Yeah, I got a lot of baggage. Learning to pack light(er)

Before I was a Girl Scout, I was a Brownie. I was actually a Brownie longer than I was a Girl Scout cuz I guess I started seeing the blatant commercialism in the whole Girl Scout gamut. Do you remember how expensive the clothes were? Not to mention all the badges and pins – they made a killing on that stuff.

Anyway, as a Brownie, we were indoctrinated in the Girl Scout mindset, which, at its very core is preparedness. “BE PREPARED!” they would tell us. So, I spent years learning to be prepared. I always have chapstick and hand lotion with me, one in each car, one in my purse, one by my computer and one in the bathroom. I am ready for dryness.

In my purse I have breath mints, aspirin, face powder, tiger balm, wet wipes, nail file, blister bandage, shopping bag, tissue paper, and sewing kit. I have prided myself on being prepared. But there are consequences for this preparedness. I always have the most baggage, no matter where we are going. For a weekend or a three-week vacation, I am prepared. I have extra socks and underwear. I am ready for a luau on a business trip.

Unnecessary? Maybe. And yes, of course, I don’t use all the things I bring. I come home with clean clothes and it hasn’t been a problem until the airlines changed their baggage limits. When hubby started huffing and puffing about needing an extra bag, I decided it was time to learn to pack light(er).

I am not alone with this problem and reassuringly, I am not the worst of my gender.  A recent article in Norwegian KK says that women pack an average of 28 outfits for a one weeks’ vacation. I am nowhere near this. Last Easter when we went to Tuscany I had 19 outfits for 10 days, this spring, back in Tuscany; I paired that down to 17 outfits for 12 days. When we got home I sorted through my toiletry bag and eliminated excess not allowed on the next trip. I also made a mental note that things that don’t get worn at home – will not get worn on vacation. That thing;  be it scarf, or multi-colored maxi dress, or funky necklace, that just doesn’t work for you in your daily life WILL NOT GET BETTER if you drag it 5000 kilometers.

So before this last trip, I did some research and watched this video:


… which blew my mind. “Don’t pack for the worst scenario, pack for the best scenario.”

This was a shocking new idea for me. I have  been preparing myself for the worst scenario for years. We have a disaster kit in the basement and the car.  We have a mini pharmacy that we bring with us on all our travels and Rick was telling me – relax; you can get what you need where you are going. It will give you an excuse to do some shopping in between all the intense sightseeing. Wow. I had never really thought about that. I have wanted to be prepared so I wouldn’t slow anyone down. Rick was giving me permission to slow down. Slow down and wash your clothes. Slow down and pick up some essentials. Slow down!

This last trip to Rome I cut down further to 11 outfits for 14 days.  Which is much better and I managed with one suitcase and a half empty carry-on ready for new items. We did have to do some washing on our trip but found a wonderful place by the train station that did the work for us – only 13 euro.  I did spend about 100 euro at the pharmacy for among other things, Aloe Vera gel (13 Euros but handmade in Positano) to acidophilus lactobacillus (45 Euros by the Spanish Steps). I probably would have had these things with me, so I will definitely do a probability analysis for conditions like sunburn and wobbly tummy, and most likely take medicine for this next time.  But I didn’t regret the clothes I didn’t bring and even had somethings I didn’t use. I found these additional great packing tips for women on Rick’s site. So, our next trip to France this fall will be even lighter than the last trip, but I am never going to be able to do 16 garments for 60 days like shown here:


How do you keep your baggage count down?

2 responses to “Yeah, I got a lot of baggage. Learning to pack light(er)

  1. Great Blog! Really enjoy reading it.
    Am also an expat, but not a wife. As described above, I’m always prepared for everything that might come the way. Time to lighten up!
    Mange tak på inspirasjon og hilsen fra Karmøy/ Bygnes/ Haugesund.
    jup 🙂

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