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Time it takes to pack & unpack, and any strategy for not having to repeat each time?

Time it takes to pack & unpack, and any strategy for not having to repeat each time?

Old Nov 26, 17, 3:55 pm
  #16  
 
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I have a pre-made list of what to pack. Near the end of the general list are a sub-list for business travel. I also keep travel toiletries in the carry on luggage permanently.

The choice of what major items of clothing to bring are decided at the time of packing but that doesn't take long.
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Old Nov 26, 17, 5:06 pm
  #17  
 
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Originally Posted by CDTraveler View Post

Trying to wash cotton or wool socks in a sink, expecting them to get actually clean that way and dry by morning is not realistic. Maybe if all you wear is synthetic fabrics they might dry, but nobody here wears those. My kid prefers socks with a thick, cushioning sole, they take as long as a towel in the dryer, and buying different, quick drying socks for travel that he'd never wear at home makes no sense
.
I have a few sets of travel socks and underwear sold by Tilley that are great. Washable and dry overnight. They have pants and shirts that also are in that category. Not saying buy them for your kid, but they are great for the frequent traveller.
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Old Nov 26, 17, 5:17 pm
  #18  
 
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Originally Posted by mapleg View Post
I have a few sets of travel socks and underwear sold by Tilley that are great. Washable and dry overnight. They have pants and shirts that also are in that category. Not saying buy them for your kid, but they are great for the frequent traveller.
+1. Also, ExOfficio products.

I think for frequent travelers, it may well make perfect sense to have a set of quick-drying travel clothes, or at least socks and underwear. I just returned from a three week trip with four sets of socks and underwear. I did some sink laundry a few times and never had trouble with anything being damp in the morning.

I can also vouch for Prana's "Stretch Zion" fabric for pants. Durable, water resistant and dries very quickly. Great when you need pants that can pull double-duty on a 25 mile hiking trip and still be passable in a Tokyo cocktail bar.
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Old Nov 26, 17, 5:31 pm
  #19  
 
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
Cut 3 shirts from the list and the sweater IMO. Also cut at least one pair of pants.
I find a sweater to be a must-have in Europe in all but the summer months. I wear it over a "dress" t-shirt. Regardless of the temperature outside, most indoor spaces in Europe -- pretty much all of Europe -- are hot, hot, hot year round. With a sweater, as soon as I get on a sweltering train or sit down in an overheated restaurant I can take the sweater off and be a little cooler.
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Old Nov 26, 17, 7:12 pm
  #20  
 
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A week or so before the trip I put clothes aside on hangars for the trip. I also check over the toiletries bag ( I use an old fashioned toothbrush on trips - so none of this needing to put things in the day of the trip except for maybe a bottle of foundation). Night before I lift the hangars off the rod, fold the clothes (hangars and all) into thirds and lay them in the suitcase. Fill in empty areas with shoes, toiletries. Get to the hotel you lift them up and out, hang them up and you are ready to go.

Remember: Less is more. Send some items out to laundry if need be. Lists definitely help but fulfill those lists throughout the week, putting the items in a dedicated space or the suitcase.
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Old Nov 26, 17, 7:15 pm
  #21  
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Appreciate all the responses. I did not even know about these packing cubes. I will look into them. With traditional way of packing, clothes will fill in any remaining space/gap inside suitcase and also act as cushion against sharp protruding objects (plugs) or various devices (eg, camera) from moving about. If you pack everything into these cubes, how do you manage those issues? Or you don't? Also, do you guys toss the used/dirty clothes back into these cubes? If so, I presume you need to wash these cubes on a regular basis?<br /><br />I'm surprised to find that so many of you actually take the time to do laundry during the trip. While traveling light and minimizing the number of suitcases to take would be very ideal, I just can't imagine having to worry about laundry during precious vacation time. Trade-off is that I'm having to take lots of suitcases for each trip. If I'm going to Jpn or HKG in the summer time, I assume needing two sets of clothes (shirt, underwear, socks) per day. For a family of 4, that adds up. A 25" suitcase typically holds about 6 sets of clothes for a family of 4, which is good for ~3 hot days (eg, summer in Jpn) or 6 normal days (eg, spring in Jpn), but I still need additional space for jackets, toiletries, electrical devices, etc. Plus, with our ~4 annual trips to Asia, we always bring back a bunch of purchases for ourselves and some gifts for few people. I tried the vacuum-sealable bags a while back to deal with this, but it didn't work out. Hence, one checked luggage is never enough for a week-long trip. For our recent week-long trip, we ended up taking 2 checked bags, 1 carry-on. I know that may sound crazy to some of you. On the way there, each checked bag had a lot of empty spaces and I had to stuff packing paper. On the way back, though, every bag was packed.<br /><br />I think another policy of mine that maybe complicates the packing process is that I insist on packing all the essentials and one day's worth of clothes in the carry-on in case the checked bag doesn't make it to the destination. As I'm writing this, I'm realizing all of these personal policies that are making things more complicated. Precaution against checked bag not making it, allowing space for purchases abroad to bring back, not wanting to have to do laundry while traveling, not able to justify keeping an entirely separate set of travel-specific clothes/devices (since I'm only on the road ~50 days out of the year) .....<br /><br />
Originally Posted by CDTraveler View Post
<br />Also, how on earth does it take 90 minutes to unpack? Unzip suitcase, lift everything out. Dirty stuff gets dumped in the hamper, clean stuff gets put away. 15 minutes max.
<br /><br />Almost everything I pack for trips are things I use at home and each thing has its own rightful place in different area of the house for everyday use. My laptop is my one and only home computer, and just walking to my study, unpacking and restoring that alone takes a good minute or more. There're all these other things that I have to do the same for... electric toothbrush, noise-cancelling headphone, jacket, swim goggles, sunglasses, electric shaver, etc, etc. So it really adds up. Having said that, I realize that 90min still seems too long, and I can't figure out why it takes me so long.<br /><br />
Originally Posted by Rebelyell View Post
I have a cardboard file box full of stuff that I only use while traveling. It has things like power adapters, travel-size shaving cream, leftover euros or other money, etc. So when I pack this stuff is readily available.<br />
<br /><br />For me, the only set of items that are travel-specific would be passport, Nexus card, foreign money, toiletry bags, laptop case, adaptor, printout of Star Alliance lounge access policies. I do keep them altogether. <br /><br /><br />
Originally Posted by dulciusexasperis View Post
[redacted]<br />I can pack for any trip in under half an hour. My wife reminds me regularly that if I wish to surprise her with trip to somewhere nice for a few days, that she can go from sleep to sitting in the car ready to head for the airport in under an hour. That includes, shower, make-up, dressed and packed. And she's serious.
<br /><br />That is amazing.<br /><br />
Originally Posted by Lost View Post
I have a Ziploc bag under the sink that I keep travel toiletries in so I can just grab it.<br />
<br /><br />My toiletry stuff has a 1-week pill case for daily vitamins/supplements, as well as a subcomponent that has little containers to hold skin care lotions and cream to facilitate bringing onboard the carry-on. For me, it's not as simple as just grabbing my toiletry bag, as the liquid skin care product containers and pill cases need to be refilled for each trip.<br /><br />
Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
Laundry options exist everywhere in the world. Some cost more, either in time or money, but they always exist.
<br /><br />I really hate spending extras at hotels, but maybe hotel laundry service is something I need to start looking into. What would be the normal range of price for laundry at a Hilton or a Conrad in, say, Tokyo, Hawaii, Hong Kong?<br />(Most Hiltons/Conrads in Asia I've stayed at offer free pressing service for certain # of clothes for those on executive floors. I wish they offered free laundry instead.)
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Old Nov 26, 17, 8:28 pm
  #22  
 
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I never unpack. Apart from toiletries and pants (which are hung up), everything else stays in the bag. Oh and the bag is packed and ready to go at home, for the few days a month I am there.... Oh and this all goes in a Tumi Alpha 2 20" rollaboard. I can easily do 2 weeks with just that and a laptop bag as carry-on.
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Old Nov 26, 17, 9:05 pm
  #23  
 
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
If I'm going to Jpn or HKG in the summer time, I assume needing two sets of clothes (shirt, underwear, socks) per day. For a family of 4, that adds up. A 25" suitcase typically holds about 6 sets of clothes for a family of 4, which is good for ~3 hot days (eg, summer in Jpn) or 6 normal days (eg, spring in Jpn), but I still need additional space for jackets, toiletries, electrical devices, etc.
The neighborhood laundry could be your best friend. In HKG I know there are hundreds of small laundry businesses where you drop off the clothing in the morning, pick it up in the afternoon. I can't quote an exact price on what they charge now, but I'm sure it's less than what luxury hotels charge.

Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
Plus, with our ~4 annual trips to Asia, we always bring back a bunch of purchases for ourselves and some gifts for few people. I tried the vacuum-sealable bags a while back to deal with this, but it didn't work out. Hence, one checked luggage is never enough for a week-long trip. For our recent week-long trip, we ended up taking 2 checked bags, 1 carry-on.
2 and 1 per person, or total? If you're taking that many bags times 4 people, you're definitely overpacking. Try packing an empty sturdy canvas duffle (LL Bean makes great ones) and use it as a dirty clothes bag during the trip. That gives you a convenient way to haul the clothes to the laundry and back, and then you can use to haul home clothes and stuff your purchases into the suitcase.
Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
On the way back, though, every bag was packed. I think another policy of mine that maybe complicates the packing process is that I insist on packing all the essentials and one day's worth of clothes in the carry-on in case the checked bag doesn't make it to the destination. As I'm writing this, I'm realizing all of these personal policies that are making things more complicated. Precaution against checked bag not making it, allowing space for purchases abroad to bring back, not wanting to have to do laundry while traveling, not able to justify keeping an entirely separate set of travel-specific clothes/devices (since I'm only on the road ~50 days out of the year) .....
You don't need complete outfits for everybody in the carry-ons, a change of underwear will get you through until either bag arrives or you can hit a store. As for essentials, well, we all define those differently. For me, that's travel documents, medications,a toothbrush but not the full toiletries kit, anything irreplaceable or valuable (jewelry, electronics) and a book to read on the plane.

Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
Almost everything I pack for trips are things I use at home and each thing has its own rightful place in different area of the house for everyday use. My laptop is my one and only home computer, and just walking to my study, unpacking and restoring that alone takes a good minute or more. There're all these other things that I have to do the same for... electric toothbrush, noise-cancelling headphone, jacket, swim goggles, sunglasses, electric shaver, etc, etc. So it really adds up. Having said that, I realize that 90min still seems too long, and I can't figure out why it takes me so long..
Do you take out 1 item at a time, put it away and then take out another single item? Have you tried grouping the items, say laptop, headphones and any other electronics in one trip, shaver, toothbrush, toiletries in the next, and so on?

Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
My toiletry stuff has a 1-week pill case for daily vitamins/supplements, as well as a subcomponent that has little containers to hold skin care lotions and cream to facilitate bringing onboard the carry-on. For me, it's not as simple as just grabbing my toiletry bag, as the liquid skin care product containers and pill cases need to be refilled for each trip..
Again, it's about using time effectively. When you unpack from one trip, refill the containers before you put the bag away, then next time it's ready.

Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
I really hate spending extras at hotels, but maybe hotel laundry service is something I need to start looking into. What would be the normal range of price for laundry at a Hilton or a Conrad in, say, Tokyo, Hawaii, Hong Kong?<br />(Most Hiltons/Conrads in Asia I've stayed at offer free pressing service for certain # of clothes for those on executive floors. I wish they offered free laundry instead.)
Hotels are the expensive way to go. Look for a neighborhood laundry.
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Old Nov 26, 17, 9:26 pm
  #24  
 
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Especially in Asia, not hard to find somewhere selling a cheap bag that'll survive one trip home to carry your souvenirs, rather than bringing an extra suitcase with you.
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Old Nov 26, 17, 9:53 pm
  #25  
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Originally Posted by txflyer77 View Post
Especially in Asia, not hard to find somewhere selling a cheap bag that'll survive one trip home to carry your souvenirs, rather than bringing an extra suitcase with you.
I see Chinese tourists doing this in Jpn. They buy hard case suitcases to stuff their puchases in, and you can get one for as little as ~$30USD over there. I wonder what they do with the luggage once they get home. You don't want to keep accumulating more and more bags, yet it seems a waste (not to mention environmentally unfriendly) to throw it away.
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Old Nov 26, 17, 10:02 pm
  #26  
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Originally Posted by CDTraveler View Post
2 and 1 per person, or total? If you're taking that many bags times 4 people, you're definitely overpacking. Try packing an empty sturdy canvas duffle (LL Bean makes great ones) and use it as a dirty clothes bag during the trip. That gives you a convenient way to haul the clothes to the laundry and back, and then you can use to haul home clothes and stuff your purchases into the suitcase.
Total. The duffle bag idea sounds excellent, though. It would have to be something you can attach to the suitcase, though, so I wouldn't have to carry it.

Originally Posted by CDTraveler View Post
Do you take out 1 item at a time, put it away and then take out another single item?
I take everything out of the suitcase, lay them on the floor, then grab a few things at a time (somewhat trying to grab things that sit in the same general area of the house), go put them away, then come back and grab the next few items.
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Old Nov 26, 17, 10:05 pm
  #27  
 
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I'm sure you look much nicer while traveling than I do...

I don't check a bag anymore, just have a tiny spinner carry-on and well-organized backpack. This for 3 weeks in places like South Africa and Madagascar, or Borneo and Singapore. So, clearly I am not packing a business suit and dress shoes; it's all lightweight layers of clothing that are quick-dry. Laundry service is cheap in such places. Still, I did a week in Toronto and Montreal the same way, but more urban type of clothing. My co-travelers joked that I was like one of those clowns who can pull endless numbers of items out of a tiny suitcase. I don't use packing cubes as they just take up space.
1 - I roll dresses and shirts to maximize use of interior space, flat-fold undies into the exterior flat zipper pocket, stuff bras, socks, and hairbrush to fill the odd corners.
2 - I am very strict about the wardrobe -- all things must mix and match, allowing the pieces to seem like a lot when I simply mix tops and bottoms for different looks. Use local laundry on long trips. Start with a list, then delete, delete, delete until I have the bare essentials. THEN pack - takes about 20 minutes.
3 - Camera, medications, passport, sunglasses and other essentials go into the backpack. I also pack a small flat zip purse to use while at my destination so I don't haul the backpack into nice restaurants, for example.
4 - Wear the heaviest shoes and jacket (if I have to have them) on the flight. I rarely travel with more than 2 pair of shoes, never more than 3.
5 - Many hotels provide adequate toiletries. Depending on the destination, I may not need to pack shampoo, conditioner, lotion. I pack travel-size products and leave them behind at the end of the trip.
5 - Gifts are usually textiles -- easy to pack. Sometimes I have to carry a shopping bag on the flight home, but that's not a big deal. Many stores will ship items for you. I confess I have hand-carried large "finds" home a time or two, but it should be avoided.

A recent flight had very severe weight restriction for carry-on bags. In that instance I had to remove my laptop and check my bag.

I doubt my methods will work for you, but it's good that you are facing the need to simplify. Good luck and happy travels!
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Old Nov 26, 17, 10:06 pm
  #28  
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Originally Posted by timfountain View Post
I never unpack. Apart from toiletries and pants (which are hung up), everything else stays in the bag. Oh and the bag is packed and ready to go at home, for the few days a month I am there....
I wish I never had to unpack. But I'm only travelling ~15% of the time or maybe even less.
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Old Nov 26, 17, 10:11 pm
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Mokuhine View Post
I don't use packing cubes as they just take up space.
Really? I've just been researching these packing cubes on ebags and was leaning towards ordering some. People are saying these save space, that you can pack more. I'd like additional insight on these cubes, hear pros and cons.
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Old Nov 26, 17, 10:35 pm
  #30  
 
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
Really? I've just been researching these packing cubes on ebags and was leaning towards ordering some. People are saying these save space, that you can pack more. I'd like additional insight on these cubes, hear pros and cons.
Packing cubes are fantastic for organization. Separate your socks and stuff in one, shirts in another, toiletries in a third, etc. You can get the vacuum sealing kinds for slightly more, though I'd counsel against these since you'll inadvertently end up packing more, and by extension potentially go over a weight restriction if you check a bag or carry it all in a backpack like I do. I used to do the whole "roll clothes and stick them in" but I think packing cubes have made life a lot easier in terms of dividing up a bag into sections, so you can selectively pack (e.g. all winter clothes in one cube, swimsuit in another, etc.) and then rotate based on what you need. I actually live out of packing cubes even at home now, full-time. The only (very minor) complaint I have with packing cubes on the road is ... where to put dirty laundry, but that's a very minor complaint.

As for packing in general, it takes me around 15-20 minutes tops, mostly to fold clothes if I'm lazy. I have a dedicated travel backpack that I use whether it's 1 day trip or 1 month long trip. Inside, I'll have what I call a "tech dopp kit" which carries chargers, cables, etc. and I rotate that into my daypack for work or exploring a city. I keep a permanent set of toiletries in a clear bag from Tom Bihn and then restock as needed. This never leaves my bag. Clothing I'll rotate into cubes as needed as described above. If you're into souvenirs, you can half-pack a rollaboard (or bring it on empty) and gate-check it for extra space on the return leg. Also, don't forget to include a snack (granola bars are great for this). You never know when you might get hungry. Same goes for a water bottle -- a lot of airports have water bottle filling stations now (e.g. SFO/ORD).
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