Traveling Light

In Europe there is an airline called Ryanair, on  a good day you can fly on Ryan from Milan, Italy to Nice, France for about $20. That’s a real deal and Ryan constantly offers even better deals all over Europe. Here’s the catch you can only have a small bag and a carry on or you get charged for your luggage and the luggage charges really add up.

Also in Europe you can rent the small economy cars for around $7 dollars a day but problem is unlike some American rental cars these things can be tiny! Again no room for big bags. Finally one of the fun ways to travel anywhere in the world is by train and bus but neither of these fun systems work well with a lot of bags.

The solution is travel light. Which after a few years of travel becomes a mantra.

First, pick luggage that meets that airline criteria for carryon and hand bag. Charlene and I each use a backpack and a roll on bag. Each airline will have set criteria but we have never had a problem using our backpacks and standard sized roll on. If your curious you can quickly find your airlines baggage restrictions and TSA restrictions at a great website called airline-baggage-fees.com .

I think of my back pack as my emergency bag. I keep my camera and computer in it and my basic dock kit. I also try to keep a dry pair of socks a shirt and a pair of shorts in my backpack. I tie my jacket to the side of my backpack and clip my hat to it. I also keep all my electronics and cords in my backpack and down at the bottom for emergencies I keep warm gloves, a warm hat and a thin pair of long johns. I find that unless I am intentionally traveling to a cold area a layer or long johns, a shirt and my light jacket will get me thru most unexpected cold weather.

Because Charlene’s packing needs are a little more profound then mine I tend to give her about 1/3 of my carry on bag. Which means I usually travel with 2 pairs of Levi’s  and one pair of light dress / fishing pants. You will be wearing one pair so only two have to go in your carry on. I try to buy light weight fishing shirts that you can find at Bass Pro or Costco for about $20. Generally I’ll take two short sleeve and two long sleeve shirts. These shirts have button down collars so if you add a light sweater you can get into just about any function like dress up night on a cruise ship. These shirts are also nice because they are light, dry quickly, and don’t wrinkle which is a nice combo. I also love the added pockets which are velcro protected. It’s a lot harder for a pickpocket to get your motel card out of a velcro pocket.

The sweater I take is just plain black so it’s a little dressier and wool so it’s a good layer in the cold.

We don’t take, food, cold and flu medicine, can openers, toilet tissue, or any other item we can buy where we are. For years we hauled around a regular pharmacy and then one day after putting about ten thousand miles on a 1 pound jar of Multi vitamins I said, “Enough is Enough,” and we now do fine without the big bulky jar of vitamins.

I have quit taking books movies etc. and just download everything on my computer. We both tend to take a few zip lock bags and they always seem to come in handy.

My only shoes are a good pair of black walking shoes that again can be fake dress shoes and flip flops that are my casual ware don’t take up much room. No I’m not a very dapper dresser I leave that to Charlene who can do miracles with a sleeveless blouse and a couple of very light scarves but I’ll also leave that for her article on traveling light.

One thing I will never travel without is my belt which is a money belt. It is about 1.5 inches wide and has a zipper on it’s inside that allows me to access a hidden pouch. In my belt I carry emergency money and a flash drive with all my emergency information. I’ll talk more about my emergency flash drive in the future. The simple fact is with my flash drive and some cash no matter how screwed up things get I can probable salvage the situation.

It takes some planning but the flexibility and cost saving of traveling light is worth the effort.