Clearly they have no faith in my packing skills, but I can forgive them for that. What they don't realize is that organizing is my superhero power. (Not quite as cool as flying or telepathic powers, but hey, you take what you can get, right?)
I can tell I'm getting a lot of skepticism for you, too. Now, I don't normally like to flaunt my superhero powers (except maybe when somebody is whining about having no space for something new and I can rearrange it to make it all fit... that usually ends in a victory dance) but I figured you might be able to learn a tip or two for your next trip.
Now, pay attention: the trick to packing is really in your strategy. What works for me is organizing, and my favorite organizing tool happens to be Eagle Creek's pack-it systems. They are amazing, and I probably now own about 200 pieces of them. (Not really, but close.) If you don't know what pack-it cubes are, check out Eagle Creek's site, or keep reading...
So here's my 22" piece of luggage, all packed and ready to go (the boots are there for size comparison, and also because I'll be wearing them, not packing them):
I also have a carry-on purse for smaller items such as international papers, passport, money, kindle, writing supplies, travel pillow (yes, it fits in there!), etc.
If we open it up...
You can see the Eagle Creek pack-it pieces. The larger one on the left (which is actually blue) is the two-sided cube, and the smaller red one is the two-sided half cube. There's also a black one along the top side that is called the mudbox, and it has a pair of casual shoes in it. (It's true!)
If we pull off the top two Eagle Creek pack-its, you can see my orange travel towel, pairs of socks, and one more pack-it below, which is the 15" folder. With the pack-it cubes you have to roll up your clothes inside them, but the folder keeps nicer clothes flat and carefully arranged to keep them from wrinkling. It comes with a plastic board to act as a guide to fold your clothes around. Genius!
Now you can see my stack of pack-its, my pair of shoes in the black pack-it mudbox, and a peek into the top flap of my luggage, where I stored my toiletry kit and my first aid/ medicine bag.
So here's everything, now looking like a giant mess, when actually it's quite nicely arranged. Since my large pack-it cube is two-sided, I pulled out the clothes and laid them next to it so you can see the amount of stuff it holds. Here's the tally:
One side of my pack-it has my hiking clothes: one hiking skirt (my favorite outdoor piece), one pair of hiking capris, and four quick-dry tops. The other side of my pack-it cube has travel clothes: two cotton t-shirts (one for sleeping), one pair of pajama pants, and three travel shirts. (Plus, I'll be wearing a pair of travel pants.)
The folder has my nicer outfits, for travel and evenings: two travel tops, two dresses, one skirt, one long sleeved blouse, and one wool pullover.
The smaller pack-it cube has underwear, socks on one side and bras, swim wear on the other.
The purple thing at the bottom is an insulated coat in its stuff sack. I also have a rain coat that I'm carrying on the plane.
So there you have it. Essentially two weeks of clothes (actually, if you mix and match there's waaay more than that in here... I'm a chronic over-packer, believe it or not) plus a few layers in case it gets cold in the evenings. I also brought a packet of travel detergent and a clothes line so I can wash some of these pieces to wear again, if I need to.
And, I didn't mention this before, but I have to bring a backpack for my trip, as well. Currently it's empty except for my camera, so it didn't seem worthy of being in the shot. It'll be nice to have when I'm headed home with a lot of dirty laundry and need some "overflow" luggage space. :)
So this marks my last post before vacation. I will see you all around the 14th of October, or so! Be prepared for lots of pictures when I get back. Like, lots. :)