Twenty kilos. That’s my luggage allowance for my trip to Florida. Twenty. Kilos. And actually, that’s the UPGRADED luggage allowance: the airline only wanted to give us 15 kilos each (!), but my mum realised that would send me insane, so she very kindly paid for the upgrade. To twenty kilos. Aaagh!

Now, I could probably deal with it if we were going anywhere else but America. But the thing is, and I know this will come as a shock to some of you, but I like to shop. A lot. If previous trips are anything to go by, I’ll probably buy 20 kilos worth of stuff while I’m there. This makes packing difficult.

So I thought I would be clever. “I will pack a capsule wardrobe!” I thought.  “I’ll make sure everything goes with everything else, and I’ll only need to take two pairs of shoes, one flat, one high – and one of those pairs I will wear to travel in, thus giving me even MORE space in my suitcase! Go me!”

My chosen colours for this capsule wardrobe: navy, white, red. Because I like dressing as a sailor, obviously, and I wish I was joking about that.

But then I went shopping. And on that shopping trip, I found The Best Swimsuit in All The World. It’s retro. It’s polka-dotted. It’ll work either as a swimsuit OR as a top. It’s… black. Which, obviously, is not navy, red or white.  And because I have an aversion to wearing black and navy together, I won’t be able to put my whole “also wearing it as a top” plan into action, because all of my shorts etc are navy.

Now, the sensible person would just have put the swimsuit back at that point. “No!” she would have declared. “No swimsuit! For if I buy it, I will also need to take shoes, shorts and maybe a little cardigan to go with it. And also what would be great would be a skirt. And thus my capsule wardrobe will be ruined! Ruined!”

But I’m not the sensible person, so obviously I bought it.  And also… some other stuff.

Basically, then, I’m screwed. And yes, I know they have shops over there.  I’m well acquainted with those shops. A little TOO well, actually. But I’m one of those people who just can’t pack light. I know I’ve said this before, but it’s true. I tried to do it when we went to Tenerife last December, and that’s how I ended up with a suitcase filled only with black tops, and absolutely no warm clothes whatsoever. And that’s also how I ended up going to Zara 16 times, when we were only there for 14 nights.

I don’t know, I think I just like to Be Prepared. You know, like a Boy Scout? I know I can shop when I get there (and I’ll be getting all of my toiletries etc there, so I don’t have to take them with me), but I just can’t STAND the thought of going somewhere and not having a wide choice of outfits at my fingertips. I worry that something will happen that I will be sartorially unprepared for. Like… maybe someone will invite us to the opera, say, and I’ll only have shorts and t-shirts with me. Or I will have to climb a mountain, but won’t have the right shoes. These things COULD happen.

Realistically, of course, I know that I’ll be wearing shorts and a tank top for the next two weeks, and everything else will remain unworn. But until we leave, I’m going to be practicing putting on all of my clothes at the same time, so I can travel in them and leave my suitcase empty. And also researching how much it would cost to post twenty kilos worth of clothes back home from Florida…

  1. Oh Amber I share your pain. When we went to England in 2007 I took over 20kg and came home with 40kg – 40!!!!!!! I was flying Emirates and the lady checking me in didn't even blink, and didn't charge me excess baggage – I nearly kissed her!!!!

    <abbr>Selina´s last blog post..Pretty polishes from Butter London</abbr>

    1. Wow, that was lucky! My mum actually called our airline to see if we could upgrade any further than the existing 20k and they said that we will definitely be charged for anything over that. Meanies!

  2. Having packed incredibly badly for my trip last week, I actually wrote a post about how to do the whole packing thing write. With the (deluded) intention to pack lightly next time!

    It won't work, but it made me feel better!

    <abbr>Lauren´s last blog post..A little teary</abbr>

    1. Yeah, I always have such good intentions of learning how to become great at packing, but somehow I always end up opening up the case again at the last minute to cram things in – and when I get to where I'm going, I always realise I've packed REALLY badly! I'm glad I don't fly too frequently – I've no idea how people cope!

  3. Hey Amber,

    A new friend here from London, I love your blog! good stuff!! Have you tried rolling your clothes? Well, I guess that trick only works if the weight doesn't count! Bugger!

    I know!!!!! Use Terri's suitcase!!!!

    Nona xx

    <abbr>Nona´s last blog post..THE MODEL AS MUSE…</abbr>

    1. Yep, I do roll them (they don't crease too much that way), but they still weigh the same, unfortunately! I need to find some way to make them magically lighter!

  4. Also you know what I find helps?

    1.- Keeping a fashion diary (I know)
    of the clothes that you ACTUALLY wear whilst you are away, that
    way the next time you will know exactly how to pack like a PRO
    leaving the ironed and folded pile of clothes in the wardrobe
    instead of at the bottom of your suitcase.

    2.- Pack then get your boyfriend to come and have a little
    sort out… men are practical. None of your girlfriends will ever tell
    you: “You dont need to take 10 pairs of shoes”…

    Nona´s last blog post..THE MODEL AS MUSE…

    1. oh wow, that's super-organised! I don't think I could be bothered keeping a diary of my clothes (And I've always bought new stuff by the next time I go away anyway!), but I'm impressed!

      1. in that case, just throw yourself at it, no-fears! just pack the most ridiculosly heavy things that you can find and start a new blog about what happened on your return… :)))) It's usually the people that worry that end up paying overweight charges, not the carefree surfers who travel with their collection of surfboards around the world! nor the mums of octuplets!

        <abbr>Nona´s last blog post..FAB INTERVIEW!</abbr>

  5. In case you buy oodles of things while you’re there the US Postal Service has boxes that aren’t weighted, they’re sold by size. I used them to send to friends abroad, you could post one full of things to yourself.

    I think black still fits into your plan, it goes well with both white and red. Maybe you could focus on the type of fabric you take? Silk, cotton lawn, etc. Bring the lightest shoes you have – put them on a food scale and really test them out. Also, pack your heaviest item in your cary on, I almost always stick a pair of shoes in mine to lower my suitcase weight.

    My biggest problem is overpacking toiletries. I bring too many hair products and lotions and lip glosses. Do yourself a favor and don’t bring any, then head to Sephora and Target when you get to Florida. You know you want to anyway… this way you have a reason to go ASAP. I’m not even kidding.

    1. Oh, that's good to know about the boxes – I actually wasn't joking about the "posting stuff home" thing, so that sounds like exactly what I'll need!

      And yeah, as I said, I don't ever take toiletries with me there – I just get them all at the other end. (Much cheaper there, too. Sunscreen is really expensive here!)

  6. Amber I am exactly the same.

    I am already shopping for our little trip to the Dominican Republic next March.

    My one problem is that my wedding dress is counted towards my weight limit and we only get 20 kilos as well.

    My way around it though is to take my dress as hand luggage in one of these small trolley cases that will be my hand luggage. Thus giving me more baggage allowance for all my holiday clothes (which all have to be strapless so I don't get any tan lines).

    Have you thought about taking a trolley case as your hand luggage – there you have at least another 5 kilos for clothes.


    <abbr>Mhairi´s last blog post..Update Again</abbr>

    1. Oh no, that's a nightmare – I'd have thought they'd have been able to allow you to check it in separetley or something, I mean they must get lots of brides wanting to check in their dress, they're pretty heavy! Although I guess if you take it as hand-luggage, at least you won't have to worry about it getting lost somewhere. Does the hotel provide some kind of ironing service for it on the other end (would imagine they will, as they'll be used to weddings!)?

      As for hand luggage, I don't have a trolley case, but I do have an absolutely massive shoulder bag I got for our trip to Tenerife: I managed to fit almost all of the shopping I did over there in it on the way bag (and I did a LOT of shopping!) so it's a big help. Just have to hope they don't try to weigh it, though 🙂

      I actually think the whole thing is just a way for them to get more money out of people. Our original allowance was 15kg – we had to pay to upgrade to 20, and they say we'll be charged if we go over that. But most people I know who go to Florida go partly for the shopping (as you know!) so I bet loads of people are in the same position: you have to either take hardly anything with you, buy hardly anything while your there OR just pay up to the airline. Gah.

      1. See now, that's why I like Emirates. Unless they've changed their policies since we flew with them in 2007, they understand that people going on holiday go shopping, and their luggage policies (at least at the time) reflected that. In fact I seem to remember that if you flew to Dubai during the big sale months you were allowed an even higher luggage allowance. Not that I need any further reason to shop …

        <abbr>Selina´s last blog post..Pretty pretty clothes: Kitty Bridges</abbr>

        1. when I went to Florida back in 2005 we went with Virgon and they had a baggage allowance of 20kilos for the flight out there but on the way back we were allowed 2 bags per adult, with 32kilos in them.

          To say we increased the shopping trips was an understatement, I brought back so much more than I normally would have.

          Is there any way of finding out if your airline operates this kind of policy?


          <abbr>Mhairi´s last blog post..Update Again</abbr>

          1. My mum called them to ask – they had absolutely nothing, and the only upgrade available was the upgrade to 20kg we paid for. I think it's a charter flight, though, which tend to be a lot worse with baggage etc – with scheduled flights like Virgin etc they'll probbaly have a lot more options.

        2. Now that's a sensible policy! I mean, they MUST know people like to shop on holiday, and especially in certain places. I've been going to Florida for years and lots and lots of people either take a spare suitcase with them or buy one over there to bring stuff back. The 15 kilos our airline want to allow you is barely enough for the stuff I want to take with me, never mind the stuff I'll want to bring back!

      2. They normally only weigh hand baggage if it looks massive, so make sure it is hanging on the back of your trolley until after you have checked in.

        We were told we could buy extra baggage allowance for our wedding clobber – at £30 for every 5 kilos. Think not.

        The wedding co-ordinator actually advised me to take it as hand luggage and she will make sure it is crease free by the wedding.

        She will also store it for me (if I wanted) until the wedding so that there is no chance of david seeing it. I don't think that will be necessary though – there is enough of us going to hide the dress in someone else's room.


        <abbr>Mhairi´s last blog post..Update Again</abbr>

  7. Here I am in the States trying to figure out what to pack for our trip to the UK in two weeks. Looks like my closet exploded. I hadn't even thought about any weight limits, I'm just trying to get it into a bag I can lift. I've looked for ages for the perfect pair of shoes that would be comfortable but look cute with skirts, until I realized I'd freeze anyway in skirts in Northern Scotland. At least clothes for Florida in summer are small. When I first came across this blog I was interested in your vacation photos, thinking to see the sights around Britain…but there y'all were in photos at Cocoa Beach, Disney, Kissimmee and Orlando, around where I grew up. Have a fabulous trip.

      1. I found some fabulous deals on nice clothes at Dillards and Kohls this weekend, so you might want to check those while you're here. Yeah, I'm an enabler.

  8. Doesn't help that all shoes now are chunky and wedgy and heavy, does it? I feel your pain. Also, black polka dot swimsuits FTW. I have two, and a bikini, and a matching cover-up, and matching wedges, and white heart shaped sunglasses. I do this purely to embarrass the people there with me, of course.

    I had a dream the other night that I got to the airport for Vegas and discovered I'd forgotten my bags and passport. So I was about to go home and book a later flight when I found my passport. And in my dream, I got on the plane with just my purse, thinking "it's America. What I need, I can buy out there."

    The best bit is I didn't even wake up thinking it was a nightmare. It's true. Remember when you pack that you don't need as much as you think cos you'll buy stuff out there.

    And I say this for your own good – STAY AWAY FROM SEPHORA.

    <abbr>Gemma´s last blog post..A pin-up hair mini fail</abbr>

    1. Ooh, actually, the swimsuit in question is almost exactly like your Oli one – it has that 50s shape to it, and the little skirt bit at the bottom. I really, really wanted some loveheart sunglasses too, but have resisted so far.

      As for Sephora, it's a lost cause, I'm afraid: I'm Sephora's bitch, and it knows it!

    1. It definitely would! My other favoured option is to buy a house over there and keep an entire wardrobe of summer clothes in it – it’s not like I need them over here!

  9. Where at in Florida are you going? It’s really hot here now in FL. Believe me you won’t need the heaviest clothing while you’re here. But the air conditioning is really strong I find myself cold when I’m inside

    1. Yeah, we go to Florida a lot, so we know about the weather. I really feel the cold, so the air-con kills me : I always have to put on a sweater to go indoors and then take it off again when I come outside again – the exact opposite from here!

      1. Yeah exactly, I'm originally from Canada so I know where you're coming from. The shopping here is fun but I'd rather the high street stuff in the UK! Much more trendy and affordable than here.

  10. I just managed to bring about 60kg back from the USA. I don't know how. I'm not even sure why. But I did it!

    Also: with carry-on, you should be able to get away with your handbag plus a little wheelie suitcase.

    Heck! On my flight home, my carry-on consisted of a small wheelie suitcase (7kg? HAH! Try 16!) + a make-up bag masquerading as a place to store breakable stuff I bought (mugs from Anthropologie) + a large handbag tote.

    I am one badass traveller. (And I sometime wish I could travel light, but I think I'm genetically predisposed to be unable to do so!)

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