How many clothes do you really need to pack for a thirty-day vacation? Before I answer that question, I need to provide a bit of background information. The “you” in this scenario is actually me, and I will be traveling on a ship, two airplanes, several trains and in a rental car. Both airlines that I will be flying have weight restrictions on checked and carry on luggage. Several train stations require navigating stairs. Did I mention that the temperature will fluctuate between 40 and 70 degrees during the month.
Considering the variables, this is what I have come up with:
This list does not include toiletries, camera equipment, eye glasses, sun glasses, visors or caps, travel document binder, converters, phone chargers, tide pen, single wash packets, water bottles, day bag, or anything else I have forgotten to mention that will have to go somewhere.
The list may look bare bones, but I think it is possible. Last year I packed one large case and a small carry on bag. Add a handbag to that and I looked remarkably like an American tourist! The rule in our family is that if you pack it, you pull it. Traveling by rail in Europe is daunting enough without adding a bulky suitcase to the mix. Mind the gap and all that… The interesting thing was that last year I returned home with a lot of unused clothes, which makes me believe it is entirely possible to do with less.
Keep It Basic
First, I decided to stick to black, gray and navy for nearly every item. I added in a couple of print blouses and a red jacket to spice things up. Keeping the number of pairs of shoes to “only those necessary” is essential to conserving space. My go to travel shoe is Go Walk by Skechers (honestly, I should be paid to promote them but am not). I take one navy pair and one black pair. I also pack one pair of black dressy flats and one pair of flip flops.
It helps that I have never been a slave to fashion and prefer a basic wardrobe. Yes, I will be on a Cruise ship for two weeks and eating in a formal dining room on most evenings, but that is where the two pairs of dress slacks, print blouses and black dress come into play. Jewelry fixes everything, so I will make room for a few pieces in my carry-on bag.
Plan to Do Laundry
Another thing that helps, and something I discovered last year, is that many cruise ships have self-service laundry facilities! Unfortunately, the ship we will be on this year does not. But, they will wash and fold a bag of laundry for about $25. I will send tee shirts and other well worn items to the laundry within two days of disembarkation. Undies can be washed in the sink. Starting out with freshly laundered clothes for the second leg of the trip is something to look forward to. It is not as hard as you might think to find a laundromat while traveling, and you can always ask your hotel for a recommendation. Most Air BNB rentals or similar accommodations will have a washer/dryer available.
Nine of our thirteen day Trans-Atlantic crossing will be sea days. I expect to be in the same comfortable Capri pants and alternating tee shirts for most of those nine days. They will also serve as my gym clothes. The two pairs that I am packing are quick dry which makes it very easy to wash one pair and wear the other. Outfits that I wear on port days will do double duty and will be included in the wash bag at the end of the cruise.
And, there you have it. Unless Europe experiences a heat wave of biblical proportions, or the temperature drops into to 20’s this should work. Maybe next year I will scale it down to a back pack! Just kidding…..