Travel Tip V - Packing

Wherein we receive a bit o' Irish wisdom
(Traduction de L'Astuce de Voyage V - Emballez vos Valises, ci-dessous)

We mustn't leave anything behind!
Once upon a time, we took a trip with two of our (many, many) kids. The grand scheme was to meet up in London, Eurostar to Paris, night train to Milan, tour bus to Venice, cruise ship around the Mediterranean, then back to Venice, after which we planned to traipse by any means available to Rome, back to Paris, back to London, then back home.

So naturally, we packed for every conceivable eventuality: gloves, swimsuits, cocktail attire, hiking boots. We barely made weight when we arrived at the airport, and our carry-on bags were definitely over the limit.

We schlepped those ridiculous
bags into a taxi at London because the logistics were too complicated for the hotel shuttle bus; sweated the bags to Waterloo (Couldn't escape if I wanted to), where we surrendered several items to security -- because what was check-in at the airport was carry-on at Waterloo* (Knowing my fate is to be with you); up-and-down the tiny elevator in a Paris hotel at one trip per bag; then hauled them onto the Paris-to-Milan night train, praying that we had the six-person sleeper cabin to ourselves.


A very polite Irish couple was already seated in the compartment, and red-faced we apologized repeatedly as we jammed giant bags into every corner of the tiny space. They stared in amazement.

Finally we sat down, sweaty and embarrassed, to talk with our new travelling companions. "Are you moving to Italy?" they asked.

"Um, no. That's just our vacation luggage."

They glanced around, astonished, taking stock of our elephantine packing.

So we asked: "Where are your bags?"

They pointed to two tiny backpacks.

"You're making a day trip?"

"No, we've been travelling for seven months."


"Yep, this is all we carry."

"No way!"

"Sure. Clothes on our back; clothes in a pack."

"You have one change of clothes?"

"Two. They're washable, quick-drying, and light."

"But...but...what if you go someplace cold? Or someplace hot? Or someplace fancy?"

"We can always pick up something cheap if we need to, then get rid of it later. But that hardly ever happens. Almost everyplace we go, this is enough."


On our next trip, we made a vow: If it doesn't fit in carry on, it doesn't come.

(Unless, of course, we're moving to Europe.)

*Waterloo (finally facing my Waterloo) is no longer the London terminus of the Eurostar. That honor now goes to the St. Pancras Railway Station, from which one can toss a small stone and hit the Hogwarts Express.


Conseils de bagages: 

Maintenir un poids léger

Voici la version courte: Vêtements sur le dos; vêtements dans le sac à dos. (En anglais, ça rime, en fait.) Tout ce dont vous avez besoin peut être acheté à bon marché à votre destination, puis donné aux pauvres afin que vous n'ayez pas à le ramener à la maison.

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