Right before leaving for Europe this summer, I posted a photo of my “luggage”, i.e. two small carry on bags, and received dozens of messages asking if I was nuts.
I was going to be travelling for two whole weeks and I decided to only bring two carry ons for a couple of reasons. This trip was going to be different than my last; we were staying maximum three days in one place, hopping on every mode of transportation possible, so a suitcase really wasn’t feasible. Also, with taking flights every few days as well, I did not want to have to pay to check a bag.
And I can say, that after surviving two weeks with only a backpack and a gym bag, for next time: I will bring even less.
How is this even possible (people have asked)? It is very possible and very efficient. My only suggestion for myself to better the experience of bringing so little, is to nix the gym bag (hard on the shoulders) and invest in a bigger backpack, like this one for example.
Reason being: balancing two bags while running through bus stations in Scotland (this happened so many times you wouldn’t believe it) can be difficult. A backpack would have totally been worth it.
My roommates each brought a backpack and a small carry on suitcase. Again, easier on the shoulders than a gym bag but still having to balance two items is harder than one.
See below for the list of what I packed and some tips on how to pack so light!
Layers, layers, layers
My main concern when going to England was the weather. It can go from cold to hot within minutes so I needed to make sure I brought enough layers. Pack clothes that go well together (my entire travel wardrobe consisted of pretty much only black, white and grey.) so that if it gets cold you can keep adding layers. My main outfits on my trip included: pair of pants, tank top, sweatshirt, and a jacket.
Sharing is caring
A great thing about travelling with friends: sharing clothes. I only brought one “going out” outfit for our trip but because my two other roommates did too, we all were able to share and switch up our outfits each night.
Only you will know
The good thing about hopping on a train every two days (is there a good thing??) is that you’re in a new place, every two days. That means, no one knows you wore those leggings three days in a row. No one knows that sweatshirt has gotten more life in the past week than it ever has. You’re the only one who cares (and as long as you take precautions, see point below) you’re the only one that knows.
Keep it clean people
If you can’t afford to do a wash (laundromats are expensive!) wash your clothes in the sink! Hostel living is not glamourous but it gets the job done. Also key: dryer sheets tucked into your bags (keeps everything smelling a little bit better). Make sure you separate your really dirty clothes from your semi dirty clothes from your unworn clothes, within your carry ons if possible. I tucked my really dirty clothes (think socks that have been worn just a few too many times) into a side pocket but you can also put them in ziplock bags within your travel packs.
Roll anything and everything! Roll your t shirts, roll your jeans, roll all your underwear. I’m serious, it’s the only way to get everything to fit. Such a pain to do this every two days but worth it. I even folded my Longchamp bag when I wasn’t using it to make more room.
Hope this helps when you’re packing for your next trip!