So my favourite hubby and I are heading off overseas for four weeks and I’m surprised by how surprised everyone else is that we’re taking ONLY carry on luggage. In fact I’m taking the same 30L backpack I took to Europe with my boyfriend (now hubby) when we were only twenty and so really, it shouldn’t be at all surprising since we managed just fine then, all five months of it (check out the blog I wrote during the trip here.) And yet everyone is bewildered borderlined horrified when we discuss what we’re taking. (I mean do you really need your second pair of high heels and a hair straightener?)
And I’m not the two-pairs-of-underwear-wash-overnight-hang-in-a-dorm-room-to-dry kind of girl though I’ve done that plenty of times. This trip to the US is a mix of pleasure (the honeymoon part ;D) and business as I was given the opportunity to present at a conference in Orlando, Florida. Yes my uni degree ROCKS! So whilst I’m attending papers and presenting, my hubby is going to be enjoying the pleasures of far too many amusement parks. Not sure if he wins or not because the conference is on Science Fiction and Fantasy so as conferences go, it’s going to be epic! There is an awards dinner so I will need heels and a pretty dress and even make-up not to mention professional-ish clothes for the conference itself. We’re also jumping from New York, which was at a high of 7 degrees celsius today to Orlando, top of 21 degrees celsius, and eventually ending up in Whistler, 5 degrees with snow for some skiing. Despite the range of temperatures and the mix of backpacking/business type activities, we will manage with one carry-on bag each.
Why would you not?
Transport is a huge reason. Never have I landed in a new country to find my bags have ended up somewhere else. Having met people who’ve had the pleasure of leaping from city to city with their bags always a few days behind them, I am determined to avoid this. Buses are a breeze. (We once spent five hours with our bags on our laps in Greece because we’d seen lamb carcasses stowed away in the baggage compartment.) So are stairs. Stairs should be mentioned twice really. Subway stations, airports, hostels (the one in Bruges had a spiral staircase to the rooms that was so narrow that to navigate you had to plan the mad dash up or down by section to allow people to pass), you won’t be able to avoid stairs. Why have a bag the size of a bathtub on wheels that frequently breaks down, destroys the backs of your heels and throws your back out when you’re rushing to catch a train when you can have a backpack you can toss over your shoulders so you can run like the wind?
Backpacks can also be converted into comfy pillows. Try that with a hard suitcase!
Space to bring back gifts and/or souvenirs! You can always buy another bag whilst you’re wherever you are and check that on your flight home. Most flights are pretty strict with weight limits so this way you have the freedom to buy lots of stuff without fear of being hit with extra fees. We had luck finding an abandoned, slightly damaged hard suitcase in Berlin a week before we had to fly home and that meant we had something to carry all our swiss army knives!
Bonus, you look less like a tourist. I mean being a tourist is pretty obvious with a camera around your neck taking endless pictures of what you’re eating but at least it’s less obvious. Kind of. Just a little. As tourists we need all the help we can get.
Next time you’re going on an adventure, think about what you’re taking. Most likely you’ll have access to washing facilities so whether you’re travelling for one week or a year, you only really need a few outfits and if not you have a great excuse to go shopping! I just find it easier, better for my back and means there’s less stuff I need to keep track of!