The countdown to Europe is on, and you can consider me officially excited!
Being the list maker that I am, I started a packing list for this trip almost two months ago. We’re going for two weeks, and I’d like to do the entire trip in a carry on bag. This would be considerably easier if it wasn’t for the fact that we have a total of 6 flights on 4 different airlines, all of which have their own carry on sizes and weights. In order to do it all in one bag, that bag has to be able to fit the smallest dimension of each carry on restriction. That meant my bag had to be smaller than 55cm x 35cm x 20cm (21.7″ x 13.8″ x 7.9″), and had to weigh less than 7kg (15.4 lbs). If you’re in North America you’ll find out very quickly that those dimensions are smaller than pretty much every carry on sold on the continent. After I sold my house I ended up splurging on a large business tote that fit the bill, so I had the dimensions covered. The biggest struggle for me was going to be the weight.
Fast forward to two weeks ago, and The Boy tells me that one of the budget airlines we’re flying with is borrowing a plane from another airline for one of our flights. The other airline’s weight restriction is 5kg (11 lbs).
I have no idea whether or not they’ll use the weight restriction of the borrowed airline when we’re boarding, so I’m playing it safe and keeping my weight under 5kg.
Nothing like a good challenge right before a vacation, am I right?
These are the bags I’m taking with me. Please forgive the massive colour shifts between pictures, I’m still getting the hang of my fiance’s camera.
Most of the flights only allow for one piece of carry on baggage, not one carry on and one personal item like they do in North America. The darker purse is designed to fold up and snap together, so it will be inside the larger bag for the flights, and will be my day to day purse when we’re on the ground.
This is the entirety of my toiletries for the trip, though I’m thinking of cutting it down some more.
- Eye shadow sticks in khaki and rose gold – The khaki pulls grey on me, so it works well as a liner as well.
- Waterproof tubing mascara in black
- Two concealers (that I’m thinking of taking out)
- Multi-purpose oil for face/hair/body
- Roll on perfume (might take this out too)
- Travel container of oil cleanser
- Sample size container of a soap style cleanser
- Sample size container of heavy duty moisturizer (in case of sun burn)
- One medicated chapstick
- Three tinted lip balms (I’m considering taking one out)
- Facial sunscreen
- Eyelash curler
- Two grippy headbands (may only take one)
- Toothbrush and travel sized toothpaste (toothpaste not shown)
- Nail clippers, nail file and tweezers
- Small bobby pins, large bobby pins and hair ties (may take fewer than what’s shown)
- Emergency tampons, just in case
- Two razors (I don’t want to deal with razor burn towards the end of the trip if one gets dull)
All of the toiletries (minus the comb) fit in two bags. I have a stash of Transport Canada approved liquids bags, so I save myself the hassle at the airport and pack everything in them at home. As you can see I have room to spare.
Clothing wise, this is what I have on the go:
- One short black/red/white floral print dress
- One long black and white striped maxi skirt
- One royal blue sleeveless blouse
- One light aqua sleeveless blouse
- One pair printed shorts
- 7 pairs of underwear and one bra in a mesh laundry bag
The maxi skirt has a wide band that I roll down on it. The Boy pointed out that I could wear it as a midi dress with the band at the bust line (he said dress, I added the midi, got to give him credit for being observant though). I wouldn’t wear it by itself that way, but it will make for a good beach coverup over my bikini.
I was forewarned by some friends that the hot springs in Santorini will stain your clothes, so don’t take a light coloured bathing suit. I swapped out my light blue go-to bikini in favour of a black one, and picked up a pair of cheap black flip flops to wear on the rocks and on the black sand. I’ve also packed a large empty ziplock bag for wet/dirty clothes.
In terms of odds and ends I’m packing small guidebooks with phrases, a moleskin notebook (with pen, not shown), my wallet and a compact umbrella.
The Boy is bringing his DSLR, so I’m packing a smaller camera for excursions. The charger and European cord I already had from my last trip abroad.
This is what I’m wearing on the flight:
- Orangey-red blouse
- Grey long sleeved cardigan
- Light weight olive green coat
- Bootcut blue jeans
- Brown ballet flats with Dr. Scholls knee pain inserts (just in case)
- Red pashmina (not shown)
- Sunglasses (not shown)
- Ear buds for listening to music and watching movies on the plane (not shown)
- Another pair of underwear and a bra (obviously, but it never gets counted in clothing packing counts)
- Puppy not included
I know it probably doesn’t seem like I’m taking much in terms of clothes. That being said, without using the cardigan or coat (which are really more for flights and in the evening), I can make 10 distinctly different outfits just by swapping different tops and bottoms. For a 14 day trip, I’d say that’s pretty good. My plan is to rinse the clothes out at the end of the day and hanging them up to dry, so they shouldn’t get too stinky on me. If I find they do get stinky, I’ll take them to a laundromat. I’m going to Europe, not the middle of the Amazon ;)
I was looking for a post on Save.Spend.Splurge. that shows how I got that outfit count, when I stumbled across her essentials packing list from a couple years ago. I had completely forgotten about it, but I’m amused at how close my total clothing count was to her 2+ week recommendations.
This is the total count so far:
|1 Light Coat||Facial Sunscreen||1 Packable Purse|
|1 Cardigan||Multipurpose Oil||1 Pair Sunglasses|
|1 Pair Jeans||Cleansing Oil||Camera|
|1 Maxi Skirt||Trial Face Wash||Battery Charger|
|1 Dress||Trial Heavy Moisturizer||European Charging Cord|
|1 Pair Shorts||Toothbrush||Italian Guidebook|
|3 Light Blouses||Travel Toothpaste||Greek Guidebook|
|1 Bikini||Antiperspirant||Notebook & Pen|
|7 Pairs Underwear||2 Headbands||Umbrella|
|2 Bras||Large Bobby Pins||Ziplock Bag|
|1 Scarf||Small Bobby Pins||Ear Buds|
|1 Pair Ballet Flats||Hair Ties||Wallet|
|1 Pair Flip Flops||Tampons||Passport|
|3 Tinted Lip Balms|
|2 Eyeshadow Sticks|
I’m considering taking some of the toiletries out, but otherwise this list is pretty much set. Actually I just realized I should add some bandaids, dental floss and safety pins. Okay, it’s a work in progress.
There are a few things that are notably, and intentionally, missing from my packing list:
A cell phone, laptop, e-reader, or anything else electronic in nature
I’ll be honest, I managed to get around Europe in 2002 and 2008, the majority of the time without speaking the language, without the assistance of electronics. Yes, I ran into the typical “Oh shoot, where am I?” from time to time, but I don’t believe having a cell phone would have saved me from that, and honestly it’s part of the fun. Being present and observant is a necessary part of learning about your surroundings, and I don’t want the crutch available of whipping out google every time I encounter something difficult. I want to use my head.
That and I’m on vacation, which for me means unplugging. I’d rather be enjoying the trip that having my nose stuck in my phone answering texts about how the trip is going. I’ll update instagram with a bunch of #latergrams when I get back.
If I was going for a month or longer I might reconsider this category. The last time I was there was for a 3 week trip, and this one is only for two weeks, so I don’t foresee it being an issue.
Shampoo, conditioner, and heat styling products
I have thick, frizzy/curly hair that tends to be on the dry side. In general, I only wash my hair every ~5 days or so on average. I could wash it more frequently, but I find it stays healthier this way and it honestly doesn’t need it. We’re staying in hotels this trip, not hostels, so I’m betting that there will be a mini bottle of shampoo and conditioner in the room I can use if need be. If it dries my hair out, I’ll use the Caudelie oil on the ends. If it makes my hair greasy, I’ll wash it more frequently or take a dunk in the ocean. My hair will be up anyway, so it shouldn’t be a big deal. As for the styling tools, we’re going to be near the water and in areas of high humidity. That means by the time I finish straightening my hair, the under layers are going to be frizzed out. I’m not fighting that battle. I’d rather save some room (and weight) in my bag for a souvenir (dress? sandals?) than haul around styling tools and power convertors. Air dry, pin up and go.
Large volumes of sunscreen
I’m not checking my bag, so I can’t bring all of my sunscreen from home. I’ve heard that sunscreen is more expensive there, specifically in Santorini, but to be honest it’s not exactly what I’d call cheap here either. I’m just picking up a small bottle from the pharmacy after each flight. Unless we’re talking $50 for a small bottle of sunscreen, I don’t see this being something I’m going to lose sleep over. Between The Boy and I we should go through enough sunscreen in each location to warrant full bottles.
All said and done, with everything listed packed in my bag, the bag weighs 4.8kg (10.5 lbs), which puts me under the 5kg limit of the borrowed plane’s airline! If I find myself picking something up in Rome before our flight to Santorini on the discounted airline, I’ll put the camera and the small guidebooks in the pockets of my jacket to save the weight. After that I have 2kg (4.4 lbs) of wiggle room to work with for souvenirs :)
I’ll let you know how it goes!
What do you think? What would you add or remove? Am I missing anything blatantly obvious?