Packing for a tour

We've started to lay out things that we will be bringing on our Iceland tour. I thought the two pictures below reflect how the packing goes for myself and my wife. I think this could be a common thing in lots of households. :D

My shoes

My wife's shoes



  • It’s not like that in our house Sam, I suppose you could all guess that. For that tour, I likely took two pairs of ‘sensible’ shoes….allowing for one getting muddy or wet and needing to dry them out, flip flops for getting to the pool where I am the famous swim suit model and a pair of sandals or a smartish shoe for evenings on the boat.
    How do you manage to keep under the weight and just one suitcase each?

  • My wife is an amazing packer. She uses packing cubes and everything is very well organized. For me, all of the heavy stuff - camera gear, shaving gear, etc. goes into my backpack. Still since I'm twice as big as my wife my clothes all weigh more than hers. Iceland is a short tour - ~1 week vs lots that are 2 weeks (not many Tauck tours go much beyond 2 weeks). Good thing that Iceland is shorter. We don't have to pack as many items, but the items will be heavier. Most of our tours have been to warm places where you're not having to layer and wear heavy clothes, which allows you to pack more items. Never done those winter tours - Yellowstone in winter and the Christmas Market stuff.

  • Cathy, I’m going to have to check on or because based on your packing description you must be related to my wife. 😀

  • I love the optimism of sandals for an Iceland tour.

    Guys clothes and shoes are much bulkier and heavier. We can sneak in extra shoes, scarves, tops, etc for the same weight.

    If all the stars align we'll be doing Switzerland back to back with Normandy/Brittany in Sep. Current shoe list: lightweight hiking boots, evening flats, 1-2 pair of lace up walking shoes and my croc flip flops for possible pool visits. No dresses, just evening slacks/tops.

  • For my wife the flip flops are strictly for the Blue Lagoon visit. All the sandals are for dinners on the boat.

  • You have to get naked for the Blue Lagoon and shower in front of everyone else while attendants look on so you don’t cheat. That’s uncomfortable, even for a swimsuit model😂

  • British, all true - but still worth it. The Blue Lagoon is great! Smiling Sam, you will have a great trip. We would love to go back but have so many other places we haven't been.

  • Yes, Blue lagoon is awesome, that’s why I looked ten years younger when we got home. I had no problem going naked, it was not in a mixed locker room, I was just joking. Would also love to visit Iceland again.

  • milmil
    edited June 14

    Lololol! Smiling Sam, good morning from Seattle.
    Well, I'm no better, but working on it! ... from 6 pairs to 5 now, I take 1 suitcase with one of the Tauck duffle bag inside, just in case...:)))) I don't do laundry on Vac.- so I do pack about 2 shirts per day etc... BUT! talking of shoes.... I just spend $$$ on new sneakers from Louboutin! for my next trip!
    Im taking 2 sets of sneakers, 1 for the dirt around the Egypt sights and the fancy one for Hotel and business class.. :)) + 1 skechers go walk for the hotels & boat just in case... also 1 set of flip flops and a set of night dressy shoes and finally a set of water socks. UFFF! I think my picture would look something like your wife's :)))

    Fun times are back again! Have a great day.

  • The trick with shoes is to avoid packing an outfit that requires a pair you won't wear with anything else.

  • edited June 14

    I don't want to sound sexist, but 'shoes on tour' is definitely a women's topic. :)

    For me, it is a pair of light, comfy Rockports and a pair of Merrells. I believe the Rockports have metal reinforcing which sometimes caused problems at security since TSA Pre-Check passengers at RDU go through a metal detector instead of the full body scanner, but that no longer matters since I got my new knee and am always iron man. :o Now I tell them right before entering the metal detector and they just have me go right to the full-body scanner, not to the back of the line.

  • edited June 14

    I agree Alan if it's a fashion question but not if it's a weight /volumn issue. My husband was convinced for the longest time that he had to bring bulky heavy boots. Finally convinced him to try some alternatives that take up less space and are lighter. Same with what pants he brings. One pair of jeans may be the same weight as 2 pairs of synthetic blend travel pants.

    And my rule above is the same. If you're packing an outfit or shoes that only gets worn once, try thinking of an alternative.

  • Yep BSP, and the reason most wives have rules for what they'll let their husbands out the door wearing.

  • What about hats? On our Israel and Jordan trip we had 2 ladies who had matching hat and clothes sets. It was incredible. For every red set of clothes there was a red hat. For every light blues set of clothes there was a light blue hat. These were not tiny hats. They didn't know each other before the trip but wound up competing with each other throughout the trip. We even asked one of the husbands how they packed all the hats and he said she had 1 suitcase just for the hats. It was really hilarious and became a true Taucktourian non-fiction event!

  • Claudia Sails
    My husband was convinced for the longest time that he had to bring bulky heavy boots.

    For trips that I bring hiking boots (eg., Patagonia), I wear them on the plane (and take them off once I'm confy in my seat). Better to wear that carry in a bag.

    What about hats? On our Israel and Jordan trip we had 2 ladies who had matching hat and clothes sets. It was incredible.

    Ah, the Queen Elizabeth impersonators...

  • I wear hats, I’m British by birth after all, so I’m allowed. I have straw hats, see me in my yellow and green one on The Flower show thread. But I don’t take those on vacation. For none Safari trips, I take one or two fabric totally crushable/fold up hats, one is pink, the other two are blue colors and beige colors. I take outfits or clothing based on one or two color themes, so that everything is interchangeable. And the hats that most go with them. If something doesn’t match, it doesn’t really matter. We are on vacation, we won’t be seeing most of you again. For the evening, I certainly wear things more than once, after all, we wear them for about three hours for dinner and then most people go early to bed. I like bright colors even though I prefer to blend in with the crowd. I only notice what someone else is wearing if it is unusual. My most memorable tour was the Spotlight on India. Most women wore black every day, i didn’t. I think I was wearing my usual nice cheerful colors and was really into my scarfs at that time.
    Certainly for any adventure trips like Patagonia, Galapagos, Safaris, I also wear those shoes on the plane like BKMD….you see BKMD, we do agree on some things 🤪In fact, I now wear things on the plane suitable for Safari, you only have to have your bags go missing or be delayed once to wish you were not wearing something that would not be suitably for several days on the tour. Two or three times on tour, I’ve known people have their bags missing for days. Ours were missing for twenty four hours once.
    Mr B packs his own bag, very well and neat, not necessarily with what I would have picked out for him, but his choice, I can always pretend I don’t know him

  • Here’s me in one of my crushable hats, I’m with my daughter last year, Longwood Gardens

  • I definitely agree with Cathy that nothing is right or wrong, but I'm the opposite kind of packer. A couple of pairs of Naot sandals, which have great support, and a couple of pairs of closed-toe shoes. Depending on the trip, one might be Merrills or one might be dressy flats; if no flats, I can use the sandals for evening wear. Shoes and clothing in no more than three colors -- black, beige, white, usually. Wear each multiple times. One hat to protect me from the sun. Big purse for traveling to and from the destination; small purse for once I get there. Kazhdi po svoemu (Each to his/her own)!

  • I find the range of packing philosophy interesting. I also frequent the Rick Steves travel forum where it's almost sacrilege to mention checking a bag. Our plans this year include back to back tours with 3 days on our own in between wrestling our bags on/off trains, up to our hotel room, etc. (Easy to get spoiled by Tauck handling all that) So, I'm trying to keep my packing to what I really need especially since the climate range on the Swiss tour varies a lot and no idea how cool/wet France might be. Layering and outer wear is going to really matter. Taking a dress and heels not so much.

  • We went to Iceland with Tauck in 2015 in late June; fantastic trip;The best shoe would be hiking and sturdy like Merrell;one other pair which should double as dress as well as walking inside the hotel or ship.If you book a spa or massage in Bluelagoon they give flip flops;we still use them at home!BTW the special services in Bluelagoon are so worth it and you can book ahead if you know the date you will be there.As far as clothes I basically lived in a pair of jeans with a variety of layered colorful tops.Lots of layering with waterproof outer covering a must.Oh don’t forget gloves;sometimes specially outside it can get quite cold!

  • I think comfort and practicality describe my travel attire choices, at least for daytime wear. I always bring two or three sheath dresses for formal evening attire. To further dress them up, I add colorful scarves. I still have the instructions from one of Tauck's river cruises in which we had a lesson on how to wear scarves. It was so much fun! Shoes have never been a thing for me. My stiletto heel days were over decades ago! Besides, it is difficult to fit size 10 feet with a heel of AAA width.

    Of course, the destination and time of year will help dictate apparel choices. My only rule, which I adhere to religiously (no pun intended), is that I always cover my head with a scarf when entering a place of worship, whether it be a synagogue, mosque, cathedral, et al. I do this out of deference.

  • I try to pick clothes that work for daytime touring but transition to casual dinners with a bit of tweaking like changing my shoes. What I consider "lunch out with the girls" clothes. But do pack dressy options for the special dinners like the palace in Vienna.

    Our first river cruise I packed way more dressy clothes and shoes than needed thinking people would notice if I wore the same thing too often. Turns out nobody else is paying much attention unless you wear something really noticeable. In 4 cruises and 2 land tours I remember 2 outfits that others wore - glittery top/palazzo pants worn every night by one lady and a guy in jeans and a Halloween orange hoodie at dinner. If you want to dress up every night in a new outfit, do it for you. No one else cares. They're just having too good a time enjoying the tour.

  • edited June 15

    There is no right or wrong answer. It’s personal choice. Tauck gives guidelines, sometimes very confusing, hence all the past questions about men wearing jackets or not, the top question by far.
    I’ve been on many tours where the TD will suggest footwear for the next day, I do have to tell you though, that I have been on three particular tours where it became a problem for all of us, I’ll give two examples….first one, a couple of people on our first Galapagos tour that despite being asked, wore flip flops when we were to be walking on very jagged volcanic rocks…well guess what happened…
    The second was our last tour, Africa, the K T and Rwanda tour…..the TD was so alarmed with the totally unsuitable footwear on a number of people on our tour, that when we and another couple had drinks with her the day after the tour ended, she was about to email the next group to specifically address the shoe problem. Safety over fashion in those circumstances are surely important.
    Another issue is being sensitive to the country and culture you find yourself in, like women not showing too much flesh, bare shoulders etc…….l’ll give you a fun example….in England and certain parts of Europe, my husband comfortably wears Speedo’s for swimming….he doesn’t in the US because it’s not well tolerated here.

  • Cathy, we loved all your dresses from your recent road trip. You do you.

  • We travelled with a couple on our K&T trip that had a very interesting packing and unpacking philosophy for their Tauck trips. They packed all older clothes for the trip - underwear, shirts, socks, and even some pants. As the tour went on they discarded their dirty worn and soiled clothes. No dirty clothes no wash to do at home! Incredible as it seems this is another Taucktourian non-fiction story.

    That isn't our modus operandi but it sure helps with the clothing turnover and replenishment scenario. The one thing we do is always take one or two empty Tauck duffle bags with us rolled up and put into our suitcases. The last day we fill up the duffel bag(s) with all our dirty clothes and some other items that don't break and once we get home we just put the duffels into the laundry room. Saves time sorting out later. Since we fly Business Class we can take 2 bags home each. This has worked well for us on the longer trips we've taken.

  • 😂😂😂. I have tried the ‘wear the old underwear’ for the first few days trick in the past, but then I think what will the nurses think if I have an accident and go to hospital…..which is so silly….I’ve been that nurse and the last thing you are thinking when you are ripping someone’s clothes off to save their life is what their underwear looks like.

  • I've read about the take old clothes and pitch them idea. There is a woman who does travel packing videos who touted it and made it sound like the hotel maids would be grateful for her cast offs. It was so condescending I couldn't watch anymore.

    In college I took ice skating lessons (1 credit hour). One morning I thought, "no need to shave my legs I'll be in knee socks and jeans all day". Who'll care? Broke my ankle in class. Thankfully the doctor was an old hippy with ponytail and covered in plaster dust. He couldn't have cared less.

  • Claudia Sails
    Thankfully the doctor was an old hippy with ponytail and covered in plaster dust. He couldn't have cared less.

    And is now your husband? :)

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