I am guilty of this, and I’m guessing you are too. I pack too much stuff. Over the years and trips I’ve gotten better – my personal best being a school-sized backpack for a 2-week jaunt to India – but there is always room for improvement.
Enter Rick Steves’ Travel Festival. Among the location specific travel classes was one of my favorite travel topics, packing: Packing Light and Right with Joan Robinson, a tour guide with 14+ years of experience. I was all over it.
Robinson gave an informative, hour-and-a-half lecture, and demonstrated with her personal luggage – a wheeled carry-on suitcase and a small backpack for a day bag.
Some of Joan Robinson’s packing tips include:
- If you won’t wear it more than three times, don’t pack it. (Amen.)
- Pack for cold weather with layers, rather than one heavy item.
- Use the rolling technique to keep wrinkling at bay and to save space.
- Use plastic bags and packing cubes for easy organization.
- Pack clothing items made with Rayon, the wrinkles will come out after just an hour of wear.
- Never pack new shoes, but if you must, also pack Vaseline or Moleskin to prepare feet against blisters.
Robinson also gave a mini-demonstration of how to mix-up several outfits with the use of scarves, vests and jackets – she packs mostly black basics. You can find her full packing list at Rick Steves’ Europe. A (much shorter) packing list for men can also be found on the site.
Stores that were given honorable mentions were: Target – for toiletry items and crushable hats; Brookstone – for a folding, dual voltage hairdryer; and Eddie Bauer – for unlined windbreakers. (I prefer Marmot’s PreCip Rain Jacket.)
I love hearing people’s tips for packing: My friend, Alex, never leaves home without a book. My mom? Swears by Onederwear’s disposable underwear, “The extra room you end up with at the end of your trip is the perfect space for small souvenirs.” Me? I always toss in a pack of baby wipes. (Feel free to leave your musts/tips in the comments section below.)