"How much should you pack?" is a question that inspires debate among

experienced travelers. Some, like PBS travel guru Rick Steves, advocate

traveling with nothing more than a lightweight nylon carry-on; others (the

sort of people you see in the pages of Conde Nast Traveler magazine)

wouldn't dream of leaving home without a matched, five-piece set of

Louis Vuitton luggage.

In reality, the question of how much to pack (and what to pack it in)

depends on the type of trip you're taking. If you're driving, the size of your

vehicle's trunk will dictate your baggage allowance. If you're traveling by

air, you need to ask yourself:

"Will I be on the road constantly, or will I stay in one place?"

"Can I afford taxis at my destinations, or will I have to take my

luggage on the bus or subway?"

"Will I be traveling cheaply and casually, or will I need to dress

up for dinner every night?"

"Am I built like Hulk Hogan, or am I a latter-day replica of

Audrey Hepbum?"


Don't let yourself be bullied into underpacking, but don't make the

mistake of carrying things you don't need, either. For more insights into

packing, read:

Best Preparations: Packing for Travel

Arthur Frommer offers tips on choosing and packing a suitcase,

with warm- and cold-weather wardrobe lists.


The Travelite FAQ

Lani Teshima compares the pros and cons of different luggage

types. Her packing suggestions include: "Save your holey socks and

dingy underwear for your trip, and throw them away as you go!"


Packing for Europe

This article (which I wrote) is geared toward travelers to Europe, but

its suggestions work just as well in the United States and Canada.