Sunday, February 5, 2012

One Backpack + One Purse = Two Weeks in Spain

In my last post I mentioned how I enjoy the planning and packing part of travel, almost as much as the actual trip.  Working at Le Travel Store for a few years in grad school taught me the importance of good travel gear and also packing lightly. Here is what I am taking to Spain.

Aside from my wool pea coat and what I am wearing on the plane, everything I need for two weeks is in these bags. This set up is designed to be completely carry-on, so there is no worry about my bag getting lost, and no wait for luggage when I arrive. It also makes it easy to navigate public transit, stairs and more.

The backpack that I am using is an Eagle Creek Continental Journey. The current version looks to be the Rincon. The backpack straps can tuck away in a zipper compartment and it can be carried from a side handle, so it looks a little more polished than a typical hiking pack. I have had this bag for over 10 years. It has served me well and logged many miles. I use a system of packing cubes and a packing folder to keep things organized and compact inside the bag.

Some people find it hard to believe that we can travel with just a carry-on backpack and day bag each. We travel under the assumption that we will do a little laundry while we travel. Also, go for layering pieces and colors that will work together. When in doubt, leave it out.
On the plane I wear pants, tee, light knit cardigan, light jacket, casual scarf, walking shoes and an inexpensive watch. Here is everything else in the bags.

  • 2 pair pants (one nicer, one more casual)
  • 3 layering tank tops
  • 1 layering tee
  • 2 long sleeve tees
  • 1 button up shirt
  • wool blend sweater
  • 5 sets socks/underwear
  • Sleep pants/shirt
  • Warm scarf
  • Warm hat + gloves
  • Walking shoes
  • Packable slippers (great for plane/train and around the hotel room)
  • Wool pea coat (carried separate)
  • Toiletry kit (Bob and I share most things so he takes half of the stuff and take the other half. All liquids are three ounces or less so we can do carryon)
  • Vitamins and EmergenC packets
  • Sunscreen + sunglasses
  • First aid supplies in small ziplock (band aids, antiseptic wipe, hand sanitizer, Benadryl and pain reliever)
  • Noise canceling headphones
  • Inflatable neck pillow
  • Collapsible water bottle

Other Items
  • Journal + pen
  • TrekDek (which doubles as playing cards) and six dice
  • Bandana
  • Two packable nylon shopping bag
  • Petzel head lamp
  • Compact umbrella
  • Empty ziplock bags (2 small, 2 large)
  • iPad + charger + adapter plug
  • Camera + charger + extra memory stick
  • Guide book + map
  • Passport, credit cards, travel docs
  • Money belt


 If I was traveling in summer, I would :
  • Swap out the warm hat for sun hat
  • Take sandals instead of extra walking shoes
  • Add in swimsuit and sarong
 If it was spring or fall travel, I would add in a long black skirt as well.

So, that's everything. This combination has served me well traveling for one week or for two months. Let me know if you have any questions on my packing approach.


Janessa said...

You are amazing, Sophia! I'm not sure I could carry so little with me. Have a fabulous time!!

Sophia said...

Thanks Janessa. The only down side to this that I end up wearing the same clothes in all the travel photos. hah!

The Nurturing Pirate said...

Awesome, Sophia! I do pretty good clothes-wise. What kills me is the toiletries.

Mad Scribbler said...

Nice list! I will definitely use one like this as an example. I would substitute the guide book with my kindle which I store any guide books, maps, phrasebooks directions, travel infos and confirmations, etc. It has actually saved my butt in customs a few times ;)

Loralee Hutton said...

Awesome list. I love, love packing lists. I have way too much with me on this trip, although we've been "Slow traveling" by car for 12 months. I have one 24" suitcase, carry bag & laptop bag. And camping gear for a few weeks here and there when we're not house sitting. I refill 2oz bottles of my salon shampoo (lasts nearly 3 months) and I'm really impressed with how easy that's been. Toiletries were by far my worst "pack rat" problem.

I crave overseas travel so I can lighten the load, like you have!

Amy Scott said...

Great list, Sophia! Like Loralee, I'm currently nomadic but traveling by car, so it's been easy to let things overflow into other bags, but my primary pieces are a carry-on-size suitcase and a laptop bag.

Traveling AND working makes things more complicated, as we have to travel with laptops, chargers, and other items that I'd normally leave at home for a short vacation. You've inspired me to write up my own packing list to share! :)