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Why I Like Packing Light for a Trip to Europe

Terry (Teaberry)

Vacation time is always the best time, and part of the fun of planning for it includes the final step of all planning – the packing. We pack light. My husband and I each take a carry-on rolling suitcase that we place in the overhead bin of the plane and a daypack that is placed under the seat.


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Terry packing light

The advantages to this type of travel are many for us.

  • We always know where our belongings are, and never have to worry about them being flown to an unknown destination.
  • We don't have to worry about how someone is handling our luggage, or should I say manhandling our luggage? It stays in one piece unless we break it!
  • We never have to wait at the baggage claim carousel after our journeys. This cuts a huge chunk of time off of waiting (and worrying), both for starting our vacations and returning from them.
  • Easy mobility. Less bulk means that you can move on and off trains, cabs, navigate steps and streets and elevators without cumbersome weight and awkward, uncomfortable maneuvering.
  • With less weight to carry and smaller luggage to lift, we also like to think that we are saving our backs (and other body parts) from strain and possible injury. Don't need that on vacation. Carry-on luggage fits very nicely and lifts easily into your car trunk or luggage racks on trains and buses.

Now, the key to packing light is two-fold.

First, you should only pack a week's worth of clothing, although I do pack extra socks and underwear. Keep your shoes to a minimum – 3 pairs max, depending upon your activities. We usually bring along hiking shoes, walking shoes, and something a little nicer for going out. Pack for the weather, and plan on some layers if weather could be iffy.

Packing Light

Second, if you plan on vacationing for more than a week, packing light only works if you have access to washing your clothes. This is something that we always factor in to the equation. If we stay at a rental, we must have laundry facilities, or be near some. Same with a B&B, and it would also hold true for a hotel, where laundry services are very often available. You cannot pack light if you can't do laundry!

Most luggage companies make a carry-on size piece of luggage designed specifically for overhead bin specifications, but I would strongly recommend checking with your airline or their website before you embark on your trip to be sure of their particular requirements.

After trying packing light once, I am now a convert and could never go back.


Read more about Packing for a Trip to Europe and Packing Not-Light.

Want to talk about packing? Go to the Everything About Travel forum.

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Europe Trip Planning Checklist: Checklist for preparing for a trip to Europe.

I was born and raised in Philadelphia, and find this whole area to be one more beautiful part of the world. See Terry's Slow Travel Member page.

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