There are a lot of reasons I'm committed to this:
1. When traveling in Europe there's no guarantee you will have an elevator or escalator and you may be faced with lugging your bags up tons of stairs.
2. There is NOTHING I own that is going to impress anyone overseas, so why try? I go for flexibility, layering and most of all, comfort.
3. I hate checking luggage and avoid it as often as possible. Within Europe you frequently HAVE to check your luggage, but they are very strict on weight. One trip my mother and I bought wine and ended up paying so much for the weight overage we could have bought the wine at home cheaper.
I bought this bag a few years ago because it was the right size to carry on but looked different than most carry-on bags so I'd be less likely to unzip in my hotel room only to find it full of someone else's belongings. A whole new meaning to the question "did you pack your bag yourself?"
You can't see it in the picture, but this is a roller bag, and with the exception of rolling over cobblestones, it works very well. There is a zipper about six inches from the bottom that opens into an easy access flat area. When I'm traveling with my computer, it fits perfectly in this space and is super easy to remove at security without exposing my packed delicates to the rest of the line. I'm only taking my iPad this trip so I will likely put the two pair of shoes I'll take with me in the lower space, wedging in socks and jammies for a tight fit.
I use those handy dandy squeeze-the-air out compressed packing bags (or "squishy bags" as I like to call them) to put my clothes in the top part of the bag. I pretty much only take knits and denim, so these bags work great.
|photo borrowed from Amazon|
Throughout my journey I reorganize the bags to contain only dirty laundry, or only what I need for the one night stay-over somewhere. My last trip I hand-washed laundry on the fly. This time I should have access to laundry facilities; either way, much easier than carrying too much luggage.
Packing light takes a bit of planning. Last week I pulled a hanging rack out of the laundry room and started placing items on it to look at and decide what's necessary and what to leave home. I packed for a shorter trip without the rack once and ended up leaving the two dresses I sat out for the ceremonies we were attending on the chair in my bedroom! Note to self, don't change the routine.
|All of this should fit in my carry-on luggage with the help of the above squishy bags.|
I really didn't intend on only taking black, gray, white and denim, but that was the most readily available for purchase and mixing and matching. The weather will be all over the place, from chilly to hot, so layering is key. Furthermore, almost everything I'm taking is either older or if purchased new, very inexpensive (like, $15 or under) from the TJ Maxx or Ross. I do this on purpose so if I acquire something new on my travels I can discard something I brought with no regrets.
I always take an extra duffle bag that is folded and zipped down to the size of a pack of playing cards JUST in case I get carried away with purchases and need the extra room to carry them home. I've yet to unzip it.
I don't take a hair dryer and make-up and toiletries are put in ziplock bags for easy wedging (and pulling out at the security line when necessary).
While packing light is adverse to the norm in the U.S., making it work while abroad, particularly when traveling alone, really simplifies life for the above mentioned reasons as well as limiting choices so that it's actually easier to get dressed and start enjoying the day.
Six days and counting!