Packing light, especially on an itinerary where you will be moving and changing locations a good bit, cannot be underestimated. In fact, it can be the difference between and enjoyable vacation and a miserable one. In most cases you will not meet anyone who says "I wish I had packed heavier" when they return from a journey. A Travel Consultant friend of ours recently shared that she had gone on a personalized guided tour for 3 weeks and was only allow
ed to bring one carry-on suitcase. You may think it can't be done but she did it. Below are some of the things she shared with us.
You can move quickly from place to place. No worries about having to check a big suitcase and where you would fit your luggage on a train, bus or taxi. A lot of European hotels do not have an elevator, so lugging heaving bags up and down stairs can be a real bummer.
Having too much luggage marks you as a "typical" tourist. Con artists figure you're helpless and you become an easy target for pick pocket or a scam.
You save enough money in checked luggage fees to treat yourself to some special "extras" or upgrades. You can also save time by not having to wait around at the luggage carousels in strange airports. You can be off and starting your adventure while everyone else was standing and waiting for the bags to arrive.
Here are a few suggestions for cutting back on the amount of stuff you think you need on your next trip.
Spread out everything you think you might need on the living room floor. Pick up each item one at a time and ask yourself "Will I really use this enough to justify carrying it over the Swiss Alps?" (or wherever you are heading). When in doubt, leave it out!
Don't pack for the worst-case scenario. Pack for the best-case and buy yourself out of any jams along the way. Risk shivering for a day rather than tacking a heavy jacket. Buy a cheap umbrella from one of the many street vendors who "miraculously" appear when the drops start to fall. If you think it "might come in handy", it should stay home.
Pack exactly the same whether you're traveling for three weeks or three months. Rather than take a whole trip's supply of toiletries, take enough to get started and replace them along the way. Believe it or not, Europeans use toothpaste, lotion, hair gel, soap and even deodorant. It's actually fun to go into a general store and stock up on local brands on the fly.
Invest in a good quality piece of luggage that fits your needs. There are a lot of good brands at affordable prices that come with or without wheels.
So there you have it. Weed out the unnecessary, pack your bag and go walk around the block a few times to get a good idea of what you will be dealing with. You will thank us later!