• My family of five went on a month-long adventure around Europe with two suitcases. That’s right, two suitcases! One was filled halfway with diapers and gifts we were bringing to friends and family.

    In front of us in line at the airport, I saw a family of four checking in next to us with six suitcases. Oh my god, I thought. We don’t have enough stuff! What was I thinking?! It turns out, I was thinking convenience. We were checked in and boarding before them because we had a lot less baggage weighing us down. Literally. All along our trip, we could fit into cabs and moved around with ease on trains and in airports because we weren’t burdened by our baggage.

    Here are some packing tips to lessen the load.

    1.  We anticipated needing to do laundry once a week, and were prepared to hand-wash small items such as underwear, leggings and t-shirts in the hotel room as needed.

    2.  We brought along some clothing that we were going to donate at home and instead donated it abroad, leaving more room in our luggage for returning souvenirs or clothing we acquired.

    3.  We wore jeans or dark colored pants/shorts, which we could easily wear two (or more) times without washing and then jazzed-it-up with different tops. That way we didn’t feel like anyone would notice that we were wearing the same clothes two days in a row. Not that it really mattered, since it wasn’t like we were going got see them again!

    4.  Our children shared a carry-on bag with a couple of books and crafts to keep them occupied. (Along the way, we acquired more of these types of items, via gifts or purchases. Hotel room notepads and pencils were used voraciously. After seeing Annie on the plane, our youngest daughter has been re-enacting scenes with her sister in various countries using various hotel room props).

    The only drawback is that in our photographs, it might look like we travelled all of these countries over a week instead of the month, since we are wearing the same clothing repeatedly. While we were schlepping in and out of cabs and up hotel stairs and elevators (they are smaller in Europe), I kept thinking, thank goodness we didn’t pack more bags. I never regretted it once.