I actually bought a book called How to Pack. I like to look at it occasionally and laugh in hysterics and disbelief. I just don't know how to pack properly and it's a serious source of stress. I don't understand how people can travel with one carry-on bag. I haven't been able to do it unless it's a very short trip such as our recent weekend jaunt to SoCal. I think there's a threshold for me depending on the number of days and the availability of laundry facilities. If I'm going for longer than, say, 3-4 days, and the hotel does laundry or I can go to a self-service laundromat, then I'll tend to pack less. If not, then I pack fresh apparel for each day. I'm not sure yet how to deal with the 34 degree F temperature in Lyon though. It looks like I'll have to lug a coat and accessories with me. The other problems are: (1) I have exceptionally bulky underwear. The shrinking bags don't seem to work for me. (2) I tend to bring everything except the kitchen sink. Ironically it's all the items that are suggested in How to Pack *plus* developing world necessities like a portable mosquito net and water purification tables. And a laptop and accessories. Plus stuff for my colleagues. Plus work materials. I did like this article from Get Lost Magazine. But I'm afraid that I'll still have a heavy, fully packed bag no matter what I do. *sigh*
Of course it is important to know whether you can launder. But strategy is also key. Reduce bottoms (pants/skirts get more mileage than shirts) and if needed, increase shirts - they still take up less space. Or, wear layers, i.e. increase short sleeve layers and decrease outer button-down shirts or sweaters. Then prime need for laundry is the under layer. When you shop for clothing, think about fabrics that are less bulky and/or easy to launder in any situation (industrial machine? sink?).
Decrease shoes. Pick one work/walking shoe and 1-2 others, i.e. sandals or dressy shoes.
Decrease files that you can print when you get there if the trip is long enough. Decrease books - I hate to say buy and discard, but if you need reading material, do that, dont' bring your library with you and back again.
Wear the coat, you can store on the plane.
Take some risks - do without or buy when you arrive. Of course it always depends on the circumstances, but Lyon should be fine. The first time I realized that I could cut way down (not for work) was spending 2 1/2 weeks in Turkey with only a daypack. It was so liberating.
A lot of my stress stems from traveling in winter to a place where professional attire is expected and there is no central heating in either HQ (I'm going to Lyon then Brussels) because they're in 19th century buildings. I'm bringing with me two skirts and two pairs of pants (one set dark denim which take up little space, the other wool), five long sleeve knit shirts, one wool sweater, several pairs of socks and stockings, one pair of boots and one pair of sturdy shoes. Five sets of garments. I'm leaving behind what I usually take with me to West Africa, like a little stationary kit and extra toilet paper and hand sanitizer. I'm beginning to think though that the weight/bulk is coming from everything else. Like the two bags of Hershey's kisses and all the documents for reading and discussing. Not to mention the laptop and accessories.
Documents to read on the plane since I didn't have a chance to do so in the office. (Obviously too much time on LJ.) Hershey's kisses to counteract the negative image of Americans overseas. (I am already being teased for insisting that I can't go to events scheduled on Thanksgiving.) I guess I could leave the choccies at home, but everyone else brings goodies from their home countries to share. :/