My friend and I — and our wives — just got back from an 11 day European vacation. And none of us checked a bag.
Impossible, you say?
I’ll let you in on four secret packing tips that will save you money, time and the hassle of lugging too much stuff around on your vacation.
But first, let’s discuss all the reasons why you do NOT want to check luggage:
1. Checking a bag is expensive. Unless you are flying Southwest or you have elite Frequent Flyer privileges with the airline you are flying, you will have to pay to check a bag. Carry-ons are still free for most airlines.
2. Checking a bag is a waste of time. After a long flight, who wants to stand around at baggage claim for an extra 20-50 minutes when you could be out starting your vacation?
3. There is a very good chance your airline will lose your bag. Anyone who has traveled enough has experienced that sinking feeling…the luggage carousel going around and around — and your bag’s not on it. What follows are days of misery starting with standing in line, then paperwork, then shopping for new clothes and essentials…
…and days of waiting for someone to deliver your long lost luggage.
4. Overpacking limits your mobility. If your luggage is too big to fit in the overhead bin, how difficult is it going to be to drag it to and from the airport and all those quaint, historic hotels built before the age of elevators?
This is the primary reason I told my travel companions (and yes, wives included) to keep it to a carry-on. We had to fit everything in the back of a European station wagon and drag it all across medieval cobblestone streets.
Okay, so how did we pack for an 11 day European vacation with nothing but carry-ons?
Actually, it wasn’t that hard. I still had clothes left over after the trip I never even wore.
However, there are some key principles that must be followed.