Post-Trip Packing Lessons

2013-09-19 12.12.44Having just returned from a 28-day trip (San Diego –> Paris –> Amsterdam –> Tel Aviv –> Jerusalem –> Tiberias –> San Diego) my mind is buzzing with all sorts of post-trip excitement. I thought I would share a few of my loosely-related thoughts on packing.

Luggage: I’d give myself a solid B on packing. Although I had the smallest suitcase of anyone else in my family, I think I could have shed 10 pounds off its 39 pounds. My approach was to pack for 7 days, and I hit this mark pretty closely. Still, with 2 dresses, 1 skirt and 4 pairs of pants, I could have pared that down to 1 dress and 3 pairs of pants (consisting of 2 pairs of jeans and 1 dressier knit pant.)

At several train stations and airports, I looked enviously at those traveling with the (newish) 360° spinner wheels. The spinner wheels do not require you to hold the weight of the luggage as you roll it along. They roll in an upright position. Maybe one day I’ll spring for one. But heck, I still remember luggage without wheels, so I’m thrilled that my luggage has any kind of wheel!

Shoes: I scored a perfect A+ for shoes. I have problem feet, so traveling shoes are always an issue. I didn’t buy any new shoes for this trip, just chose from my (fairly large) shoe closet. I did great with one pair of Arcopedico walking shoes (with Lynco orthotic insoles), one pair of Naot sandals, and a pair of knee-high boots that I used to dress up both pants and dresses. To save space in my luggage, I usually traveled in the boots. This worked fine EXCEPT in the Amsterdam train station where I slipped on the marble floors (my boots have leather soles.) The nice lady who helped me off the floor said this happens all the time!

Weather: Packing for a variety of weather conditions is always a challenge. I did great (A+) for the cold spring weather in Paris and Amsterdam with layering of a lightweight trench coat on top of a knee-length sweater. For evenings, I had a scarf and gloves. But in Jerusalem I hit an unexpected warm spell (oops!), which I simply suffered through with jeans and a long-sleeved cotton knit tee. I kept thinking that I would end up buying something for the warmer days, but the opportunity never presented itself (although I did buy a cute straw sun hat!) The problem here turned out to be the inaccuracy of 30-day weather forecasts. What I should have done was look at historical weather patterns for mid-April, instead of relying on the 30-day forecast! Lesson learned.

Purses: I always travel with a cross-body purse. I find them the most comfortable and versatile for travel. To this I added a leather backpack (which I only used on travel days) and a small fanny pack for those long walking days in Jerusalem.

Electronics: I didn’t activate my Android for international use, so I only used it with WiFi. Of course all the hotels had free WiFi (I wouldn’t have booked them otherwise) but surprisingly Paris, Amsterdam and Jerusalem had few free public hotspots. Tel Aviv, on the other hand, has free WiFi nearly everywhere, offered by cafes, restaurants, hotels, etc. If you are standing on the street, and your signal is weak, just move a bit to the left to pick up a stronger signal from another shop!

At the end of the trip, going through the memorized wireless access points on my Android was a bit nostalgic. I kept a few of them on my phone as souvenirs! For example:, Aroma-Wifi and Diaghilev.

In addition to my phone, I brought my Mac Air, which is very lightweight. The rest of my family brought their iPads (there were three of them), which is probably a better size for travel, but I don’t own one, so I didn’t have a choice!

Packing Cubes: And last, but not least, I ♥ my packing cubes. You can read more about them here.

What are your packing secrets? I’d love to hear them! You can share by posting a comment below.


  1. says

    Hi Barbara,
    Great tips!
    I used to pack up all hair gel, toner and night cream, and they were a bit hassle when you pass the custom inspections!

  2. says

    Knowing these tips could assist me when I went to travel. Now, I know already what to prepare when traveling. I have read a post about packing cubes and these tips are perfect.

  3. Nicole Adam says

    I need to learn this post trip packing lessons and I really get a lot of ideas here what are the necessary things to do while before the trip.

  4. says

    These are really useful post-trip packing lessons. Thanks for posting these tips. I learned a lot on this and I know already what to prepare if eve I have a trip.

  5. Beth says

    Your trip is awesome you are going in beautiful places. I am carrying few things always if i am traveling. Have a happy trip.

  6. Maryden25 says

    I know you have an exciting trip and of course it can be exhausted..Am i right? My packing secrets? Well.. I make sure that my things for hygiene are all complete, I put is all in one small bag. For my clothes, to be able to fit your clothes in one baggage only, try to roll all of it. I’m sure you gonna have a light trip.

  7. Maria says

    Having just returned from a 28-day trip (San Diego –> Paris –> Amsterdam –> Tel Aviv –> Jerusalem –> Tiberias –> San Diego) my mind is buzzing with all sorts of post-trip excitement. I thought I would share a few of my loosely-related thoughts on packing.

  8. says

    Packing is really one of the most important travel lessons. You do not want to be deprived of things and you also do not want to feel like you are carrying the whole house with you. Thanks for the lessons!

  9. Charissa says

    I pack health and beauty aids in small, one-use, disposable bags. Thanks for sharing your site with us.

  10. Myrtle says

    I pack health and beauty aids in small, one-use, disposable bags. Thanks for the great thoughts.

  11. Alma says

    Your bag is your life. The smaller it is the less it sticks outs and the less vulnerable you feel. The closer you can stick to it and less cumbersome it is the happier you will be.

  12. anne-ology says

    Sounds as if your trip was fantastic – that’s GREAT!!!

    As for your packing, yes, you could have cut back a mite … forget dresses – choose 2 skirts with 4 blouses (1 assemble for dress, 1 for casual per week; 2nd blouse for each if the 1st one gets dirty); eliminate the pants unless absolutely necessary – then choose 1 outfit; AND choose 1 color scheme;
    as for shoes – choose 1 for walking, 1 for dress – keep to same color scheme so only 1 purse needed – include small purse, inside travel bag, which can be pulled out for dress. ditto with jewelry – only take costume yet enough to vary outfits.
    as for coat, take all-weather coat with removable lining; don’t pack, rather carry over arm/suitcase when not wearing – with gloves in pockets, scarf wrapped around collar.
    Hoping this helps anyone traveling,

    • says

      Great tips, anne-ology! I forgot to mention color schemes in my post. I give myself another A+ on this one. Everything was a solid color except for things that I would only wear ONE at a time .. such as a silk scarf and a sweater. So everything went with everything (except I didn’t wear the silk scarf and the patterned sweater at the same time!)

  13. says

    Hi Barbara,
    So long since we have communicated! Great traveling tips you have presented here.
    I have compiled “Travel Tips for the First Time Traveler to Australia.”
    If you ever come to Australia make sure to look me up – I’d love to show you around South East Queensland. Several years ago I made the same offer to an internet acquaintance who lives in the USA – she took me up on the offer – we had a great time and have become firm friends.
    I have had several trips to Paris – spent 4 years in Israel but have never been in Amsterdam. Sounds like you had a great trip.

  14. Jen Franklin says

    My best kept secret on packing is I let my mom take care of everything. =) I am serious she is the best

  15. says

    Not a packing tip, an unpacking tip. Lay out everything in your suitcase when you get home. List what you used repeatedly and could not live without and what could have been skipped to save space and weight. I add the lists to the end of my travel diary so when I go on a similar trip, I have a good start on the list for what I’ll pack.

    I like to leave out something that’s not too essential so I have to shop in the stores. Don’t look for Brylcreem in Switzerland, they just don’t have it, much to my Grandmother’s chagrin! She ended up buying a very cute hat instead.

    • says

      These are great tips! I always know that I can shop for whatever I’m missing, but there’s always that underlying concern … what if I can’t find it? Like maybe I’ll just HAVE TO HAVE Brylcreem in Switzerland!!! Ha ha ha!

  16. Jackie Ramirez says

    Thanks for sharing! I pack health and beauty aids in small, one-use, disposable bags. No prescription bottles, no shampoo bottles, etc. Bring fewer clothes than you think you will need. You can wear ‘dirty’ clothes unless they have spills or heavy duty sweat stains. You can also wash clothes at night and most will be dry enough by morning to wear. The more you travel the less you’ll love lugging around ____ . (Fill in the blank)

  17. Lindsay Cutter says

    Wow what a lovely trip and thanks for the travelling lessons, I have always wanted to travel the world.