First long sit (5 months)

Hi everyone!
I’ve just agreed on my first very long sit. Very excited about it but wondering how you’d pack for this??
It’ll be in the UK end of October till March so thick clothes as well as Christmas / NY and beginning of spring…
I’ve only just recently mastered the “not overpacking” method and this is making me want to pack 5 suitcases and a backpack :joy::joy::joy:
Any insights welcome!


Congratulations! Are you bringing hold luggage, carry-on, or under seat only? If it’s the latter, just bring your passport and a credit card. Charity shops are everywhere :blush:


Many people suggest shopping for bulky clothes at charity shops, and then donating them again at the end of your sit .

This way you can avoid having to bring extra luggage, especially the warm items take a lot of space.

I am somewhat of a packrat, and December will bring my first fly-to -a-sit situation. I am also anxious about what to pack!

Currently I am on a sit where I intentionally packed extremely light. Two pairs of shoes! That’s unheard of for me! I have also pared down The total number of articles of clothing, intending to mix and match into different outfits. Plus one dress that is nice enough to wear to a nice restaurant. (My husband had to buy a shirt for because he didn’t have anything nice.)

I also decided to pack one outfit that I would knock around in all day at home, so that when I would go out, my clothes would be fresh.


How exciting for you and I hope you’ll enjoy the sit. It will be even more of a wrench to leave after such a long time, assuming everything goes well of course!
I’ve been travelling since 31 October last year and return to the UK in March next year, so 17 months in all. I’m travelling in New Zealand and Australia. I’ve been dragging round a coat, which packs into its stuff pack and is really warm, all that time but have only worn it twice! However I won’t give it away nor post it back (so expensive now) as it’s an expensive Rohan coat. I’ve given away a wind proof jacket which I hardly wore and a fleece. As suggested, I bought a couple of jumpers from op shops (since returned) and summer wear. I’ve got one suitcase and a backpack allowed on planes up to 7kg. It’s amazing how much you can pack. I use organisers and roll all my clothes.
Good luck!


Hi @morc83, how exciting. We just did 4.5 months in the UK November 2022 to April 2023 doing 11 sits, so not 1 long sit but similar time and seasons. We had the same dilemma as chronic over packers!

We were left an Australian summer of 30 degrees and 1 day later landed in a UK winter of 11 degrees right at the time our airline QANTAS was losing luggage frequently. We decided to go with carry on luggage only for the whole trip, so our luggage arrived when we did plus we were using public transport the whole time so we didn’t want to have sore backs and shoulders lifting large bags in and out of buses and trains.

We each took 1 backpack and 1 cabin size wheelie bag and a small cross body bag. Here’s one lot below. Plus one of us had a CPAP machine.

Because of our overpacking reputation our friends couldn’t believe we would be able to do it. It took a bit of refining before we left but we a absolutely nailed it and now won’t ever travel any other way again!

There are some hacks/secrets though and a formula to success!

For any pack light trip you need to embrace the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 formula. In addition to what you are wearing you pack 5 underwear (for guys 5 jocks and pairs of socks, same for ladies plus bras), 4 tops, 3 bottoms, 2 pairs of shoes, 1 coat. It’s as easy as that! The difficulty is choosing your clothes.

All our tops were light weight merino wool which on super cold days (read nearly ever day) we wore layers of them. Our bottoms were jeans or jeggings or Helly Hanson pants with leggings underneath on most days. Our socks were all woollen and again double socks on cold days. It got to minus 8 during our trip. The best thing about wool is that it can be worn many many times before needing to be washed. As it was so cold we didn’t sweat so our outer clothes were lucky if they got washed once a week as they didn’t need it. We rotated what we wore each day so the previous day’s clothes got aired. They never smelt! Our clothes were mostly black, blue and navy so they hid any slight soiling. The key is to be able to wear any combination of clothes, so plan a “capsule wardrobe”. Google that phrase for ideas. Because we were able to wash our clothes regularl we actually had too many clothes!

In addition to the above we took pyjamas, a polar fleece zip up jacket, a beanie, scarf and gloves each. We had to buy a 2nd set of thinner gloves to go under the big gloves as our hands were too cold. Make sure you have a thin very long woolen scarf that can wrap around your neck multiple times and warm half your face and the top of your chest when tucked in to your coat. The very cute hand knitted woollen one I took was useless!

We took our coats with us but the UK charity shops are fabulous. We fell in love with them. You can easily buy a great quality coat when you get there and donate it when you leave. We went to great lengths to buy wellies when we arrived and only used them for 2 sits to walk dogs. Unless you are staying in a rural muddy area don’t bother with those.

We only took enough toiletries for the first few days and bought what we needed when we got there. We also had to take 5 months of medication for each of us which made us look like drug couriers but we had no problem with customs.

We also ended up with a shopping bag each strapped to our wheelie bags on transit days which held our pantry staples. Here’s how we looked on those days!

Good luck and enjoy your adventure!


Wow! Well done! I’m going to take your advice for the future. I do use public transport a lot but have managed with my pull along 23kg suitcase and backpack, sometimes carrying a bag of groceries too.


Once you go backpack only (or hand luggage only), it’s hard to go back! Everything feels like overpacking then.


@Crookie that is very impressive. I would feel embarrassed to show you my luggage for a weekend away in the UK :rofl:


Wow, you guys are amazing - I never knew this about packing and dealing with clothes! That’s a really good method, my partner and I should consider using it from now on!

I’m from Australia too, and moved to London for work back in 2019. When I first moved, I came with 2 large 20+kg suitcases, plus backpack & handbag. The intention was to stay and settle in the UK, but then I met my fiancé, and we decided to travel Europe together! We really knew nothing about travel, packing & trying to be minimalist back then, and flew to Italy to do au pairing with two 20kg bags EACH plus backpacks :joy::woman_facepalming:t3: Trying to get through the London underground with all of that to the airport was just ridiculous - I don’t know what we were thinking :joy:

We have culled most of our things from back then, and now travel for house-sitting with just 1 20kg suitcase each, plus a backpack each. We are also fortunate that we have my fiancé’s family in Romania, so we can store things we don’t currently need there, and often use it as a base to re-pack.

This year, we’re doing 6 months of back-to-back sitting around the UK, through summer & autumn. We have 1 vaccumed sealed bag each of autumn/early winter clothes, and another vaccumed sealed bag each of summer clothes. The vaccume bags work pretty well for us and save a fair bit of space in our suitcases. For us the issue isn’t so much clothes, but always buying & gaining other items like boots, shoes and a whole lot of souvenirs during our travels (usually my fault!). Plus my fiancé loves fishing, which takes up a lot of space in his suitcase (2 telescopic rods, plus landing net, mat, hooks and accessories!). We are still learning how to be more minimalist, and often face the bi-weekly challenge of travelling with 2 large and slightly over-stuffed suitcases on public transport. Every time we re-pack, it seems our stuff has somehow multiplied and we are sitting on the lid of the cases trying and make them close… wasn’t like that when we left Romania a few months ago haha! Your ideas are genius, we’ll have to give them a try! I think we could definitely travel lighter if we tried. We try to take only clothes that we need, but often end up taking more than necessary… in the end, we usually end up wearing our favourite few T-shirts & pants anyway!

We are going home to Australia from November to January, and have concluded that we will probably need to ship some things home to Romania before flying to Aus.

Thanks for sharing your story and tips - it’s nice to know we aren’t the only ones doing this and travelling all over the country via public transport with luggage!


I’ve been living out of this bag for the last few months. I had to downsize a little bit more to get it under the 10 kg Air Europa limit. :grin:

And here it is! This is the key to travelling light :grinning:

When you are moving from sit to sit, meeting new people, no one knows or cares that you are wearing the same clothes most of the time!


Hi @morc83
Not sure where in the UK your long sit is? I ask as the weather is very different in the south of the UK to the Highlands of Scotland. Living around London in winter requires jackets and sweaters you can remove when on public transport as this can get stuffy even in winter.
As a general rule (and as someone that travels with hand luggage only) I wear the bulkiest things like coats and sweaters to the airport as these can be removed and placed in the overhead bin during flight. If you are taking sturdy shoes I’d wear these for your flight.


Agree @botvot
In my 12 (I think) overseas trips from UK I’ve only ever travelled hand luggage. Admittedly I do have 2 sizes of luggage (very small for budget and slightly bigger for non budget airlines). I check that the HO has a working washing machine. I take a couple of washing capsules and wash my clothes mid sit if needed. Cheaper than paying £80-£90 extra for hold luggage.


We’re also hand luggage only kids like @botvot and @richten1 - we usually leave Turkey for 3/5 months at a time, both winter and summer trips. We wear our big jackets and boots to travel in if it’s the former. Everyone has a washing machine and so many airlines charge for more than 8kgs now it’s just not worth it. We have found we just live in the same stuff as a pet sitter & have one nice outfit to go out in & you’re off :raised_hands:t3::earth_africa:


The UK is charity shop heaven!!! We were in the tropics in the autumn/winter- India, a Christmas Sit in Singapore, then Bali. A spontaneous change of plan saw us land in the UK in February in flip flops and without jackets!! For 2 months back to back sits! First stop- raiding the charity shops in Henley on Thames- our first sit. Picked up some fabulous stuff and got fully kitted out in days! We also picked up some great stuff at bargain prices on Gumtree and some super cheap wellies in the sales! When you leave the UK you can give it all away again! We fly mostly with just hand luggage these days- feels so good to travel light!- & what you save on paying for hold luggage you can spend in the charity shops instead! :blush:


I also try to do carryon only. As for pajamas, I pack one pair of knit bottoms that fold up small. For tops, I usually wear the top I wore that day. My regular tops double as pajama tops. What I find frustrating is not having room to buy all the fabulous things I’d like to take home so I end up looking for the smallest of souvenirs.


At the moment most charity shops won’t stock my size unfortunately :confused: but I love getting bags and accessories there


Hi @Crookie thanks so much!!! The method you’re referring to I didn’t know existed so definitely opens up a whole new world!!!
I personally tend to run very hot so I don’t pack lots of bulkuy items :grin: but this will be in NE UK so probably different kind of cold!!
I’ve got some GREAT insight from your answer and will aim for carryon + backpack!!
I’m beyond impressed with how you managed to fit everything!


@Nagy26 I’ve been using my storage unit in London as my base / change of outfits base! So I know what you experience :grin:


Hey @richten1 !
I’ll be taking the train up to Newcastle from my current London base. As I tend to run pretty hot I can’t wear those items on the train otherwise it’ll be like a sauna hahaha. But sturdy shoes and a waterproof coat is important!!

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