Packing review… how did I do?

LogoWe’re home and Fashion Friday is back!

This was our very first carry-on only trip and I’ve decided that it’s definitely the way we’ll travel in the future. It was so easy! There were no baggage fees and no waiting around at airport luggage carousels wondering if our suitcases had made it onto the right plane. I had no trouble lifting my teeny tiny suitcase and stowing it in overhead bins on airplanes or racks on trains. It wheeled along easily, even on somewhat rough surfaces, and I could easily carry it up several flights of stairs in the guest houses that didn’t have elevators. Yes, it was easy!

But what about the contents of that little carry-on suitcase? Did I pack the right things? Enough of everything? First, let’s review what I took with me:

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  • 1 pair jeans
  • 2 pairs lightweight long pants
  • 1 pair capris
  • 1 pair leggings
  • 2 camisoles
  • 6 tops – 1 long sleeved, 3 with 3/4 length sleeves, 2 short sleeved
  • 1 little black dress
  • 1 dressy black jacket
  • 1 ultra light down vest
  • 1 scarf
  • 1 lightweight hoodie
  • 1 windbreaker jacket
  • 1 hat
  • 3 pairs of shoes
  • 1 swimsuit
  • sleepwear (2 sleep shorts, 1 short lightweight dressing gown)
  • socks, underwear, bras

All in all, I feel like I did a pretty good job of choosing what to put in the little suitcase. A bit of tweaking will make next time even better.

Good footwear is absolutely essential on a trip like the one we just took. The rose gold sneakers weren’t actually in the suitcase. Most of the time, they were on my feet and they were an excellent choice for this trip! We’re estimating that we walked somewhere in the neighbourhood of 200 km over the past three and a half weeks, many of them on rough cobblestone streets, and we climbed innumerable stairs. The sneakers stood up well and were amazingly comfortable.

Everywhere we went in Europe, locals and tourists alike dressed quite casually. I only wore the leggings, dress, dressy jacket, and black flat shoes once for an evening of fado (traditional Portuguese music) in a little pub in Lisbon, but I wouldn’t have needed to. I didn’t feel overdressed, but anything else in my suitcase would have done just as well. Depending on the nature of a future trip, I might leave those things at home and replace them with an additional pair of pants since pants are more difficult to wash in a sink than smaller items are.

Six tops was plenty. I could have managed with four or five, but it was nice to have a bit more variety. Surprisingly, I didn’t find that I got bored with the clothes I had with me. Perhaps I was just too busy enjoying the trip! The vest, hoodie, and windbreaker were a great combination that gave me layering options that worked well in a variety of weather conditions. There was also a tiny folding umbrella tucked into the suitcase that came in handy on a few occasions.

The swimsuit didn’t get used, but I anticipated that. I always carry one just in case though. Two pairs of sleep shorts was enough as they rinse out easily and dry in no time. Two bras was also enough. We each packed six pairs of socks and underwear for 24 days, but it felt like I was washing them continually, so I’d take a few more of those next time.

Let me finish with a couple of packing tips that I’ve learned:

  • If you use facecloths, take at least one with you. I learned to do this when we lived in Asia, but apparently Europe is no different. We stayed in seven different guest houses and hotels on this trip and not one of them provided a facecloth. Take a little ziploc bag with you to pack the cloth in if it isn’t completely dry when you pack up so that it doesn’t dampen anything else in your bag.
  • Take a flat rubber universal sink stopper with you. I didn’t think of this, but it’s on my shopping list and I won’t leave home without one again. Most of our sinks had plugs, but a couple of them didn’t which made doing laundry in the sink virtually impossible.

If you have any packing questions, leave them in the comments section below and I’ll do my best to answer them. The next two Fridays I plan to highlight a couple of excellent items that I purchased specifically for this trip.