A Few Words About Packing

There are lots of reasons to limit what you pack: the main reason of course, are airline restrictions. But there are other reasons why you might consider taking less.

I noticed that over the years I brought a lot and used very little. I’ve always over-packed on cruises, mainly because if I’m leaving from a Florida port, I’m driving.  I’ve gone overboard, so to speak, bringing as many as three suitcases aboard for a seven night cruise. I would pack three or four formal outfits to decide what I wanted to wear later. It was excessive packing at its best.

When airlines tightened baggage restrictions, I knew I needed to curb my packing. So on a recent, month long trip to Europe, my husband and I brought just one suitcase each. Yup. You read that correctly: one bag for 30 days. The only carry-ons we had were our laptops and cameras. It was important for us to do so because we were going to be taking a variety of transportation services and many were bag-restricted. We also knew we would be dragging and picking up these bags a lot, so we needed them to be as lightweight as possible. We’re not 20 anymore and humping heavy bags on and off trains and buses isn’t as easy as it used to be.

So what did I pack? I brought enough underwear for eight days, three pairs of slacks, a pair of shorts, six blouses, one pantsuit suitable for formal nights and a nice pair of black shoes that could be worn with anything. Everything was washable. My suitcase weighed 40 pounds.

Anytime we traveled between destinations, I wore a shirt, sweater, jacket, slacks and running shoes – the heavy stuff.  We did laundry at set places on route where we knew finding such facilities wouldn’t be problematic. The last 16 days of our trip was a transatlantic Carnival Cruise. This is where it pays to be a frequent customer. They laundered and folded five large bags of clothing during our cruise, all complementary.

I was thrilled to learn that after all these years; I could make it with one suitcase on a month long journey. Amazingly, there were still a few items I didn’t use at all.

I was the envy of every 50+ person I encountered. Most came with trunks full of clothing and I watched as they pulled and struggled to carry them all.

So the next time you travel, give it a whirl. We’ll call it our single bag challenge. Prior planning will mean spending less with the airlines and it alleviate your aching back!

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