If you are going to travel light, summer is by far the easiest time to do so. Saying that, Jim and I are heading to Ukraine and Belarus, so we’re not packing for the beach. We’ll be city-hopping. We’re not fans of spending our hard-earned money on expensive flights, and we certainly don’t like paying for baggage. For this trip, we are flying two different airlines and one of the airlines only allows a personal item for each person not to exceed 43 cm by 22 cm by 22 cm. You read that right, only one personal item each. That’s not much, but we are determined to do it without paying for a bag. Oh, by the way, we’ll be gone for eleven days. Here’s how to pack for summer and only use those free carry-ons for two people.
Our first decision is to determining how to pick the best carry on luggage. We’ve decided on a day pack and a small soft-sided satchel. Since we can only take one personal item, that means no purse. We might be able to get away with a belt pack, but we don’t own one, so that’s just not an option at this point. So, with these two bags, we’ve got to fit in Jim’s clothes, my clothes, our toiletries, and of course our gear and a few miscellaneous items.
Packing Clothes For Two
Europe can be warm or chilly in summer, and that means that you need to plan to have at least a light jacket or fleece in case the temperature dips or it gets rainy. We’ve got our light fleeces ready to go. We’re not going to bring rain gear and hope that we don’t get soaked. If it starts raining, we’ll just pop into a cafe or a museum. Other than our fleeces, we’re going with light summery ensembles.
We both like to have a few different outfits, so we are each bringing a total of three pants with two shirts each. This is an easy six days, and since we’re only going to three cities, we have enough time to wash some things out and let them dry if we need to. Other than a few underclothes (five pairs of underwear each and an extra bra for me), the only difference in our wardrobe is that I have to include a scarf. A scarf comes in handy if we enter a religious building where women need to cover up, or gives me a chance to dress up an outfit if I need to as well.
Packing The Toiletries
Toiletries are so different from person to person, but Jim and I are going with the bare minimum. We know that no matter where you go in this global economy, we’re going to be able to buy anything we need. Of course we still need to bring enough for the two weeks.
We carry our everyday items like toothbrushes, paste, shampoo, and deodorant, and a comb. Luckily we both have short, easy to deal with hair and it’s no big deal if we forget the comb altogether. We know this, because yes, it’s happened. We certainly don’t want to buy anything we just don’t need. We do bring a couple of laundry tablets for clothes washing as well.
For keeping healthy on the road and being ready for a small emergency (first aide), I know many people like to be really prepared by bringing a full kit. We don’t have any idea what might happen, and in most cases will rely once again on local stores if we find we need something, but the few things I always bring are allergy relief , aspirin, a topical antiseptic, and band aids. These are items that I’m okay with not using, but I do like to get rid of headaches and breathe or clean a bug bite or cut if I get one. Lastly, we have a couple of prescribed medications we need to bring along. For those, I always make sure to leave a good, readable label on so if I run out I can show the package with the prescription to the local doctor. I also have a picture of my medication labels on my phone, in case they get left behind or lost.
Packing Our Gear
Honestly this takes up as much, if not more room than our clothes. For this trip, since we are staying in cities, we’re taking the bare minimum. Therefore I’m only taking one lens for my DSLR camera, and it’s killing me but I’m leaving my tripod at home. It pretty much can only make the cut if we are paying for a bag. So, as you can see above we have: our laptop, camera, video camera, iPhone, chargers and adapters, some extra memory cards and batteries, our reading glasses, passports, and money.
Believe me it’s not nearly as much as I’d like to bring. If we were traveling longer, we would be bringing an entire case full of gear. It’s a pain, but we use so much of it all the time.
How to Pack The Bags
It’s all about the roll! Both sets of clothes, his and hers, are going in the soft satchel, and we’ll put our gear and fleeces in the backpack. We start off strategically placing the clothes in the bag with Jim’s on the left and mine on the right. We also make sure we have our pajamas on top, so when we get in late at night we can just pull them out quickly. This flight gets in early afternoon, so it’s not such a big deal; it’s just habit. On top of everything is our big toiletries bag, the one with no liquids. The smaller, liquid bag is in its own plastic baggie in a side pocket, easy to pull out so we can get through security quickly.
Next up is packing the gear and important papers, like our passports, in the backpack. We’ll probably haul the backpack around the city as well, so we want to pack it so we don’t have to do much when we get to the hotel to be ready to go. First I put all the cords and cables at the bottom of the pack with my fleece on top of them. This will help cushion our camera and video camera, by using the sleeve to weave between the two so they won’t knock together during the flight. They have to be easy to get to because we know we might have to pull them out and turn them on at the security check. I would say we’ve had to do this 50 % of the time. Our backpack has a zipper for the laptop, and that will definitely be coming out at security, so we love that it’s easily accessible. On top of the cameras we put extra cushion with Jim’s fleece.
And there you have it. Two small, small bags for two people for ten days. Honestly, if we didn’t love our gear so much, we could travel with this much for a pretty long time since we don’t mind washing things out little by little when we travel. I would rather not pack enough then too much. Every time I get home from a trip, I get really grumpy to find out that I’ve packed an item and not used it, so I try extra hard not to do that.
Have you and your travel partner ever gone away for eleven days and only taken two carry-ons? What are your packing tips?
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