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We travel a lot by train, bus and rental car as well as on a wide variety of airlines (as well as ships). Before we pack, I take a look at the maximum size bags I can comfortably/safely handle on each leg of the trip. Frequently, we set up the logistical routing so that we can leave a large bag or two in a hotel if we are heading out on the next leg by train or bus and then pick it up later on if, say, we are boarding a ship. I research the luggage policy of the airline handling each air leg and frequently create a strategy of how we will handle specific bags as carry-ons. Sometimes you are weight constrained on the main on-board, but can carry a laptop, camera, coat, book, etc. in a second "purse". Sometimes you are not allowed that second bag, but the first one is not weighed - causing us to repack the bags differently each time. BTW, our record for leaving luggage was arranging for it to be left on a cruise ship for four months and then rejoining it on another trip a half a world away from where we left it.

Once we have picked our bags/luggage out, we figure out if it will be likely that we buy anything abroad, subtract that space and then we can take anything we want - as long as it fits in the available space. Normally, that leaves us carrying a lot less stuff than most. While our trips frequently last 2-4 months, and we sometimes wear out our clothing, the world is filled with places to buy (or have tailored) clothing and supplies, frequently giving us the opportunity to end up with all sorts of useful and eclectic clothing. So, while we generally don't buy many nick-nacks as souvenirs, a large proportion of our clothing has been purchased abroad.

The bane of my existence is shoes. I wear a US size 13 (Euro 48) which generally are available only in the US and maybe the Netherlands. That means that I not only have to lug the assortment of "necessary" pairs my wife "needs", but also generally pack a pair of sandals and a leather pair (as well as wearing a pair of sneakers) which take up an abnormally large portion of my allocated space - c'est la vie:-).

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