I entered the fancy hotel in Budapest, which my friend and I couldn’t believe we had booked for such an affordable price, and checked in. The man at the front desk informed me that my friend had arrived 30 minutes before me and was already in the room. His assistant came around the counter and told me he would show me to the room.
“I’ll help you with your luggage,” he said. As he looked around bewildered at the sight of the small backpack I was carrying, he asked “This is all you have?”
“Yes,” I said smiling, pleased with how effective I had been with packing.
“And, you come from Chicago like your friend?” He was very concerned. I assured him that I had just flown in from Germany (not the U.S.) and for 48 hours in Budapest, I wouldn’t need more than what was on my back.
After a summer of short trips, solo flights, and budget airline travel, I figured out what I really needed in my travel luggage. And, above all, I like being able to get around easily. I was beaming as I power walked through London’s Underground system with my backpack as I watched other travelers struggle with large, bulky suitcases. (Though, to be fair, I know that if I was spending more than a few days in London, I would need a larger bag myself.)
I decided to put everything into smaller bags before I put my items into my backpack. I have dozens of cosmetic bags, so I put them to good use with one for medicine, one for socks, etc.
That way, I would only need to pull out whatever bag I needed in order for things not to get lost in my backpack.
I also had to plan out my outfits exactly, which in the summer, wasn’t too difficult. I did have to make sacrifices on shoes and some accessories. Though, it was worth it to zip through the transportation parts of my trips.
My only real problem was when it came to shopping at my destination. Especially in London, I had to make some difficult decisions in choosing what to buy. Before I left home, I at least made sure to have some room for a few presents.
As a result of my new way to pack for short trips, I decided to splurge on a larger backpack when I was in the U.S. earlier this month. I bought a new Swiss Army bag that was exactly what I was looking for. There are so many compartments, though, I’m afraid I might lose something in it!
I am glad to have more space now, especially if I decide to travel this way in the winter when clothes are bigger or on longer trips in the summer. I figure I’ll save money by not checking luggage, so I’ll have extra to spend on interesting international purchases!
I made several trips this year with only a backpack:
- Surprises in Budapest
- Visiting London during the 2012 Olympics
- A weekend to Rothenberg ob der Tauber and Würzburg (coming soon)