How We Pack for a 3 Week Tour to Europe

Everything Goes in a Carry-On

Author: The Traveling Professor/Thursday, May 2, 2019/Categories: Travel Tips

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This week we leave for two separate small group tours.  One goes to Paris and the Normandy Invasion Beaches, the other one goes to Edinburgh and the Scottish Highlands.  We will be on the road for about 3 weeks.

Recently, I was interviewed by Courtney Jespersen about packing.  See the blog post on Nerdwallet Travel.   In this blog post I expand on what I talked about with Courtney. 

Linda and I start packing about a week in advance by laying out things we need to take on the bed in the spare room of our house. We find that very important to do because it gives us a chance to think about what we really need and what we don't need. Last-minute packing doesn't work for us because if we think of something we need at the last minute (like rain wear for Scotland), we don't have time to run out and get it.

In terms of travel bags, we use the eBags Motherlode 21 inch Wheeled Carry-On.   Our under-the-seat bag is the Eddie Bauer 30 L backpack. 

In our backpacks, we put everything that could possibly be flagged (liquids, electronics, metals) by security scanners.  That way, if we need to empty anything at security, it will only be our backpacks and not our entire suitcase.  For those of you have been flagged by the notorious security scanners in LHR, you know what I mean.  Also, we put all liquids, electronics and anything else that could possibly be flagged in our backpacks in clear plastic bags and remove them before proceeding through security.   That way, if something is flagged, they only open up and inspect that individual bag, not the entire backpack.   We also put meds, travel documents and valuables in the backpack, not the suitcase. 

We plan to send laundry out or do laundry at a laundromat while on our trip.  That significantly reduces the amount of stuff we need to carry with us. 

Between Linda and myself, we coordinate what we are packing to eliminate duplication. For instance, we only need one tube of toothpaste and one pair of binoculars between us.

Another factor is not what we bring with us, it's what we leave behind. Lately, I have been picking up things like paperback books, ponchos, t-shirts, and umbrellas at the "dollar store" or at the local Goodwill shop.  I leave them behind (I try to donate them) in Europe to lighten my load coming back.

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