My husband and I are kind of fanatical about packing...whenever possible we just bring carry on luggage so we don't risk losing our luggage. Plus we avoid baggage claim and enjoy being unencumbered with huge bags. My philosophy is if I didn't pack it...I can always pick it up. I especially like going into European pharmacies for toiletries...who can resist the variety of French shampoos and lotions. Especially when we are going to be traveling for over a week...why bring shampoo etc from home?

We've taken trips that were up to 18 days all with carry on luggage! I just make sure that there is laundry facilities at one of the places we are staying. On one of our trips, we needed to use a laundromat in Paris, but it worked out fine. We put the clothes in the washer, ate dinner nearby and I ran over and moved the stuff to the dryer in the middle of the meal. By the time we were done with dinner, the laundry was finished!

I do have the maximum sized wheeled carryon and it is divided in two sections which is handy. Also, I use a large satchel type bag for my second carry on that I can stuff my purse into at the last minute before boarding, but also use for overflow of things that may not fit in the bag. I also use my kids' backpacks and their quart sized ziplock bags as they rarely need all their space.

Sometimes, fitting everything takes a little creativity and flexibility. We went to Hawaii for  two weeks and wanted to take our tennis rackets (for the 4 of us). The tennis bags were filled with not only the rackets, but also our underwear!

I follow the usual suggestions of packing clothes that coordinate colors, so that I can wear multiple tops with multiple pants, skirts etc. Shoes are the biggest challenge...I never pack sneakers as they take up too much space. I'm not a runner so sneakers are not a necessity I've found some great Jambu shoes that I go with skorts, pants, and I can even use as exercise walking shoes.. Another brand of shoe that is great for travel is Apropos. These are cloth covered shoes that come in a bunch of cute patterns and great colors. They are flats, but with a soft supportive sole. They are great for walking/touring and take up very little space. Even better, they are reasonably priced! If boots are needed, wear them on the plane so they don't take up space in your suitcase.

Now, I know you are thinking...I must not shop, how could I fit gifts, souvenirs and cheese (when returning from Italy!) in my carry on? Well sometimes I am able to, especially when traveling in the summer when clothes are just less bulky. But when I don't have enough room, I buy a cheap bag on my trip and then check my carry on for the trip home. Once I'm on the way home, checking the one bag is less of a big deal.

Winter Update: This year for our trip to Asia, we all bought ourselves the Uniqlo Ultra light down jackets. These were perfect! They are so light and compact (they provide a pouch, sized about the volume NOT WEIGHT of half of a 5 # bag of sugar). They are easy to layer with and warm in their own right, as well as providing great wind protection. I also purchased their heat tech under layers and was very happy with the leggings and long sleeved shirts.

So that's my two cents worth on packing. Obviously there are trade offs, but for me there's a freedom and a challenge that I like in traveling light!

I found this article that gives great suggestions as well:

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