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While Tom writes rhapsodic thoughts about the true meaning of home, I am pondering luggage. He is a poet; I am a Capricorn.

You already know that classic luggage comes in three sizes:

  • small (20-21 inches, carry-on size)
  • medium (24-26 inches, needs to be checked)
  • and humongo (30 inches, needs to be rolled).

So what to bring for a possible whole year away? Faced with the sheer length of the trip, Tom’s idea was to each bring two big 30-inch suitcases. That ought to do it, right? After all, the first three months are all in one spot: Girona.

Then I got to envisioning how we travel. We are never trailed by an army of porters with carts. We will be bumping these bags up and down staircases in train stations and quaint hotels, in and out of cabs. We will be stuffing them into tiny rental cars, and perhaps into a tiny ship’s cabin.

Louise in shoestore

Though packing less is an odd position for me to take, given how many shoes I will need, schlepping large bags around is a fate that, for me, is worse than going barefoot. And so I suggested one big bag each. Tom got out his tape measure and ran it all around our two big bags and declared them both within the airline’s legal limits. And internationally, the first bag flies free, so, wow, what a savings. He thought he could manage.

Louise with Delsey bag

Meanwhile, I packed up my 25-inch hardside Delsey (pictured at right), superlight and cute, to go East for a week. And with my necessary stuff inside, it weighed 47 pounds, very close to the international limit of 50. Gosh, if that’s what the medium weighs, how much will the large weigh? I shudder.

And so, I craftily mentioned the possibility of downsizing once again.

“What?” he said. “You want me to do it all in a backpack?

“No. How about one medium suitcase each?”

So here’s what’s happening. We’ve each made a packing list already, and one of these days we’re going to actually rehearse the packing to see if we can get everything on the list into 25 inches and what it will weigh. We’ll let you know. Maybe we can wheedle it all down to a small rollerbag, or maybe even a tote bag! What a challenge!

What about you? What size bag do you bring for how long? Do you find help if you need it? And what’s your very best packing-light tip? I’m afraid this topic will come up again and again. I’m obsessed. Help!