Just doing carry-on …. I did it once before and I am going to do it again.
Travel to Europe for two weeks just with carry-on. Now you might be saying to yourself – big deal – I have done that tons of times but I know out there among you all there are those who cannot leave home without a whacking big suitcase (and that’s just for a weekend).
So first of all why am I going to do this? Well a two-week trip to Europe comprised of hotel stays, a cruise, trains, taxis and ferries and a hotel on Lake Como that has 37 cobbled steps leading up to it….
Yup. That sounds like a good enough reason. I think it will be a good personal lesson in self-restraint. Do I really need 6 pairs of shoes? A different outfit every night? Really? The people I am travelling with are family. They have seen me at my worst …. Believe me.
The rest – strangers – ships that pass in the night. They will never see me again and vice versa.
Next – how am I going to do this. Packing cubes, wrinkle-resist material and Lululemons and more Lululemons. A couple of colourful shawls – sparkly Croc flip flops and a good pair of Sketchers. That should do it?
Oh – but I shouldn’t forget my running shoes just in case, and my swim suit and then maybe a rain jacket, just in case, and a warmer cover-up for the evenings – just in case. You see what happens. It just keeps piling up so I am going to have to work very hard at this. It’s the “just in case” that prevents me from reaching my goal. How many times have you unpacked unworn clothing after a trip. You took it along – just in case – dragged it onto cruises, flights, trains and taxis and then brought it all the way home again – UNWORN!
My last carry-on trip worked quite well – two weeks in Ireland on a self drive vacation with a teeny carry on suitcase. I was quite proud of myself but I also wanted to throw up when I unpacked my clothes at home. I was so sick of the sight of them.
There is something so liberating about being able to walk off your flight and right out the doors of the airport into a taxi. No hanging around waiting endlessly for the case on the carousel – just out the door and on my way. I have also had the experience of travelling with a larger case on European trains. Yes it can be done but if you are going to catch as many trains as we are then I would rather not.
So all I am worrying about now is getting on the plane in time to get an overhead bin (or two) and a place to put my hat!
Are you a hard case or a duff?
Bear with me here. With all the travelling I do my suitcases take a battering and now it is coming up to the time when I need to do a replacement. But what do I choose? There are so many options. Do I do hard case? Two wheels or four? Duffel with wheels? Duffel that converts to back pack? Ultra light weight or not so much. Goodness – the choices are endless.
One thing I have learnt is that smaller is better. Down in my basement I have two monster size suitcases and I cannot for the life of me understand what I was thinking when I bought those. They are too big, too awkward and frankly usually bring home clothes that I never wore. As a woman I pack too much – I know. Always going through the “what if” scenario. What if I wear these pants and then this top is the only one that looks good but what if it is cold and then this top looks ugly with a jacket so I might not use it. What if I don’t pack it and then get to the other side of the world and of course that would be the one item I would “need”…. ladies are you with me?
So apart from smaller – hard or soft? Hard cases were very popular at one time but I don’t see so many of them these days at airports. They are good for preventing crushing but then don’t have that stretch factor that soft cases have. They also don’t often have the magic zip – you know that one. The zip that gives you two extra centimetres of space so that you can cram in even more stuff that you have bought on your trip. “Stuff” you probably won’t need but sometimes you have to buy – and of course let’s not forget the gifts for family. The anticipation of grandchildren wondering what you have brought home for them makes that zip stretch very important.
Two wheels or four? Well there are wheels and then there are wheels. Sometimes those four wheeled cases are not that easy to move around and if you are getting from one terminal to another quickly two wheels is way better.
To duffel or not to duffel – that is the question. I have seen a lot of these cases around. A duffel bag in soft material that can be carried by the handles or stood up on one end and towed on two wheels. For me the jury is still out on this one. I am not sure how I would pack something like this. I notice that some of them even have straps on the back so you could hoist the whole thing on your back like a proper backpack. That might be handy in places like Venice where it is a real pain to tow a suitcase with wheels over cobbled streets and up and down the steps of the many bridges there. I would have to go and try that out at the shop and see how comfortable it might be.
A common theme of necessity through all the above seems to be the wheels. Anyone who can remember dealing with old suitcases with no wheels will agree with me. You absolutely had to find a luggage cart in a case like that especially if you have short arms.
I am going to be looking into these options in more detail and trying some out to see which would work best for me …. what’s your recommendation?
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