3 Months in Europe with only a Carry-On

September 25, 2017 15 comments

When I travel to Europe for an extended period and plan to go to more than one country, my bag is usually smaller than if I am taking a short weekend trip to the beach. Whether I am staying for 5 days or 3 months, I pack only a carry-on and a purse. Why? Because luggage is a hassle. Below are some of the main reasons I choose to pack light.

Baggage fees – Although you get a free checked bag on international trips from the United States, once you are in Europe, you will most likely fly on budget airlines to get around. On these flights, you will have to pay extra in order to transport your luggage, making your budget trip a little more costly.
Wait time – When you don’t have any checked luggage, once you get off the plane you are free to leave the airport and start exploring. You won’t have to wait an extra half-hour for your baggage to come up the carousel at baggage claim
Lost/Stolen Suitcases – When all you have is one suitcase/backpack, and it is with you at all times, you don’t have to worry about your luggage not arriving to your final destination because of a transfer/layover. You also don’t have to worry about someone stealing your suitcase, or picking it up by mistake.
Less Hassle – When you only have one item, it is much easier to transport your luggage from place to place. Getting into a taxi or on public transportation is hard when you have a lot of ‘stuff’. It’s also more stuff to pack and unpack if you are going to multiple destinations and/or hotels.
Light to Carry – Over packing equals a heavy suitcase. It’s harder to maneuver and if you have a backpack your back will get really sore.

I’ve come to realize that you can get by with a lot less than you think. Packing versatile items that can be used in multiple ways will help stretch your wardrobe and keep things fresh. To see an in depth look at specifically goes into my bag, check out my packing list post.


Carryon Packing Pin

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15 Comments on “3 Months in Europe with only a Carry-On

  1. Wow! You guys manage to bring just a backpack! In my case, with just a 2-DAY travel, I need to bring a small suitcase. lol

  2. But doesn’t this also mean that you get to be very selective when packing? Also, in general, what goes into your carry on? I travel a lot so this is interesting.

    1. Hey, Poorna – I am selective with packing, mostly bringing items that all go with each other so that no matter what shirt I pull out it matches with whatever pants I pull out. A lot of neutral colors. In most cases, my carry-on is my suitcase, so everything is in there, but in my personal bag I typically have my computer, itinerary, headphones and a puzzle book or something for when I’m on the flight. Hope that answers your question!

  3. Brilliant idea, assuming that you will only be therein one season! A few years back I spent 2 months in NYC in Autumn and then travelled to Mexico, so I had to take a ridiculous amount of luggage in order to cater for both seasons.

    I always find another good way is to take a smaller backpack as well and create a home base in a country: has worked in Myanmar for me!

    1. Creating a home base is definitely a good strategy and one I’ve used many times. However, even when I’m traveling in multiple seasons, I still typically only bring the one backpack/carry on. I have a down winter coat that fold into the size of a 5×7 square that I am able to easily squeeze in with my luggage. A pair a jeans works in both seasons, and leggings can go under dresses or skirts from the summer.

    1. When you’re camping you definitely have to bring a little bit more, that is for sure! I’ve never camped when on the road. Where is your favorite place you’ve pitched a tent?

    1. That could be true! I still like to look nice when I travel, but I definitely don’t have to worry about changing up my outfit all the time and making sure it has all of the appropriate accessories to go with.

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