You want me to fit THIS in THERE???
Any girl can understand the woes of backpacking when they are known to be a heavy packer (as I am guilty of!) I have gone on 2 multi-country Euro trips in the past two years and have done them both ways. The first time I went with my boyfriend who insisted I brought this medium sized backpack, where I begrudgingly squeezed my belongings in and the second time I went with a girl friend and brought a full out luggage set. Although I WILL say my outfits were put together MUCH better with my girlfriend-lugging the suitcases from plane to train was a NIGHT-MARE. At one point a friendly man at the Amsterdam train station literally threw our suitcases onto the train for us because we were struggling to lift them ourselves! <and then our luggage got their own seats because they didn’t fit in the overhead compartment-sorrrrryyyy!> Another point we were forced to buy another bag from a bag-vending machine <yes those exist apparently?> at the Edinburgh airport due to our bags being well over the maximum weight <and I was already wearing like 6 layers and carrying my blow dryer and straightener in my purse>
SO as much as I hate to admit it-my boyfriend was right, traveling light is a much easier option when jet setting from place to place. The real question is: HOW do people do it? Well, I am still mastering that myself but I can offer some tips I have discovered along the way!
1. Get a bag that can be used as a carry on so you don’t need to check anything
There is nothing worse then hearing the words: sorry your luggage didn’t make it on the flight. What a nightmare. I like to keep my belongings close, especially when I’m venturing from place to place. Plus, this way it is light enough to lift over any cobblestone or uneven roads or run with if you’re about to miss your train or flight!
2. Plan out your outfits ahead of time and try to re-use pieces to create different outfits each day
If your haven’t read my blog post on my packing spread sheet, now would be a great time to educate yourself! YES, this spreadsheet may seem a little crazy and unnecessary to some, however laying out your dates, places of travel, planned activities for the day and what you plan to wear on those days can help you mix and match certain pieces to create more outfits with less.
3. Bring travel sized makeup and toiletries
A lot of brands carry travel sized makeup options as well as mini toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc. This way you are able to carry them onto your flight and save room in your bag for more important things-like shoes!!
4. Get a good sized purse and use that for all valuables and confirmations
You are often able to carry a piece of luggage and a purse onto a flight, so what I like to do is keep all my valuables such as money, passports or jewelry in my purse and keeping a bit of space in here in case my carry on gets a little heavy and I need to transfer a bit of weight!
5. Bring clothes that are jersey or easily roll-able.
Traveling during warmer weather is often a bonus because clothes are generally smaller and easier to roll! You can easily squeeze in 3 maxi dresses and 3 short dresses into your bag if they are easily roll-able! When you are planning what to bring, avoid bulky sweaters or anything that takes up a large amount of room in a bag.
6. Wear your bulkiest clothes during travel days
OK, I get it, people get cold- the best thing I would do in this case is wear my biggest sweater and clunkiest shoes during my travel days. Other then these pieces, I probably wouldn’t bring anything else this thick- because it is likely to take up half the space in your bag!
7. Shoes: bring no more then 2 pair, 3 IF YOU MUST!
There have been times I’ve packed and been super proud of myself for under packing then I threw in my shoes and my bag has reached the “sorry you are going to have to remove 4 pounds of stuff” point at the airport. If I’m traveling during warmer months I would wear my heaviest shoes during travel days and then bring 1-2 pairs of smaller shoes or sandals that can mix and match with all my outfits.
8. Leave room for purchases
This is a rooky mistake! You are super proud you got all your items from the packing spread sheet into your bag then you get to your first country, hit the mall, come out with 5 bags of new clothes and now you are on your way to the closest luggage store to buy yourself a bigger bag for the trip home. <Which is also a true story from the trip with my girlfriend> Unless you are going somewhere you are pretty confident the malls wont be calling your name, I would always leave some room at the top of my bag, knowing I cant resist a new selection of boutiques!