Travel, particularly air travel, is no fun these days. From the banning of beverages to the fee frenzy, it is all very annoying, to say the least. It is because of these inconveniences, and the fact that schlepping large suitcases through foreign train stations sucks, that I began packing as lightly as possible. Just last year I made a 10 day trip through three Italian cities, several train stations and airports, with one carry on suitcase and a purse. How did I do it? By following my 10 Packing Truths. Trust me, they come in handy.
- I will not send out laundry at a hotel, or on a cruise, when it costs roughly $6 to have one tiny pair of underwear laundered. So, I need enough underwear in my bag to last the entire trip, through all of my clothing changes.
- I will not bring things I’d like to use, but in reality won’t. For example, sneakers. I’m not going to the gym on a ship to lift weights, and I won’t humor myself into believing otherwise.
- Everyone has shampoo – hotels, ships and the friends I choose to stay with. No need to bring my own.
- I will not bring more than three pairs of shoes. One walking shoe and a maximum of two evening shoes, but preferably one.
- I must have reading material for the plane, train and any other transportation. I will take as many books as I need to stay occupied. My husband just got a Kindle, so his book reading has suddenly taken up a lot less space. More on that once it is actually used for any length of time.
- Never wear shoes that tie to the airport, at least while you still have to remove them in the security line. I, for one, do not want to be behind you when you need to retie the perfect bow. Wear slip-ons.
- The question is not “How much luggage can I take?” but rather “How little luggage can I take?”
- I take one purse. Period. Next.
- I generally bring an umbrella with me when I travel, even in my carry-on only world. Why? Murphy’s Law: If I have an umbrella it won’t rain. If, however, said umbrella is at my friend’s house in Florence, while I am out touring the city, it will almost certainly rain.
- I stuff shoes with underwear and socks. I thought everybody did this, but apparently I was mistaken. Use the otherwise unused space.
Travel with less. Nobody cares if you are wearing the same clothes more than once. If you hate it that much in photos, you can always Photoshop in a different pattern to your shirt. I promise, nobody else cares.