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How to travel with less

Discussion in 'General EDC Discussion' started by Mr. Glass, Oct 14, 2017.

  1. Mr. Glass

    Mr. Glass Loaded Pockets

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    Hello,

    tl;dr: I am seeking advice on how to travel with less while going on 2-4 night business trips.

    Despite a lot of effort on my part, my coworkers seem to be able to travel comfortably with less stuff than I do. This has always been the case in my life though. When I was in Boy Scouts as a kid, I brought way more than others and people would poke fun at that.

    I recently started a new job and it's great, but the downside is that I am traveling in closer proximity to my coworkers, so am embarrassed and self-conscious about them seeing my large tactical backpack, 25" suitcase, and the cooler I bring along to support my paleo diet. Ideally I want to find a way to travel with less.

    I'd imagine there are some folks on here who can relate to my over preparation. Any tips to minimalize? I don't mind investing in smaller more efficient gear.

    My trips for work don't tend to exceed 4 nights and I usually bring 1-2 suits and a blazer, 2 packed pairs of shoes plus Birkenstocks for around the hotel room. Shoes are the thing that gets me. If I didn't need to wear a suit, this would be easier. Things will be a bit more challenging when winter comes. I have to imagine I can do this though if so many others do.

    Any tips?

    Best Regards,

    Glass
     
  2. ArkansasFan30

    ArkansasFan30 Loaded Pockets

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    I say ditch the cooler and just eat.

    Beyond this, you might consider travel specific underwear and t-shirts - the light, hand washable kind. If you're on business, you probably need "dress socks." For casual socks, get some related travel brands.

    Hotel dry cleaning isn't bad. I've taken advantage of that many times.

    Reflect on what you've been taking and haven't used the stop carrying that.

    Find a rubber soled, lace up "dress shoes" in brown and black. Alternatively, you might try "dress boots." I've personally never explored those. Don't wear a suit, slack, or jacket that won't match the shoes you're taking. Learn to mix and match your attire, i.e. gray suit, gray slacks and navy sport coat, navy sport coat and dark denim jeans (great option for dress boots). Maybe gray jacket with black slacks? Not the best option.

    I'd bet it's your choice in clothing that limits you. You might consider wearing a tennis shoe if you're self-confident enough to wear it with slacks on a flight, plus you can jog, walk, and workout in them (or run away) better than with Birks.

    Regarding the tactical backpack, if you're a tacticool, EDC, prepper type, your kit is already limited by TSA so you might reconsider that concept anyway. Otherwise, I have no idea what you're taking with you.

    You've got to learn to pack. it's not easy. I'm bad at it. More importantly, learn to mix and match clothing well. Try out Tony Centano at Real Men Real Style.
     
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  3. landwire
    • In Omnia Paratus

    landwire Loaded Pockets

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    Several things...

    I know that feeling of being the super, overly, prepared boy scout. An overnight trip required 3 pairs of pants, but that a story for another day :frantic:

    Echoing above, review what you normally bring and but don't end up using.

    Clothing is always a challenge. Learning to mix and match and make due can really make a difference. A white button down shirt, a blue button down shirt, and two ties along with black slack is an outfit for a week. All shoes should serve multiple purposes. "Dress" type shoes can be worn for business and casual events. Sneaker type shoes can be worn for travel, casual, hotel exploration, workout, etc... Flip flops or crocs can be worn as shower shoes, pool side, laundry room

    Another area of struggle is various tech gear. If you are already bringing a laptop that has usb, is it really necessary to bring separate chargers for the multiple devices you may have. Are the multiple devices really necessary? There was a former colleague who brought a laptop, tablet, cell phone and an e-reader for a 2 night trip. Surprise, surprise, the laptop was used for maybe 5 minutes. The tablet and cell phone was used all the time and the e-reader was never touched. The tablet had a Bluetooth keyboard case and that made the laptop almost not needed. On future trips, the laptop and e-reader were left at home. Of course the business needs will dictate some of what you bring but examine the tech stuff you are bringing. Perhaps a personal cloud type service or a networked drive somewhere can reduced the need for having external hard drives. A single USB cable with adapters can reduce having multiple USB cables.

    There are numerous website dedicated to the concept of one bag traveling. The gist is that all you need is one bag. Some of the ideas seem a little extreme but some are quite practical. For instance, rolling your clothes can reduce a ton of space. While not as space saving as rolling, there are certain folding styles that can reduce the space and reduce some of the wrinkling. Shoes are stuffed with things inside such as socks and ties. Those sites will have a lot more ideas that can help out.
     
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  4. Westerdutch

    Westerdutch Loaded Pockets

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    Bringing a cooler for paleo... That's actually not a bad idea, the wife and i have the hardest time finding places to eat, even buying stuff on location to prepare ourselves can be difficult. Thanks for that tip! Why do you eat paleo if you don't mind me asking?

    Other than that, others opinions are usually not the best way to look at what you should or should not be doing. As long as you carrying all your stuff doesn't bother you and doesn't get in your way then why change? I tend to pack too heavy as well for basically... well anything really. The people i care about know i do this and take advantage of it whenever they see fit. People that don't know me that well might give my packing choices a second look but i honestly couldn't care less.
     
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  5. SOS24

    SOS24 Loaded Pockets

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    The biggest tips, I can give for reducing your bag is eliminate unused items, try to do dual use as much as possible, and travel specific items.

    If there are items that you take as just in case, but don’t really use then see if you can minimize them.

    Dual use items really help.
    - Shoes are a big one. If possible, find some shoes that are comfortable to wear with work clothes, as well as after work and to fly in. If you can use the same shoes then you don’t have to pack them or maybe only one pair.
    - Electronics are another. Like above do you need a laptop and a tablet/ereader or do you need an MP3 player if you have a phone that you can save music to. How many chargers do you take and is there a travel charger that would work for all of your devices?
    - Suit coat and blazer. I don’t know how formal your job is but can you get by with 1 or the other or just one suit coat. If you are also bringing a regular coat, could the blazer work?

    Travel specific items
    - Regular size toiletry items are the obvious one. If you don’t already use them, get some small containers, sized for what you need, that you can put your toiletry items in then refill. I realized 1oz of shampoo and body wash was usually enough for at least 4 days, I have a travel toothbrush where the handle was refillable toothpaste.
    - If you are bringing shoes just for around the hotel maybe look at ones that crush or fold down for travel. I have a pair of moccasin type shoes that are real comfortable and the pair crushes down to less than a 1in thick.

    Another key is actually figuring out the packing style and bag style that works best for you and how to pack to minimize the space required. Some can use packing cubes efficiently while others like bags with lots of organization pockets. Depending on what you need to pack, squarer style bags are better for fitting items in, while for others backpacks fit more. Some wheel bags use a lot of space for the frame and wheels, while others aren’t as bad or if you can do without wheels.
     
    #5 SOS24, Oct 14, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2017
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  6. JOE68

    JOE68 Loaded Pockets

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    I see that you bring a blazer and two suits.
    It might be easier to bring two sports coats/blazers and mix and match shirts and pants with them.
    You could technically go with white shirt, two ties, dark shirt, light pants, dark pants in the carry on, plus what you are wearing on the plane.
    This gives plenty of combinations for five days, and if staying longer then use the laundry on site.
    Try to pick your clothes so that all the combinations go together.
    Also, wear the "heaviest" clothes on your travel days.
    With everyone trying to go with just a carry on, weight will be a factor, not just the size of the bag.
    And one thing I have noticed is that "overstuffed" bags tend to get looked at more closely than those that stay within their size footprint.
    One thing that has worked for me is the use of packing cubes, and rolling up my clothes.
    I can use an iron at the other end, and the first thing I do when I get into my hotel is hang everything up.
    Shoes are always an issue because of size.
    It's a no brainer to put things into them to use every nook and cranny, but it's much better to look at "dressy" casual shoes that can do dual purpose at the other end.
    The other option is to make sure that your clothes only need one pair of shoes to look right, thereby reducing your footwear requirements.
    One bag travel is more about thinking outside the box and reducing ones needs/wants than it is about loading up the suitcase.
    Multi use items are your friend, as well as a decent packing list.
    I have certain items that I use strictly for travel (ie travel size toiletries, alarm clock, flashlight, etc), and they stay with the suitcase, so my packing list is relatively small when the need arises ---- usually just the clothes to meet the season.
     
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  7. Narcosynthesis

    Narcosynthesis Loaded Pockets

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    One thing that might be worth considering would be paying more attention to what your coworkers are actually wearing over the course of a trip - are they taking multiple different sets of clothes or are they just carrying one suit and wearing it for the week?

    Also are there other items you are carrying that could be left at home? You will often see people carrying laptops, tablets ereaders and phones when most people could probably get by with half of that, along with slimming down the endless mess of cables, chargers, mice and so on that seem to accompany everything. You also mention carrying a cooler for food - how much of this will you really need to carry with you compared to a quick stop off at a supermarket to grab some food and making the most of the options hotels and restaurants have available?
     
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  8. Adam Ng

    Adam Ng Loaded Pockets

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    One suit with different pants that you can pair with like a sport jacket. One pair of shoes, ditch the Birkenstock for flip flops. I had learned to live with wearing a pair of pants and shirt twice while on the road, and cut my luggage in half.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  9. CIVSD

    CIVSD Loaded Pockets

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    I have some experience with this as I am frequently on assignment far from home and have often struggled with balancing having what I want and not carrying so much luggage that I look ridiculous and hate dragging it around. I bought a couple of the maxpedition organizers and jammed them full of useful items that I rarely need but can't stand to not have with me. I try to pack one set of footwear suitable for work and one pair to "wear around," when I'm not at work. The after-work footwear is slip-on slip-off (i.e. sandals when weather permits) so I can walk down to the hotel laundry room or go out to the smoking area without getting ringworm. For clothing I do pretty much the same thing, pack the minimum I need for work (decide in advance how you feel about laundry abroad and plan accordingly) and then I basically have the equivalent of sweats and a t-shirt for lounging around the hotel. It also helped me quite a bit when I made dedicated travel kits instead of packing up the items I would regularly have at home.

    Honestly I think the best advice I can give you is to go on 1-2 trips where you pack way less than you are comfortable carrying and then decide what ABSOLUTELY MUST be added back and go from there.
     
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  10. Blackheart

    Blackheart Loaded Pockets

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    This was an often-cited source of ideas from years ago...

    onebag.com
     
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  11. Municipal_Jedi

    Municipal_Jedi Loaded Pockets

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    Do you need the suits? Can you get by with just sport coats? If so you could pack one and wear one with a combination of light and dark pants and white and blue shirt you have many combinations. Is the sport coat required? Could you wear a cardigan with shirt and tie?

    As others have said flag items you bring and don't use, find items that serve duel use and get crazy and way under pack and see what happens.
     
    #11 Municipal_Jedi, Oct 16, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2017
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  12. Blackheart

    Blackheart Loaded Pockets

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    If Rick Steves can wash out his socks in the hotel sink, so can you. :p
     
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  13. Tokyodrftr

    Tokyodrftr Loaded Pockets

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    Silk underwear so you can wash daily))
    Multi purpose your clothes
    Remember you can buy everything you need when you get there.

    I travel internationally as my wife lives in ukriane and Mother in japan. I travel with just a briefcase, cash and cards, when I don’t need to check luggage. Only check luggage when carrying a firearm

    Oh yeah, traveling? Ditch your diet, adapt. Your metabolism is all whacked anyway, you have other things to concern yourself with besides what to eat.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    #13 Tokyodrftr, Oct 17, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2017
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  14. Municipal_Jedi

    Municipal_Jedi Loaded Pockets

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    Good advice, however, I would buy a pair and try them at home before traveling with them. I can't wear silk underwear they just are not comfortable for me at all. You could also look at merino wool, or some of the synthetics.
     
  15. xrayit

    xrayit Loaded Pockets

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    Packing cubes ... best invention ever for one bag travel. Compression packing cubes are amazingly effective when packing pants and shirts


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  16. Municipal_Jedi

    Municipal_Jedi Loaded Pockets

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    Preach!
     
  17. Mr. Glass

    Mr. Glass Loaded Pockets

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    Thank you everyone for your replies. I have a lot of good info to digest here.

    I do definitely want to give them a try. Is there a particular brand or set that you recommend? I was looking at Tom Bihn's the other day, but they're quite pricey. I saw some nice sets from Eagle Creek at REI, but figured I would check on here first before buying some.
     
  18. J_C
    • In Omnia Paratus

    J_C Loaded Pockets

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    Solid navy blue suit. Jacket can be worn as a blazer with gray and tan slacks. 1 pair dress black shoes, packed. One pair comfortable/casual leather shoes, brown or tan, worn on the plane. White LS dress shirt, blue LS dress shirt, one casual shirt (worn on the plane). Navy blue socks, all the same (lose one, no worries). Undershirts, boxers or briefs, your choice, one pair per day (never skimp on undies). Black dress belt.

    I used to travel a lot. I had a suit bag that folded, with several zippered compartments. One compartment held shoes, with dress belt rolled up in one shoe, socks rolled up in the other. In the other zipper compartment was a travel toiletry kit with shaving stuff, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, brush, antiperspirant, etc. Smaller travel-size versions for some items. Bag similar to this one from LL Bean: https://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/73882?feat=507361-GN3&page=personal-organizer-toiletry-bag-medium&csp=f. I still have it, still use it. You keep it stocked with your travel supplies, saves a lot of time packing.

    Inside the bag: Suit on one hanger, 2 shirts and 2 pair of slacks on 2 others. Tie(s) hanging over top of hanger. T-shirts and briefs/boxers in another zipper compartment. It had a shoulder strap and a handle, no wheels. Usually checked that.

    You wear casual slacks / casual shirt on the plane. Unless you sweat a lot or spill a drink or food, you can usually hang them up and press them and wear another day or for evening stuff. Or drop it off for the hotel valet on the first day, have it back the following day clean.

    Good wool slacks don't need dry cleaning every time you wear them. Hang up and lightly press and ready for another day's wear. Your underwear and antiperspirant should handle most of the body odors / perspiration for you. I did take enough underwear for a clean set every day, including travel days. If a trip was going to be longer than 4 days, on day 4 I would use the hotel laundry and wash everything that didn't need dry cleaning.

    You'd be surprised how much you can fit into a single folding suit bag. I still have that one from when I was road-warrior in the 90s. Samsonite brand, I think.
     
  19. masiaka

    masiaka Loaded Pockets

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    I just got back from hurricane clean up in rural east Texas and my Crohn's disease limits what I can and cannot eat. I actually filled out a dietary needs form and showed up to find that I was allergic to or intolerant of everything that they had to eat, except the powdered eggs for breakfast. I managed to drive out of the effected area and stock up on acceptable foods. My suggestion is to try finding canned fish that meets your personal level of Paleo adherence, if possible. Dried fruits and suitably packaged nuts are also nice to have, if you're open to it.

    I was doing renovation work in badly flooded houses, lots of mold and other health hazards from not just the water but from backed up sewer lines and septic tanks. Filtered masks, eye protection, and very special care to prevent our work clothes from contaminating our communal bunks. Now, I also have sleep apnea and a half of my allotted baggage size was taken up by my CPAP machine. Economical packing was a huge necessity. Available resources were limited because my organization was still setting up their headquarters in the area (and rebuilding the site where they needed to put it). We brought personal tools in our packs as well. Here's what I did to cope. I brought essentially two outfits and made sure that there was a cleaning facility that could decontaminate my work clothes overnight. So, protective shirt, durable pants, comfortable socks, work boots, and soffe shorts. The soffes functioned as underwear on the job and a second pair were my underwear for lounging around after work and also my sleepwear. Yeah, the hem line was a little high. They pack small, though, and I have great legs. I had a thin and packable tee shirt, a lightweight kilt, and a pair of vibrams to round out the lounge wear, plus a third pair of soffes because you're really out of luck if you run out of underwear. Plus, sky's out thighs out. I specifically chose my singlenon-work outfit to pack as small as possible.

    Applying this to a business trip:
    Bring a black suit, black wingtips, a white shirt, and a second dress shirt of your choosing, plus a different tie for every day of the trip so as to not appear to wear the same clothes every day. Plan on using the hotel dry cleaners. A second shirt might be okay for a 3-4 day trip. Bring the Birkenstocks and a since outfit to wear in the hotel room. That can be a polo and khaki pants if that's what you're comfortable with, just try and pack it small. You can use the iron/garment steamer to undo wrinkles. Rolling the garments into sealable bags and removing the air will help with saving space. Minimize as much gear as possible. Cut a toothbrush handle down to the size of a Colgate Wisp disposable. Plan on using hotel soap/shampoo if you don't have a skin condition. Miniaturize your regular EDC gear for travel. Leatherman Skeletool instead of a multi tool and knife. Leatherman Juice or SAK if you can't have a locking blade. Ditch the flashlight if you have one and just use your phone. Pare down your wallet to ID, maybe some cash, & a necessary credit card. Just carry that in a small cardholder or money clip. Try and consolidate or miniaturize electronics, if possible. Tablets and phones are amazingly capable, now. I have an entire MS Office Suite on my phone.

    A hammer pole boy's Axe, a small prybar, LM Style PS, LM Tread, and a SOGzilla served me well on this trip. A Fatmax Fubar, LM Style PS, LM Tread, and a Gerber EAB Lite will be on my next trip.

    ETA: Someone else brought linoleum scrapers that were invaluable. I'm going to figure out how to make one of those more travel friendly, too. My new favorite tool.
     
    #19 masiaka, Oct 20, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2017
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  20. Municipal_Jedi

    Municipal_Jedi Loaded Pockets

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    I like the Eagle Creek Specter series they are light weight and work to compress full loads. Also they can be had for a reasonable price from Amazon.
     
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