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Packing Tips and Tricks

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Morning!  I am bound and determined to bring just carry-ons with us when we go on our 9 day Baltic Cruise this coming summer.  That being said, I am a notorious over-packer.  Does anyone have experience with packing cubes or anything similar?  I don't want to have to pay a baggage fee and I would like to have some room for souvenirs.  I'll be checking the weather religiously before we leave so I'll be sure to pack the appropriate clothing (we will be embarking in Copenhagen and then going to St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Helsinki and Nynashamn (Stockholm)).  TIA!

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We do carry on all the time.  My husband does not bring a suite, he just wears a dress shirt and a tie.  He brings 2 pairs of pants, several shirts, jeans and the zip off pants.  He  wears his shirts more than once since they are only used in the evening.  He packs underarmour shirts for the day that can be rinsed out in the sink and re-wear along with a sweatshirt.  Same for underwear and socks.  Buy the kind that dry quickly.  We purchased ours on Amazon.

 

I bring a couple of dresses, several pants and tops and make sure I can mix and match.  We usually wear a pair of shoes and pack the dress shoes.  Again clothes that can be washed out in the sink and re-worn works great.  They do have laundry if you do not want to do this.

 

We have never had any problems traveling with carry on.  This allows us to bring our luggage on the ship and not worry about the luggage not getting to our cabin.  We also walk off the ship with our bags beating the crowds.

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I have traveled for weeks with just a carry one. One both land based trips and cruises. Shoes take up a lot of space.  Only take one pair besides the ones you wear on the plane.  Pick one color for clothes and only pack those things that mix and match.  Like Vacationlady, use wash/dry underwear.  If you have access to a laudrymat, use it.  Once you start to travel this way, it is really not hard at all.  

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After several luggage issues traveling, I try very hard to fly carry on only.  I recently did 2 weeks in the Canadian Rockies in a carry on, including warm enough clothes for the ice storm we had.

 

Re packing cubes - I have them and like them for organization, but they can only do so much.  I have the sort that zip compressed, which allows you to cram more in, but you can end up heavier than expected if you're not careful.  I like that I can take the whole cube out to put in the hotel/cabin drawer.  It can be an issue if you're changing hotels and half your clothes are dirty. Do you want to cram them in with the clean ones to fit back into the suitcase?  Not as much a problem on the ship.

 

The Baltic will be better than say the Med, since you'll mostly likely sweat less.  I'm all for rewearing clothes, but if I've been out in 90+ degree weather all day, that outfit is pretty worn out.  In those cases, I come back to the ship/hotel, shower and wear tomorrow's clothes for that evening.

 

I've also discovered performance fabric - think REI, etc.  That stuff wears better than anything else out there. Doesn't wrinkle or stain easily, breathes, packs light, and dries fast if you handwash it.  It's not what I wear in my day to day life, but my travel wardrobe has slowly evolved that direction.  I also go for a color scheme that easily mixes and matches.  Lots of dark pants/shorts.

 

Agree that shoes need to stay to a minimum and wear the bulkiest ones on the plane.  Same goes for jackets.

 

My toiletries are the bare basics when I travel also.  No hair dryer, almost no makeup.  I'm low maintenance at home anyways, but it goes a notch lower when I travel so I'm not taking up space with bottles, etc.

 

I also strategically pack a day bag as my "personal item" on the plane.  I put my travel purse down in it, use my down jacket (stuffed into it's pocket) as a pillow if I'm going somewhere cold, keep one outfit in the bag also.  (I had my carry on lost on a bus transfer from the airport to the hotel, so now I ALWAYS keep one extra outfit with me.)

 

One downside to traveling light is there will be less room for souvenirs on the way home.  If you're a big shopper, that can be a bummer.

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I know this is not exactly what you asked but have you double checked to see if your carrier will charge you a baggage fee.  We have flown on three different domestic carriers from the US to Europe and I have been pleasantly surprised that they did not charge a baggage fee for the first checked bag.  This allowed me to have a bigger bag and to not have to drag a carry-on through the airport and onto the plane.  

 

 

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I always travel carry-on only, whether it is a long weekend or 3 weeks in Europe. I have learned to stick to simple basics (resist the lure of your fanciest new outfit or that shirt that only goes with one particular bottom) that I can change the appearance of by changing earrings or necklace (statement jewelry is your friend!) or adding a scarf. Black pants, white and black tops. I don’t travel with jeans because they are nearly impossible to hand wash. Technical fabrics should be your best friend......easy to hand wash, dry quickly, take up hardly any space/weight in your suitcase, don’t wrinkle. Athleta has some great pants, as does Anatomie (you can seriously dry them in like 10 minutes with a hair dryer). ExOfficio, Aday, and Coolibar all have some lovely shirts made of silky technical fabrics. 

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The main problem with the idea of travelling with only carry on luggage is now in Europe the much tighter rules on how much you can take in the cabin. This would be very limiting on a cruise , also do you want to spend all your spare time on Holiday washing and ironing stuff, plus very limiting in terms of smart outfits. But the main problem is security, you would not be able to take a razor, any toiletries with you , not even a pair of scissors/clippers in the cabin as these are prohibited items. I travel for work on 1 /2 night stop overs, you simply cannot do cabin luggage only with many required items in cabin luggage only, especially in Europe where security is much tighter.

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Agreed, but I still do carryon in Europe.  For me, particularly on the land portion of our trip, lugging a giant suitcase up subway/train stairs, etc, is worse than just packing light and traveling easier. I can live without nail clippers for 2 weeks, and I've not had a problem with my disposable razors. 

 

Have they changed the rules, as I have definitely traveled with toiletries, under 3 oz, in a small bag?

 

 

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1 hour ago, ljandgb said:

Agreed, but I still do carryon in Europe.  For me, particularly on the land portion of our trip, lugging a giant suitcase up subway/train stairs, etc, is worse than just packing light and traveling easier. I can live without nail clippers for 2 weeks, and I've not had a problem with my disposable razors. 

 

Have they changed the rules, as I have definitely traveled with toiletries, under 3 oz, in a small bag?

 

 

I would never travel with a giant suitcase, but I usually check a medium size suitcase and use a knapsack as my carryon. This allows me to move myself without too much difficulty. I prefer not to heft the suitcase up and down stairs, but I can if I must, and otherwise, I find it fairly simple to roll it where I need it.

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I traveled for 2 weeks in Spain with only a

carry on and personal item. I consider it one of the great accomplishments of my life as I am a horrible over packer.

 

I used packing cubes to keep my rolled clothing organized. I watched lots of YouTube Videos on packing. Rick Steves has some good ones. I liked Sarah Murdoch’s videos. 

 

I took 2 sets of old pajamas that I wore for one week each and then threw away as we went. I also took 2 weeks worth of old undies and threw those away as I went. That gave me extra room for souvenirs. 

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3 hours ago, Jezabel2924 said:

Make sure to check the carry on weight restrictions for your airline.  We were on one last year with a 15 pound restriction. 

 

https://www.tripsavvy.com/carrry-on-bags-size-weight-limits-1861874

This website shows how tight on weight most European airlines now are on cabin bags meaning it is almost impossible to rely on carry- ons for more than an overnight. As this is cruise critic, I just do not see this as viable especially as most do not allow very casual attire on the ship ( jeans, shorts/tee shirts etc especially in the evenings).

It does not matter your packing technique or washable fabrics, it will not work.

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Truly, not to be argumentative, but there are plenty of nice clothes in technical fabrics that weight next to nothing, take up very little space, and wash/dry very quickly.  Now jeans, yes, heavy and bulky, but then I never take them traveling anyways.

 

That's the beauty of the world - to each his own preferences.

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On 4/29/2019 at 1:49 PM, galfromkazoo said:

I know this is not exactly what you asked but have you double checked to see if your carrier will charge you a baggage fee.  We have flown on three different domestic carriers from the US to Europe and I have been pleasantly surprised that they did not charge a baggage fee for the first checked bag.  

 

 

Can’t speak for OP, but I don’t strive for carry-on only to save money (it’s traditionally included in premium classes anyway).....I do it because it increases travel flexibility in case of delays, re-routing, and itinerary changes. My husband had his checked bag go missing three European trips in a row, no joke. Two of these “baggage irregularities” took five days to appear....we wasted a lot of vacation time shopping for replacements, and waiting for a courier at the front door of the one and only time we ever have (and ever will) try an AirBnB. So now, we take control and only check bags on the way home. 

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