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the perfect suitcase
Old 05-02-2005, 12:35 AM   #1
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the perfect suitcase

Hi everyone, I'd like to get suggestions on what articles you would include in a standard carryon suitcase -- one you could have packed, just pick up on a moments notice, and would provide all the essentials for a week or two trip: what clothes, standard toiletries, documents & info, etc. The goal is to get the "perfect" suitcase for short travels that best maximizes usability and minimizes bulk. [I know there can be radical differences in season and geography, but let's assume a warm season getaway with ocean]. If enough readers post, I'll summarize the results and construct the perfect suitcase for the board.

Thanks for your help!
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Re: the perfect suitcase
Old 05-02-2005, 07:51 AM   #2
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Re: the perfect suitcase

First check with the airline or FAA and find out what is the acceptable size for a carryon. I think its 29" in length Remember even the perfect carryon can get diverted to the baggage section on the whim of the ticket agent, boarding guy or flight crew...no matter whats inside.
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Re: the perfect suitcase
Old 05-02-2005, 11:17 AM   #3
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Re: the perfect suitcase

tks Bum; I think Delta is one of the more restrictive at 22"X14"X9" and less than 40 lbs -- so that seems a good basis to start. I really want to get ideas of what best to place inside -- are there items that are best included, but that I might forget (suntan lotion; DEET; etc.) or can have multiple uses (dryer sheets ) and thus would be most efficient. I would like a prepacked suitcase that can serve me well, and completely, for the short trip. If I get a good vacation opportunity on Monday, I can just grab it with confidence and leave that night or Tuesday morning!
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Re: the perfect suitcase
Old 05-02-2005, 12:21 PM   #4
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Re: the perfect suitcase

Great idea!*

Off the top of my head...

1 and 2:* Good (excellent) walking shoes. Two pairs so I can rotate them.* (I have a lovely picture of myself in my hotel room in Rome, seated on the toilet soaking my feet in the bidet.* They HURT after 8 hours on the marble floors of the Vatican Museum!)* Also, a foot first-aid kit, since even old shoes can rub in new ways after 10 hours. Flip-flops for showers. Socks double as slippers to keep my feet off those hotel-room carpets.

3.* 2 Pairs of slacks and two skirts.* If it gets breezy I can go with the slacks, if it's hot outside, the skirt is lovely and airy.* (Sorry, boys.)

4.* Sunglasses, sunscreen, and a foldable sun hat.* *Light, long-sleeved shirt to replace the sunscreen after I'm sick of being "breaded" by the sand.* (I also stay cooler in the sun if I'm covered -- 100 million Arabs are not wrong!)* Also sun-protective chapstick.

5.* Limit all clothing to two colors -- black or navy and something else.* Everything has to match.

6.* Teeny hotel-sized shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, etc.* I GENERALLY stay at places where most of these are provided, but if some nice local invites you home or you're stuck in the airport, etc...

7.* Money Belt.

8.* Allergy meds.* I have 'em because I NEVER know how I'm going to react to foreign flora.* An allergy-barrier pillowcase for the hotel and airline pillows.* (I put my sweater in this for sleeping on the plane since many airlines aren't giving out pillows anymore, and I don't want to sleep on those nasty things anyway!)

9.* That reminds me -- sweater and undershirt.* Layering is the way to go.* Even in the tropics, the airconditioning INSIDE the hotel can demand a sweater.

10.* Waterbottle.* Expecially in hot climes this has been a live- and money-saver.

11.* Tablets for the water bottle, depending upon my destination.

12.* The usual undies, bra, etc.*

13.* Toilet paper -- emergency stash for the purse or rucksack, since I just don't ever know...*

14.* *Purse or rucksack -- hands-free tote of some sort.

15. Copies of all docs -- passport, innoculations, id, credit cards, etc.* List of numbers to call if credit cards, travelers checks, etc. are lost.* List of friends' phone numbers and numbers of local U.S. Embassys in case I need them.* Local numbers for airlines in case I need to change tickets, etc.* (If I'm traveling with a friend I'll swap my copies with his, so we each have one.)

16.* Forgot -- all clothing should be non-wrinkling and fast drying so I can wash it in my hotel sink at night.* Little length of clothesline for hanging same.

17.* Radical idea I've heard of and sometimes used in a limited way:* Buy trip clothing from the thrift store (where all mine comes from anyway), or take clothing of your own that's on its last legs.* As it becomes unnecessary (you move from a cold to a hot clime, for example, and don't need the coat anymore) -- toss it or donate it, and fill the bag with tschokes (sp?) on the way back.

18.* Two bottles of those little hand-cleaning gels, so I can always find at least one.* (I LOVED Africa, but pictures and trinkets were the only things I wanted to bring back -- germs were not welcome! Also a travel pack of those baby wipes. Indespensible for cleaning sticky hands, hot face, etc.

Phew.* That's all I can think of on my company's time!* ;-)** *It's a pretty anal list and I wouldn't necessarily do all of this for a trip to Monterey over the weekend, but for foreign and especially developing-nation travel, these are standard.

Thanks again for a great idea -- looking forward to learning new tips and tricks and if anyone thinks anything on my list could be altered / improved / discarded, I'd love to hear that too.

Caroline
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Re: the perfect suitcase
Old 05-02-2005, 02:44 PM   #5
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Re: the perfect suitcase

I often travel with a roll-aboard and computer.* A couple years ago I made a heavy duty "shopping bag" that I tuck into my roll-aboard.* This item has proven handy on countless occassions, if only to consolidate moderately bulky items.

Any strong, easy to handle, tuckable bag would do the job.
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Re: the perfect suitcase
Old 05-03-2005, 07:06 AM   #6
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Re: the perfect suitcase

There you go guys. A valuable lesson about what the female needs to pack. Learn well since you might be carrying the stuff
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Re: the perfect suitcase
Old 05-03-2005, 07:32 AM   #7
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Re: the perfect suitcase

swimsuit, goggles, ear plugs, eye mask, phone card, and definitely flip flops for not just the showers
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Re: the perfect suitcase
Old 05-03-2005, 08:27 AM   #8
 
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Re: the perfect suitcase

Love the pack "last legs" clothing idea.* Why toss it at home, when you can do the same overseas and save some weight!

Regarding your non-wrinkling clothing comment, has anyone used any of the newer synthetic travel clothes?* I'm of an era where you wear cotton or wool and not much else.* I didn't fare well in hot humid Malaysia this winter where cotton instantly became sweat-logged.* I was always slogging around an extra couple of pounds of uncomfortable yuck.* I noticed a lot of others travelers using the newer supposedly comfortable synthetic travel clothes, but never really got around to asking how they were working out.* The combo shorts/long pants thing really seemed to be popular.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caroline
16.* Forgot -- all clothing should be non-wrinkling and fast drying so I can wash it in my hotel sink at night.* Little length of clothesline for hanging same.

17.* Radical idea I've heard of and sometimes used in a limited way:* Buy trip clothing from the thrift store (where all mine comes from anyway), or take clothing of your own that's on its last legs.* As it becomes unnecessary (you move from a cold to a hot clime, for example, and don't need the coat anymore) -- toss it or donate it, and fill the bag with tschokes (sp?) on the way back.
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Re: the perfect suitcase
Old 05-03-2005, 08:34 AM   #9
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Re: the perfect suitcase

I have some CoolMax tshirts and underwear that work well when it is hot, don't wrinkle and are easy to wash out in a sink. Don't really know what CoolMax is though. Travel Smith catalog (and website) has a lot of this stuff and sometimes has sales. Generally is over priced though.

Only use when traveling to hotter climes, generally I am a cotton/wool/birkenstocks type.
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Re: the perfect suitcase
Old 05-03-2005, 09:37 AM   #10
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Re: the perfect suitcase

Quote:
Originally Posted by tozz
Love the pack "last legs" clothing idea.* Why toss it at home, when you can do the same overseas and save some weight!
My husband did this with his running shoes on our last trip.* He wanted to fit in some exercise so brought a pair that was on its last legs and tossed them in our last city.

Quote:
Regarding your non-wrinkling clothing comment, has anyone used any of the newer synthetic travel clothes?* I'm of an era where you wear cotton or wool and not much else.* I didn't fare well in hot humid Malaysia this winter where cotton instantly became sweat-logged.* I was always slogging around an extra couple of pounds of uncomfortable yuck.* I noticed a lot of others travelers using the newer supposedly comfortable synthetic travel clothes, but never really got around to asking how they were working out.* The combo shorts/long pants thing really seemed to be popular.
I am a fan of Columbia GRT Omni-Dry clothing.* It's lightweight, wicks moisture, dries fast, looks casual but nice, and is not too expensive.* My husband and I each own two pairs of pants and 3 shirts made out of the stuff.* In theory I like the idea of the zip off shorts/pants combo but I find that most of them look dorky.

When it comes to packing we usually go very light - one change of clothes + extra shirt, fleece pullover for cold climates, packable rain jacket for rainy ones (it doubles as a pillow on the train when its stuffed into its pouch), swimsuit, toiletries, sarong, plus a few odds and ends like reading material and digital camera.* My husband will also sometimes bring running gear depending on the destination.* Pretty simple, and has saved us a lot of grief when we have to run to catch a train or have to walk a lot to find a room.
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Re: the perfect suitcase
Old 05-03-2005, 07:21 PM   #11
 
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Re: the perfect suitcase

Quote:
"last legs" clothing idea.
I used a variation of that when visiting my wife's family in Sweden. I left a bunch of clothes there for next trip. This assumes that the in-laws won't just throw away you duds when you leave.

Of course I forgot which clothes were there, so be sure to make a list.
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Re: the perfect suitcase
Old 05-03-2005, 07:33 PM   #12
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Re: the perfect suitcase

My "perfect suitcase" was when I was still in "biker" mode
and would go on long trips. I had to fit everything into my motorcycle jacket, a 12"X6"X6" fork bag, and 2 saddlebags,
approx. 12"x 12" X 8". A real challenge. I liked the
minimalist baggage concept. It made you realize how little
you could get by with.

JG
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Re: the perfect suitcase
Old 05-04-2005, 08:13 AM   #13
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Re: the perfect suitcase

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caroline
17.* Radical idea I've heard of and sometimes used in a limited way:* Buy trip clothing from the thrift store (where all mine comes from anyway), or take clothing of your own that's on its last legs.* As it becomes unnecessary (you move from a cold to a hot clime, for example, and don't need the coat anymore) -- toss it or donate it, and fill the bag with tschokes (sp?) on the way back.
Learned this one from mom who business travels alot (the throw away old clothes, not the buy disposable one time/one week clothing even if it's from a thrift store). We used to do this but then I realized...why throw away a perfectly good cotton rag? Lotsa use left.
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Re: the perfect suitcase
Old 05-04-2005, 01:53 PM   #14
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Re: the perfect suitcase

If its business travel vs vacation travel and you go to the same places, theres a good way to cut down on the luggage.

I used to go to the same two hotels in two different states all the time...at least 2-4 days in one or the other or both. The desk people knew me and started processing my checkin the moment I walked in the door. I was a member of their frequent stayer programs, yada yada.

I made some comment once that I should just leave a bag there to save myself some time, and the desk clerk surprised me by saying "You're a very frequent stayer, you can leave a bag here and we'll hold it for you". So on my next trip I packed up a big bag full of stuff and they kept it. About once a month I'd have the hotel pick up a sack of laundry to do. I asked the other place if they'd do the same and they would.

Never carried another bag on a flight with me for 2 years. And it was real handy if I went to one of these places for a day trip and due to some emergency or a flight cancellation forcing an unexpected overnight stay, I had a bag waiting at my favorite hotel...

If the hotels wont do it, I'll bet someone at the company wont mind locking your bag in a storage area or keeping it in an unused office.

For pleasure travel, I took just a single roller bag or a big duffel bag I have with a leash and two wheels on the bottom. I just pack my bathroom essentials and a change of clothes. Then I spend a little time the first day or two buying a few outfits and pack those up to take home with me. I can jam that return bag pretty good without worrying about wrinkles
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Re: the perfect suitcase
Old 05-04-2005, 02:50 PM   #15
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Re: the perfect suitcase

Heres my basic travel bag: Costco Kirkland Signature Executive 22" Expandable Trolley SKU 00007 36155.
Everything about the bag is very rugged. Reflecting the solidness of its construction is its weight - about 13.5 - 14 lbs with all accessories included. Price $89.95. You can get it only at Costco stores, not through their online site.The promotional tag on the bag says 'Lifetime warranty' on the front and 'Every Kirkland Signature product is guaranteed to meet or exceed the quality standards of the leading national brands. If you're not completely satisfied, your money will be refunded' on the back. I have had this bag for three years, and traveled/lived out of it during two tours of Italy(north + Sicily), and five months tramping throughout Russia. Its basic black, thick gage balistic nylon, and it has held up better than any other carry on I have owned. I won't buy a top line name for travel as it invites theft in the places I travel. Its' 22" x 14" x 9" (45" total). This should work on all airlines for carry on.

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Re: the perfect suitcase
Old 05-04-2005, 02:53 PM   #16
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Re: the perfect suitcase

I second the kirkland rollerbag. Solid, easy to use and cheap.
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