One of the goals of travel is to leave your personal baggage behind; get away from it all for a week or two. The same should apply to your actual baggage. When it comes to packing, less is more.
One of the few requirements on a Celtic Heart Tour for women to Ireland is that you bring only one carry on bag and one daypack. Here’s how:
1. Pack lightweight clothes and layer as needed. It’s better to have along a t-shirt, lightweight cashmere or acrylic blend cardigan, a lightweight fleece jacket and a lightweight waterproof jacket than a bulky sweater and a bulky wool coat. The weather in Ireland is very capricious, so you may want to start out the chilly, overcast day in all your layers, but by noon you’ll have peeled down to just a t-shirt (and pants).
2. No one is going to see you twice, so recycle outfits! For our 9 day trip you will need just two or three pairs of pants: a nice black pair for nights on the town, a comfortable pair of lightweight jeans for tromping through pastures, and an alternate of your choice in case on of the others gets muddy or gets beer spilled on it. Ireland is casual, so leave the skirts and dresses home. Choose clothes in complimentary colors to make mixing and matching easier.
3. Bring quick-drying socks and nylon undies. Socks can quickly fill up your suitcase, so pare down to just four pairs and plan to do a handwash halfway through the trip. You can bring enough panties to get you through, or bring less and wash them. Also bring a packet of dry laundry soap and a small, stretchy clothesline to hang them on.
4. Pare down your toiletries. You’ll need to put things in 3 ounce bottles anyway to get through security, so consider using two-in-one shampoo and all-in-one makeup (or none at all). ALL your toiletries should fit in the requisite one quart ziploc bag. All the accommodations have hair dryers, so you can leave that home. And if you really need something you left behind, there are plenty of well-stocked stores in Ireland. (One thing: The Irish don’t normally use washclothes, so I pack dry facial towelettes; just add water and scrub!)
5. Shoes. This is the biggie. You MUST have comfortable footwear, but you can get by with two pairs: one pair of sturdy but lightweight, black waterproof walking shoes, and a pair of black slip on-type sneakers. Wear the slipons on the airplane and the others for exploring. If your walking shoes get wet in a bog you can wear the others while they dry. Light colored shoes will get stained so go with black.
6. Accessories: And you thought there’d be no room! You can always change things up with a colorful silk scarf and a few pieces of bright jewelry, all of which can be tucked away in your shoes.
This is by no means a complete packing list, but I hope it gives you the idea that you really can get by with less. If you don’t already have a carry on bag that you know meets international airline size requirements for overhead storage, get one and try packing it. Just remember NOT to use the extension or it’s no longer carry on size!
And remember, the less you bring, the MORE you can bring home.
Next up: How to pack home your precious Irish purchases.
If you have a packing tip please comment below, or on facebook or twitter.