Monday, June 4, 2012

London: It's in the Bag(s)....

After many, many, many (and I mean many) hours of going through the pictures from our trip, I have finally been able to tag and label them for blog entries!  So, let's start at the very beginning (a very good place to start!)---> Sound of Music reference!!! Love that movie!  Before I could get to London, I had to first pack.... so this post is all about my packing challenge: 1 week in Europe in 1 carry on suitcase.

Early this year I was motivated to pack for the entire trip in a carry on suitcase.  For me, it was going to be a new challenge.  I can fill a carry on suitcase for a weekend trip down the street, so trying to fit an entire week of clothes in a carry on for London was going to be something new for me.  Thanks to Pinterest, I stumbled upon this article and this article and these women inspired me--if they could pack for a lengthy trip in one carry on, then surely I could! 

So here's what went down.  I checked the weather six days before the trip to figure out what type of clothing I would need to pack. 
So much for the 70 degree weather that my research told me I could expect in London in the month of May (or so I thought.  More on the actual weather later).   It had been so long since the weather was in the 50's here that I couldn't remember how cold the 50s were.  I pulled out a few pairs of shoes, a few turtlenecks at varying sleeve lengths, scarves, and a few jackets thinking that would have me covered.  I then laid out different pieces on our guest bed to play around with some outfits and the end result was this.
The flip flops were for walking around the hotel, two pairs of tennis shoes, and boots for the cold days.  

Before I finalized everything I checked the weather again the morning before take off:
Um, so the weather was creeping up on me.  From the 50s and now to the 60s and 70s....hmmm..this can't be good for my attempts to pack as lightly as possible.  So here's what I ended up with as far as clothing and accessories:

4 pair shoes (pictured above; wore the boots on the plane)
2 long denim skirts
2 medium length denim skirts
1 medium length floral skirt
6 cotton maxi skirts
6 white shirts of varying sleeve length
1 blue/white stripe shirt
4 color short sleeve shirts (gray, yellow, black and orange)
3 turtlenecks (1 long sleeve, 2 short sleeve)
8 white camisoles (I wear these every day year round) 
3 light jackets (denim **wore on plane**, brown, khaki)
3 pair of tights
7 scarves
3 hats *wore 1 on plane*
3 belts
Undergarments & 2 sleeping shirts

This sounds like a ton right? I know, I know. But, I fit it all! Layer by layer pictures...

(picture above) I laid 7 wash cloths (one for each day) over the clothes to keep them flat and to be a buffer between the clothes and shoes. 
(picture above) the plastic bag on the left contains non-liquid toiletries.

And to give you perspective on how small this carry on is, I laid a yard stick next to it.  Dimensions: 21.5" x 13.5" x 9.75"
 Here are the clothes laid out in the closet in the hotel closet.
The verdict.  I definitely packed more than I needed.  I did an outfit change one day where I went from a medium length skirt to a longer skirt at night with colder temperatures.  The scarves for layering were great, but I didn't need 7 scarves!  I wore all four pair of shoes but I could've done without the Dr. Scholls shoes (the gray shoes) and stuck with the boots for cold weather (Sunday/Monday) and the tennis shoes for the remaining days (which were HOT!).  I also wore the flip flops in the afternoon when my toes needed some air (they were so thin that I put them in our backpack on the warm days).  I initially brought the flip flops for walking around the hotel, but that never happened unless we were leaving, but they were great for afternoon when my toes needed some air.

I'll point out what I actually wore each day in each upcoming post.  I will say that the layers were necessary.  On the warmest days (mid 80s), a short sleeve shirt was necessary, but on the coldest day (mid 50s) I wore a long sleeve turtleneck, tights, boots, a scarf, hat and jacket and was still a little chilly.  

The Day Pack.
Our day pack was UH-MAZING for both the flight and for our daily outtings.  For the flight to London the backpack held 

the snacks for the entire trip
wet wipes
hair ties
hair pins
folder with copies of all of our tickets/passports (another folder with the same thing was in my carry on as well)
Kleenex (2 extra packs were in the carry on)
empty water bottle
2 umbrellas 
3 empty ziploc bags
London books (1 small book, 1 map)
1 rolled up duffle bag
1 comb

Really, if you are in need of a good size backpack that will hold EVERYTHING and still feel light, this bag is for you. 

these snacks were all in the backpack

(above) side pocket and note umbrellas on the left of the bag
(above) top pouch (notice water bottle on the right of the bag)
 (above) duffle bag that rolls out and is huge! Here is a picture of it filled in the store. Blue duffle.
See the duffle bag behind the snacks in the picture below?

Clearly, it was much lighter when we carried it each day.  But for the trip there, it held so much!

The verdict?  I could've brought way less snacks.  We had so much food on the plane (to and from London) that the snacks moreso came in handy during the trip and even then I only ate 2 of my 10 breakfast packs and a few other things.  So I could have paired down here as well. But the snacks did come in handy and helped us only have to pay for 1-2 full meals each day, depending on the day.

What else?  Troy also carried a carry on and our camera backpack on the flight to London.  So, at the airport going to London we had 1 carry on each, 1 backpack each, 1 travel pillow each and a blanket to share. My carry on also housed my ziploc bag with liquids, a dual voltage flat iron, my hair bonnet, extra documents as I mentioned above, my cell phone charger, and 2 adapters.  

So, there you have it, my packing challenge overcome.  Now, as for the the trip back....sigh.  I'll save that saga for the post on the trip back home.  Luggage caused a big kink in our plans coming back to the states.  But alas, that's enough for now.  So much more to share so please stay tuned and leave a comment!!! 

Packing challenge done and done!,

p.s. one side note, my carry on did not fit in the overhead bin on the United flight to London so our luggage actually flew in the bins in first class.  Troy and I joked that we are so blessed and fancy.  We didn't get to fly First Class on an international flight, but our luggage did! :-)  BUT, I will say that I flew to Miami in April with this same carry on filled to the brim and it fit over head on a Delta flight so I think that United just has small overhead bins and, as such, we probably won't fly with them again unless the price difference is huge.  Because I lightened the load of the carry on for the trip home, it fit in the overhead bin with no problem.


  1. I am so excited to read more about your trip! Though I am not surprised your account of your travels starts with a discussion of clothing :).

  2. This has inspired me to pack more efficiently for my many travels 'in the states'.

    Awesome post hun!

  3. Wow!!! I can not believe that YOU packed a weeks worth in a carry on. I too, amazingly, have started taking only a carry on when I travel by plane. It's SO much easier. It's interesting, I take (and fill) the same size bag for weekend trips as I do for week long trips. Go figure. Anyhoo, excited for the remaining London posts!!!!

  4. I am in AWE of how much you fit into your carry-on! Especially needing warm clothes! I was completely unable to do that on our trip but you did inspire me and I was militant about what I was bringing so I didn't overpack. :-)


When you leave me a comment, I get an email on my iPhone. I check your comment, I smile. I am then even happier than I was before. That sunshine spreads to everyone I come into contact with that day. Puppies live longer, flowers don't wither, and world peace is inches closer!! See what leaving a comment does!!! Hurry, write me!