Fitting clothes into suitcases…

Tom’s clothing, hoping it will all fit into one bag

Yes, I suppose I’m bent on fitting every possible item, clothing and otherwise, into two suitcases and one carry-on each.  The prospect of being unable to replace our clothing, toiletries and electronics online for at least three years, without paying exorbitant shipping fees, intimidates me.
Our budget for these three an more years of traveling is forefront in my mind. These two major concerns have been a frequent topic in our lives and this blog:

  1. Excess airline baggage fees, upwards of $800 per bag per person, for our two to three upcoming flights in and out of Africa
  2. Hauling extra heavy baggage to and from rental cars to rental houses, taxis to cruise ships and taxis to airports
Yesterday, to allay some of my fears (Tom doesn’t seem worried at all) I neatly stacked the bulk of our clothing (more to purchase) to actually see how much would fit into one of each of our suitcases, subsequently weighing each bag.
Tom’s clothing fit into one bag!

Not surprisingly, my clothes didn’t fit into the one bag. (We’ll get back to that in a minute).  My fear was never wrapped around Tom’s clothes fitting into one bag.  Not for a moment!

His second bag will include two dress shirts, one sport coat, one lightweight jacket, three ties, six pairs socks, twelve pair underwear, six pairs shoes, toiletries, four swimsuits, tee-shirts and two belts. This can be done.  His carry-on will include electronics, emergency clothes, prescriptions (in the event of lost luggage) and snacks.  His empty suitcase weighs 13.4 pounds, filled it weighed 47.8 pounds, which is over the weight limit on some airlines.
My clothing, hoping it will all fit into one bag.

Now, for my situation.  I can leave behind my frequently used kitchen gadgets, my antique dishes, my favorite winter clothes and jackets, the bulk of my “real” and costume jewelry, my varied selection of handbags and my fluffy slippers and robes.  

But, I won’t leave behind the essence of the persona that connotes who I am as a woman, including daily use of various cosmetics (three year’s supply), and matching outfits that must endure repeated washings.  

The matching tanks, the layering camis, the tops, the bottoms, the dresses, short or long; shoes, including sandals, workout shoes, the “cute” pink Crocs, comfy Minnetonka Moccasins, spiky high heels; cool pjs; the costume jewelry and all the items that assist a girl in feeling “put together” will accompany us around the world in heavy, bulky suitcases. 
As a result of my “girly” mentality, the piles of clothes didn’t fit into my huge suitcase. In our bedroom, there currently is a large plastic tote half filled with the overflow.  I have yet to add the following:  two dressy dresses for formal nights aboard ship, more shoes, more underwear, two sets of workout clothes, one lightweight jacket, more shoes, more shoes and more shoes. 

As for my carry-on bag, it will include cosmetics, prescriptions, overflow electronics from Tom’s carry-on and of course, emergency clothing.

My empty suitcase weighs 15.2 pounds. Loaded up it weighs 48.7 pounds.  By adding the dreaded second bags, our checked baggage totals will be approximately 100 pounds each, way over the limit of any airline. (Cruise ships don’t weigh the bags).  

Yesterday, Tom and I discussed this situation at length.  He finally put my mind at ease with this simple statement, lovingly expressed, “No worry, Sweetie.  As the time gets closer, we will either prepay for the additional baggage online when we book our reservations or, if that doesn’t work well, we’ll talk to the airlines and figure it out.”  

“In the worst case, we’ll bite the bullet, pay to have the extra bags shipped or get a storage facility in Rome for the 8 months while we’ll be living in Africa, just taking our BugsAway clothes and the basics.” 
Thanks Honey, for helping me let go of this worry in order to go back to packing up our lives, figuring out how we’ll receive our prescriptions, arranging our international phone and Internet service, purchasing and setting up two new laptops and an external hard drive, downloading no less than 100 movies, scanning another 500 photos,  buying our emergency travel insurance, getting duplicate copies of our passports, getting residency and driver’s licenses in another state, completing our vaccinations and medical appointments, going through every cupboard, closet, drawer and file cabinet in our entire house (26 years later), acquiring a new mailing address, buying a new camera (and learning how to use it!) and on and on and on.
We’ll get excited when the above tasks are completed.

Comments and responses Fitting clothes into suitcases…

  1. Unknown Reply

    Jess, why not buy add'l products or clothing while abroad rather than cart 3 years worth?

    Where are you packing the box spring and mattress liner?

    • Jessica Reply

      Kathy, we gave this considerable thought.

      As for the mattress and box springs cover; will keep the original thick plastic bags they come in and learn to repack them to fit back in the bags and then into our suitcases.

      There are several reasons why we are buying all of our clothing here in the US before we go. Mainly, the cost!
      1. Most of the vacation homes we are renting are far from major cities with most of the nearby shopping overpriced for tourists.
      2. Neither Tom nor I enjoy shopping for clothes in a store. Thus, trying to find where we can buy what we like and what we want becomes a task inducing stress, rather than a pleasure.
      3. Over the years, 75% of all of our clothing purchases have been online. As an experienced long time online shopper, I tend to find great bargains at half the store prices with, of course, free shipping. Shipping clothing abroad is very costly and many US online stores do not ship outside the US.
      4. Variety in our possession: Yes, I know we're picky but we don't like to wear the same items over and over. We both will have enough variety in tops/shirts with us to wear something different each day for one month while repeatedly wearing shorts and pants. Keep in mind, Tom and I will be together 24 hours a day for many years. I won't want to look at him wearing the same shirt over and over!!

      Thanks so much for visiting our site!

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