If you told me 5 years ago that I would be gallivanting around Europe with just a backpack I would have thought you were nuts. I was the ultimate over packer, 20 outfits planned for a weekend trip and my carry on filled with shoes because my bag was overweight. I couldn’t imagine not bringing my big London Fog suitcase on every trip that I took. I did it though! I was able to pack for two weeks in this small backpack no problem. So I am proclaiming myself a fabulous professional packer. Here are some tips that have helped me while traveling.
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1.) Pick Pieces that are Interchangeable
Dressing for travel should be the same as dressing at home. You don’t wear a different outfit every single day, right? Nope. You probably repeat outfits or mix and match well-loved items. The same habit should be applied while traveling. You’re not going to wear the fancy dress that hangs in your closet 362 days a year so just leave it home. A nice pair of black pants or a skirt that can be fancied up will work just as well for a nice dinner out. Also neutral tones are your friend, it’s easier to mix and match with pieces that aren’t every color of the rainbow. A fun patterned scarf can change up your look and they take up minimal space.
2.) Don’t be Afraid to Do Your Laundry
Laundromats are very common all over Europe so don’t be afraid to utilize them. They have the same laundry vending machines that we do here and they run on coins or cards. We threw in a load and walked down the street to have breakfast. Halfway through our meal I stepped out for a few to throw some clothes in the drier and then came back to the restaurant to have another cup of coffee. It was so easy and we had fresh clothes to continue our trip. Sidenote: Andrew had never done laundry in a Laundromat…he’s in his 30s…how is this possible?!?!?!?
3.) Throw a Dryer Sheet In There
Dryer sheets are amazing things, aren’t they? They fight static, remove pet hair from clothes and furniture, get rid of deodorant stains and keep your clothes smelling fresh. This is a great way to keep clothes that are in your suitcase smelling great, especially if you’re backpacking.
4.) Use Packing Cubes
I had been doing the rolling clothes method when packing for years, and while I’m sure it saved space in my suitcase it didn’t save me from wrinkles. When using a backpack I also noticed that my clothes would shift and get even more wrinkled and since I don’t tend to pack an iron when I travel I thought I’d try packing cubes. They have worked out great for both Andrew and myself. I even convinced my parents to buy some for their trip to Italy and they loved them as well. We have these ones , which have worked out well for us. The set even comes with a laundry bag which was a seller for me.
5.) Carry On
Traveling with only a carry on has so many advantages. You don’t have to worry if your checked luggage made it to your final destination and you get the bonus advantage to hit the ground running when you arrive at the destination, no need to wait for your bags at the carousel. Traveling to Europe with only a carry on has lots of benefits. The first benefit is weight; since you’ll do a lot more walking than you can expect to with your luggage, traveling light is important. Second is maneuverability; public transport areas like train stations and metros can be super crowded, making your carry on luggage much easier to move around. Add in charming cobblestone streets to navigate and hotels/apartments without elevators and you’ll be so thankful that you only had a carry on. We bought bags from Osprey that had detachable daypacks. We’ve been so satisfied with the packs and they are definitely more practical for traveling then the ones that we originally used. You can find them here and here
Those are my tips, what are yours?