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Excess Baggage

Now that my husband and I have made firm plans on a trip to Spain (we leave in under a week!), I am debating what to travel with on our 9 week trek to Europe. I’m trying to travel as light as possible, which is quite challenging when trying to factor in such electronics as a laptop, tablet & phone (not to include all the plethora of accessories + chargers). On top of that, I’m uncertain on which camera to take — do I go with my Nikon SLR with the standard 28-50mm lens or choose instead my efficiently portable Nikon point & shoot camera. Forget about the 70-300 zoom lens for the SLR. I’ve got too much as it is. And trying to narrow down to the basic ‘necessities’ is proving to be difficult when it comes to hauling around expensive toys across the big pond. I’m even considering bringing the GoPro. But now, am I going overboard? I have video capabilities on both my cameras and phone. Too many gadgets weighs me down in my travels. I have too much experience living that truth …. I want this trip to be hugely different from my travel days of 15+ years ago when I lugged around a HUGE 75 litre Lowe Alpine backpack plus a day bag. At the time, I wasn’t just on week or month-long trips. I was trekking for YEARS. And carrying all that excess baggage really was a literal pain in the butt. It limited my options, at times, of spontaneity and freedom. I even took my skydiving rig with me on an overload tour of Africa. But it was functional and well-used during that trip. So it made perfect sense. And this was well before the days of expensive electronic gadgets and stuff. Nowadays, I’m of the mind that the less I have, the better.

I remember sharing a bunkhouse with an amazing nomadic world-travelling goddess in India, 7 years ago. She travelled scrupulously lean with little to her name except for her explicit desire for her music library by her side. Megan hauled around a ridiculous amount of CDs for her cd-playing Walkman. But she couldn’t live without her music. An iPod was not an obvious option for her at the time (she had never actually heard of an iPod 7 years back, even though this amazing Apple life-changing invention had been released in 2001). That memory of Megan’s music devotion reinforces the concept that many people tend to travel with excess baggage that they deem important and are unwilling to relinquish. Myself included! I’m having a hard time considering 2 months away without my laptop. Dang.

MACbookpro Excess Baggage

I’ve toyed with the idea of only travelling with a tablet. But after spending a few days out and about trying to navigate my working habits, I quickly saw the limits of said device. Editing photos and websites are tedious at best, even with several different blogging and photography apps. For me, nothing can beat a traditional computing experience where hardy software and an accessible hard drive provide for all my digital needs. Having a keyboard is key. I’ve yet to see a usb keyboard that would serve the functionality and ease of my laptop for the iPad. I’m open to recommendations and suggestions! So back to my plan A. Laptop goes with me to Europe. In reality, no one really needs a tablet to accomplish all their digital needs. But once had, tablets are certainly hard to give up! The reading experience is pleasurable compared to trying to surf on a phone. The screen size of my iPhone 4S is not meant for reading large amounts of material online or in book form. Hence the iPad. I’m a MAC girl at heart, and having the whole payload of Apple’s toys at hand is hugely gratifying and appealing. Worth toting around the European Continent??? Something yet to be determined. I’ll keep you in the loop!

To what lengths have you travelled the world with your toys and life possessions on your back? How much is too much when it comes to baggage? And what have you given up in the process?

3 comments to Excess Baggage

  • We travel with:
    4 laptops,
    3 large ipads,
    2 minis,
    3 iphones,
    3 android phones,
    1 kindle,
    4 external hard drives/backup drives,
    routers,
    chargers,
    converters,
    a keyboard for the mini’s,
    an average sized Cannon camera,
    and a Vitamix.
    All in carry on bags. And there are 5 of us and 5 carry on bags + 5 carry on backpacks that we are allowed on board.

    **however – if it wasn’t a crucial part of our business, we would not be traveling with all of that! (nor would we own half of that even)

    • skydiva

      Who the heck carries the VitaMix? :) Laptops are heavy enough. Wow! I want to see the bags you use. Any pictures or links for me to see them? Thanks for sharing Vesna. You guys are truly inspiring. Now I understand why you travel with 3 children. Pack mules! ;p

  • We’ve managed a couple trips with just an iPad and the ZAAG bluetooth keyboard. The keyboard also serves as a protective case and as a stand for watching movies/flicking through magazines :) The keyboard itself is big enough to feel like a real typing experience and it holds a charge for quite a while.

    Good luck with packing light… it’s a serious challenge!

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