My husband and I took an eleven-day trip to Greece to celebrate his 40th birthday. Neither of us had ever been to Greece, let alone Europe together. It was such a wonderful way to celebrate and enjoy a kid-free trip. We are very lucky to have supportive parents and family who agreed to help with caring for our two young children while we took this trip.
Taking a trip like this together without the kids was a big decision. It took a lot of consideration and planning, but for us it was important to have some time to connect and experience this trip as a couple. It was also a perfect excuse to finally take the trip we had been talking about since we got married. We hope as the kids get a little older we can include them on more overseas traveling.
We both decided to pack lightly for many reasons, but the main one was not checking bags. We had a lot of flights, trains, buses, and even boats to catch. The last thing we wanted was to be weighed down by too much stuff we didn’t need.
If you are interested in packing lighter on your next trip, I highly encourage it. We did not check any bags, and even with that, I would bring less on our next trip. The key is to pack clothing that you really love wearing and find comfortable. Also, don’t be afraid to hand wash items that get dirty in the sink with a bar of soap and then hanging them to dry.
Here is exactly what I packed for an early fall trip to Europe (including what I did not need which is
striked through). Below that is also a description of how to travel lighter in terms of the waste you produce while traveling (zero waste being the goal).
What I packed:
1 pair of jeans
2 pairs of jean shorts
1 pair of white jean shorts
1 exercise outfit
2 bathing suits 1 bathing suit
1 linen white shirt
3 casual dresses 2 casual dresses
1 pair of gym shoes
1 pair of platform black flip-flops
1 pair of water sandals
2 sets of pajamas 1 set of comfortable pants and 2 shirts to sleep in
2 day time tank tops
1 dressy tank top
3 tee shirts
1 long sleeve cardigan
5 pairs of underwear
5 pairs of socks
4 regular bras 2 regular bras
3 camisole bras
1 straw hat
1 visor hat
1 pair of earrings
1 beach tote bag
2 to-go containers (one small and one medium size)
1 refillable stainless steel water bottle
1 set of stainless steel cutlery
1 stainless steel straw
1 cloth napkin
1 foldable reusable tote bag
laptop and charger (for writing only- so very optional)
book (plus audible and kindle books)
shea butter for lips/moisturizer in a small container
1 neck pillow
What I wished I would have brought:
1 pashmina or wrap
1 small purse
A few zero waste hacks to reduce waste while traveling:
- Refill your reusable water bottle whenever you see a water canteen or when you are at a restaurant
- Put left over food from meals or snacks in your own to-go container.
- Wash your water bottle or container in bathrooms
- Use a bar of soap for body and clothes (and hair if it works on your hair type)
- Choose sit down restaurants- they most likely have reusable plates, cutlery, and cups.
- Say “no straw please.”
- Bring your own bag if you purchase anything or put it in your purse/backpack
- Don’t use the hotel toiletries and bring your own
- Only buy items you think you really need or find to be useful
- Do not buy gifts or souvenirs.
- If you want to show kindness to a friend or family member back home, consider buying edibles: (candy from a bulk store, olive oil, wine, etc.).
- Try to avoid shopping or places like malls and choose to go exploring instead
A final tip is instead of shopping remember to take lots of pictures and collect moments not things.