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Packing Light for Greece

Are you strong enough to leave it all behind?

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dragging luggage into baggage check

Dragging your luggage into the check kiosk at Heraklion is easier if you don't overpack.

At home, we have our whole closets available to dress our lives. On a trip, it's one or two bags, backpacks, or suitcases. The basics of good packing are universally applicable, and below are some special hints to customize them for Greece.

1. Don't pack the way you dress at home. You don't need five different outfits for five days. Virtually everyone packs at least one item that they never wear on the trip.

2. Bought something new? Wear it back home for at least a day, crumple it into a ball overnight, and then decide if it deserves a place in your elite travel wardrobe.

3. Baggies are miracle workers. Get the big gallon size ones to compress sweaters and hold damp socks. Snack size ones can keep jewelry together but visible. Midsize ones are good for lotions and toiletries - and, by the way, remember that airplane pressure changes can cause leaks. Double-bagging may help. You can also use larger plastic bags like the vacuum bags - stuff with clothing, sit on it to press out the air, and close it while still maintaining the pressure. This won't save weight, but it will save space.

4. Anne McAlpin suggests that if you're traveling with a companion, pack one outfit in the other's bags. If your luggage goes astray, you can at least change clothing.

5. Consider some of the new microfiber clothing designed for travel. While pricier than their ordinary counterparts, increased wrinkle resistance, "wicking" to pull sweat away from your body, and quick drying may make them worth the investment.

6. Rollable hats take up little room and can make your sightseeing much more comfortable in sunny weather.

7. For women a big, light sarong-style scarf can provide quick cover when visiting monasteries and other religious establishments. Remember bare arms as well as bare legs need to be concealed. An alternative: Some travel gear companies offer "convertible pants" with zip-off legs. But test those zippers hard before you decide - they often are better in theory than they are in practice.

8. Stuff the toes of your shoes with socks, small items.

9. Don't bring more than one T-shirt - buy local ones in Greece. Ditto small toiletries - it's fun having lipbalm or shaving cream in Greek packaging. Things you'll use a lot at home will constantly remind you constantly of the great trip you enjoyed.

Here are two lists for light packing. Starred items are optional.

Light List for Men:
1 pair light-colored (but preferably not blue) jeans or other medium or light-weight trousers.
1 pair dark pants
1 pair shorts
1 windbreaker or other light jacket
1 pair sandals
1 pair good walking shoes
1 sweater
1 short-sleeved shirt*
1 long-sleeved shirt
1 T-shirt
1 bathing suit
1 hat - or buy in Greece
3-5 pairs socks
3-5 pairs underwear
Small-size toiletries, necessary medications, notebook, camera.

Light List for Women:
1 pair light-colored (but preferably not blue) cotton slacks, jeans, or other medium or heavyweight pants.
1 pair dark pants
1 pair shorts
1 windbreaker or other light jacket
1 pair sandals
1 pair good walking shoes
1 pair "nice" shoes*
1 sweater
1 short-sleeve blouse*
1 long-sleeve blouse
1 t-shirt
1 oversized t-shirt (for sleeping, beach cover up, etc.)
1 long skirt of scrunchy wrinkle-free fabric
OR one plain, simple dress.*
1 bathing suit
1 big scarf or square sarong-type tieable dress
1 hat -or buy in Greece. 3-5 pairs underwear
3-5 pairs socks
1-2 bras
Small-size toiletries, necessary medications, notebook, camera.

Sound skimpy? Remember - Many smaller airlines allow only ONE carry-on bag. If you are flying within Greece, remember this limit. What may still slide through in the U.S. won't always be overlooked elsewhere.

If you haven't flown for a while, the stricter carry-on limits for all airlines will be an unwelcome surprise. Call your airport and your airline for the latest information.

Plan Your Own Trip to Greece

Flights To and Around Greece: Athens and Other Greece Flights at Travelocity - The airport code for Athens International Airport is ATH.

Find and Compare prices on: Hotels in Greece and the Greek Islands

Book your Own Day Trips Around Athens

Book your Own Short Trips Around Greece and the Greek Islands

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