Traveling Europe With Just a Backpack

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by agape2travel, Mar 6, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. agape2travel
    Original Member

    agape2travel Silver Member

    Messages:
    159
    Likes Received:
    102
    Status Points:
    395
    My wife and I are in our 50's and have traveled over 20 countries with just one small backpack each. Packing light is our favorite way to travel and we would be glad to share tips on packing light. Just let us know what info you want...the short version or the detailed version. Happy travels!
     
    Tiki, loadera, AmericanGirl and 3 others like this.
  2. Flag_November
    Original Member

    Flag_November Silver Member

    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    31
    Status Points:
    160
    We've done two-week trips to Italy, twice, with 21" rollaboards. A lot of it is not minding if you wear something more than once, and a lot is having the opportunity either to send out your laundry or to wash clothes in the sink in the room. Last year we did a week in Ireland with 21" rollaboards, and with tight connections it really helped.

    It also helps to have status so you can get on the plane while there's still space in the overhead.
     
  3. agape2travel
    Original Member

    agape2travel Silver Member

    Messages:
    159
    Likes Received:
    102
    Status Points:
    395
    FLAG_NOVEMBER...good points! Yes, it does help if you have wrinkle free clothes that dry quickly or send out for laundry service. For my wife and I we stay at 'bed and breakfast' style locations that offer laundry service. We also do the following: (1.) Have clothes that mix and match so we have several combinations (2.) Use a travel vest for our small items (3.) Gradually give away our clothes to charities in order to have room for items we have purchased along the way. Nine more ideas coming soon.....
     
  4. sobore
    Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,421
    Likes Received:
    33,847
    Status Points:
    16,520
    It would be awesome to see some photos and tips on this! I am always interested in ways to travel light.
     
  5. Halothane
    Original Member

    Halothane Silver Member

    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    114
    Status Points:
    375
    I have a small duffel bag from REI that can be worn over shoulder, carried by hand, or worn as a backpack. It's easy to pack and has a ton of space. I usually travel with that and nothing else.
     
    agape2travel likes this.
  6. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,504
    Likes Received:
    20,199
    Status Points:
    16,520
    Yes indeed. I am usually taking too much stuff, so learning from others would be helpful (though I am also learning from myself if I end up taking stuff that I don't use).
     
    agape2travel and sobore like this.
  7. Halothane
    Original Member

    Halothane Silver Member

    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    114
    Status Points:
    375
    One thing I tend to do is to take clothes that I am not worried about ditching....I usually take t-shirts, underwear, socks, etc. that I am close to getting rid of anyways and I just ditch them along the route. I always take my trusty pair of Asics and 1 or 2 pairs of flip flops (depending on destination). I pack lightly the rest of the way and just wash as needed.
     
    Bonnie and agape2travel like this.
  8. eponymous_coward
    Original Member

    eponymous_coward Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,901
    Likes Received:
    2,975
    Status Points:
    1,470
    The only time I have checked luggage in the past few years is when I've been transporting things that go "gurgle gurgle gurgle". This has included trips for longer than a week, as well as carryon on LH (where they will strictly enforce a carryon limit of 8 kilos for a piece of luggage), and trips to Europe during winter, when clothes need to be warm.

    I like these links:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/06/business/06PACK.html

    And for the visually inclined:

    http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2010/05/06/business/businessspecial/20100506-pack-ss.html
     
    AtomicGardener and agape2travel like this.
  9. Flag_November
    Original Member

    Flag_November Silver Member

    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    31
    Status Points:
    160
    I will check a bag if a) I am flying non-stop on an airline where I have status; b) am staying at least a week; c) I am staying put when I get there, meaning staying in one place and not having to unpack/repack. What this ends up meaning is when I go see my Dad for a holiday, I feel free to check a bag. Otherwise we travel pretty light.
     
    AmericanGirl and agape2travel like this.
  10. dhammer53
    Original Member

    dhammer53 Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,574
    Likes Received:
    2,928
    Status Points:
    1,470
    I know I can do carry-on for a weeks travel. As for my wife.... [​IMG]
     
    agape2travel likes this.
  11. Punki
    Original Member

    Punki Silver Member

    Messages:
    755
    Likes Received:
    1,196
    Status Points:
    825
    I can go a week or two without checking bags, unless we are going skiing or someplace else that needs a lot of extra gear.

    For me, clothes are the easy part. It's the unguents and potients that present my challenges. ;)
     
    agape2travel likes this.
  12. tom911
    Original Member

    tom911 Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,005
    Likes Received:
    3,183
    Status Points:
    2,070
    But will you do laundry in the sink? I had to do that twice on my 13 day UK/Ireland trip that I just came back from (basically underwear and wool socks). I've found the wool socks are indestructible in winter weather and hold up pretty good after walking around 10 miles a day. A friend with me on this trip had to pick up a couple pair in Dublin when his cotton socks were just not holding up with all the walking (had warned him before leaving the U.S.). I even bring a small bottle of shampoo from home to use for the laundry (old Westin shampoo bottle- just the perfect size).
     
    k2o and agape2travel like this.
  13. tom911
    Original Member

    tom911 Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,005
    Likes Received:
    3,183
    Status Points:
    2,070
    I've had three different Jansport travel packs over the last 20 years, and last year I finally gave up hauling everything on my back and broke down and bought a Costco rollaboard. Fits in all the AA overheads just fine. Was getting too hard to hike up hills with all that weight on my back. I knew the time would come.
     
    agape2travel likes this.
  14. agape2travel
    Original Member

    agape2travel Silver Member

    Messages:
    159
    Likes Received:
    102
    Status Points:
    395
    When we are going on one of our trips we start with our 'packing list'. We allow 4 pants & 5 shirts for me (husband) and 5 pants & 6 tops for my wife. We never take blue jeans because they are too bulky. We also take 6 pairs of socks each and 6 pairs of underwear each. We use packing cubes for our socks, underwear, and toiletries. If we are traveling in cool weather we each take a pull over sweater. We never travel in the winter. Reading material, gum, playing cards, travel info, and electro gizmos go in our travel vests (we have been using Columbia but recently purchased a Scottevest). We each have comfy walking shoes on but no back-up shoes. By "bundle wrapping" (google this term) our clothes come out fairly winkle free. Our two backpacks have 'load distribution' with waist belts and shoulder belts. Usually the backpacks weigh about 20-22 pounds fully packed but the design, they actually feel very light. As we travel each day we eventually give away our clothes to local charities thus creating room for our purchases. Since we use backpacks most airlines are a little more generous on the carry-on rules. The backpacks can be squeezed into most openings on the planes.
     
    AmericanGirl and tom911 like this.
  15. agape2travel
    Original Member

    agape2travel Silver Member

    Messages:
    159
    Likes Received:
    102
    Status Points:
    395
    Before we do our actual packing we lay everything out on a bed and then ask the question, "Will I really use this if I take it on the trip?". This process eliminates a lot of things before starting the packing process.
     
  16. agape2travel
    Original Member

    agape2travel Silver Member

    Messages:
    159
    Likes Received:
    102
    Status Points:
    395
    My wife just reminded me that we did go up to 27 pounds in the backpacks on one 16-day trip a few years ago. Except for that trip, we usually stay within the 20-22 pounds each range.
     
  17. agape2travel
    Original Member

    agape2travel Silver Member

    Messages:
    159
    Likes Received:
    102
    Status Points:
    395
    On a typical 2 week trip we will have our bed & breakfast folks do our laundry 2-3 times and we will do a few items in the sink (socks, etc.) about 2-3 times.
     
  18. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,504
    Likes Received:
    20,199
    Status Points:
    16,520
    Yikes! I am not sure I own that many pants :eek:

    Just kidding... I do, but I don't ever take that many pants even if I check luggage (unless you count beach shorts, swim trunks). I'd be curious to see your backpack. My carry-on backpack mostly holds the stuff that I cannot under any circumstances be separated from (laptop, iPad, camera, phone(s), ebook reader, ...). I usually can fit in a small amount of clothing, but the rest goes either into a rollaboard as carry-on or into a shared (with my wife) larger suitcase. With my recent upgrade to a MacBook Air the backpack situation should somewhat improve... or at least the weight go down by two pounds.
     
    agape2travel likes this.
  19. tom911
    Original Member

    tom911 Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,005
    Likes Received:
    3,183
    Status Points:
    2,070
    My rollaboard was 15kg when I checked in for the flight home this week (about 33 pounds). My dual-layer Columbia winter parka was broken down and packed in the bag, as were a bunch of electronics (cables, batteries, chargers) that I need to have along that I was done with at that point. Take those out and I might come pretty close to you. :D
     
    agape2travel likes this.
  20. agape2travel
    Original Member

    agape2travel Silver Member

    Messages:
    159
    Likes Received:
    102
    Status Points:
    395
    We purchased our backpacks a long time ago so I don't remember the style name but the manufacturer is Columbia. We also sometimes carry a Rick Steves daypack that I can squeeze down to a ball that fits within my two hands. This daypack is used when we stay at the same bed & breakfast several days. We take the daypack and leave behind the backpacks.
     
  21. agape2travel
    Original Member

    agape2travel Silver Member

    Messages:
    159
    Likes Received:
    102
    Status Points:
    395
    We take all of our electro gizmos (camera, Sony e-reader, phone, etc.) in our two travel vests.
     
  22. agape2travel
    Original Member

    agape2travel Silver Member

    Messages:
    159
    Likes Received:
    102
    Status Points:
    395
    On shorter trips we of course cut down on the packing items. The list above was for a 2 week trip.
     
  23. agape2travel
    Original Member

    agape2travel Silver Member

    Messages:
    159
    Likes Received:
    102
    Status Points:
    395
    A year or so ago I ran across a website by a guy who loves to pack light. I believe it was packinglight.com but you can google packing light and probably come up with the correct address. He had lots of great ideas.
     
  24. Mundivaganti
    Original Member

    Mundivaganti Silver Member

    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    77
    Status Points:
    220
    I learned to pack light years ago when I arrived in the UK for a two week stay and realized I had left most of my clothing on a chair at home, folded neatly -- ready to pack. That was the most spartan trip I have done, but it taught me how little I need. I've since verged on obnoxious when it comes to packing light. Every place on earth where I have been has some means of doing laundry, and stores everywhere carry toiletries, soaps, and other necessities.
     
    agape2travel likes this.
  25. agape2travel
    Original Member

    agape2travel Silver Member

    Messages:
    159
    Likes Received:
    102
    Status Points:
    395
    You're so right MUNDIVAGANTI. Why lug around heavy bags when the two of us can manage easily on just 40 pounds between us. With the waist & shoulder belts it doesn't even feel like we're each carrying 20 pounds. If we run out of something (like last year when we ran out of toothpaste) we just go out like a local and buy some more. With the way airlines today misplace your bags, why go through the hassle of filling out miss luggage forms? Bypass the long lines at the baggage pick up areas and start your tour early! Happy travels!
     

Share This Page