As a girl, I used to have a big problem. It became a real phobia for me: what if my travelling luggage would get bigger and bigger until I could no longer carry it? 🙂

When we go somewhere, making our luggage may seem an easy task. We put everything that we need or we consider we may need in the trolley, then we squeeze it until we close it. Done! And when we arrive at our destination, we realize that we don’t have enough space left in it for the souvenirs.

When we return, we need to face some problems: trolley won’t close, we must pay for the extra kilos or, worse, we must move what we consider cabin luggage to a checked-in baggage.
Sounds familiar, right?

Get rid of unnecessary things

I know, it’s hard! I had to travel so many times to learn how to do it. Obviously, it is not a theoretical lesson but one of will. You do it for your own good, in the end. You are not supposed to carry things you do not need or that are extras.
Instead, make a plan. Don’t take with you things “in case of…” Keywords: strictly-necessary!

The size of your luggage depends on a few things: where do you travel, for how long and … the purpose of the journey. I usually go to visit places, as I love sightseeing, and I walk how much I can with my backpack with me.

For example, I have two lists for the two types of luggage I usually need. One for 1-3 days and the other is for more than four days. For the second one, I need some extra stuff (polish remover, an extra pair of shoes, an extra hoodie etc.).

I always have asmall beauty bag ready to be thrown in the trolley. It contains a toothbrush, toothpaste, tiny ear sticks, cotton discs, a deodorant stick, 50ml tube shower gel, a sachet of shampoo, tweezers, nail file and a little perfume (10ml). Make sure that the bottles are wrapped properly if you have them in hand luggage at the airport. And if you stay at the hotel, you’ll almost certainly have shampoo and shower gel!

To many clothes

But our biggest problem still remains the clothes! What do I take? … How many clothing items do I take?

Well, first of all, I check the weather before I leave, so I know exactly what I need. Then, if I go three days, I do not take ten shirts, because “I can not decide now, I see there what to wear” / “I do not know what I’m gonna put on, it depends on my mood”.

Again, STRICTLY-NEEDED: three shirts (+ one on me) – and that, yes, it’s valid if you do not go to any marathon,on mountainous adventures or any other activity involving physical exertion and intense need to change frequently. What I say goes for walks.

Again: strictly-necessary! For example, this means three shirts (+ one that I wear). It’s true, it applies if you do not go to any marathon, climb mountains or any other intense activity when you need to change often. What I say goes for walks.

The purpose of your trip is important here. Is it a shopping weekend? Good, then one shirt is enough! Because you’ll probably take buy 20 there and you don’t have to keep them intact until you return home, right?

Then … a sweater can be worn two days (if you know that you do not sweat), a pair of jeans, also, two days. A hoodie is fine for four days … if your stay will not include Tomatina festival. Always remember that you go to see a city, not to do a fashion show!

Do not take with you very elegant clothes that will wrinkle badly in your trolley, just because maybe you’ll go to a fancy club / restaurant. Decide that in advance! If you are planning to go, choose an outfit that does not require ironing. I’m not so crazy about carrying it with me! (Besides, not all hotels do have an iron!)

Big things

If we talk about shoes…oh my god…all those things that are so necessary that occupy half of your baggage… Well, ask yourself again: what is the purpose of the travel? I usually go only to visit places, so I take a pair of super comfortable sneakers and I also put in the luggage a pair of flats (always put the easier and smaller things there). Just in case I decide to prolong my trip, I can buy another pair from there. And that’s it!

Also take care with the make-up kit. It’s a prom that you’re going to? No! OK! What does strictly-necessary mean when we’re talking about beauty products? I have a mini-kit with a few things that save me in any situation: eyeliner, mascara, 2-3 individual make-up colors, 2 samples of foundation (yes, those testers from magazines), a small powder and two tiny tubules with face cream. Enough for visiting museums!

Do you go to visit your friends? Perfect! Make sure you can borrow a hoodie, a fluffy jacket or an umbrella if necessary. Do not carry them from home!

Plus: avoid to take any little and accessible thing that can be found in a store. Yes, I know, now you think about my polish remover – but that’s placed in a 2 ml bottle – ha!. Unless you go into the jungle and you really do not have any kiosk within over 40 km!

Other options to travel light

When I went to Madrid in November 2013, I did a lot of shopping. I spend 10 days there and I only had a hand luggage. My plan? I sent it to Romania by courier, with one euro per kilo. I put the clothes in a box, filled out a form, I only paid 23 euros (compare with 35 euros checked-in baggage). The package arrived two days after I did.


More tips

Never leave with only a backpack if you don’t have checked-in baggage. You’ll tend to make it heavier and heavier! If you have a layover and want to walk to see the city, it will be painful for your spine.

If you choose a checked-in bag,  it’s better to have a small or medium backpack as a hand luggage. For me, it’s more convenient . I take my flights with long stopovers, so I can get out and have a ride. And I do not want to walk with a trolley after me. I’ve done this by mistake in Gibraltar and it’s pretty damn uncomfortable.

Moreover, if you go through Europe, searching for courier services can be a good idea, so you don’t have to be forced to buy a checked-in baggage. The price per kg can be more than satisfying.

Another option when you go for shopping is to make sure you have the checked-in baggage almost empty when you leave. Sounds impossible, but remember that you also have a hand baggage of 10 kg included in flight price, which can hold more stuff. Trust me! In America and Asia you can find some really cheap clothes, and you may go crazy if you do not buy them!

Don’t miss in your suitcase

I have a list of “must-take-with-me”, that’s probably going to help you:

  • Toothbrush
  • Drugs (not in boxes, but some tablets of Tyenol, aspirin, two pills for stomach)
  • Slippers (I don’t know how clean it is where I stay and I don’t want to know about skin fungus).
  • Disinfectant wipes (powerful ones, with alcohol)
  • Photo camera + extra card + extra charger
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun cream
  • Medical insurance! Yeah, you must have it!
  • Headphones and external phone battery for long trips.
  • Do not forget your passport / ID, tickets and money / credit card. Otherwise, you’re screwed!
  • Some 3/4 photos for visas.

And now I will learn how to survive three weeks in Asia with just one 20kg luggage 🙂 I’ll return with many stories to tell.


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