European travel guru Rick Steves has recommended that, regardless of the length of a trip, that the savvy male tourist pack only three pairs of socks and underwear, a pair of shorts, two short-sleeved shirts, a long-sleeved shirt, a sweater, a windbreaker and one pair of shoes. On his Web site he tells vacationers they should fit everything they are taking into one "carry-on size bag."
A tip for couples traveling with a small child or children, from John Flinn:
"But you can't pack light if you're traveling with small children," protested several readers. Apparently no one told Andy Sedik of South San Francisco: "My wife and I just returned from a two-week trip to Eastern Europe with our 14-month-old daughter using only two carry-ons, an umbrella stroller and a diaper bag. Not only is it possible, it makes life on the road so much easier. Once you travel light, you never go back."
Tips for men from John Flinn (Note the sidebar, "The Art of Packing", which covers 'Packing for Cruises' and 'What Women Want'):
This is everything I pack for a typical three-week trip to Europe or South America, riding trains and buses and splitting my time between town and country. It all fits easily into a carry-on bag, with room left over for a bottle of Côtes du Rhône, a baguette and a few souvenirs.
Tips for women from Eliza Hussman:
I had carried around heavy suitcases for years, mostly because I always seemed to get a bad case of the "what ifs" while packing: "What if someone spills something on my dress and I need a backup?" or "What if it stops raining while I'm there and I need a swimsuit - or three?" or the dreaded "What if those sandals don't look as cute with that dress as I'd thought and my friend asks me if I brought a different pair?"
Tips for women from Christine Delsol
- Two pairs of shoes is the maximum: Good walking shoes that will hold up for eight or 10 hours at a stretch, and a lighter pair -- comfortable sandals that can go with skirts for more formal outings in hot climates, or perhaps stylish flats in cooler weather.
- A light, longish skirt is the best staple for hot climates. Unlike shorts, skirts can dress up or down, they are as welcome in restaurants and cathedrals as at the beach, they ward off sunburn and require little space. Take several.