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snowbot
01-31-2012, 07:00 AM
I recently returned from a conference trip with my two graduate students. We were gone almost a week. While leaving my house with my luggage, I had my usual panicked moment where I was convinced I had overpacked. (I'm not the only person who has irrational moments in regards to packing, right?) I had packed, in addition to toiletries, 2 pairs of pants, 1 skirt, several shirts, and (the reason I couldn't take my TriStar) 3 jackets and 1 pair of dress shoes. I also had my reviled Timbuktu laptop bag because my presentation wasn't finished and I had to lug my 15" MBP with me. So, I had a soft-sided carry-on and a computer bag "personal item". My Absolute Strap made the laptop bag a little less horrible.

The first two times student #1 and I went to a meeting together, he had a medium-sized roll-aboard that had to be checked. This trip he had a small (<20") roll-aboard and a small laptop bag. He was so happy that he'd packed less than me. (I was happy, too.)

Student #2 had a GIANT suitcase. It was larger than the other two bags put together. On the way back, I saw that it weighed 48.5 lbs. How does one manage to pack 48.5 lbs for a 1 week conference? I'll admit that I'm nowhere near as fashionable as student #2, but I still don't understand.

I didn't make any comments about her bag other than that we could check it as mine for free because of frequent flyer status, but I do hope that she tries traveling with a smaller bag on our next trip.

pretzelb
01-31-2012, 07:06 AM
My better half uses one of those giant plastic suitcases on trips. I do try to quietly point out how life would be easier if she didn't have that bag. But she can't let go of extra large items like shoes, sweaters, jackets and such. She did comment that her last packing effort was really bad so maybe she is warming up to my way of thinking.

However there is one advantage to having the large suitcase. We are able to bring back some items we cannot carry on the plane. We do enjoy sampling beers from different breweries and we bring some back to a tasting club. A few zip lock bags and some careful packing allows us to do this.

Having said that, last trip our worst suitcase was 43 pounds. I think that included 7 large bottles of beer. Not sure how you can hit 48 pounds with just clothing.

jannilee
01-31-2012, 10:13 AM
The most incredible overpacking ( and purchasing) I have ever seen was on a recent trip to China. By the third stop this person had 80lb of checked baggage. She was able to get away with it because of people like me who had 15lb of luggage. At the end of the trip she had to check her bags (she had bought a THIRD humungous bag) individually. She was irate that she had to pay excess baggage! She thought they had added other people's excess baggage onto hers (obviously not good at estimating). I stood there grinning with my 21 lb bag which I carried on! (I had bought a LOT!)

Lani
01-31-2012, 02:01 PM
Wow Jannilee, that's a real overpacker! Here I was reading Snowbot's original post and thinking, "Wow, three jackets! That's a lot!" and then I saw your post. Hehe.

Snowbot -- I assume you needed three jackets because you were giving presentations. Have you considered some of the travel-friendly reversible jackets you can get from places like Travelsmith? They're a little harder to find, but they are typically plain on one side, and with a design on the other side. I also try to create a really different look by using different scarves, too. Of course, these days I rarely ever go to a conference where I have to dress nice.

jeffmac
01-31-2012, 02:41 PM
My loverly, and otherwise perfect, wife tends toward being an over-packer but she has agreed to one-bag it for a trip to Italy we are taking in late March!

This site: Travelista.com (http://travelista.com/packing/foolproof-travel-outfit/) is one of the places that convinced her she could do it...she also leans heavily on Lani's excellent scarf suggestion.

snowbot
01-31-2012, 03:14 PM
I'll admit the three jackets was a bit overboard, but I get so cold in conference centers and this is the dressiest meeting that I regularly attend. Also, since one of the jackets is burgundy and there aren't many women in my meetings, I figured people might notice if I wore the same over-the-top jacket four days in a row. (Not that I have a problem with wearing the same jacket four days in a row, I just don't want it to be remarked on.) The funny thing is that my computer bag was heavier than my clothes bag.

Badger
01-31-2012, 03:53 PM
(Not that I have a problem with wearing the same jacket four days in a row, I just don't want it to be remarked on.)

I wonder if this very concern is what led your grad student to way, way overpack. I took more stuff to my first national conference than I did to any other conference since. Or on my honeymoon, for that matter. I think that grad students are particularly vulnerable to feeling that their every move, down to their sartorial choices, will be scrutinized--and it very well might be true, given that they are trying to impress potential future employers/colleagues. And whether or not faculty notice, other grad students definitely pick up on who amongst them is dressed poorly. When I was in grad school, the person in the shiny, ill-fitting suit was always judged. I spent days curating my outfits and polishing my glasses so I wouldn't stand out in that way. Now that I have a real job I'm much less self-conscious about what I wear at conferences.

Badger
01-31-2012, 03:55 PM
My loverly, and otherwise perfect, wife tends toward being an over-packer but she has agreed to one-bag it for a trip to Italy we are taking in late March!

This site: Travelista.com (http://travelista.com/packing/foolproof-travel-outfit/) is one of the places that convinced her she could do it...she also leans heavily on Lani's excellent scarf suggestion.

You're going to have to start a new thread and tell us all about where you're going! Hint: scarves are ubiquitous and CHEAP in Italy, so there's always an excuse to buy a new one.

snowbot
01-31-2012, 04:52 PM
I wonder if this very concern is what led your grad student to way, way overpack.
Badger, you're probably on the right track. This student is much more fashionable than most of the students in my department and was mostly socializing with students rather than the more senior scientists. I was on one of the meeting organizing committees and spent a lot of time with "the suits".

The flight out of conference-land was packed (literally, there were no empty seats) with attendees. Over half the passengers had elite status and overhead bin space disappeared early. When the bins were opened after landing, poster tubes spilled out onto unsuspecting passengers.

daisy
01-31-2012, 05:57 PM
Student #2 had a GIANT suitcase. It was larger than the other two bags put together. On the way back, I saw that it weighed 48.5 lbs. How does one manage to pack 48.5 lbs for a 1 week conference? I'll admit that I'm nowhere near as fashionable as student #2, but I still don't understand.

I didn't make any comments about her bag other than that we could check it as mine for free because of frequent flyer status, but I do hope that she tries traveling with a smaller bag on our next trip.

Hey! I resemble that remark! :-)

We of the checked roller bag brigade are freeing up overhead locker space for the underpackers!

2067

6 weeks in europe in late autumn - the brown bag standing in for the Western Flyer I don't have yet :-(
(many TB cubes and pouches inside all three bags)

What I don't get is why travellers gripe about paying for checked baggage. It seems only fair that one pays extra for taking extra and the airlines have to cut somewhere to compensate for the fare wars.

Maria
01-31-2012, 07:22 PM
Having flown to places that were new to me in many ways - the location, the event, uncertain as to what may be "really" required to wear once there...I can relate to that comment by Snowbot and Badger in terms of wearing the same thing over and over in the eyes of others and wanting to make an impression of the right sort. As the saying goes, you have that one chance to make a first impression so make it a good one.

Nothing wrong with checking a bag if required. If coming back with something unique / unobtainable at home - check a bag and pay the price. I'd rather risk checking that bag than forgoing that bottle of beer, or whatever.

Now the above are my own personal "excuses" to check a bag. :) But I'm often gobsmacked to see what other people (women especially) think they cannot live without for a week away. Does one really need to pack the entire contents of a wardrobe? Do you really need all those shoes?

Also, when I first started to travel on my own, I was clueless in terms of what was ahead of me: lugging that heavy suitcase by myself, the stress of keeping track of it all, really not knowing what I may or may not find when I arrived or not having the proper research in advance, etc etc. So I try to pretend others may be in that situation as I once was. Of course, the more I travelled, the more I learned and also got organized. What to pack, using my silk scarves as the colour in a neutral wardrobe, the freedom of being able to carry all I travel with in one bag and be able to move with ease. I know, preaching to the choir here.

Now I try to show by example, as most of my family / friends are tired of the broken record of my packing light mantra. (And yes, I admit, I've actually packed less than I should have and regretted it!)

Cheers!

Badger
01-31-2012, 08:15 PM
(And yes, I admit, I've actually packed less than I should have and regretted it!)

Ugh, me too. I always seem to spill food on myself whenever I don't have a spare shirt.

jannilee
02-01-2012, 10:54 AM
I must confess to overpacking on my recent trip to Cuba for 2 weeks of sun and snorkelling. Basics such as toothpaste, soap, shampoo and clothing are in such short supply in Cuba that I took a bunch to hand out as gifts/tips. Also I was taking my snorkelling gear ( note to self to buy more compact flippers or use the ones from the resort). Because I had this HUGE checked bag (my 22" rollaboard teehee!) I also took 2prs shoes and 2prs sandals - definitely too much as well as packing a bunch of stuff for the friend who went with me. I also broke my rule of 3 packing (took6 tops and4 bottoms and 2 dresses). All my clothes and 4 small knitting projects fit in my western flyer. Now that I have the WF my original carry on only bag ( the 22") seems really excessive. Now to work on my packing list for 2 1/2 weeks in southern Spain in the spring (yes Badger I will eat vast quantities of jamon iberico in your honour!)

Badger
02-01-2012, 11:03 AM
I must confess to overpacking on my recent trip to Cuba for 2 weeks of sun and snorkelling. Basics such as toothpaste, soap, shampoo and clothing are in such short supply in Cuba that I took a bunch to hand out as gifts/tips. Also I was taking my snorkelling gear ( note to self to buy more compact flippers or use the ones from the resort). Because I had this HUGE checked bag (my 22" rollaboard teehee!) I also took 2prs shoes and 2prs sandals - definitely too much as well as packing a bunch of stuff for the friend who went with me. I also broke my rule of 3 packing (took6 tops and4 bottoms and 2 dresses). All my clothes and 4 small knitting projects fit in my western flyer. Now that I have the WF my original carry on only bag ( the 22") seems really excessive. Now to work on my packing list for 2 1/2 weeks in southern Spain in the spring (yes Badger I will eat vast quantities of jamon iberico in your honour!)

IDK, jannilee. I'm not sure what you describe counts as overpacking. I think there's a big difference between packing stuff for others (like the gift toiletries) or because they're simply not available where you are going and packing, say, 18 T-shirts for a five day trip because you're going to Wauwatosa and they might not have a Gap. And six shirts for 14 days doesn't sound super crazy.

I'm tickled that you will be eating ham in my honor (that sounds really, really weird). Care to share that packing list sometime, you know, so we can live vicariously through you?

Lani
02-01-2012, 01:26 PM
Hint: scarves are ubiquitous and CHEAP in Italy, so there's always an excuse to buy a new one.
They also make awesome souvenirs. And gifts to your friends back home.

Badger
02-01-2012, 05:46 PM
They also make awesome souvenirs. And gifts to your friends back home.

Yes! And you can wrap them around other things, like Murano glass. Another hint is that a lot of Italian men's scarves work very well for women, especially the looser springtime weaves.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-DJTP0eCgSZo/Tyncmhhy08I/AAAAAAAAAbo/iS9EJvyBesI/s720/IMG_0981.jpg

jeffmac
02-01-2012, 09:39 PM
They also make awesome souvenirs. And gifts to your friends back home.

Or gifts to fellow forum members? ;)

Frank II
02-02-2012, 12:15 AM
I just saw the posting about Jamon Iberico and thought this is funny as I bought some today. A local specialty food store occasionally imports it. It was delicious...and at $170/lb it better be. (I made a nice tasting plate of Jamon Iberico, Jamon Serrano and Prosciutto di Parma. Yum.)

And if any of you are overpackers, live with overpackers, have SO's, better halves, spouses, traveling companions or acquaintances who are overpackers, just send them to my website (see below) and we'll "learn em."

(You may now return to your regular forum activity after that short commercial interruption.)

Badger
02-02-2012, 10:10 AM
Or gifts to fellow forum members? ;)

Well, you'll have to bring enough to share with everybody.

I had the worst souvenir-finding experience in Italy this time. All I wanted was a glass dish (small, for my coins and crap), a wallet, and a "fancy" rosary. I totally struck out. Mrs B, on the other hand, acquired quite a haul. Hopefully things will work in my favor next time, greedy sod that I am.

jannilee
02-02-2012, 11:28 AM
In my opinion, the ultimate in wallets are the ones by mywalit easily available in florence - both on the bridge and in the piazza by Uffizi. I am contemplating another trip to florence solely to get my hands on another one (minimalist travel wallet - small, space for a couple of cards, coin compartment, preferably zipped). their wallets improve with age - mine is about 5 yrs old - soft as butter, but not at all worn. sigh.... wallet perfection!

daisy
02-02-2012, 04:35 PM
... ooh .. wallets ... runs to google ....

they are *nice* - and available online ...

Badger
02-02-2012, 06:16 PM
Yes, mywalit. Every day when we were in Venice, I passed by a shop that was full of them, but I couldn't find the just-perfect thing, if you know what I mean. I have also decided that I need a Europe wallet and a US wallet, because I'd like a coin compartment for Europe. I think online is the way I'll end up going for everything except the dish.

Daisy, it's good to know the mywalits are available online! I, uh, gotta go look at them right now . . .

123veo
02-02-2012, 07:44 PM
Oooohhhhh those walits are gorgeous!

jannilee
02-02-2012, 08:12 PM
heheheh! I knew that Tom Bihn addicts would love Mywalit! Hmm in Venice you say.... It is even easier to convince myself that I NEED to go to Venice. After all I need to fondle ...er... examine them closely.

Badger
02-02-2012, 08:27 PM
heheheh! I knew that Tom Bihn addicts would love Mywalit! Hmm in Venice you say.... It is even easier to convince myself that I NEED to go to Venice. After all I need to fondle ...er... examine them closely.

I just found the perfect wallet on the Mywalit site. Only €29, too! And you totally need to go to Venice. The same shop that sold the Mywalits also sold gloves in the same array of colors.

jannilee
02-02-2012, 08:58 PM
Okay, so what shop and where????? Slim credit card ID holder or standard wallet??? And what colour?

Badger
02-03-2012, 09:22 AM
It's this one (http://www.mywalit.com/en/standard-wallet/toscana-mlti/), off the mywalit site. It's actually only €27.50! It just gets better and better.

The shop in Venice? It didn't really have a name. It was in a piazza near the San Toma vaporetto stop, right around the corner from Bar Ai Nomboli. There was another shop with the same gloves near the Frari church, as well, but I think they just had gloves and umbrellas and stuff.

There was also another mywalit vendor right next to Bar Ciak 1, also in San Toma, where all the gondoliers hang out.

jannilee
02-03-2012, 09:40 AM
...writing down details in travel journal.... Can I REALLY justify a fourth trip to Venice when there are still so many places to see??? Absolutely!! (Ignoring fact that there are Mywalit vendors in Spain as well)

Badger
02-03-2012, 06:04 PM
...writing down details in travel journal.... Can I REALLY justify a fourth trip to Venice when there are still so many places to see??? Absolutely!! (Ignoring fact that there are Mywalit vendors in Spain as well)

We started talking about returning to Venice while we were still there! We're now in the process of trying to persuade all of our friends to go there with us, since I am positive that going out to dinner is more fun with a big group. Regarding Spain: I've wanted to walk the last leg of the Camino de Santiago for a really long time, but if I'm honest, it's more fun to ride vaporetti, lounge about in cafes, and eat seafood pasta. Sigh.

There's a conference next year in Las Vegas, and I think I'm going to stay at the Venetian just so I can pretend stuff.

jannilee
02-03-2012, 07:18 PM
Great Avatar Badger! I have a wonderful B&B for you to stay at next time you are in Venice -3749 ponte chiodo. I have never been to Vegas but somehow i don't think it can match getting lost in the back streets of Venice. Now for an avatar....ponders.....

Badger
02-06-2012, 08:44 PM
Great Avatar Badger! I have a wonderful B&B for you to stay at next time you are in Venice -3749 ponte chiodo. I have never been to Vegas but somehow i don't think it can match getting lost in the back streets of Venice. Now for an avatar....ponders.....

Oh, I shouldn't have clicked on that. It's really lovely! I'll keep it in mind for my next trip, especially because if we go with friends we can't stay in the apartment we had this time.

There's no way Vegas can match Venice, but Vegas does have really good restaurants. And gambling. I've already started saving up--I'm sure by 2013 there will be a new TB bag for me to covet.