We see many people take huge suitcases with them on short getaways. While it’s handy to have a plethora outfits and toiletries to choose from, do you really need five pairs of shoes or three books for a weekend escape? Over-packing is particularly inconvenient and unnecessary when you're visiting B&Bs. Here's why:
• Lots of steps: A typical Victorian mansion has six or more steps to get to the front door, and at least two full flights of stairs to get to second- and third-floor guest rooms. Although many B&Bs have wheelchair accessible guest rooms, elevators are a rarity.
• Limited closet space: In the 19th century and earlier, most people had very few clothes--just their everyday work clothes and a Sunday suit or dress. The oversize closets of today's homes were very rare. Where closets existed, innkeepers have typically transformed them into bathrooms, since indoor plumbing was even scarcer than closets. While innkeepers do their best to provide you with adequate storage space, and newer B&Bs often do have some nice closet space, limitations do exist at many B&Bs.
• Limited staff: Although innkeepers will be delighted to help you with your bags whenever possible, B&Bs usually do not have bellhops or other staff on call for carrying luggage.
• Lots of amenities: Nearly every innkeeper will be delighted to provide you with a hair dryer and iron (plus an ironing board), so remove those items from your suitcase. Lovely toiletries at most inns (shampoo, lotions, etc.) can also lighten your load.
• Lots of books: Although good books are a key ingredient of a great vacation, you don't need to pack a library. Most innkeepers will be happy to trust you to return their own favorites, while others offer an informal exchange program--take a book, leave a book.
Be a ruthless packer. If you’re really tight on space, consider packing only neutral-colored slacks, shorts, and/or skirts (black & khaki are best), so that all your tops match all the bottoms. One great idea is taking no-iron microfiber fabrics, which weigh little and fold up into nothing. Since you can usually wear the bottoms for several days, you'll only need two or three if you’re going on a week-long trip.
Three pairs of shoes is the maximum, and two pairs is better--a pair of walking shoes, and another that's a little dressier. Always take a bathing suit since many B&Bs have hot tubs and/or lovely swimming pools. Roll it into a ball, stick it in a corner of your suitcase, and you'll never have to miss the fun if an opportunity strikes. Do bring an empty, lightweight daypack if you plan to go hiking. Most of all, enjoy your trip!