Leave That Suitcase at Home: Learn How To Pack Light For Europe

Europe is a culture-rich continent, full of great food, drink, landscapes, history, castles and architecture. Thousands upon thousands of tourists flock to Europe each year to take in the sights. It’s particularly popular with backpackers, because of its open borders and relaxed visa requirements.

Backpackers have wised up to the fact that traveling light means traveling easy – who wants to haul a gigantic suitcase on a coach across the border? If you’re visiting Europe, having easy to carry, easy to stash luggage is a great money-saver and just makes life easier.

Here’s five ways to cut down to carry-on only for your next European trip.

Get the right carry-on

International flights mean carry-on restrictions. The permitted size is the most important restriction to take note of, yet annoyingly enough, the restrictions on European flights vary from airline to airline.

Thankfully, though, the differences aren’t that great – if your carry-on bag measures no more that 50cm x 35cm x 25cm, you should be able to load it onto most European airline cabins.

It’s usually more effective to find a good, soft backpack rather than a small wheeled suitcase, as backpacks have the “squish factor”. As long as your carry-on can squeeze itself into the desired size, it’s all above board.

Go Neutral

To make the best of your clothing options; pack items that are neutral to ensure ultimate mixing-and-matching potential. A black t-shirt can be worn with just about anything; making its value as an option much higher.
A simple little black dress can be evening wear or day wear, so its packing value is immediately higher than a glitzy hot pink number that has to be worn sparingly.

Accessorize

With limited space and limited outfits, it’s time to get creative to make sure you’ve got clothes that are suitable for anything. Including a glitzy waist belt and a couple of pieces of jewelry in your case that glam up a sundress is a much better option than packing a whole new evening dress. A nice tie is a much easier option than hauling around a tuxedo.

Let go of vanity

Hairdryers, hair straighteners and fancy beauty products like make-up and hair gel are luxuries. Do you really want to be spending hours preening yourself in your hotel room on holiday anyway? Learn to love your natural look and save oodles of space in your carry-on by ditching bulky vanity products.

Plan and be strict

What do you plan on doing on your travels? Do you really need your most heavy-duty coat, or will a more lightweight jacket do? Are you actually going to work out, or is it better to leave your big sneakers behind?

When packing, travelers can be stricken with the ‘what-ifs?’, which leads to lots of last-minute additions to their luggage. Make an extensive list and stick to it. If the likelihood of you doing a mountain walk is low, trust your instincts and leave the hiking boots out of your bag.

Take advantage of loopholes

For international flights, there will always be a weight restriction on carry-on bags as well as the size restriction mentioned above. Of the most-used European airlines (Luthansa Group, Ryanair & Air France-KLM) the carry-on weight restrictions range from 17 lbs (8kg) to 26 lbs (12kg).

Most airline carriers these days allow you to take an additional personal item , like a laptop bag or handbag, which can be any size as long as it fits neatly underneath the seat in front of you. Most handbags or laptop bags have space for a multitude of little goodies – your kindle, an extra pair of socks, a jar of coffee – don’t waste it.

Airlines place restrictions on luggage, but not on passengers, so try to wear your bulkier items on travel days to free up space in your bag.

Learn the art of rolling

Packing’s a pretty simple task, right? Well, it is, but that doesn’t mean you’ve been doing it the most efficient way all these years. If you’re trying to pack light, stuffing clothes unceremoniously into your bag is nothing short of criminal, and folding them isn’t the best method either.

To maximize the space available in your carry-on, learn to pack dense and roll your clothes once they’re folded. Once they’re folded and rolled to their smallest possible size, you’ll find you can fit them around a lot more in your bag.