Wanderlust Journey

Wanderlust Journey

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A Review of Our Packing!

October 4th · 13 Comments

One of my responsibilities for our trip was to pack for both Jim and I. After reading some tips on lightweight packing I got started on packing lightly for our month-long trip!

It was difficult to know what to pack since we were going to be going from cold and rainy 55F days to hot and sunny 85F days! I used the packing checklist from www.RickSteves.com as a starting guide and to make sure I didn’t forget anything!

How Did We Do?

Overall I think that we did pretty well. We had one major bag per person, a backpack and my purse. The major bags were less than 20 lbs each but more than 10% of our body weights (per the tips). We only had to wash our clothes in the sink or shower 3 times during our trip. 🙂 We ended up wearing more pairs of socks than I had estimated! Lots of walking around in sneakers made us go through socks quickly.

Martha with her trusty backpack and Rick Steve's Travel Guide!

Martha with her trusty backpack and Rick Steve's Travel Guide!

What did I pack for Jim & myself?

For Martha:
5 Short Sleeve Shirts,
2 Sleeveless Shirts
1 Lightweight Sweater
2 Bras
10 pairs of underwear
7 Pairs of socks
1 Pair of jeans
2 Pairs of capris
1 Skirt
1 Dress (not needed)
1 Pair nice shorts (not needed)
1 Pair workout shorts
2 Bathing suit tops (1 not needed)
1 Bathing suit bottom
1 Lightweight jacket
1 Bathing suit sarong (not needed)
1 Hat
2 Pairs of earrings (1 fancy to dress an outfit up)
4 Pairs of shoes: flip flops, ballet flats, sturdy sandals, sneakers (flip flops not needed)

For Jim:
7 Short Sleeve Shirts (1 shirt not needed)
1 Long Sleeve Shirt
1 Pair Jeans
2 Pairs of Shorts
10 Pairs of Boxers
7 Pairs of Socks
Bathing Suit Trunks
1 hat
2 pairs of shoes: sneakers, flip flops

For Both of Us:
Toiletries – shaving cream, soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion (all the freebies from hotel stays) 1 razor, and face wash.
First Aid Supplies:
Blister band aids, regular band aids, Neosporin, 1 ace bandage, Tums, Advil/Tylenol, and sunblock.

Miscallenous Supplies:
-Ear plugs (very helpful!)
– Camera
– Laptop to download pictures
– Flip Mino – mini video recorder
– Day backpack for small trips around town
– Passport security wallet
– washcloth
– Print outs of all important information, including our hotel, rental car and train confirmations, print outs of interesting sites not included in our guide books, any tickets.

So what did we bring to entertain ourselves when we were traveling on trains and planes?
– IPod
– Books that I felt okay leaving in random hotels so that when I was done reading I could leave them for others to enjoy. I went to our local used book store and got a few great books at a great price!
– Rick Steve’s Travel Guide of Germany
-A deck of playing cards

With all of our supplies how did we manage to carry it with us?
We packed all of stuff in:
– A hiking (internal frame) backpack (15lbs)
– a rolling carry-on sized luggage (18lbs)
– 1 backpack to carry the laptop and guide books. (12lbs)

Overall Grade: B

We didn’t quite make the 10% rule for weight of our luggage but we were able to physically carry our luggage. The reason why I give us a B in packing is that I had a few pieces that I only wore once or not at all (gasp!) during our trip. Everything else we wore at least three times which was our goal.

Bringing less clothes would have signifcantly reduced the weight of our backpacks and luggage. It would have been much easier with slightly lighter bags. Also next time I’ll try to get all of our luggage into two backpacks instead of three pieces. That way we both only are in charge of one bag.

The other reason why I gave us a B is because I forgot to pack any rain gear! We had to purchase an umbrella in London. Thankfully it was cheap and easy to find! Also we could have used more cold weather clothes. We were only in hot weather for three days in Italy and in cold/warm weather the rest of our trip. One day in Ireland I wore three shirts for extra warmth!

Overall, we were clean and dry most of our trip. Now for next time, just learning to pack less!

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13 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Sheila @ GoVisitHawaii // Oct 12, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Sounds like you did better than a B!

    I don’t know how I do it, but as light as I try to pack, I still end up not wearing at least a couple of items that I lugged around.

  • 2 Martha // Oct 16, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    I know Shelia! It always so hard to pack lightly. One of my favorite tips that I didn’t include was to pack your suitcase and carry it around the house to see if it was light enough :). After 20 minutes I had an easier time leaving some of my clothes home!

  • 3 Henry Balanon // Oct 16, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    I like how Jim’s list is half the size.

  • 4 Kelly // Oct 16, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    I love the idea of packing books you can leav in random places!

    I have a lot to learn about packing light. I had a full suitcase and a carryon and a purse for a day trip!

  • 5 Liz Pulliam Weston // Oct 16, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    You did great!

    I’ve given up trying to remember to pack umbrellas. I have a dozen now, from Paris, New York, Atlanta…like most everything else, they’re readily available at just about any destination where you’ll need them.

    And you packed the most important thing: earplugs! With them, I’m a happy traveler. Without them, I’m a grumpy, sleepless whiner.

  • 6 Chelsea // Oct 16, 2009 at 6:20 pm


    Great job on packing light. I travel a ton for work and your organization here is amazing. I need to take some tips from a pro apparently 🙂

    Also, good call on the ear plugs.

    – Chelsea

  • 7 Kate Kashman // Oct 16, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    It sounds like you did a great job! I think you definitely did better than an A.

    I tend to go the other direction and not pack enough stuff, and then have to buy clothes. That’s not a good solution, either.

    Glad you had a good trip.

  • 8 Evolution Of Wealth // Oct 16, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    I didn’t know a woman could pack that light. I don’t mean that in a bad way it’s just that every woman I’ve traveled with seems like they need to bring a lot of stuff just in case, then the make-up and bathroom stuff, and more. I’m impressed with your packing skills though.
    You know what beats an umbrella when carrying your bags…poncho. I love a good poncho and it takes up no space when you’re not using it.

  • 9 Jeff // Oct 17, 2009 at 2:07 am

    Very good job packing. I agree with Henry, Jim list was smaller but us guys can always manage. I use to travel and live in China and the most important item I took was the eye mask. It was to only way to get myself use to the 12 hour time change. The rain is a good thing, you can wash your clothes as you wear them 🙂 Good luck on your next trip.

  • 10 Courtney Baker // Oct 17, 2009 at 4:18 am

    When I’m travelling long term, I remember that nobody is going to know if I wear the same thing over and over (except your travelling companions). I love it when I realize that I might need a pair of shorts, and I have to buy while abroad. It serves as a useful souvenir instead of something that sits on the bookshelf!

    You might like a website called Book Crossing. You register your book and write the info inside the book. Leave it somewhere public (airports are best) and see where it travels. I’ve had several people post updates on book I’ve “released into the world”.

  • 11 Martha // Oct 17, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Courtney, I’ll have to try out the site next time we go on a trip. I love to read and really enjoy sharing my books with others, that would be really neat to see where they travel!

  • 12 Jenn // Mar 25, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    We take the whole travel light thing as a personal challenge. We haven’t checked luggage in over a decade. There are two kinds of luggage, carry on and lost!

    We took our 2 kids to Europe for a month in 2008 and took 4 rolling carryon bags plus a small laptop bag. My husband had to work in Munich for 4 days so his bag even included a jacket, dress pants, 2 shirts & 2 ties. The key for me is that everything must go with at least 3 other things. Minimize the shoes and wear the bulkiest ones everytime you’re on the move with your luggage. Limit your colours so everything matches and can go in the same load of laundry. No sorting colors!
    I never take more than a week of clothing and preferably 3-4 days worth. Take things that can be handwashed or plan to drop off your stuff at a full service laundomat every week. In many parts of the world you can have your laundry washed and folded while you’re out sighseeing. If you have to do it yourself, use the time to study your guidebooks, or get picnic supplies on the way and eat while you wait.

    Travelling solo I’d probably take two outfits and alternate them, washing in the hotel each night. When travelling with a family that would mean a LOT of hand washing every night so we take more.

    In Venice when making our way from the canal to our hotel, we went up and over 3 bridges with stairs. Really glad to have minimal stuff at times like that. When grabbing trains between cities, nobody helps you with your bags, you just fling them in the overhead racks. We saw a lot of people struggling with massive bags that they had to sit with under their feet for hours because there was nowhere else to put them.

  • 13 admin // Mar 26, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    Wow, Jenn! That is awesome! I hope to reduce our luggage to as little as possible because I think it allows us to travel at a drop but its a neat idea to think that its still relevant with a family!

    Less luggage always means less work! Thanks for the great tips for our next trip 🙂