In July, my two brothers and I went to Italy to celebrate Paul Magelli’s 80th birthday and to see the sights while we had an excuse to be there. We hit Rome, Bologna, Castel di Casio, Florence, Cinque Terre, and Venice in one swing.
Because of the pace of the trip, we decided forego traditional luggage in favor of carry-on sized backpacks. Now tons of people backpack Europe, but fitting everything for an international trip into an overhead bin is a more of a challenging feat. The answer: packing minimalism. I need to give a big hat tip to Andrew Hyde, a former Boulder and his extreme minimalism.
While it has its downsides, minimalist traveling is great. For one, carrying everything on your back facilitates mobility.
Also, having everything needed to cross the world on your back is a powerful feeling, quite the opposite of having a wheeled anchor stuck to your arm.
- The Arc’teryx Mira 30 pack worked extremely well. It was adequately sized, and I didn’t have any issues carrying it on the international flight (although it didn’t fit into a regional jet overhead bin)
- 3 days worth of non-reusable clothing items (reuseable: jeans, jackets, etc) is a good number. Any more takes up space, less means sink laundry every day or two.
- Italy is a great place to try a minimalist trip. The summer climate is agreeable and trains provide adequately fast transportation for a quick jaunt around the country. We covered an impressive amount of history in 7 days (not counting 3 days at the party).
- Take a small pad lock. Some hostels have lockable lockers where you can secure your bags; most others will let you check your bag at the desk.