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Packing Luggage

Luggage and Packing

Most travelers "over pack" and spend their vacation lugging clothes that return home clean.  Read our recommendations for packing light, packing dark, and packing right.


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Travel Advice - Pack light, choose dark colors, and remember to dress appropriately

Match the apparel you intend to pack to the activities that you have selected for your vacation. If you are traveling to a beach resort, it is likely that you will need little outside of swimsuits, casual clothes and, if your resort is located outside of the Tropics, a sweater for the evenings. Conversely, if you are going to Paris and have reservations at the opera and a Michelin 3 Star restaurant, you will need to bring “dressy” clothes for formal events and some casual wear for touring museums and walking.

Most often, people pack too many clothes for their vacation.

  • Some travelers appear to pack their entire wardrobe.
  • If you can convince yourself to do it, packing light reaps multiple rewards.
    • Your suitcase will be lighter and take less time to pack.
    • It is also possible that you could substitute a smaller suitcase for easier travel.  
      • If you are willing to downsize your suitcase, read  the ThereArePlaces article on traveling light.


Our experience is that travelers, who take lots of clothes on vacation, don’t wear most of them. Remember, you can always wash socks and underwear in a sink wherever you stay. Perhaps that explains why the small, individual travel packages of Woolite (approximately 10 packets for $5.00) are one of the best selling items in travel stores.

If you are going to stay in full service hotels on your trip, you do not need to follow the advice provided here as you can arrange to have your clothes cleaned and washed as often as you feel like paying for the service.

  • Most laundry services at hotels are extremely expensive.  We recommend finding a laundry service near your hotel to cut costs.

Fabrics and Color selection

If you are taking a trip where you will be moving between numerous locations and may have difficulty finding a laundry or cleaners, take extra care thinking about the durability and functionality of the clothing that you will take with you on your trip.

  • In general, we find that washable, permanent press apparel is the best selection for travel due to its durability, as well as a great look after a quick laundering.
  • Dark clothing (greens, blues, and browns) works best for us as they show stains the least.
  •  In addition, dark colors cover that occasional brush against something dusty or the drop of food that falls right on the front of your trousers.
    • (Language Alert - most Americans use the word “pants”. If you use “pants” in a conversation with the British they will get a small smile on their face and say “trousers”, since pants are the things that you wear under your trousers).


Finally, if you plan to tour cathedrals, mosques, or other attractions of a religious nature, plan to wear clothing that meets the “modesty” standard.

  • Although the standard varies by country (and by religion), you should plan to expose as little “skin” as possible.
    •  In general, this means no shorts, sundresses, or sleeveless top.
    • In some countries (for example, Italy) vendors at religious sites sell “modesty” apparel made of paper -  but it comes at a high price.
    • At some sites, visitors whose clothes are considered inappropriate may be provided complimentary wraps.
      •  If this happens to you, express your apologies and reciprocate with a small donation.

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