Packing Light

Our family took a vacation West two years ago.  We each had a huge suitcase and two maximum sized carry-ons.  I had diligently taken measurements to ensure our bags were as big as possibly allowed!  We flew to Las Vegas and traveled a 32 hour loop via car.  Along the way we accumulated food, souvenirs and other odd and ends.  Every two to three nights we were in a different location.  I remember spending so much of that trip packing and unpacking suitcases and the car.

DepartureWhen we began to think and plan for traveling to Europe, I knew there had to be a better way.  I researched packing and traveling light.  As a result, our trip went so much more smoothly and we spent far less time packing and unpacking even though we were in a different location every couple of nights.  I can’t recommend highly enough taking a few minutes to think through your luggage before you leave.  It can save you so many headaches and stress on your trip!

Here’s me and my family at the airport in Cleveland, ready to go.  Everyone had one small suitcase and one backpack to carry on.  If one of us had a purse or a camera, we made sure it fit into the carry-on. So, since there were four of us, we knew at any time we need to have 8 pieces of luggage – four suitcases and four backpacks.


My suitcase

I started with Rick Steve’s Europe Packing List. He suggests that no matter how long your trip is you should take enough clothes for one week and plan to do laundry once. We were there in May – so your list may look a bit different depending on the months you travel.  I packed clothes in one color scheme so everything matched with everything else.  I also packed clothes that could be layered, and when it was raining and 40 degrees in the Alps, I was sure glad  I did!

Here’s what I took:clothes


1 Jeans, 1 khaki capri, 1 Jean capri
1 black comfy capri for travel.
3 Long sleeve shirts
2 Tank Tops
4 Short sleeve shirts
2 Sweaters, 1 light weight one hoodie
7 pair underwear
3 bras
5 socks – the little ones that hide in your sketchers
Jacket – rainproof (I didn’t bring but REALLY wish I had in London where it rains like 12 times in one day!)
2 PJ’s, 1 TShirt (great for cover up over PJ’s)
Paperwork (make photo copies)
Money belt and Roo pouch
Money – 1 credit card with chip, $120 in cash
Airplane ticket
Driver’s license
Railpass/Train reservations
Hotel reservations
Guide books and maps
Notebook and pen
Camera and gear
Phone and charger
iPad and charger and keyboard
Voltage adapter
Ear buds and noise reduction headphones
Toiletries Kit-  Soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, sunscreen, lotion, Hairbrush, clips, makeup bag, shaving kit, nail file, hair spray
Medications and vitamins
First aid kit
Hand sanitizer
Sealable plastic baggies
Laundry soap
Small towel
Travel tissues
Garbage bags for laundry

I read that you should only pack things you would use at least three times.  I agree, that is a good rule of thumb.  Things I brought but wouldn’t bring next time:extras

  1. Sweatpants – just didn’t need them. My travel capris doubled as lounge pants
  2. Skirt – maybe if the weather were warmer?
  3. Kindle – zero down time to read. When we got back to the hotel we would crash in bed until we were up the next day ready to go.  On the trains and planes I enjoyed conversations with those around me or just watching people.
  4. Disposable face wipes – never was without soap and water
  5. Hair dryer *ended up not bringing it, and I’m glad I didn’t because I had them available wherever I traveled and I didn’t have to worry about voltage.
  6. Extra shoes and socks (I brought these because my Sketchers Go Walk 2 were brand new and I was worried about them not being broken in.  As it turned out, I walked 10 miles one day and my feet didn’t hurt a bit!)
  7. Make up – didn’t wear it but twice, once for church and once for family party.

Stay tuned – in the next post I’ll share what my favorite travel items were and why



Here’s my final baggage packed and ready to go. Packing light is so freeing! I had no regrets.








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