"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
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
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.