Europe With One Bag

March 25, 2013

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I am a big fan of travelling light. Most of what I have learned about travelling light came from One Bag and Rick Steves.

I use the Red Oxx Air Boss carry-on bag (pictured above) for most of my travels in North America. There have been times where I have gone out with an even smaller travel kit. Here is one of my posts on travelling light.

Liberating is the word that comes to mind when travelling light. No worries about lost baggage. No additional waiting at the arrival terminal. The only minor concern is getting on the aircraft early enough to find some space in the overhead bin.

But what about travelling to Europe? For ten days? With variations in luggage restrictions between two different airlines? Can I realistically travel with one bag?

We have confirmed our plans to travel in Europe in August. We will be flying out of Montreal on Air Canada to Frankfurt. And then we connect to Barcelona via Lufthansa. In Barcelona, we will be taking a Mediterranean cruise for 7 nights. After the cruise we will fly Lufthansa from Barcelona to Munich and then Lufthansa from Munich to Montreal.

Air Canada and Lufthansa have different requirements for carry-on bags. In economy bookings, we are allowed to bring along one checked bag at no charge, one hand luggage to carry-on and one personal item.

We will not be checking bags.

Air Canada allows a carry-on bag with the following restriction: maximum size of 23cm x 40cm x 55cm with a maximum weight of 10kg. Air Canada allows one personal item with the following restriction: maximum size of 16cm x 33cm x 43cm with a maximum weight of 10kg.

Lufthansa allows a carry-on bag with the following restriction: maximum size of 23cm x 40cm x 55cm with a maximum weight of 8kg. Lufthansa allows one personal item with the following restriction: maximum size of 10cm x 30cm x 40cm. No maximum weight is mentioned.

It would be too much for the airlines to stick to one convention for bringing bags on board but no fear. My Red Oxx is 20.3cm x 33cm x 53.3cm. Well within the restrictions for Air Canada and Lufthansa. My personal item will be my camera bag. I usually take my Think Tank Retrospective 5. However, it’s dimensions are 11.5cm x 19.5cm x 24cm. The bag can also expand out to 15cm x 21.5cm x 25.5cm. It exceeds one of Lufthansa’s restrictions but checking the frequent flyer boards, I think I will have no problem with the camera bag.

But can I fit everything I need for the cruise in one bag and stay within the weight limits?

Over the week-end, I built my packing list and tested the configuration.

I loaded everything that I had on my packing list: shirts, shorts, pants, undergarments, socks, sandals, bathing suit, hat, jacket, workout gear. I decided that I would purchase my toiletries in Barcelona. This will cut down on weight and make it easier to push the bag through security. All of these items went into the Red Oxx without a problem.

My camera bag was loaded with my Fuji X-Pro 1, two lenses, three batteries, charger and a couple of filters. It also carried my Sony RX-100, two batteries and charger. I then loaded a small tablet, headphones, sun glasses and a micro-fibre cloth.

Passports and monetary items will be carried in my money belt.

With fully packed bags, I decided to see if the weight would be too heavy. What I did read on the frequent flyer boards is that Lufthansa will check weight.

Red Oxx loaded up: 5.5kg. The camera bag loaded up: 2.7kg.

I have been maintaining packing lists for all of my travel for the past ten years. I document each trip and I have refined my list so that I know exactly what I need and what I might miss. Looking at my packing list and what we plan to do in Europe, I think I will be fine. And if not, I can always purchase any missed items.

I have yet to run through the same test with Lorraine and Matthew.

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