Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,
My husband, son, and I are planning our first overseas trip to Europe. Each of us is allowed 2 check-in and 2 carry-on bags. What clothing is essential for a two week trip?
First, you don't need all that luggage. It would be best to have only one carry-on luggage backpack-style (without wheels) for each of you. Backpack carry-on luggage is lighter weight than wheeled luggage and more versatile, especially if traveling to difference cities by train or bus in Europe.
With a carry-on you will travel lighter, smarter, and avoid delays in baggage check-in, baggage claim, and lost luggage. The carry-on should easily fit in the overhead bins. In addition, carry a large purse or tote that will fit under the seat in front of you. For overseas travel, always wear a money belt.
You can fit what you need into the one carry-on by laying out items of clothing on top of each other, then rolling together. This avoids wrinkles, and the rolled pieces pack well.
You didn't say what countries you were planning to visit, or the time of year. But, generally, bring easy care cotton blend knit clothes that will mix and match. For example, for you, pack the following clothes:
2 pairs of pants: in 2 colors
2 skirts: in 2 colors
5 tops: in colors that will go with pants or skirts
1 cardigan: in a color that will go with pants or skirts
2 pairs shoes: one for walking; one dressier
On the airplane, wear clothes that will mix and match with what you pack. On the plane, you could wear comfortable black cotton blend knits: pants, top, cardigan, and black walking shoes and socks.
You'll have more than enough clothes. With mixing and matching (including what you wear on the plane), you have 60 outfits. If you wear pants, a top, and cardigan on the plane, then you have 5 pants/skirts x 6 tops x 2 cardigans = 60.
Remember you can wear your tops more than once, just let worn tops air out, inside out, on a hanger. Also, depending on the type of clothes you bring, you can wash in the sink and let dry overnight. Also remember your undergarments, PJs, slips, nylons, socks, etc.