Self confessed packing dork's best laid plans fall through

I confess to being a huge packing dork. I love photography and usually travel with a laptop and camera equipment, I also never leave home for the night without my pillow. Thus before I have started packing clothes, I have a weight and space I am already using. I am constantly trying to pack just the right amount things, I'm not into carting a lot of extra stuff around with me. I have also learned that hotel laundry can be the best traveling tip of all. Imagine carrying half the stuff, having someone wash and iron your clothes better than you do, and having clean laundry on the trip rather than carrying dirty laundry around. (Thank you Viking ships for convincing me this is the way to go.) My husband and I have also found that in many hotels it is also not as expensive as you might guess.

I type this on a flight to Italy. I will be traveling throughout Tuscany and Switzerland for three weeks and I have spent a great deal of time preparing. I have prepared coverage for my business, my home, and my family (not in that order!) . I was very thoughtful about what I brought and what my strategy would be. Don't be fooled, I am only this thoughtful about things I really am interested in. My entire life is not this organized. At all! 

I decided that I didn't want to check a bag. I have now been on two European trips when other guests have had their luggage not arrive. I knew I was going to be out in the Tuscan countryside and a lost bag might never find me. 

I purchased the correct size International carry on from my go to favorite luggage shop Tumi. I am super lucky to live a short distance away from a Tumi outlet and always get good prices on their luggage. I was assured that this size was allowed on every International airline. (forshadowing....)


My number one strategy for not packing much is to pack in a different room than my bedroom. I packed in the guest room of Starlight Farm. By being a distance from my bedroom closest I am less tempted to throw "just in case" items into my bag.


My packing list was very small. I widdled and widdled it down and down and down until I got to the bare minimum. I also selected a wardrobe in 3 colors that all go together. Almost everything I packed is either white, a cream or taupe color, or blue. This way every single thing in my bag matches.


My minimalist packing wardrobe for 3 weeks in Europe in the summer (including hiking and a yoga retreat is as follows.)

2 dresses- one dressy/one casual

3 pairs of pants - white, funky wide leg khaki, and cream colored jeans

5 sleeveless nice blouses

2 lightweight cashmere cartigans in white and beige and 2 short sleeve sweaters

2 scarves

2 wraps- one a fabulous blue and one raspberry

underwear and 2 pairs of socks

a bathing suit

yoga/hiking attire = 2 yoga pants 4 T shirts

2 hats - one for the beach - one for hiking

pjs- one for the retreat, one for romantic getaway

a rain coat

3 pairs of shoes (This was the hardest part for me!) 1 hiking shoes, 1 Toms, 1 sneakers (I learned my lesson during a torrential downpour a few years ago in Sienna when I got caught in patten leather ballet flats. Always have a pair of crummy sneakers for crummy days.)

After rearranging my suitcase from packing in pouches to rolling every item, I was able to add one more set of PJs and a bathrobe which I think I will be glad I have at the retreat. Note to self: having packed the same suitcase with the same clothes in both styles, it was evident to me that rolling really does give you a little more room.

On the plane I wore a linen button down, jeans, sandals, and matching belt that goes with all outfits and a bigger comfy cardigan. All of these items match what's packed in the suitcase. I do not travel with any good jewelry. I worry about it too much and I don’t want to call attention to myself. I have a few pieces of costume fun stuff from the J Crew outlet thrown in my bag for color.

My compromise was to have my husband bring my favorite phython Ferragamo's in his suitcase after the retreat. You know, in case George and Amal invite us over for cocktails when we are in Lake Como. :)

Cords, chargers, etc are with me and the beloved pillow in my carryon "personal item". :) My toiletry baggy has multiple sample sizes of my favorite products. The containers can be disposed of as we go. I have had to buy toiletries on too many trips and it's not as easy as you may think. I also find I don’t want to waste time away from beautiful sights in search of saline solution.

Fast forward.... today I arrived at JFK and turns out I was on an Alitalia flight run by Delta not the Delta flight I thought I was on........Anywho... the woman at the ticket counter flat out refused to let me take my little roller bag on the plane. AFTER ALL OF THAT!!! ALL OF THAT WORK AND BUYING THE SUITCASE. Turns out the damn thing was TOO HEAVY to be allowed on. Have you ever heard of this? I have not. I have never had anyone weigh my carryon! I'm doubtful that this is a real rule as most of my co-passengers have roller bags above their heads!! 

Here's to hoping my little minimalist natural wardrobe arrives in Florence!! 

The good news is when we are in Switzerland we are changing locations every two days and traveling by the train. I will still be thrilled to have that little bag. :) 






Tricia Heaton