Retirement is a week filled with Saturdays and Sundays interrupted only occasionally by a holiday.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2007

It’s All About Size

Yawn…it’s been another sleepless night for me. Usually I can’t figure out what’s keeping me awake but, for the past few days, I’ve had one thing on my mind…luggage. I’ve been fretting day and night that the suitcases we are planning to take to Ireland are just not large enough to hold all the “stuff” we need to bring.

My goal is for each of us to bring one large suitcase to check-in and a small rolling tote to use as a carry-on. We already have one set of these and my sister Lynn has an identical set which we borrow when we travel. The rolling totes are fine…they fit an extra set of clothes (in case our checked bags get lost) as well as sundries and other miscellaneous items. It’s the suitcases I’m worried about. They are 25” bags and I really like them because they have a built-in suiter for hanging things. Most airlines allow 62 linear inches for each suitcase and ours measure 54”. That means we are shorting ourselves 8” of valuable packing area.

I’ve been through my Ireland packing list multiple times now and I think I have it down to the bare essentials. OK…bare essentials might be too strong a concept but I really need all the clothes and items listed…honest. And to make matters worse, we took a look at the websites for some of the castles and hotels we will be staying at and now we think we need to take some “nice” clothes for the dining rooms. Nuts! I hate getting dressed up when I travel and I especially resent having to give up precious packing space for fancy clothes.

So now I’m wondering whether I should go out and buy bigger suitcases. Trust me…it’s not the money issue that has me worried…it’s the storage issue. We already have several small and medium sized suitcases scattered throughout the house and garage. Do we really need to add to our already large luggage collection for this one trip? Will we need larger suitcases for future traveling? Is there any place left in our house to hide two large suitcases? Should we get rid of some of our small bags to make room? Can I whittle our packing list down any more? Why is Hubby sleeping soundly while I'm up all night fretting for the both of us?

21 comments:

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

aha! i can help, i think, first, i recommend "cross packing", putting stuff in each others suitcases in case some don't arrive right away, okay that said, for dressier stuff, knits that roll and mix and match and can be worn day or evening, i use one long knit black skirt, several different tops, scarves, costume jewerly, for hubby, dress slacks, one jacket, one tie, two dress shirts. dress shoes, i use one pair of the small ballerina type that don't take up any room and hardly show under the long skirt anyway. hubby, wears everyday shoes, brings one dress pair. now, what about adding one more suitcase? that is shared? the larger ones are so hard back where will you be? right? hope this helped. we go ALOT!!!

smiles, bee

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

something happened to one line of this, it used to say the larger suitcases are so hard to handle and what if you pull out your back, where will you be? sorry...

bee

Ralph said...

If everybody uses suitcases larger than they need, they'll fill them up. How much formal do you need? I'd keep it to the minimum for the days only, and since it is cooler in Ireland than home, can you wear a shirt more than once? Unless you plan to bring home lots of souvenirs, see if things will fit in the old ones

meno said...

Ugh, i hate fretting about what to take on a trip, especially to someplace i have never been before. In our house we store the littler suitcases inside the bigger ones.

patches said...

If you go with larger bags, make sure they have wheels, and are easy for you to maneuver (Trust me). You can also iron your clothes before packing (jeans too) that will help you maximize space.

Pam said...

Hi Joan - I'm catching up on my reading today. Hope your hubby is doing better every day and looking better too.

You must be getting excited about your trip! I always overpack so I can be of no help with that part of things, but for storing the suitcases, can't you nest the smaller ones inside of the larger ones? That's what we do. Sometimes that's how we take an empty suitcase with us on trips for all the stuff we seem to accumulate on the trip! On your way there you're checking one bag and on the way home, you're checking two!

Midlife Mom said...

I picked up a few good tips from this post and the comments. I nest my suitcases too and it saves a lot of space. What a great idea of cross packing, I never thought of that. I always take too much too especially if I have to take dressy stuff and why do we care if total strangers see us in the same thing twice? I'm packing now too and I am TRYING not to take too much!!

Hope Hubby is getting better.

That restaurant in your last post sounds wonderful, I'm drooling!

Renee said...

This cracked me up...because I do the same thing.
I've found that making a packing list really helps me. It's okay to keep adding to the list as you think of other stuff to put in there. I hate having to pack nice clothes for vacation too...this wedding thing coming up is going to drive me nuts.
I don't worry about the airlines loosing my luggage though...it's really rare that it happens. That and we have relatives in the business...I think it helps when they see our name on the bags. Especially since our name isn't common.

Just breath. Your trip will be fine. If you forget anything you can buy it there.

Susie said...

This is one area where I'm not much help. I always overpack and then kick myself because I did. What that cute saying "Take twice as much money and half as many clothes as you think you'll need" (I never listen to it though!)
:)

PEA said...

I always bring way too many clothes!! I don't think those hotels really expect guests to keep dressing up so I would only bring nice comfy clothes. And of course your hubby is sleeping soundly...he knows you'll fret enough so he doesn't have to! lol xox

Toni said...

I have a thought- every time my MIL visited us in Germany, she packed essentials in a medium bag and them placed that suitcase in a larger, empty suitcase. That way she had an extra suitcase to bring home any goodies she bought. Doesn't the airline allow you EACH 2 suitcase, plus your carry on?

Joan said...

Empress bee: I knew I could count on you! I learned about cross-packing just before we went on our 2nd cruise so I do that. I try and do the mix-n-match thing with black pants and a few tops. My problem this time is Ireland can be cool and rainy and I'm trying to figure out what jackets/rainwear to bring and how to fit it all in.

Ralph: I've become a firm believer in the "wear something more than once" philosophy although I'm clumsy and tend to spill...that's why I travel in black!

Meno: We store our smaller suitcases in the larger ones but we have so many miscellaneous ones that have no mate.

Patches: All of our suitcases now have wheels...I donated our older ones long ago. I also use plastic ziploc bags for my clothes and remove all the air to save space.

Pam: We do the nesting thing for storage although we have some odd ones. Since we're going on an organized tour, we were told by friends it's best to take only one suitcase plus a carry-on. Sigh...

Midlife mom: It's the dressy clothes that always seem to be the problem. And your point about strangers is absolutely right on! I will definitely wear things more than once. How about you?

Renee: They've never lost my bag either but I know, if I don't plan for it, they will. Let me know when you start packing for the wedding...we can compare notes!

Susie: I'm a real overpacker. I even take shampoo and a hairdryer every time even though most hotels now supply them!

Pea: I also bring way too many clothes...I'm always afraid something unexpected will come up and I'll need that special outfit. And you are soooo right about Hubby.

Toni: We were told to try and stay with one large suitcase and a carry-on for the tour. Also...each bag is limited to 50 lbs which makes it hard to store one in another for travel. But I like the idea!!!

Linda said...

I went to Florida last year for a dispatch convention and I took A LOT more than I ever would have needed as I am such a major over-packer. My dispatch partner that I went with took one small suitcase and mocked me the entire time we were there!

If you've got a little cash, I would suggest that you take the bare minimum and if you need something else, purchase it there as I'm sure you're planning on doing some shopping while you're in Ireland - are you not?

I have used the SpaceBags that they make for traveling before and they worked wonderfully. I'm not sure if Ziploc bags work the same way but with the SpaceBags nothing is ever wrinkled and it's just so much easier to organize things.

I so envy you your trip! We were watching "The Today Show" this morning and Matt Lauer was in Ireland and it looked absolutely beautiful!

only oldest said...

I know you so well my little fretter. You will worry until the last second then everything will work out because you have planned so well and you and R will have a great time. Stop fretting!!!!

Joan said...

Linda: Buying things in Ireland right now can be really expensive since the dollar is so weak against the euro (our timing couldn't be worse) but I can see that as an option if I'm desperate! Also...the Ziploc bags work as well as the SpaceBags (we have both) and they're a heck of a lot cheaper...I guess I can use the savings from the bags to buy stuff when I'm over there. ;~)

Only oldest: I'm not nearly the fretter I used to be and I know this will pass...it always does!

rosemary said...

I always over pack...but I have been to Ireland and there are no Laundromats...anywhere. There are Laundries where you can get your clothes washed and sometimes the hotels have facilities...but rarely. Just bring a good pair of walking shoes and a flat pair of nice ones...cross packing is also a good idea already mentioned. Are you just days away from leaving??? Are you renting a car? Thnik of trunk space...elevators in castles...don't think so...you'll be lugging those suitcases us stairs. Ireland is a beautiful country and the people wonderful. You will have the time of your life.

Joan said...

Rosemary: Thank you sooooo much for your tips. We're actually taking a tour (Hubby isn't a very good traveler yet so a tour is best right now) and we leave mid-June. I never thought about the elevator issue in castles...maybe smaller suitcases are the way to go. Thanks!

Lynn said...

My philsophy is that clothes, like gas, fill up the available space. Less space = less clothes = lighter suitcase. Bigger suitcase = more clothes = heavier suitcase. The only reason that I could see for you and hubby to take bigger suitcases would be if you want to bring home lots and lots of presents. (hint, hint)

Joan said...

Lynn: I will feel a whole lot better when I do my "practice packing" a week or so before the trip. And exactly what gifts are you expecting???

Lynn said...

Waterford crystal (hahahaha) just kidding. I'm not expecting any gifts, I was just giving you a hard time:~D

Joan said...

Lynn: Yeh sure...you know you'll get something from Ireland...size dependent on room in my suitcase of course. Jus tell the kids I think a leprechan with a pot of gold is a bit more than my luggage can hold. :~)