If you’ve been reading this little ole blog of mine for a while, you know that we own and operate a B&B in southern Oregon – and you know that when we’re not hosting guests, we’re out traveling the world. We’re learning to streamline and we’re constantly looking for the perfect backpacks.
Anyway, I’ve also mentioned a time or two that I am surrounded by travelers on a daily basis. It’s a good thing to meet and connect with so many people; and to learn about them and where they’re going or where they’re returning from.
The Arm Chair Traveler
Some guests have traveled to every corner of the world while others prefer to travel from the comfort of their arm chairs with the occasional weekend get-a-way. As an innkeeper you might imagine I could tell a few “behind the kitchen door” stories, and you’d be right; although it’s best not to tell too many tales. But, a couple of days ago I posted a comment on my Facebook page that garnered quite a few responses, some of which were very funny and it got me to thinking about… stuff.
Too Much Stuff
That ever-growing, mostly consuming, “Oh my gosh I’ve got to have that” stuff. Tell the truth, you’ve watched at least one episode of Hoarders, right? Okay, so I’m not talking about hoarders, but I am talking about stuff – specifically about packing and toting w-a-y too much stuff.
Not that I have all of the answers, but this is what we packed when we spent 3 weeks in Paris followed by 1 week in Washington, D.C. and while we didn’t think we had too much stuff with us, we want to find an even more streamlined packing system. Those two blue bags are no more. They tend to be off balance and are constantly falling over. Does that happen to you? Does it annoy you as much as it annoys me?
The Perfect Carry On & Backpacks
The backpacks go on the plane with us – always – because in our backpacks are all of the things that must stay with us; the things we can’t do without. If you think about it, that’s a very short list and beyond that short list, everything else is totally and easily replaceable. Truth be told we’re shopping for two new bags (to replace the blue beauties) that we can also carry on with us. We are – in essence – looking for the perfect carry on bag. Got any suggestions for us?
Anyway, my point is – lighten up! I cannot tell you how many of our guests schlep in multiple huge bags – you know the large economy size bag one would pack when relocating permanently to the other side of the world – for a 2, maybe 3 night stay, and sometimes even for an overnight stay. They make maybe 3 or 4 trips to the car before they finally settle into their room for the night.
A Lunch Bag Will Do
And coolers… don’t get me started on coolers. Why do we feel the need to carry a portable refrigerator with us? Unless you’re headed out into the wilderness for days on end, no one is going to starve on a road trip in this country. I promise. And here’s a tip from the innkeeper: if you travel with medication that needs to be kept cool, buy yourself a small padded lunch bag and a cute animal-shaped blue ice pack, it’s so much easier than lugging around a cooler.
Let it Go!
When traveling (and sometimes in life) we just don’t need all of that stuff. Let it go! I think it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself. Ask my friend, Kerri over at Travel Junkies who was an admitted over packer until she started hauling her stuff around Europe for the past 10 months.
Depending on your destination, grab a pair jeans or shorts, a couple of shirts, your toothbrush and call it a day. Okay, that’s a short list, but you get my drift, right? Who cares if you’re wearing the same shirt in every photo? You’re traveling, it’s expected. And by all means, avoid the “what if” questions. You know what I’m talking about – what if I dribble on my shirt, so I better pack 10 more, or what if I tear my jeans, so I better take an extra pair? What if I run out of shampoo so I better pack the large economy size bottle. You know what I’m going to say next, right?
To read more of my travel tips – with a more serious message – read my post titled, “Educated, not Paranoid.”
Thanks for finding us!
Patti… great blog. My perpetual fiancee and I have been travelling together for 13 years now and on our first few trips we checked bags like most people. Then one year we decided to go on safari to Botswana and were told we could bring no more than 12 lbs of luggage each in a softsided bag plus camera equipment. It’s the only way it would fit on the 4 seater plane to get us from camp to camp. It was an eye-opening experience! Not standing at the luggage ramp waiting for your bags, going straight through customs, the airlines not losing your luggage… it was all wonderful! Now we only travel with 1 carry-on each and a personal bag (which happens to be my camera gear). My bag usually weighs no more than 14 lbs – although we do now use a roller bag. The funny thing is… we still generally have clothes in the case that we end up not using.. go figure. I don’t need to impress people with my clothes and I don’t need a new thing to wear every day. If we need to, we wash our clothes in the shower at the hotel or, at nicer places, send them out to be laundered on longer trips. Light travel is definitely the way to go!
Thanks so much for the feedback Elizabeth! I like the way you describe it as an “eye opening” experience! It really is freeing – as you say to not have to worry about your luggage going somewhere without you, or standing and waiting (and waiting) for the luggage carousel – it’s just so much easier. Thanks so much for reading and safe travels!
We go on a lot of long cruises. They all have laundry services, so why take a lot.
My husband and I are both handicapped, so there is quite a bit of medical equipment that also goes (in the carry on luggage). TAP restricted the carry on luggage to under 10 pounds, and ours weighed over 10 pounds each. We explained to the supervisor that the bags contained expensive medical equipment and that we could not risk checking it. We were the only people on board with the rolling carry ons. (We got a lot of “Why them?” looks.) There was one other airline that proclaimed that handicapped people cannot bring carry-ons aboard the flight. Aer Lingus.They didn’t want the risk of a handicapped person putting them in overhead compartments. It took 3 hours to claim the carry on bags at the Dublin airport. So now we just fly business class whenever we can. No baggage problems, and we get to enjoy the lounges.
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Thanks so much for the great travel tips, Margaret! The airlines do not make it easy, do they?! I’m heading over to check out your blog, thanks for reading and safe travels!
I rarely wear jeans so packing can be a challenge. I like the Chico travel pieces because they roll and I can add a fancy scarf or costume jewelry and have a “go out to dinner at a nice restaurant” type outfit. Often I buy scarves or fun jewelry at markets when I travel and then wear them.
I also like the non wrinkle/quick drying clothes from TravelSmith or other catalogs like that. Underwear especially. Get the kind that hikers wear that will dry in an hour. Don’t need to bring more than 2-3 sets.
Another thing I do is travel with a sweater or a jacket that I am tired of. Might still be in good shape but I’m ready to let it go. I leave behind if I buy something new. I’ve done this with shoes and other garments as well.
Typically I limit colors, especially if we are going for two or three weeks. It is usually black, white and gray. Or black, white and purple. Or black, white and red. If everything in your bag goes with everything else and can be layered you really can take a lot less stuff.
I travel a lot and write a blog called DesignDestinations.org. just for fun about our trips.
Thanks for posting all of these great packing tips and thanks for finding us!
We pack as light as we can. Not only does it make schlepping our stuff around that much easier on us, it is also better for the environment. Lighter planes produce less emissions!
Great point, Jennifer. It’s just a better choice all around (in my opinion) and it’s healthier for your body as well to not be lifting all of it either. Thanks so much for reading.
I’m totally with you on this.
I used to be a bit of an overpacker as well, but now I only take what’s necessary and I feel actually feel so much more relaxed. I don’t have to spend 10 minutes each morning and evening thinking about what I’ll wear, because I just don’t have that many options.
No choice stress!
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Exactly! Thanks so much for reading, Sofie!
This was awesome, Patti! It’s funny I’ve become so very, very low maintenance on packing. As the clothes are clean I could really care less what people think of what I wear. I’m not out to make points with anyone. So, as long as I have the basic necessities and Phoenix has his food and water. We are good to go! 🙂
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Completely agree, Mike. I’ve never been much of a clothes girl and even less so in the past few years. I just don’t see the need anymore and when we travel I really want to keep it simple. Who wants to haul a ton of stuff around?! Not me! As always, thanks for reading!
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Ha! Ha! Thanks for reading!
Great article! I am sure you have seen everything as a B&B owner. You should write a book about it.
I also think that there is something about human nature that leans us towards “hoarding”/overpacking. I especially struggled with this when we sold our house to travel the world. At first it was really hard to let go of things, but by the end we were so tired of the stuff we just wanted it to be gone. It was really freeing to realize how much of those things we own are just stuff that weighs us down. It is amazing what little you really need in life.
This is especially true as we continue to travel, our bags are becoming lighter and lighter. We continue to shed stuff across Europe. Funny though when we showed up in Romania with one bag and a backpack each, the apartment owner commented about how much stuff we had. But then changed his mind when we explained this is pretty much all we own. LOL
Thanks Kerri! I have toyed with the idea of writing a book but I would have to find a way to spin the stories so it didn’t come across as completely negative, but humorous instead. And I completely agree – Abi and I own this big old house, but we live in about 700 square feet of apartment space and we are completely comfortable. When the day comes that we sell the inn, I don’t ever want to own a big house again, I like keeping it simple!
Worked in the hotel industry and I’ve seen it all. Love when the pillows come in! When we go by car, I tend to over pack- it’s one of the luxuries of driving. And we do take a cooler- a small one on a shoulder strap if we’re driving. We might pack a lunch or keep water cold.
My 2 biggest packing issues are when you’re in changing climates or seasons and the shoe/boot issue. That’s what really takes up space. Now that we have to de-shoe in airports the boots that might have gone on my feet get packed. I envy people who can travel with a carry-on period. That will NEVER be me!
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Shoes are a pain to pack. If I’m flying I usually will wear the heaviest shoe I have and pack the 2nd pair. I try not to have more than 2 pairs. That’s the trick about traveling by car, everyone tends to over pack, which would be fine if they didn’t feel the need to haul ALL of it into the B&B for a one night stay! Ha! Ha! Sometimes we just shake our heads in wonder, especially when they haul in a HUGE cooler as well. Oh well… it’s what makes the world go around!