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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, 11:06 pm
  #31  
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I have a different strategy to many. On the way there, I carry quite a bit of clothing on board in case it goes missing. I still then have clothes to wear if anything goes wrong. However, on the way home I check almost everything as I hate lugging it around the airport. I usually just carry on my medium size handbag on the way home.
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Old Nov 26, 17, 11:48 pm
  #32  
 
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
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.
My kid has this one. It slides over the suitcase handle, and is small enough to be a carry-on but still holds quite a bit.
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Old Nov 26, 17, 11:50 pm
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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.
Bought a set, tried them 2 trips, decided they were more trouble than they were worth.
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Old Nov 27, 17, 3:07 am
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I keep an extra set of everything... always packed.
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Old Nov 27, 17, 3:21 am
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Rebelyell View Post
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.
I'd be way overheated to begin with if I had the sweater on.
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.
That's WAY more stuff than I'd pack for such a trip.

Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
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.
Possibly overkill, but I'm also still mildly amused/confused as to how much more time that can possibly add to the packing process. If you have a pile of clothes ready to go into suitcases you put one in a different bag along the way. That's not a major decision-making point nor a time sink. It is putting underwear and socks on top of the laptop.

And, FWIW, all my clothes end up in the carry-on bag. So I'm not sure that's really a differentiator.

Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
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.
I'd strongly consider that a toothbrush, shaver and goggles can be cost-effectively duplicated for a dedicated travel kit. Do you use the NC headphones at home or only on the road?

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.)
Very high. I don't stay at those types of hotels in Asia because they are significantly overpriced for the product delivered IMO. When it comes to laundry I either do it myself (very rare) or find a local laundromat. Quick, easy and generally very affordable. Even if I spend $30 on laundry I put that up against potential baggage fees, time spent waiting for checked bags to be delivered, stress of lost bag risk, etc. and for most trips it is an easy win.
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Old Nov 27, 17, 6:09 am
  #36  
 
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There's a group of travellers who like to do something called onebagging, where they travel with only one carryon bag for periods of 3 days up to 3 months. Although I'm not asking you to go to that extreme, there's a lot to be learnt from their methods.

Here are some tips that you could possible duplicate:
  1. Packing cubes help. Even though they use up a bit of space and weight, for most people it helps put a limit on what they pack and helps them to organize everything in their suitcase. Get large packing cubes for your clothes, then a medium/small packing cube to stuff in all those sharp odds and ends you mention (like shaver, travel adaptor, cables, etc). Don't bother with vacuum sealed bags. It'll be really hard for you to pack everything back later.
  2. I believe you have too many clothes. you only need to pack more of the layer closest to your skin. Outer layers can be worn multiple times. This means pack more tshirts/underwear/socks (I think you do mention this though). Jackets and pants can be worn multiple times. I bring 2 pants for a week long trip and this is for humid south east asia. If you bring dress shirts, wear a tshirt underneath and the dress shirts can be worn again. Tshirts/underwear/socks don't take up a lot of space. Someone mentioned rolling tshirts. If you do this, You can fit 1 pair of pants, 2 dress shirts, 4 tshirts (rolled), 4 underwear, 4 socks in one large packing cube (10L size or so). Your 25 inch suitcase should fit 7 or 8 of these large cubes. 2 of those cubes should last you a week.
  3. Cut down toiletries to a single 3-1-1 bag (TSA sized). If you can use stuff from your hotel, so much the better. You're staying at some nice places (conrad/hilton) so their toiletries are pretty nice. You can get free toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, iron, hairdryer, shampoo, soap, conditioner, towel. So you don't really have to bring any toiletries at all if you don't want to. Just bring one or two that you HAVE to bring. Anything that doesn't fit into the 3-1-1 bag should be left behind.
  4. Somebody else mentioned it, but you don't need to use hotel laundry. If you're staying a week, you're fine without laundry, but if it's going into 2 weeks and more, it's not hard to ask at the hotel reception or just a local 7-11 where a neighbourhood laundry is. They'll usually charge by the kilo, and wash and dry and fold everything for you. You can drop it off on the way out for the day and pick it up in a few hours (or at the end of the day) and it'll be all done. For reference, in Malaysia about 2 years ago it was RM4/kg which roughly means laundry is 1USD per kg of clothes washed and folded. That's with them washing,drying and folding everything. Even 30 kilos of clothes would only cost $30 which is much less than the cost of the extra baggage fee you probably need to pay to the airline for bringing so many bags.
  5. For bringing souvenirs back, you can bring a packable duffel bag. Amazon sells the Samsonite Tote-a-Ton for $30 which has the volume of a 26 inch suitcase but packs down to the size of a book. So on the way there, just stuff it into your suitcase.
  6. Electronics are heavy and large. If you can, try to reduce them. For example, only one person (or max 2) in the family has to bring a laptop. The others can share. Bring tablets or phones instead for entertainment.
  7. Some clothes are less bulky and heavy than others and therefore more suited to travel. Bring only one pair of jeans, otherwise bring khakis. Try to buy uniqlo airism boxer briefs for you underwear. They're so much lighter and dry faster than normal underwear. I use them everyday now, even when not travelling. For cold climates, buy an ultralight down jacket. Uniqlo also sells one. They pack down so small compared to a normal jacket that you have space in your suitcase for another large packing cube (for 4 days worth of clothes).
I think once you're packing less and lighter, the whole packing experience will also be easier since you don't have to worry so much if everything will fit. I suspect that part of your packing process is trying to get everything to fit, finding out it won't, and then trying to rearrange everything. In the process you start pulling out different suitcases and wondering which ones are big enough to fit everything while still small enough to be easy to bring. One of my relatives packs like this. Most of the time is lost to trying to figure out what to bring, because not everything will fit, and therefore everything has to be unpacked and repacked multiple times.

So to recap. A 25 inch suitcase should have around 60L of space. You can start by packing all clothes into packing cubes, and you'll be done with that in 30 min max. Maybe bring 4 large cubes to start with for a 2 week trip (I only bring 1 large cube for a week). That's 40L. Bring 1-2L of toiletries (the TSA size bag is 1L in volume). Packing up all your toiletries will take maybe 15 min. Bring 5L-10L of electronics. (laptop + all chargers + camera + tablet + cables + travel adaptor + power strip should only take up 10L) Pack the electronics into 1 or 2 packing cubes. You'll have only used 50L and still have 10L left over for souvenirs. Bring that "samsonite tote-a-ton" packable duffel bag I mentioned (1L of space). And you'll have done everything in 1 hour.

Feel free to change this around as you see fit, but I hope this gives you an idea of where to start.

Hope this helps.

Edit: I just googled "pickup laundry hong kong" and found some services. It looked expensive at first until I realized they were in Hong Kong Dollars. It was roughly $200 HKD for 15kg of clothes which converts to $20 USD to wash your whole suitcase of clothes. That includes pickup from your hotel, washing, drying, folding and delivery back to your hotel when its done. I'd say that's worth it to be able to bring half the number of bags.
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Last edited by Lodd; Nov 27, 17 at 6:27 am
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Old Nov 27, 17, 7:33 am
  #37  

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I have two of all toiletries, toothbruhes, combs, etc. That kit is always packed and ready to go. After each trip, I empty it of the extra shampoos, soaps, etc that I brought home and make sure it is ready for the next trip. I use an electric toothbrush at home but a traditional one on trips, makes it easier plus I don't need to worry about chargers. I have extra chargers set in a separate drawer, ready to be thrown into my carry on at a moments notice.
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Old Nov 27, 17, 9:10 am
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I travel mainly for work, so have to take suits (sometimes 2) and dress shirts and shoes. But I know what I need, and it only takes me 20 minutes to pack. Maybe 15 minutes to unpack. I have a dedicated clear plastic toiletry kit, and a black mesh bag with all electronic needs - charging cords, international adaptors, for phone and laptop, all ready to go. I also recently got a Delsey spinner with the side lid, which seems easier for managing clothes while at the hotel than the suitcases which open by dividing evenly in two.
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Old Nov 27, 17, 9:30 am
  #39  
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Well the original question was how to pack in less time but the thread had now morphed more towards what to pack. There is a correlation between how much stuff you have to pack and how much time it will take obviously, but it won't half the time it takes you to pack.

Here's the thing. Some people due to whatever reasons walk slower than other people. What advice can anyone give someone who asks, 'how can I walk faster' beyond saying pick up the pace. The fact is that every individual does things at their own speed. In terms of packing, one person can spend 2 minutes deciding which shirts, pants, dresses, etc. they want to pack while another can spend an hour deciding. How does anyone come up with a practical answer of how to change that second person to a 2 minute decision maker?

I would suggest you look at where you are actually spending your time evergrn. Packing time is technically, only the actual amount of time you spend putting things into your suitcase. My guess is, that is not where you are spending the majority of your time. My guess is that it is spent on deciding what to put in. One piece of advice you have been given but appear to be ignoring is to have dedicated 'travel' items. The toiletry bag ready and waiting is one example that has been given over and over here. The same can be done with everything else as well. If you have a Packing List that you follow without fail, you will spend less time from opening the suitcase to pack it to closing it packed.

But you have to stick to your list and not change your mind about anything mid-packing. You can change items on your list between trips but NOT during the packing process. That of course requires discipline. This does not mean that you must have items that are only for travel. You don't need to buy a travel only wardrobe. You just need to decide what items go on your list and then stick to that list. A bonus, is that the less items you have on that list will result in less time spent and so looking at what to pack then becomes worth thinking about.

Mokuhine makes a very good point about 'mix and match'. On a recent 10 day trip, my wife took her usual 3 tops, 3 bottoms, 3 pair of shoes. We were staying the entire time in one hotel with a semi-formal dining room. Another female guest who was staying during the same time, said to her one evening, 'you know, every woman who has been here a few days waits to see what you will be wearing when you come into the dining room.' It was intended as a compliment. With 3 tops and 3 bottoms plus a scarf or jewellery added or removed, her '3s' appeared to be a dozen or more different outfits.

Look at this example of how just 4 items become 8 outfits: https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/mi...es-of-clothes/ There are also links on the page for examples of 6,10, 12 and 15 piece wardrobes. Don't get hung up on whether you like the look of the examples or not, that's personal taste. It's the concept that matters and can be applied by anyone, male or female.

How do you think my wife can go from bed to out the door in an hour? She has a list, she follows it, she's done and ready.
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Old Nov 27, 17, 10:42 am
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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? (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.)
It's very easy to find hotels in Japan with on-site coin laundry facilities - just look beyond the Conrads, Hiltons, and other similar western chain properties to business hotels, local chains, independent hotels, etc. We don't find that doing our own laundry takes any time away from the trip - just throw in a load after we're back in the room for the day. Even in some locales where taking the clothes to a laundry outside the hotel is the best option, it isn't really a big deal to stop off and do a load. And it saves so much on luggage space!

Packing cubes are handy especially for my wife who seems to appreciate the forced organization. They don't save space per se but can keep things better organized which can be helpful. Certain travel-specific items stay in the cubes for the next trip. Having a pre-set packing list can be helpful for some people as well.

One thing that also helps, which is taking my wife longer to be comfortable with, is realizing that there usually isn't a whole lot that you truly need to take from home. Or put another way, that with some exceptions, most anything you forget or run out of, can be picked up easily enroute or at your destination - sometimes cheaper than at home. You can get a new toothbrush, hand lotion, pair of socks, etc. in Paris, or Santiago, or Kanazawa just as easily as back home. So don't worry that "what if I need that extra pair of socks?" and pack less.
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Old Nov 27, 17, 11:05 am
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Originally Posted by dulciusexasperis View Post
If you have a Packing List that you follow without fail, you will spend less time from opening the suitcase to pack it to closing it packed.

But you have to stick to your list and not change your mind about anything mid-packing. You can change items on your list between trips but NOT during the packing process. That of course requires discipline. This does not mean that you must have items that are only for travel. You don't need to buy a travel only wardrobe. You just need to decide what items go on your list and then stick to that list. A bonus, is that the less items you have on that list will result in less time spent and so looking at what to pack then becomes worth thinking about.
That only works if the circumstances of each trip are the same. If you take summer leisure trips to HKG or Japan and then business trips to NYC in February, you're going to need radically different lists.
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Old Nov 27, 17, 11:10 am
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Originally Posted by dulciusexasperis View Post
...My guess is that it is spent on deciding what to put in...
...But you have to stick to your list and not change your mind about anything mid-packing. You can change items on your list between trips but NOT during the packing process...
Yeah, this is probably the most important piece of advice here. Everything else are more detailed steps of how to carry out the concept mentioned here. If you can stick to your list, packing will be finished quickly.

Along the way, you do mention that you have to pack 2 suitcases per person. Having to decide about 2 suitcases of stuff and having to find the items around the house and put them in also adds to your time. If you have a packing list, the time you take will be reduced a lot, even if you bring 2 suitcases. But if your packing list is already optimized for 1 suitcase worth, then you'll spend even less time. Most importantly, as dulciusexasperis mentions, is to prepare the list ahead of time, then just follow it. You won't be worried about forgetting anything, and you'll know exactly what to get while walking around the house instead of having to take multiple trips to get each and every item.

Good luck.
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Old Nov 27, 17, 12:08 pm
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Originally Posted by vbnet View Post
Send some items out to laundry if need be.
I'm going to be more cautious about this on future trips. I sent things to (different) laundries twice on a recent trip to Israel. Both times they came back reeking of (to me) horrible perfumes, and at least one item in each batch came back with very creative new colors.

Perfumes can be asthma triggers for me, though luckily these weren't. I hate them regardless. I had to wash some items three or four times when I got home to eliminate the smell.

I have a feeling much of the stink came from starch. If I ever take a chance on a laundry again I'll do my best to request no starch.
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Old Nov 27, 17, 12:37 pm
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Originally Posted by ajGoes View Post
I'm going to be more cautious about this on future trips. I sent things to (different) laundries twice on a recent trip to Israel. Both times they came back reeking of (to me) horrible perfumes, and at least one item in each batch came back with very creative new colors.

Perfumes can be asthma triggers for me, though luckily these weren't. I hate them regardless. I had to wash some items three or four times when I got home to eliminate the smell.

I have a feeling much of the stink came from starch. If I ever take a chance on a laundry again I'll do my best to request no starch.
I'm always very specific on the instructions on what I do and don't want... down to the temperature of the water and heat setting for the dryer. I've never had any issue with this... except in one location where the only laundromat the hotel could possibly contract out to in a gazillion mile radius was owned and operated by a single elderly Asian woman who, as far as I can tell, knew very few words in English.
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Old Nov 27, 17, 12:47 pm
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
What would be the normal range of price for laundry at a Hilton or a Conrad in, say, Tokyo, Hawaii, Hong Kong?
I don't know about those places but I can tell you that it cost me as much to have one shirt done at a nice business hotel in Israel as two bags cost at a laundry. Think hundreds of dollars for significant amounts of laundry.
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