Results of the 1 Carry-on Challenge; 9 Tips to Packing Light (that I should follow)

First, the 6-weeks-into-1-carry-on-challenge…WHY? you may ask.  INFINITELY easier…off the plane, no waiting an hour for luggage (that may or may not arrive), easier up and down steps (old European buildings…no elevators), and much easier to keep track of.  While we have been traveling with a ‘carry-on only’ rule for years, the longest we have been tested is 3 weeks.  We are going for Olympic Gold with 6 weeks.

So, our equipment:

First challenge…do we go for Gold with our usual 19 inch bag, or cave with the 22 inch bag?


As you can see, the bag on the left is definitely smaller and it is much lighter, as well.

Profile please:


Wow!  Big difference.  (And I use the one on the left to travel for 2 weeks in the winter! (think heavy sweaters and boots)   Which will it be?

Well, first let’s look at the rules:

  • Rule #1- Haute couture and small suitcases do not mix (Yes, those shoes will match everything you have)
  • Rule #2- If you REALLY need it (and didn’t bring it), you can buy it there
  • Rule #3- You don’t really need it
  • Rule #4- You can wear things more than once, and absolutely no one will notice
  • Rule #5- Or care
  • Rule #6- Everything goes with black
  • Rule #7- Breaking news…they have washing machines and dry cleaners in Europe! (Asia, South America rumored to follow soon)
  • Rule #8- Whether you go for 2 weeks or 2 months, pack enough clothes to get you through 5-7 days…then refer to Rule #7
  • Rule #9- Packing light is part art and part science…art is being creative with colors (black and navy? maybe); science is the physics of stuffing it all in the case.

Ok, with that in mind, here are the first steps of my packing…Day 1 of the packing process…


I feel really confident with a small, essentials-only start.

Day 2:


Not looking good…hiking clothes missing and sweaters, too.  Big rule breaker here, also…no white pants!  And 7 pairs of shoes?

Results?  Getting the Silver since I had to use the bigger carry-on.  Good news, though, with space to spare (!!), I plan on doing my part to help the troubled Spanish economy…it’s the least I can do.

Ok, it looks like a good day to go to Barcelona.  Adios, amigos.


Yikes! We’re leaving soon!

Less than 1 week to:

  • Learn Spanish
  • Pack 6 weeks of clothing (and shoes!) into a carry-on rollybag
  • Carry on with business
  • Errands, errands, errands
  • Learn how to blog
  • Put blog online
  • Get the house/bills/accounts in total leaving order
  • Make all outstanding reservations
  • Buy all hurricane supplies (we’re in Florida…might be one when we return)
  • Stay calm

Welcome to my first blog post in my new bloggy world!  (Just trying to get used to the word)  I’ve been sitting on this post for so long the original title was, ‘less than 2 months to…’ so I decided to take the advice I used to give my kids at the edge of the swimming pool…just jump in!  Yea!  Still a little cold and scary, but here I am!

In less than a week we will be leaving on a 6-week trip to the Pyrenees and environs.  Although I couldn’t have started packing then, 6 months ago, when we started to think seriously about a long-term break, would have been a good time to start the Spanish.

Maps and guidebooks…check

And this would be a good occasion to come up with a powerful mantra, something like…Oooooommmmm…it will all get done, it will all get done…

The ‘to-do’list gets longer every day, with only the odd thing crossed off, like buy the tickets.  Nowhere on the list does it say, start writing a blog.  Aah!  still need a hotel in Bilbao!  What am I doing writing a blog? (Rhetorical, no good answer)  So, this is a peek into how I get organized and ready to leave home for 6 weeks.  (well, ready, anyway)

I am going to use this blog space to chronicle our experiences, in word and photo (including the ‘6-week/1 carry-on challenge’)

Our landing spot is Barcelona, Spain…the closest gateway to the Spanish/French Pyrenees.  Regionalism is alive and well in Spain and that is just fine with us and our quest for local foods and time-honored cultures.  We will be visiting only a few of the autonomies (autonomous regions) and all in the north.

Catalunya…here we come!