I need to make a confession. I am a terrible packer. My luggage is always overweight and I have always admired those who could travel with less baggage because for me packing has always been a huge challenge.
As much as I travel, I still struggle with packing and the fact I can’t bring the entire wardrobe is highly upsetting me. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I don’t like packing, it is just the opposite. The suitcase usually stands open on a couch weeks before the trip so I can pack easily and put the things in without any stress. Last minute packing is not my style and it’s definitely not for me. This way, I can enjoy the packing, don’t forget to bring some important things and exaggerate absolutely every time. 🙂
One month long trip around the US in 2012 was my first long trip. We were on a tight budget so we could not afford to ride around in the taxi, we were forced to use a public transportation during the entire trip instead. At that time, we lived in the US for four months already so you can imagine we had quite a lot of luggage.
Now I know I am not able to travel with so much luggage because lots of nice people needed to help me by carrying my suitcase up and down the stairs. If they hadn’t, I would stay forever in New York’s subway because I was not able to take the suitcase out and not every station has an elevator. I’m not joking when I say this, but we were choosing the apartments and hostels according to whether the nearest subway had an elevator.
Any lowering to the subway or going anywhere down the stairs was a risk that I will die under a suitcase attack 😀 if anyone in the crowd accidentally pushed me or any part of my baggage. Basically, my lovely travel companion was helping me most of the time and I cannot thank her enough for that.
Whenever we arrived in the new city, we needed to take the bus or tram to our accommodation. Usually, I somehow managed to put the suitcase on the bus, but going out was a first class challenge. I put the suitcase on the edge of the stairs in front of me and literally punched it out from the bus.
And that’s how I returned home with hands full of blisters. Everyone thought that I got them from the hard work and actually they were the consequence of towing the luggage around the US for a month.
Read more: How to pack for your first flight
Since then I’ve taken many trips, short or long and, honestly, I overpacked every single time, but I never brought so much luggage again. I realized each of my packing processes each time consists of five characteristic phases.
Phase #1. I will not carry lots of luggage!
Every, every single time I plan a trip I tell myself that I wouldn’t take so much luggage this time. The decision is firmly held up all the way to the moment when I actually start packing.
Phase #2. I need to take just this one more shirt!
While deciding what to take and putting the things in a bag maniacally, I always say “Just this, that’s what I really need”. And then, when I’m all packed, rummaging through the closet I usually discover something else I really need to take – like a shirt I had forgotten about.
Phase #3. I have too much stuff!
At the point when I’m almost completely packed, I put the luggage on a scale and horrifyingly scream “I have too much stuff!”. Too much is a relative term, but it may be more than 50 pounds I can enter the plane with, more than I planned to bring or just really too much for the four-day-long trip. Hmm okay, I will take the stilettos out and wear the other, lighter ones.
Phase #4. I need it all!
Sometimes I do luggage revisions all alone, but usually, I need the help from someone who is not blindsided by the items and who can make a smarter decision than me. This is where my mom enters the scene and opens my eyes by telling me what I really don’t need on a trip. I decide to ignore her advice completely and take everything with me.
Phase #5. I will never take so much baggage again!
Usually, I start complaining about the weight somewhere around that time when I need to pull the suitcase out of the car at the airport. In Zagreb. The decision about packing more rationally next time is made again.
In the end, I always come to the airport with the exact weight allowed. These days it seems to be “in” to travel only with a carry-on, but I have always preferred my own commodity and changing the clothes quite often. Honestly, I have never even tried to leave for a month with 8 or 10 kilos of luggage. I use a carry-on for weekend trips only and, even then I have few more bags hidden around the car.
I don’t exaggerate to extend that I take twenty nail polishes or anything like that, but a lot of things I take “just in case” are never needed. And again, it is better to have a jacket in Portugal than get cold. Or I’m just comforting myself?
Which is your travel style? Can you travel with a carry-on or you prefer to check in another bag?
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No, I do not travel with a carry-on. And I am proud of it!