What’s in your carry on?
In Europe, traveling from country to country is easy and cheap. If you are flying airlines like Ryanair or Easyjet, they only allow a personal item (such as a backpack) before tacking on fees for additional bags. Whether you are packing for a weekend trip or a three-week excursion, here are some tips on how to pack your life into a backpack.
Research the climate
Before going to the new country, check to see whether the weather will be cool or warm during your stay. With a warmer climate, you have the luxury of being able to pack more clothes since summer clothes do not take up as much room. With a cooler climate, think strategically; pack clothes that you can layer and mix and match. If you bring anything big or bulky, wear it on the plane so you can save some space in your backpack.
More on clothes
You do not need as many outfits as you think you may need. If you are worried about outfit repetition for the pictures you will be posting to social media later, bring neutral colored clothes. The less your clothes stand out, the less people will notice them. As mentioned before, bring clothes that you can interchange easily, like bringing a cardigan with a few different colored shirts, or some scarves. The slight variations disperse variety in your limited wardrobe for the weekend.
Condense your liquids
Bring only the liquids that you would not be able to function without–toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, eye contact solution, etc. Having other liquids such as lotion or mouthwash is nice, but not necessary if you are going to be gone for a weekend or a little longer. As a traveler, you live the minimalist life, so only pack the liquids that you cannot live without.
You can make room for your DSLR
With Easyjet, you are not allowed to have a backpack and a small purse, it has to be condensed into one item. If you want to bring your DSLR, that may be a little frightening given to its larger capacity. It is doable though, making room in your backpack for a camera. You may just have to fold your clothes tightly together, or leave some behind. If you are traveling with a friend or two, you could also ask them if you could put some of your belongings in their backpack if they have room. When you are in that new country, capturing amazing photos, you will find leaving an outfit or two behind was worth it.
Do not forget to bring travel locks
When traveling in Europe, staying in hostels is the norm. In some hostels, they provide lockers inside the dorm rooms. A lot of these lockers do not have locks. If you are staying in a room with 18 strangers, having a lock to keep your stuff safe in while you adventure during the day is a good idea. TSA travel locks are small, so they will not take up any room in your carry on. Better safe than sorry!
You should not bring a hair dryer or a towel
Yes, a lot of hostels only provide towels or hair dryers with a fee. While that may be a bothersome to have to drop a few euros on basic products, it is not worth bringing them yourself in order to save that cash. These products take up an ungodly amount of space, inhibiting a lot of what you can bring. Either get past the cost, or forgo taking a shower for a couple of days.
As with everything else when studying abroad, efficiently packing for short trips will be a trial-and-error process. After a few trips, you will figure out what you truly need while traveling, and what can stay behind. Being a traveler means living life as a minimalist, and you will see how much material does not matter compared to the experiences you will be collecting with each trip.