Monday, October 17, 2016

Confessons of an Over-packer

DEBORAH CROMBIE: On Wednesday afternoon, I leave for a month in England, so I am in the usual packing frenzy. Unlike many of our friends here on the blog, who can pack for six weeks in Europe in a roll-aboard suitcase or a small backpack, I am a chronic over-packer. By the time I've filled a big suitcase to the brim, it usually hovers right under the 50 pound mark, and, then, not only do I have to lug the thing around and get it on trains and up and down stairs, I have the stuff in my carry-on, too.

I put over-packing down to some inner lack of confidence. People who are super-packers, (like our own Hank!!!) probably never worry about having the right thing. 

There's also an emotional comfort element in this over-packing thing--how can you be homesick if you've taken most of what you own??

But this trip my suitcase will at least be a little lighter. When I was in California week before last (and I was very proud of myself for packing for five days in a roll-aboard) I had a day out with Rhys and friends Terry Shames and Diana Chambers. We saw this fab luggage in a little shop in Sonoma County. It's called Lipault (French for feather), it comes in really pretty colors, and it's amazingly light. The 28 inch rolling suitcase weighs just under 7 pounds. I checked the specs on the suitcase I've been using for the last few years, which is supposed to be ultra-light, and it weighs 18 pounds. And that's EMPTY. 

Decision made.

I found Lipault here in Dallas (Container Store carries it), picked a color (purple), and I also bought this adorable little rolling tote made by Baggallini. It fits on the handle of the big suitcase, but when it's on its own, its handle pulls up and it rolls. It also fits under your airline seat. Hopefully this will solve one of my most hated things about traveling to the UK, which is standing in the Customs and Immigration queue for an hour or two while trying to keep a heavy tote on my shoulder.


AND I got one of these cool packing cube things. You are supposed to be able to fold up to eleven pieces of clothing in one of these. Hmm. Has anyone tried them? Should I have bought two? Or three?

Now, I just have to decide what I'm going to wear for four weeks, and what I can live without.

What about you, REDS? Give me tips, please!!

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Aw, Debs, so lovely of you! Yes, one suitcase, carry on. No matter how long a trip. A big nylon tote bag, Longchamps, (red!) which allows me to put my purse inside so it looks like it's one item, under the seat. I have to admit I am so in love with my suitcase, I cannot tell you--it's TUMI. It is amazing, and as magical as Mary Poppins' satchel. EVERYTHING fits.  Can't wait to hear about the packing things, Debs!  I am a devoted tissue paper girl. Tissue paper is amazing--it takes up no room, and keeps everything unwrinkled. Somehow. Magic. Anyway:  Two black dresses, stretchy. Sweater, pashmina, two jackets/blazers. Leggings, big top. Scarf or two. No shirts. 

Put something flat and unwrinkleable on the bottom, then an article of clothing, flat, top with tissue, then fold the rest of the article over. The tissue paper prevents the fold lines! Add another thing, then tissue, then fold over.  Everything flat, nightgown on the top, tighten the strap over it all. Unpack the moment you arrive. But hey. You are going to LONDON! Buy something if you need it.

BIGGEST HINT: No one remembers what you wear.

Bon voyage, dear Debs! We want to hear about every minute.

LUCY BURDETTE: We are in a packing frenzy too, only for Key West rather than Europe! And we are driving, because how else to drag the senior citizen animals along? And that means special digestive problem dog food, kidney problem cat food, dog bed, cat pan with bags of kitty litter because we never can find Cedarific below the Mason-Dixon line. And special low sodium snacks for me, etc etc. John spends weeks rolling his eyes. Oh and don't let me forget, I want to bring the remaining beets from our garden and as many Macoun apples as we can pack...

But if it's just me, on an airplane, a carry-on only. And I have to be able to lift it! And yet somehow I never manage to look like Hank. Maybe it's the tissue paper thing LOL.

RHYS BOWEN: Debs, I'm so glad you bought the suitcase we saw. Amazing. I want one now, although I did buy a super-light carry on in England this summer. Also after dragging large cases on and off trains all over Europe this year I made a vow. From now on everything has to be washable in my hotel sink, neutral colors, mix and match so that I can take the minimum to survive and dress up outfits with a scarf, pashmina or jewelry. Of course this won't work if we take a cruise that requires formal evenings, or if I'm in Europe to give speeches/meet editors and have to wear suit or blazer. Then perhaps the answer is to find a toy-boy who can carry my bags for me!

HALLIE EPHRON: I pack super light, but I'm usually not going to spend a month in the UK in the fall. My trips are usually a few days. If it's a few months I'm usually headed somewhere warm and therefore not as much needed.

I never check luggage except when they make me. One small rolling bag and I'm good to go. Most hotels have irons in the room so I don't worry too much about wrinkles. The right clothes are the thing -- black. Of course. And I swear by Eileen Fisher - a dress, a long skirt that I can wear under the dress or alone, a few tops, and black pants all in more or less the same fabric with a scarf and a pashmina. Wash out in the sink in a pinch. For all the parsimony in clothing I never go without at last 2 pairs of shoes. Comfort first.

DEBS: Hallie, I'm too short to wear Eileen Fisher! 

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: My packing trick, such as it is, is to pick three colors and stick with them. (If I could pare it down to black, black and black it would save me even more space!) I recently went on a ten-day trip: one week in Colorado Springs followed by four days driving back to Maine. My entire wardrobe for that trip was navy, khaki and coral. I've collected clothing that does double duty over the years - I have several light cotton cardigans that can be worn as shirts or as sweaters, for instance.

My favorite bag is the Vera Bradley large duffel. Minuses: no wheels! So I do have to schlep it by shoulder. Pluses: It's squishy, so I can fit almost anything into it, it will shove into improbably small spaces, it's VERY lightweight (mine came in at about three pounds) and it's impossible to miss on an airport carousel or a train station because of the very distinctive prints. 

I've also been wanting to try out Hank's tissue paper technique!

DEBS: Hank, I think the packing cube thingy probably is the high-tech answer to your tissue paper:-) But they say you have to watch the video, and when am I going to find time to do that??? I think Hank should make us a tissue paper video instead!

Lucy, I can't imagine your packing task, and I think anyone who travels with cats gets extra points. (Do Yoda and Tonka know the routine by now?)

Rhys, that day was the most fun. And I'm with you on the toy-boy idea...

READERS, all hints appreciated, and I'll let you know how the new stuff works.


  1. These days, the most I seem to be packing for is to visit one of the girls, so it’s always less about the clothes and more about what I need to remember to take for the grandbabies.
    Truthfully, packing is one of those mysterious skills that I do not seem to possess. It’s definitely not my thing, so I’m afraid I have no wonderful little hints. Whatever I take when I fly has to fit in a carry-on; I agree with Hank and Hallie on the black and some accessories.

    However the packing goes, I hope your new lightweight luggage makes it easier; hope you have a wonderful time [and please do tell us all about it].

    Lucy, traveling with animals is quite an experience . . . travel safely.

  2. Deb: Have a great time in England for a month! Like Hank, I am mostly a carry-on bag traveller no matter how long the trip. Lately my max length has been 2-3 weeks with just the carry-on for clothes. NOLA was for 14 days and my light hard shell roller carry-on and my Timbuktu commuter bag works great. It has one of those velcro panels so you can slip it over the carry-on handle... so no heavy bag on your shoulder during long walks between terminals and waiting at customs.

    I have used the packing cubes for a few years and they are great. They help keep your items organized, supposedly can hold a lot of clothes, and you don't have to paw through all your clothes to find what you want. Also, many hotel rooms don't necessarily clean the dresser drawers at all, and what knows what previous guests put in them (yuck). So it's great to take the packing cubes from the carry-on and put it in the drawers and avoiding any nasty germs or other yuckiness and get what you want.

  3. From these comments, I think the key to packing light is having the right travel clothes. Which, of course, I don't. Must work on that. (Delightful confession - am chipping away at the extra twenty pounds I managed to lay on in the last decade. Happy to report I'm halfway there - so my reward is going to be a new black travel/conference dress!) It is shocking how much luggage weighs empty, isn't it? Must check out your new line of suitcase, Debs.

    All that said, you're going to be fine. Have a lovely trip to England. Eat and research your way through the month and be sure to report back frequently. Do you have a guest room where you're staying, by chance? ;^)

  4. And I will mention that I use the 5-pack of Heys packing cubes which comes in various sizes. I bought Heys since they are a Canadian company and the packing cubes are made from recycled plastic bottles. I am guessing you can buy them in the US, too.

    Eagle Creek is also good, but not sure if they come in a pack like Heys. But I have some of their other travel accessories which work well.

    Hank: Happy Birthday xoxo!!

  5. My sister in Ottawa uses those, too, Grace! I forgot to mention that I am partial to clean gallon zip lock bags for underwear and socks. You can press the air out, it keeps them all together, and you can still see what's in there.

  6. Cool, Edith about your Ottawa sister using the Heys packing cubes. Heys has been around for 20 years and are known for their light-weight spinner wheeled luggage line. They are slightly heavier than the Lipault luggage Deb mentioned...the carry-on piece (21") is @6.5 lbs, the 26" is 8.6 lbs, and they have a 30" piece too. I like the Heys luggage since it is lightweight and comes in many funky designs, so they are easy to recognize on the baggage carousel!

    And as for choosing the right clothes, yes you have to twittle it down to the basics. One nice dark blue/black dress for fancy outings, and then lots of mix and match top and 1-2 pants, and layers, and some nice accessories (scarves, jewellry). Definitely also use something called a laundry since I only have 4-5 outfits to last me during the 2-3 week trip!

  7. Darn: Meant to say whittle instead of twittle...need more coffee!

  8. Debs, you're not too short--I bet I'm shorter, and maybe Hallie too. The secret is petite sizes:)

    Happy birthday dear Hank! I'm making a cake right now. What flavor do you prefer?

    And congrats Edith on the 10 pounds gone!

    Grace, I never use the hotel drawers...terrified of bedbugs...

  9. Lucy: Ewww, bedbugs...have not seen any in hotel drawers but thanks for that warning. I wasn't a huge germaphobe until I saw an investigative report in Canada that visited various hotel chains in Canada. Besides the showing the normal germ laden items in a hotel room such as a TV remote, phone, etc., they also shone that blue light which picked up those human excretions/stains left on duvets, pillows and inside dresser drawers! I am guessing that hotel chains in the US have similar issues re: level of cleanliness, so I use the packing cubes.

  10. I don't understand those cubes! How do they work?

  11. Note to self: research packing cubes.
    Note to self: Do not use hotel drawers (really???)
    Note to Hank: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
    Note to Deb: Eileen Fisher PETITES!

  12. Hank: There are Youtube video for every things these days.
    Hope you can see this one!
    Heys Packing Cubes

  13. Packing cubes. Definitely. They give you a template for folding your stuff (!) and everything fits in one of them and does not wrinkle. Hank, HAPPY BIRTHDAY and check out the YouTube video.

    Eeuw, Roberta & Grace!

    Deb, I know exactly what you mean about over-packing. I would bring my teddy bear if reality checking didn't kick in. There's a great book, THE PACKING BOOK by Judith Gilford, that gives you lists about exactly what to pack for every occasion. I religiously follow it and always end up with what I need.

  14. Happy birthday, Hank!

    My father travelled a lot when he acted in theatre. He taught me how to pack: "Pack half as much as you think you need and take twice as much money. Take a credit card, but don't use it." He taught me to roll my clothes for packing. He said this was another "theatre trick" that prevented wrinkles. The most important thing about travel, he told me, was to look up people you know. You should know someone wherever you are. If you don't, though, make a new friend. He was as much an introvert as I am, but he made friends everywhere. I followed his advice and had fascinating adventures everywhere I went. I met a cousin in France I never knew I had. He had the same job that my ancestors held in taking care of the deer park near Reims. It's harder to get around since that last fall in Oxford when I tripped on a cobblestone. Adventures are everywhere, however, even in the backyard or down in the wash.

  15. Lucy, I'm with you on the Macouns. They are the best and you cannot get real apples in Florida.

  16. I like Hank's list! But I would add some scarves, especially for you, Debs, since I know you're a scarf gal. Your two jackets should be one slightly dressy one, and a warm one, probably with a hood. I'd also take at least one sweater (jumper!), since England will be chilly this time of year, right?

    When I was going to Europe this past spring, I found some awesome underwear, a brand called Ex Officio. It fits well, is lightweight, quick-drying, breathable, and made of odor resistant microfibers. I took two pair, plus some others, and ended up just washing out the two pair of Ex Officio whenever I could. They're pricey, but well worth it, if you're traveling and need to pack light. If I'd known how great they were I'd have gotten two more for the whole three-week trip. Ex Officio also has other travel clothing, some of which is also odor resistant.

    My issue is always hair. That is my first worry when I'm planning a trip: how to corral my naturally wiry and sproingy bob and keep from looking like a crazy woman.

  17. Speaking of macouns... do you always pack food? I do. YES, an apple. NOT a banana (to smelly and can get mooshy). Trail mix (though it's harder and harder to find it without chocolate or some other egregious ingredient like dried papaya, feh). Water! I bring an empty bottle through security and fill it on the other side.

  18. I did Europe in the winter for three weeks with a carry on. It's doable. (And you can always pack a lightweight duffle if you come home with more stuff than you started.) This last trip, I took a large suitcase to help my daughter bring home stuff from her study-abroad summer session. At the end of that, I swore never again. Nothing more horrid than trying to pull massive suitcase across cobblestones and into trains.

    My winter trip I used the layer method. You lay things so that they're partially hanging out over (all four) sides of suitcase (and partially folded--for example, sleeves of suit folded along back. When everything is in, and before you start layering over, you fill the center with underwear, socks, etc. (either in packing cubes or in ziplocks) and then start folding the clothes one at a time, working your way around each side back over. This method prevents wrinkles. You can technically live out of the suitcase, too, by unfolding and leaving it all hanging over the sides while case sits on luggage stand.

    This last trip, because the suitcase was so big, I used the packing cubes. The advantage is that you can organize and use them as "drawers" and use your suitcase as the dresser. But they're not all created equal. Some cubes are hard to see in. So I made little note cards telling me what's in them. (otherwise, you're opening and closing them during your search for that black top, etc.) (Pro tip 1: buy lighter colored cubes. 2: don't buy large packing cubes. Smaller and medium are better.)

    I'm torn between the two methods. Cubes are great if you have just a short trip and you don't want your stuff flopping around. Layering is wonderful for suit coats and things that you want to be able to wear right out of the suitcase.

    And have to agree with others on using the dressers. Just ew. You have no idea when, if ever, they have been cleaned. It's not just bed bugs. Hangers in closet or your suitcase.

  19. Happy Birthday, Hank!

    I just added to the front page. I missed doing so earlier because I was, you guessed it, traveling, in this case from Quebec to home. I swear, some travel goods company ought to start giving us stuff to try out and recommend, because we are the most peripatetic group of women I know!

    Reine, I love your father's advice for traveling. "Half the clothes and twice the money" indeed!

    My current travel issue - one I've been dealing with for a while - is finding a good case for my laptop. I bought a seventeen inch Toshiba because the girls and I like to snuggle together and stream movies on it, and the larger screen is a better viewing experience. However, seventeen inches makes it impossible to find a decent laptop case. I don't want one of those 25 pound black rubberized things that they make for...I don't know. Who buys those things? I'd just like something attractive, that closes, and is lightweight. Everything I see is for a fifteen inch laptop.

    Right now I'm using a flat tote that does okay, but it doesn't close! That makes me nervous when traveling. (Not so much that I'll be stolen from, but that one wrong tip and everything inside will be all over the airplane deck.) Any suggestions?

  20. Hank, happy birthday!!! It's Rick's birthday, too, and I should remember that you two are the same day. I hope you're doing something lovely to celebrate.

    Thanks, everyone, for the great tips. I got just one Eagle Creek medium packing cube, but I got the very lightweight see-through one. It's made from what seems like semi-transparent parachute material. Grace I'm going to watch the this morning.

    Reine, I love you father's advice, and I am good at the making friends part:-)

    I have long been a clothes roller, which really does save space and keep things from wrinkling, but I always end up digging through my bag for things and making a big mess.

    Also with international travel there are the darned chargers and converter plugs. Fortunately a lot of stuff now is mix and match, but you still need plug adapters. I use ziplock bags, too, for that stuff, and for socks, underwear, and anything I think might leak in flight.

    Sarah Smith, I'm looking up the packing book right now, too. I do make a list, and I try on all my combinations of things before I pack them.

    More on Wednesday, because I have project on this trip (which has to do with starting a new book) but will take up extra space--and some of that weight I'm saving on the suitcase!!

  21. Julia, can you find a light weight travel tote that's at least 18 inches wide? I haven't used a laptop case in years--I just put it in my carry on tote. But then mine is only 14 inches so not such a challenge!

  22. Ann on the way th McKinney!October 17, 2016 at 11:25 AM

    Packing cubes or envelopes are da bomb. I can get everything in for two weeks with room left over. I fill the empty space with a down pillow that's past it's sell by date. Then I have room for whatever I buy and leave the pillow at the hotel. Deb, julie is the best. We will sort you out in no time. Remember there are laundromats in London. ��

  23. The best reason, in my opinion, for using a packing cube, or a plastic compression bag, or any other way to keep your clothing together, is when the TSA inspects it. It keeps them from needing to paw through your entire bag, if it's obvious that one flat package is your tops, one is pants and skirts, and all your toiletries are in the same bag. On my way home from one trip someone broke the zipper on my bag and it came out of the carousel at baggage claim exploded open, with things hanging over the edge, and my pricey and brand-new walking shoes all by themselves and out of the bag.

    If you ever fly to Cody, Wyoming, which is a tiny airport, your bag will be searched, coming and going. (Dick Cheney lives about an hour away. Not saying that's why, just mentioning this in passing.) I learned very quickly to make sure it was easy to search my bag without getting everything mussed.

  24. I hope the airline replaced your bag, Karen. I have found that no bag can survive for more than a couple of years, the way they are thrown around.
    That's the huge advantage of carrying on. But for six weeks in Europe I really need more than a carry on, and if it's too heavy, I can't lift it.
    I have to tell myself that each place I go those people haven't seen what I wore in the last place. We did go around the Australian Outback for 3 weeks with a small carry on and shorts, khaki pants, one skirt.

  25. Hank, Happy Birthday! May your coming voyage around the sun be filled with wonderful adventures.

    Julia - I just googled lap top cases 17 inch and found about 10 models. Maybe one of these will suit you?

    Edith - Congrats on being 1/2 way to goal. Keep it up.

    Packing cubes sound wonderful. I have been using gal. zip lock bags for years, and rolling my clothes. Nice that there is a new alternative. I try to pack wrinkle free
    things so I don't have to rely on hotel options. I am a casual clothing person so formal wear is not a problem.

    Deb, can I come too? I promise to pack and repack all your bags.

  26. Julia, don't know if a canvass tote is too heavy, but if not, Land's End has a medium tote (17" wide) that zips. The tote also has wonderful inside pockets to help organize stuff.
    Or, you could all just snuggle closer with an iPad. ;-)
    I've never used my tote as a computer bag (I have a 17" Toshiba laptop too): too much weight to trek with and too "fragile".

    Happy Trails, you all.

  27. Karen: I agree about the Ex Officio underwear. I bought 2 pairs a few years ago and that is all I needed during my long trips. Just wash them in the hotel sink and they good to wear the next day.

  28. I didn't know you were short, Deborah. Now I like you even more! It's terrible to find a dress you love and realize it's taller than you are.

  29. Karen and Grace, I wish I'd know about the underwear. But I take really lightweight all cotton undies that will dry over night in the hotel.

    I've just ordered a whole packing set from Eagle Creek, which has cubes and another packing envelope, from Amazon, and it says I will get it by 9 tonight. Yay!

    Edith, huge congrats on your halfway goal!!

  30. Deb: Hurray for Amazon's 1-day delivery. And the Youtube video link was just a short 30 second video to get the gist of how packing cubes work. There are definitely longer ones you catch watch if you need the full step-by-step instructions, but I think it is pretty self explanatory.

    The Ex Officio underwear is really good in hot humid climates (like NOLA was). The microfibres wick moisture and dry quickly. But I am sure that the light cotton undies will do just fine in England.

    Have a great trip!

  31. Julia, I have a 17” laptop, too, and it’s difficult to find a case that will accommodate it.
    If you just want a way to secure the laptop in the tote bag you have, Case Logic makes a laptop sleeve that will hold a 17” laptop; you can carry by itself or slip into your favorite tote bag. They also have a regular 17” laptop case.

    If you want something a bit fancier, Levenger has one expandable leather briefcase/laptop case that accommodates a 17” laptop; they also have a standard 17” case with wheels.

  32. Hallie: I know this sounds odd, but Target carries a great trail mix that is just almonds, cashews and cranberries. Actually, Trade Joe's carries virtually that same mix, too. I know this because I use trail mix as a tide-me-over a lot, and like you, I really want just nuts and berries, and those are getting harder to find.

  33. Hallie: Re: food, I would love to be able to pack fruit but that is not allowed when travelling from Canada/US, even if the orange is from Florida! TSA or CBSA takes it away during pre-security screening. So I have to make do with nuts or trail mix and some protein bars, sigh.

  34. Bon voyage, Deb!
    Happy Birthday, Hank!
    Thanks to everyone else for all the great travel/packing tips.

  35. Just remember your mac and lightweight brolly. We're having some very heavy 'showers' in the south east this week.

  36. Happy birthday, Hank!

    Right before Bouchercon, I bought a new suitcase, 360-degree wheels and weighs only 3 pounds. Unfortunately, I think it's too big for a carry on. Win some, lose some.

    If I was going for a month, I'd be cutting down packing by planning to do laundry. For shorter durations, I'm packing things that can be worn multiple times (pants or skirts). Even sweaters can be worn multiple times if you leave a couple days between wears.

  37. I am on the same page with Hank concerning tissue paper. I've used it for years and years, even though some members of my family have made snarky remarks. It works. I admit that now I am interested in the packing cubes, too, Debs, and I love my Baggallini bags. I haven't gotten the Baggallini pictured in your post, but I'm going to be looking that one up. Oh, and the purple Lipault suitcase is gorgeous!

    Rhys, I volunteer to be your toy-boy. Hahaha! Debs, I am willing to go to London with you, too, and carry your bag.

    I am going to try to take some inspiration from this post and you Reds who pack so efficiently in packing for my upcoming weekend train trip. I am such an over-packer.

    Happy Birthday, wonderful Hank and fellow tissue packer!

  38. I watched a Rick Steves video on packing for a trip to Europe. The (female) presenter was a tour guide, and she said one of the niftiest packing systems she had seen was a woman who bought all the shirts for her two week trip at a thrift shop. After she wore a shirt, she left it behind at the hotel to free up room in her suitcase. Obviously, not a business trip. On a longer trip, you might find a thrift shop at your destination - could be a fun afternoon.

    Happy Birthday, Hank!

  39. Susan: Thanks for the tip on trail mix! I've actually had good luck with the trail mix at Walgreens, surprisingly.

    Grace, I've lost many an apple and orange, too, entering a country. So annoying.

    Susan: I love the idea of throw as you go - leaving dirty clothes behind. Leaves room for bringing stuff back! I used to do that with books. Pack a bunch of paperbacks and leave them behind in hotel rooms as I finished them.

  40. Susan: That sounds like the Jack Reacher style of travel...leaving dirty clothes behind, but he doesn't even need a suitcase, lol! I must admit I have not seen many women use that system, thrift store-bought or not, though.

  41. Hilarie, I won't forget my mac and brolly! (Although I admit last trip I forgot the brolly and had to make a quick stop at Boots!)

  42. One friend used to bring her old underwear, and leave them behind, on trips. I either travel too often or don't have nearly enough old undies to do that.

    On the last night of my trip to Europe, though, I jettisoned quite a bit of stuff to make room for the gifts I'd bought on the trip and had been schlepping around on trains. The only thing I wish I could have kept was some incredible arnica cream I bought in Italy. But that would have meant checking a bag, just for that one tube of cream. Not worth it.

    Before easily transportable electronic devices, communicating with home was such a hassle. There were internet cafes, but the different keyboards were a nightmare to use. It's so, so much easier now. A smartphone with a chip, or a plan, and you can do a million things you couldn't do before.

  43. I'm on the same wavelength with Hank--tissue paper in the folds--and I take it one step further. I then pack the clothing in large Ziploc bags--sometimes several pieces to one bag (works the same as the packing cubes, and a lot cheaper). That way, if airport personnel have to root through my bag for some reason, they won't disturb the clothing. Works like a charm! However, I must admit that I still overpack. We chose a Rick Steves tour of Paris this summer that stayed a week in one hotel so we wouldn't have to bring only a carry-on and then schlep it from city to city.

  44. J Jill makes clothes similar to Eileen Fisher but in short, regular & tall and in sizes from extra small to extra large.
    I use the packing cubes and find that I can just throw the cubes in the drawers when I "unpack" and then repacking is easy.
    It is also easy when I need something and am on a one day/hotel trip. The only thing missing from them is a window thing that I could list what is inside so I didn't have to open them. You are younger so you might remember. I'm a pre-boomer, so I forget, now did I pack the clothes for the dinner in this or is this the tee shirts?
    Congratulations on trying to go lighter.

  45. Beth, so funny! Usually I have no idea what I packed in my last minute frenzy:-)

  46. Deb so lovely to see you this evening.
    Hank, happy birthday
    On my way home at dark thirty tomorrow. Great Texas trip.
    Thanking the gods that be for packing envelopes.

  47. Leggings are my go to...also pick a neutral: black, navy and then match every piece to that color. Add scarves for some pops. Also costume jewelry. Have a wonderful time!

  48. You know, I've never seen a packing cube or even heard of one. After all these mentions, I'm going to check them out.

    My grandmother Harrington had a mac 'n brolly inside the front door. The house has been passed down in the family, and I hear it's still there.

    Thanks for starting this great conversation, Debs and have a good trip!

  49. Deb,

    This is the first chance I had to comment, as late as this one is! Are you bringing clothes that are drip and dry? That way you do not have to worry about a washer/dryer while in Europe. I had drip and dry clothes on my tour and other Americans were worried because they could not find washers/dryers!

    When I lived in England for two months, I recall seeing "dress for hire", meaning that you can rent a dress from the shop the same way men in the USA can rent a tuxedo from a shop. We do have online rentals like Rent Runaway. In England, you could walk into the shop and pick the dress you want to hire. I think in England, hire is similar to rent in the USA?

    Happy Travels!