Do you struggle with packing light? Do you always take more than you need? You are not alone, I travel with only a carry on and still bring things home that I never wore but I AM getting better at it.
I have seen so much discussion, in travel groups that I belong to on Facebook, about packing light, the merits of travelling light are constantly being discussed. There are endless videos on YouTube about the subject and many bloggers have written about it so there may be nothing new here but I’m sure you will keep reading out of curiosity to see my ‘style’ if nothing else.
I’m not sure if I should really use the word ‘style’, I’m not exactly a fashion diva. I wear clothes to keep warm, or cool, and cover my bumpy bits, that’s basically my criteria when I’m packing.
What is my carry on allowance?
If I am flying it is usually with Ryanair.
This is their allowance: Only priority boarding passengers will be permitted to take one small bag (40cm x 20cm x 25cm), plus a larger cabin bag (55 x 40 x 20cm) with a maximum weight allowance of 10kg into the cabin free of charge.
With Ryanair you can now opt to have the bag checked in and I usually do this because it saves me struggling to get up the steps with it and lift it up into the overhead locker. It’s also cheaper to check it in (only by a couple of euro).
I used to take the maximum size underseat bag as well but I am now down to a very small cross body bag that is much more use to me when I am away.
Questions to ask yourself before you start
- How long will it be between opportunities to do you laundry? This is the key really. Don’t think about how long you are away going for, think about how often you can do a wash.
- How long are you staying in one place? For instance, if you are staying in a hotel and do not want to be seen in the same outfit every night for a week then you will need more outfits than if you are constantly moving around. If you are on the move no one will know you have worn the same outfit to dinner every night for a week.
- What type of place will you be staying? If you are in a hostel for instance, most people will have very limited clothing with them so it’s acceptable to be seen in the same thing more than once (honestly the sky won’t fall down on you). If you are in an apartment then you may spend a lot of time ‘at home’ and eat in so you won’t need quite so much.
- Is the weather guaranteed? In other words, will it be permanently hot or cold? Stable weather helps a lot when considering what to take. It’s when it is changeable that things become more difficult.
- Will the seasons change while you are away? Or are you moving from one type of climate to another? Same considerations for these two points. If you need to accommodate this then you need to think carefully about layers.
What Clothes I Packed For a Seven Week Trip in Winter to Portugal
I’m going to show you what I packed for a seven week trip but first, these were questions and answers I asked myself in relation to this trip.
- What will I be doing and where? On this trip I am house sitting in two different locations, both with cats, and both in Portugal. However, when I was packing I did have one week unplanned so I had to allow for the unexpected.
- Will there be a washing machine? Yes, apart from the unplanned week, however I like to have enough clothes with me so that I am not running the machine with only a tiny load. I always bring my own soap nuts with me for laundry and if I need to hand wash anything at any point I have my travel soap with me. If I am in a hostel the easiest place to wash clothing is in the shower and the travel soap washes both me and my clothes.
- Will there be a dryer? Yes, although I try not to use a dryer unless I am desperate so I need to allow for drying time.
- Will I be going out anywhere ‘dressy’? Highly unlikely because even if I did decide to go out for a meal at night I would generally eat outside where there would be a patio heater and wraps/blankets are usually provided. It’s often colder inside in the restaurants because they rarely have heating.
- What will I be doing during the day? Mostly staying ‘at home’ working online. When I do go out I need layers because the temperature can start off at maybe 4 degrees but increase, in the sun, to 16 degrees in the afternoon.
- Will it be warm or cold indoors? When ‘at home’ lots of layers are needed because in Portugal there is rarely heating or insulation in the houses, there may be an electric heater to plug in or, if I’m very lucky a wood burning stove. I ALWAYS have my hot water bottle with me.
- What do I need for my feet? Am I walking a dog? If so, then I need walking boots for forest tracks but usually only good shoes for a town. On this trip it is just cats so that is easier. I never bring slippers, they take up too much space but I do bring lots of warm socks.
- How much can I wear while travelling? It’s surprising how much you can actually take with you by simply wearing it. It’s easier when going from a cold country though, coming home I am often carrying more over my arm than I have on my body.
So firstly, this is what I wore going.
Lots of layers! Underwear, obviously, and one vest top, one long sleeve top, one 3/4 length sleeved sweater, one pair of warmish trousers, one pair of knee high thermal socks, one pair of ankle socks (it gets cold in the airport overnight and I am an airport sleeper), one pair of fleece lined shoes, one light scarf, one snood, one warm wrap and a warm coat.
Since I got here I haven’t needed the warm coat or the snood because I haven’t been out at night but I may need it at some point and I definitely will need it when I am traveling home. I do use the wrap a lot though, it keeps my shoulders warm in the evenings or if I’m sitting up in bed reading and it’s vital for sleeping in the airport and can be rolled up and used as a pillow in the flight.
What did I pack?
A pair of navy trousers and two more long sleeve tops.
A lightweight showerproof jacket and an umbrella.
A really warm sweater for wearing indoors. I bought this sweater over 20 years ago, it’s a mix of wool and silk. It was expensive, even in a sale, but my goodness it has earned its keep. It it fairly light for packing, washes like a ribbon and dries reasonable quickly. Obviously I’m not going to tumble dry it.
This is my ‘just in case’ selection. This is just in case I want to look a tad more respectable. One pair of black trousers, one long sleeve black top, one sleeveless over top, one patterned long sleeve top, and another scarf.
Another ‘just in case’ outfit. Just incase it gets really warm I can switch to leggings and a tunic top.
If I really want to push the boat out, this packes well, washes well and dries well without needing ironed and the silver necklace pretty much goes with anything.
One pair of pyjamas. I like to have these in case I stay in a hostel otherwise I would just wear my day tops or a vest in bed.
One pair of fleece pyjamas. I seriously couldn’t survive without these. I rarely need them for sleeping but often spend the day in them if I am not out anywhere. At the moment I am sitting here wearing them with the heavy sweater over the top and 2 pairs of socks. It’s the only pair I have so for me it’s Christmas every day. They are very light for packing and dry very quickly.
Just one additional pair of shoes, I wore the navy ones travelling.
The silver and black shoes have been everywhere with me, they are very comfortable but starting to get a bit worn now and don’t have much of a grip on the cobbles anymore so I think I may have to look for another pair.
I also have a second vest top, 6 pairs of knickers (briefs), two pairs of knee high thermal socks, 2 pairs of ankle socks and two pair of fluffy socks (instead of slippers). Sometime I am provided with slippers by the homeowners which is very nice, and often a robe.
A look at mixing and matching
This can all be mixed and matched and worn with either the heavy coat I travelled in or the lightweight spotted jacket. I have been here for over two weeks now and this is all I have used.
This long sleeved top is wide enough in the arms to get another top below it if necessary. Dressed up with the necklace and the cream scarf if needed and it takes me pretty much anywhere. And some bright lipstick works wonders!
The black trousers and long sleeve top with the tunic top. I have also included the black leggings in the photo because if it is warmer I often go out with the trousers on but take the leggings so I can change into something cooler if need be and the long sleeve top can come off too.
Another mix of my black stuff. If it gets warmer, or I am indoors somewhere warm, the long sleeve top can be discarded and I then have a black vest top under the over top. The cream scarf also goes with this.
So, as far as clothes go that’s what I have with me. I did a blog recently about what toiletries I bring, you can read it here – Marketing Monday – A Look Inside My Carry On. I’ll look at other essentials another day, there are a few things that I always try to bring with me if I can.
I also want to say a bit more about leggings. They are one of the most versatile things you can pack. I need to get a couple of new pairs, I had some that virtually disintegrated.
As well as being worn with tunic tops (which can be very dressy if required) they can be used as a layer under trousers if it’s very cold, and they can be used for sleeping in if necessary. They are easy to wash, even by hand, dry fairly quickly and don’t need ironed.
What about you?
Do you travel with a carry on only? Have you any tips or do you have any questions for me? It’s good to share ideas so please comment.
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