, packable duffel, inflatable pillow for the plane, and so forth)

I am packing heavier for this trip -- with heavier clothes and more camera equipment -- than I would pack for a trip to Europe. Still, the weight of cameras and electronics adds up in a hurry.

Posted by
15576 posts

Sure. But now that I think back to traveling in the "old days" it wasn't any lighter, even without phones, tablets, etc - suitcases weighed more, so did cameras - especially in the day pack, even clothes seemed to weigh more a couple decades ago, shoes certainly did.

Posted by
2393 posts

oh yes - the backpack gets the worst of it - add in Kindles, picnic supplies, wine glasses, coffee maker (I can't even get dressed before coffee in the morning), coffee supplies, extension cord, fan...

who has space for clothes?

Posted by
524 posts

Absolutely, especially when traveling in summer when my clothes roll up small. I'm always amazed at all the other stuff..makeup, toiletries, curling iron, etc.

Posted by
715 posts

Don't forget to bring the kitchen sink. :)

Posted by
3940 posts

The cords and chargers are the worst...lol. Two ipads so two cords/chargers. Oh, the ipod as well has the old cord (but the battery life on that poor thing is pretty low now, so prob leave it behind from now on). At least no phone.

The camera, lenses (only one large and two very small ones at least) extra batteries, battery charger and of course the adapters to use them overseas - need two sets of those. Do I take the tripod or not? What must I leave out in order to take the tripod? Will I use the tripod? (The answer is - very little - but when I need it for after dark photos, I need it and am glad I have it!). The filters, cleaning cloth, camera bag - which I squish into the luggage. I miss the days of my little point and shoot at times...(my current camera is one of the mirrorless ones, so small body). Do I take the external flash since mine doesn't have a built in flash? (The answer is no, because in two years I've never used it).

Hubby still brings the travel hairdryer even tho there have been dryers everywhere we have stayed - at least that is our only hair appliance. Thank god for hats...lol.

I don't bother with makeup anymore - especially if it's hot when we are going - it just melts off.

I feel ya!

Posted by
11613 posts

In the old days, we packed guidebooks, heavier camera stuff, travel alarm clocks...

Now my iPad mini serves many of these purposes, so my electronics don't take up that much space, but it still seems to me like the clothing-to-everything-else ratio is weird.

I find smaller travel things all the time; latest find is a folding hairbrush/mirror combo that is 2 inches folded and weighs two ounces.

Posted by
1068 posts

Clothes are still the bulk of what I pack. As I love photography, I take 2 cameras and that adds up (although I have ditched the Kindle/Computer and now just take a smart phone.) But that's life. I don't see that as a bad thing, you take what you want to make your trip pleasant for you. I still have lots of room in my carry-on when I leave (not so much when I return!) and my smaller personal item holds the electronics, so it all works.

Posted by
345 posts

Christi...perhaps, you can leave the coffee pot at home. Many hotels in which we have stayed had a small kettle that sat on an electric base that heated the water. There was usually instant coffee, tea and cocoa available for us. Some hotels also had Nespresso machines. You could check with your hotels if you have advance reservations.

I also agree about packing chargers for Nooks, cameras, toothbrush etc. plus guidebooks. Of course, I also have too much weight from clothes. Yes, I know...take less but I am used to packing for five to six weeks in France. Plus, since I am messy, I want a change of several shirts.

Posted by
208 posts

Definitely! Whenever I tell someone we travel with "carry-on" only, I always say that it's the STUFF that takes up space and weight -- not my clothes! That includes our times when we've been cruising in the Med (i.e. nicer evening wear)!

Posted by
16893 posts

I just packed plenty of clothes last night and still have space in my carry-on sized suitcase. But I'm debating leaving the tablet home and taking just the phone and a camera (to avoid wearing out the phone battery, and much lighter than my old film camera). But I do like my tablet. Toiletries/liquids are also heavy (and a pain at airport security), so I've been taking a hard look at those.

Posted by
1068 posts

I got rid of some power cords. My two cameras will charge via USB with battery in camera. I ditched the Kindle and am going with just the smartphone (aka. Currency converter, alarm clock, note taker, calendar, etc). I do (paranoid me) take a "real" battery charger for my main camera....... the camera goes through batteries and I do like having a back-up plan. I recently bought an international multi/charger with 2 USB and 1 "regular" port...... that should also help.

Posted by
3207 posts

I think this is what happens when you pack light. I can limit my clothes and toiletries, but there are other things I want or need to bring with me...that add up even when packing light; i.e., safety and convenience. And I say this even though I don't bring a tablet or nook even...but I do bring a DSLR with one lens (usually one). Still it all fits easily in my 20" carryon and medium sized cross body purse. ALWAYS have at least one hand free! Wray

Posted by
2393 posts

Christi...perhaps, you can leave the coffee pot at home. Many hotels in which we have stayed had a small kettle that sat on an electric base that heated the water.

Funny - we stay in 3* or above hotels and B&B's and have run across only a couple kettles. My travel coffee maker (actually a kettle with drip filter) is pretty small and everything stacks & stores inside it.

Cords...oh yes...2 netbooks, 2 kindles, 1 phone and an extension cord!

Posted by
3517 posts

I have experienced the exact opposite with kettles -- every hotel I have ever stayed in had a kettle in the room. Some supply decent coffee like substances (i.e. instant), and others require you to supply your own. I just take a few Starbucks instants in the stick packs or Dewey Egberts if I can find it (Amazon sells it, or I pick some up first chance I get when I arrive in the UK). Both are decent enough until I can get to a real coffee house.

As far as packing in general, I am packing less non-clothing now. My first trips to Europe I took a slew of electronic gadgets (alarm clock, camera, cell phone, laptop, flashlight, chargers and cables for all, CD player and stack of CDs, extra batteries) and all that has been replaced by just my smart phone. On the other hand, as I get older I take more medicines along. All in all, the dimensions of the non-clothing and weight of those items is much less than way back when. The total weight of my bag goes down a few ounces every trip. :-)

Posted by
4151 posts

As with electric hair tools, I can't imagine packing something to heat water in my carry-on. Christi, maybe you're staying in places that are too nice! In general, my observation is that the more expensive the place, the less likely it is to have a coffee/tea service in the room. That includes in the US.

I stayed in 13 places on my 6-week trip to the UK this spring. They included small hotels, B&Bs, pubs and an apartment. My experience was what Mark said. Regardless of price (ranged from £70 to £144 per night for one person), all of them had coffee/tea service, a kettle and cookies! Yes, that meant instant coffee or tea. I'm an early riser, but I was able to make do with that until breakfast was served.

It's mostly my meds that take up space and add weight. Wherever I go next trip I need to research the availability of the OTC things before I pack, especially the calcium/D3 chews.

Posted by
368 posts

On my last trip, I took a kindle and Ipod. Did not touch the kindle as I had loaded books on "tape" into my iPod and listened. However , I found in three hotels, there was a usb port in the wall and I could just plug in the cord. No adapter needed. Way cool

Posted by
92 posts

We traveled to Italy this summer. Two of the hotels we stayed in did not have kettles. I wished I had packed my little immersion heater. Next time I will. It doesn't weigh much or take up much room. The hotels were neither high end hotels or low end. But they were both in towns not crowded with tourists.

Posted by
27062 posts

I don't drink coffee, so I'll grant that I may not always take note of water-heating devices. But in 7-1/2 months over the last two summers, I don't remember seeing even one in my budget-level hotels. I suspect they may be more common in the UK because of the love of tea. I was traveling in southern Europe and eastern Germany.

Posted by
2393 posts

Crazy - I can count on one hand the number of hotels/B&B's we've stayed that had kettles in the room. We usually stay in 3 star - 4 for a splurge.

My little kettle is a little smaller than a kids lunchbox size thermos and tucks easily in between a couple of packing cubes. It is dual voltage. I've had it for about 20 years and don't travel to Europe without it.

Posted by
11613 posts

In Italy, I have stayed in several hotels and even some B&Bs that have kettles, but if it's something you must have, it's best to take it with you.

Posted by
83 posts

After reading this thread, I need to review this with my husband. All he is talking about is all the cords, chargers ect. we need to pack! This will be our first trip to France. We will be there for 3 weeks from 3/29 - 4/19/17. I don't want to take too many bulky items, but know it will still be cool. What size suitcase do most of you use for this length of trip that is sufficient and managable?

Posted by
11613 posts

janeem, I take a 20" rolling carryon with a Ravenna daybag. Love my Civita bag and sometimes pack it as an extra for purchases. I also take a small messenger bag that is almost always okay to take into museums. For air travel, the messenger bag goes inside the Ravenna bag or the 20" carryon.

Posted by
83 posts

Zoe - thank you so much. A 20" is really big enough for 3 weeks? I guess I need a lesson on packing, as I usually take more than I need! Your advice is much appreciated. Jane

Posted by
2393 posts

@Jane

Ours are 21" bags and we have traveled for 2 months out of them. I carry a BIG purse and DH has a backpack. Spend some time on the packing forum - lots of great info & tips.

Posted by
83 posts

Thank you Christi? Do you check you bag or carry on? Jane

Posted by
1068 posts

So far as your actual question - camera, tablet, phone? Do you really need all (or any!) of these things on holiday? At least, can't you combine - admittedly I don't own one, but these days don't mobile phones come with cameras and have internet capability?

Yes, some people can do some combining. IMHO (for me only-can't speak for others) I definitely prefer "holidays" with the proper electronics. The word holiday in the US is often equated with "vacation." When I travel it is not a vacation, I am there to enjoy, see, learn and absorb new cultures. Some of the things I do when traveling: know something about what I am seeing (guidebook on mobile device), not get lost frequently, (map on mobile device), communicate with friends, family, hotels (e-mail, calling, texting on mobile device), amusing myself in airports or at other times (books, games, music on mobile device), being up on time (clock on mobile device) and taking photos which I consider my best souvenirs (camera, as mobile devices are not adequate for my purposes.) It may or may not be helpful to take several mobile devices. For example, if you wish to watch a movie a Kindle or Laptop may be a better choice than a phone. For backup of photos, a laptop is certainly helpful. For an alarm clock, telephone etc,, a phone is usually adequate. So sometimes more than one mobile device is the right choice. I would not enjoy travel without electronics (but that's just me.)