We love to travel. I can only compare this desire to a virus. Once infected, it’s for life. But it’s an oh, so pleasant illness!

Over the years, we keep perfecting our travel skills.

One major damper to enjoying a trip is struggling to navigate old cobble stone streets under the heavy burden of luggage. Just as bad is the dreaded lost luggage. These reasons have inspired us to travel light. Carry on only. Still, how light we travel is tempered by  several other things. We like to look good, be comfortable, smell good, AND I hate to do laundry while on vacation.

When we show up at the airport where friends await us, we are often met with astonished comments. “That’s all you’re bringing?”

“Yup.” It’s all we need. Let me show you some tricks of the trade.

First of all, we got some quality hard cover carry-ons. They seem to resist the maltreatment of airlines for longer, and stay looking clean.

I start making a list several weeks before a trip, when I think of something, I write it down. When I don’t do this, I inevitably forget something I wish I had. Clothing is the easy part. Pants can be worn three times minimum. I can spot clean if necessary. Shirts I usually plan on wearing twice. I can do more, but hate smelling sweaty so plan just in case. (Don’t forget your deodorant!) PJ’s can be worn three to four times. Underwear one for each day—please! Luckily these are lightweight. Socks are also supplied for one each day. Be sure to get good quality socks and your feet will feel so much better. (I would probably do laundry if I were traveling for more than two weeks at a time.)

My husband likes to wear an undershirt beneath his button up shirts, so I pack one for each day he’ll have one of those shirts. 

Good walking shoes. Most of the time tennis shoes are all I use. Sometimes I will add some sandals, depending on the destination. 

I always pack a sweater and lightweight scarf. I have a cashmere sweater that squishes down to nothing and never wrinkles. It and the scarf fit in my purse and can come out if a restaurant is chilly or the evening requires an extra layer. Many churches or religious sites won’t allow shorts or bare shoulders. The scarf can take care of the bare shoulders. The shorts? You’ll just have to plan ahead for that! (Unless in tropical climates, I simplify and only pack long pants.)

I recently discovered packing cubes and I am in love! They not only help keep things compact, but also keep them organized and easy to find.

Let me show you my packing for this upcoming trip. We’re going to be gone for ten days to Italy. It’s fall, so the weather should be pretty nice. There is rain in the forecast, so I’ll keep umbrellas handy.

I prefer the large packing cube fore my pants and shirts.
The little pocket contains stuff that is non liquid, including a few pieces of inexpensive jewelry.
I roll my clothes. Fold in thirds or fourths.
Begin rolling from the neck down. This helps prevent wrinkles.
Tuck in place. As you can tell, I still have quite a bit of room available. If these were sweater shirts, it would be nice and tight. Everything matches my black sweater.
The other side has PJ’s, socks, and underclothes, tennis shoes and my travel plug adapter.
I still have lots of room! I’ll end up putting my travel purse in here. AND—my pillow!
Nothing helps a good night sleep as well as having a pillow that is comfortable. I have a feather pillow that is all squishy and fits into my suitcase like nothing. It will go here after we have reached out destination. For the plane, it goes elsewhere.
Pillow. Squishes down nicely.
Liquids have to fit into a quart size bag and be easy to remove for TSA.
My suitcase is ready. The cat is upset. He knows we’re going somewhere.
All but the purse will end up in my shoulder bag/backpack on the plane. The gray and black roll is a backpack that will be put in the suitcase after we reach our destination. Like my iPad cover? Doug got it for me for my birthday after my book came out!

From left to right: top–sweater, itinerary, umbrella brush, pens, backpack

bottom–notebook, scarf, melatonin, headphones, charging cables, iPad, passports, purse.

Over the shoulder purse is crucial. Here is mine with my sweater, scarf, umbrella, and notebook. Plenty of room for my phone/camera.

Remember EVERYTHING you saw on the bed–including the pillow? All in here! The pillow will be handy on the overnight flight. My back pack can be very compact or enlarged to carry souvenirs! The iPad will not end up in my purse. Too heavy for my taste, but necessary for any writing I will want to do at the hotel in the evening.

Doug’s suitcase is a lot like mine with this one exception. We put a compact, wheeled duffle bag in here. We’re planning on getting some Christmas presents and they won’t fit in our carry ons. We’ll fill this with dirty clothes and check it in for the flight home.

All ready to go! Suitcase weighs in at 22 pounds.

Passports carefully secured on our persons, and we have everything we need for a pleasant trip.

See? It’s very doable!

Do you have special tips for your travels that you would like to share? We would love to hear about them!

Until next time–keep smiling!

Brenda

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