The New York Times ran a piece a while back, 10 Days in a Carry-On, in which a flight attendant packs a ridiculous amount of clothes into a suitcase. I absolutely disagree with her packing philosophy!
Just because it's possible to take a lot of clothes doesn't mean you should. When it comes to international travel, all the cliches are true: less is more; when in doubt, leave it out; et cetera.
If there are people living where you are going, and most likely there are, then you will be able to buy anything you need. So pack as little as possible and enjoy the trip!
Some people swear by rolling suitcases. And if you're flying somewhere and going straight to the hotel, that's fine. But for maximum flexibility or if you are going to be changing hotels a lot, nothing beats a backpack. And most backpacks fit within the carry-on size restrictions, so you won't have to check any baggage.
On a recent trip, our shuttle bus dropped us off at an expensive beach resort area. Some locals told us that hotels were a lot cheaper in the next town. But getting there entailed a half-mile walk on the sandy beach. Everybody on the shuttle bus who had a backpack was able to make the easy trek. Those with suitcases decided to just stay in the expensive part of town.
We spent over four weeks in Turkey and Greece last year. A list of everything I took is below. I think it's decently minamlist, but I could have taken even less!
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- 1 Dana Design Bomb Pack (3200 cu. in.)
- 2 FedEx bags, 2 small nylon sacks, 3 white trash bags, 3 large zip locks
- 8 underwear
- 1 bathing suit (board shorts, doubled as shorts)
- 4 t-shirts: 2 wool, 2 cotton (use wool whenever possible for shirts)
- 2 long-sleeve shirts: 1 wool, 1 wool/poly blend
- 1 convertible pants/shorts (nylon) (synthetics don't wrinkle, easy to clean)
- 5 short socks, 3 long socks (1 unused)
- 1 umbrella
- 1 wide-brimmed sun hat
- 1 netbook
- 1 handheld digital camera
- 1 int'l power adapter
- 1 shorts (cotton, dark khaki)
- 1 pants (cotton, dark khaki) (didn't really need these)
- 2 pairs shoes - crocs and sneakers (didn't really need the sneakers)
- 1 towel
- 1 wool sweater (dark blue, slightly dressy)
- 1 small lock
- 2 paperback books, 10 magazines
- 1 eye glasses (prescription)
- 1 sun glasses with hard case
- 1 large safety pin (to secure pockets against pick pockets)
- 1 plastic spoon, fork
- 1 headlamp