Packing for 10+ Days with One Bag

As many know, for our honeymoon my husband Jake and I went to Ireland for 3 weeks. We had to keep our luggage to a minimum for a variety of reasons: we couldn’t carry a lot as we did most of our traveling on foot or by bus, airline restrictions/charges, and it was just plain easier. It used to be that you could take a regular suitcase with you on the plane as your carry-on, plus a purse, and sometimes a laptop bag or other small bag as well. Now airlines restrict the sizes of everything, and what you can pack. Carry-on’s are now half the size they were, which doesn’t allow for very much. This means that we had to get creative.

Arriving in Dublin, look at  the smaller suitcases!

Arriving in Dublin, look at the smaller suitcases!

So our first purchase was some new luggage. We found a great deal on some at Bed Bath and Beyond for around $60/piece. It was within the airlines size restrictions, had a hard outer case to prevent damage, and a set of four 360 degree turning wheels, which was our favorite feature. We also bought luggage tags, little suitcase locks/keys, and space bags to condense our packing. Then we “customized” our luggage with colorful blue duct tape (as you can see in the photo) to help us locate our luggage from many others at a faster rate.

So to start off with everything I brought with me, I will list what I wore on the trip over. This is important because we needed to inventory everything we brought with us: good walking shoes, socks, underwear, bra with a small handmade thin cloth pouch for money that I pinned with a safety pin, jeans with an under the clothes money/copy of passport pouch, long johns for extra warmth (which can double as pajamas), t-shirt (can also double as pajamas), heavy coat, gloves inside my coat pocket, earmuffs inside my other coat pocket, and a belt. I also chose a small backpack instead of a purse for easier getting around and storage of my Ibuprofen, Dramamine, sunglasses, phone/charger, small snacks, drivers license, disposable cameras, small notebook with pen, flight itinerary, guidebook with map, empty plastic water bottle, and a small amount of easy access cash. I was able to fit quite a lot on my person for the trip over, and had to take that into account as well as what came in my suitcase. This will vary based on the location you are going and the length of the trip. For example, I was going somewhere cold so had extra warm items a person wouldn’t need if the location was warm. And we were extra cautious with our money for such a long trip and spread it out in different places, that way if one were to get lost or stolen maybe our other stashes stood a better chance. Whereas if a person were taking a shorter trip, this may not be as big of an issue.

Street performer while shopping in Dublin.

Street performer while shopping in Dublin.

In my suitcase I tried to bring items that I could use for dual purposes or clothes that I could wear for more than one day. The idea was to make our clothes last 7 days before we needed to wash them, then we only had to do laundry twice before we would return home. In my luggage, for clothes in addition to what I wore over: 4 shirts that varied from t-shirt to casual-dressy (I would wear these twice, then use them as pajamas), a pair of comfy black exercise pants (great for long trips and doubling as pajamas), a pair of pajama shorts (could wear more than once), a pair of jeggings (easy to compact and look like jeans), a pair of slip on shoes that are comfy but casual-dressy (I brought lacey Tom knock-offs), 7 pairs of easily compacted underwear, 7 pairs of easily compacted socks (I wear thin no-show socks anyway, so not a problem), 2 extra bras, and a swimsuit. For toiletries, miniatures are your best friend: toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, mini brush/mirror combo, laundry detergent pack, sunscreen, lotion, lip balm, and contact solution/case. Other items I packed: disposable razor, folded toothbrush, hair ties, bobbie pins, small straightener that doubles as a curler (like a Chi), a converter for electronics, makeup in it’s own case, glasses with case, any feminine products, tweezers/nail clippers (if allowed by TSA), a thin towel, small washcloth (or loofah), and a few plastic bags (like Walmart bags and Ziploc bags). This was just what I packed, Jake’s suitcase would obviously vary from this.

Shopping for necessities.

Jake helping to shop for necessities.

Getting all of this organized into that small suitcase did take some practice. So a few times Jake and I would do practice runs of packing and checking our list to make sure we got everything. We also edited the list if we remembered something we should pack or that we needed to replace. And as the trip went on we got rid of things that were used up and condensed our suitcases. This created more space for souvenirs and purchases. While we tried to be as prepared as we could, but kept in mind that life happens and we would have to take it as it comes. So if we forgot something, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. It would mean we get the chance to go shopping in a different country for whatever we forgot or needed. That’s half the fun anyway! So I say instead of stressing, fellow travelers, enjoy your trips and everything they bring with them. As Marcel Proust put it, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

Categories: Extended Trips, Ireland, Luggage, Packing, Shopping, Travel, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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