I have taken two extended European trips, one with a band that I managed and the second with my two daughters. In both trips we traversed the European landscape on the EuroRail (the amazing railway system that waits for no one) getting on and off with belongings in tow.
What I learned from traveling with musicians on the first trip: it is insane to lug two suitcases each (one was entirely filled by one of the band member’s shoes). This was something I never ever wanted to do again. So when the three Brock girls were planning a mother-daughters trip to Europe, travelling light was the goal.
The plan was to bring one suitcase for each of us. It would cover two weeks in four countries—including nights out, hiking trips, and varied temperatures. Pulling that off required a lot of research and difficult decisions, but we managed and were thankful we made the decisions we did.
So here are my best 10 tips for traveling light:
1. Don’t pack things you can buy there.
2. Limit your shoes. A great pair of walking shoes, flip-flops, and one dress up pair are enough.
3. Restrict your gadgets; you’re there to see the sites, not your computer screen.
4. Wrinkle-free is your friend.
5. Bring a little black dress or skirt that will work for lots of places.
6. Add a lightweight, fashionable jacket to provide warmth for a cool day and class for a night out.
7. Leave your entire beauty regimen behind, taking only what you can’t live without and use what the hotels provide.
8. Wash your clothes in the bathroom sink, hanging them to dry, and wear them more than once.
9. Bring layers … you can add camisoles to shirts or jackets for variety and warmth. Everything you pack should go with everything else.
10. Chose your lightest weight suitcase so you aren’t lugging more weight than necessary.
When the trip was over, we had used everything we brought, washed it twice, and didn’t wear ourselves out dragging luggage from country to country.
What’s even better is we found some great clothing sales throughout Europe and were very happy we had left room in our suitcase to bring those home!
You’ll also like Traveling Solo, How and Why You Need to Just Go for It, 10 Tips for Road Trips with Kids, and Staycation: Real Family Fun