Packing the Backpacks

by Lindsay

The ever-changing airlines had recently implemented the checked bag fees. No problem, people backpack around Europe all the time, right?

Backpacking takes planning and a good backpack!

Snoopy had learned that a good backpack for us to I start with were the Kelty backpacks. I lovingly referred to mine as “the K” which Snoopy went along with. I nickname most of my things. He had his own K, but it never got a nickname like my K.

At the time, Kelty had done their research and designed backpacks that were in-line with carry on rules. I was thankful, and shouldn’t have been so surprised they would do this. I started using my K immediately because I had been using an old backpack to carry my work things around, and this one was just better. The K was fantastic. It was water resistant without a duck sack, had a nylon interior lining, and an internal frame. I would keep my work laptop in there, and once I got poured on (like serious Houston rain!) and the laptop stayed dry while running to my bus stop after work.

Not only was it cool in the rain resistant department, it could hold so much! I remember practicing what we could hold in our backpacks and reporting back to each other what we could stuff in there.

What do you put in a backpack?

Being a woman, I was skeptical of the idea of traveling without my hair straightener. Being a woman with naturally crazy hair made it even more difficult. Oh! The sacrifices you make for travel!

First things first, plugs.

Plugs are different. The voltage output is different. This meant my lovely hair straightener, even with an adapter, could have fried on the spot. I will embrace wild and crazy hair before that happens! Luckily, this doesn’t pertain to cell phones in terms of the voltage output. Snoopy found a great solution – an adapter that was compatible in most places in the world. Can’t leave without the phone even though we couldn’t use it.

Next up, clothes.

An important thing to pay attention to is the weather. I am paranoid about weather because I don’t like being cold and rained on. We will typically watch the weather but pay attention to the forecasts within a few days of flying out. This will determine what you should pack. Also, what you are doing matters. We are not big on going to shows and fancy dinners. This just means I only need to bring one pair of shoes (yes, a woman bringing one pair of shoes!) and two pairs of pants, one of which is on during travel and the other to rotate. The beauty about shirts is that you really only need to bring a few to rotate. I can’t speak for everyone, but I would highly recommend bringing a pair of underwear and socks for most days. We have washed clothes in the sink before, but we prefer to have clean socks and underwear for each day. For London and Paris, we were not expecting to see rain or super cold weather, so we just brought comfortable hoodies and long sleeved shirt options.

Toiletries can be bought.

You have the 3 oz. rule that is required for carry-on items. We follow this and have had no problems with security or finding what we need to bring in the travel aisle of a store. The beauty of it all is that if you forget something in terms of toiletries, it’s ok! They do brush their teeth overseas with toothpaste and wash their hair with shampoo too!

Snoopy and I do a lot of re-arranging with the contents of our backpacks. Sometimes he packs more and needs some of my room, and the same with mine. Snoopy carries the camera, our lovely Nikon DSLR with an all-in-one lens. The camera takes up a good amount of room, so often times I will take his toiletry bag in my bag. Security hasn’t given us a problem because we keep them in the clear quart-sized Ziploc bags and in their 3 oz. containers.

Don’t forget your pen!

No matter which country you are going to, bring a pen or two. You will have to fill out paperwork prior to landing and finding a spare pen is difficult. Typically, the flight attendants will pass the forms out early in the flight. Take the time to fill out all of the information so you can rest (as much as you can) for the rest of the flight and have nothing else remaining.

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