* Thank you, CabinZero, for sending me the amazing CabinZero Classic 44L Limited Edition Flags backpack. Although this post was sponsored, the opinions expressed are solely my own *
Greece is blessed with a typical Mediterranean climate with mild and rainy winters followed by warm and dry summers. Packing for a trip to Greece is not hard at all. But what do you do when you also plan to include a colder climate European country in your itinerary? For example Hungary, which is in Central Europe and has a typical European climate with warm, dry summers and cold winters.
To answer this question in a practical way, I’ve tested my packing skills for Central Europe along with my shiny new CabinZero Backpack. The plan was easy: travel to Budapest (via Romania) and enjoy a fall weekend. And what follows are my packing tips & tricks for when you combine two different European climates and my honest opinion about my new backpack.
I do have quite a bit of experience packing for two climates in one bag as I often fly between Central Europe and Southern Europe (whether to Italy or Greece). I only travel with a carryon (and sometimes a personal item for which I pay priority boarding).
How exactly do I manage packing only a carry-on for two climates? Here are my tips.
I have a packing list
I must admit that I’ve always had a packing list. At first, I only used it to not forget anything at the accommodation. Later, it also helped me reduce the items I pack since I write down – at the end of the trip – what items I have never used.
If you are just starting out with this, just write down what you think you may need; from the t-shirts to charging cables; from the passport to the motion sickness pills.
I divide and conquer
My list has various categories: clothes and shoes, medicines, tech, misc.Each category has the “must have” items as well as possible extras.
Now, look at the huge list you just created and categorize it. The “clothes and shoes” category should include 2-3 t-shirts, tights or leggings, 1 dress (for the ladies), 1 jacket, 1 pair of long trousers (jeans are fine), underwear. Shoes also go here and usually, for me, I have only the pair I wear (and during summer some flat sandals). During summer I bring 1-2 capris.
Don’t forget about the medicine you should take: birth control pills, motion sickness pills, any prescription drugs you have, etc.
Also, don’t forget the smartphone, charger for it, camera, etc. if you need to work, you’ll also be packing the laptop and the charger (I always pack my mouse, too!)
I pack for the warmer climate first
First of all, I pack the clothes for the warmer climate. That means about 75% of the luggage anyway. These include the t-shirts, shorts, dress, etc. This pile also includes a windbreaker. And yes, you’ll need one for the Mediterranean. Plus, it is also waterproof. And Central Europe can be quite brutal when it comes to the winds, too.
I love layers and double duty clothes
I have always hated bulky clothes so instead of a sweater, I pack a long-sleeve t-shirt to wear under the regular one. I used to travel with a fleece until I got rained on the Acropolis and cursed myself for not bringing a waterproof jacket.
Likewise, leggings with a dress are awesome. Or under the trousers when you are faced with the amazing Central European winds during winter (true story! Hello, Vienna, in December!).
I ditch the bulky items
Yes, I wear my jeans on the plane and train. I know many people recommend against them but, as long as I don’t pack them, I’m totally fine to include them. Nope, I never pack a second pair. Any other pair of trousers may do but not jeans.
I never pack hiking boots. Although I do a lot of hiking and walking, I prefer to buy lightweight all-terrains that I wear all the time. Likewise, my sneakers stay home. I am active when I travel but the said all terrains are just as good for walking.
I get rid of what I think it’s not necessary
Yup, once the piles are completed, I look at each item and ask myself “is this really necessary?” . I do overpack laundry and under-pack long-sleeve t-shirts.
I wash clothes when I travel
If I travel for longer than a week, you bet I’ll be doing laundry. My carryon is always packed to last me a week (or less I travel for the weekend, of course). So, I am not afraid to do laundry when I travel.
I toss or buy along the way
Yup, I buy clothes as souvenirs. That’s why I under-pack t-shirts. On the other hand, I’ve had jeans rip when I traveled, and they ended up in the recycle bin in Italy right after I got myself a new pair.
Thanks for reading and following the advice for packing. But now you need a luggage for them, right? Don’t worry, here’s the perfect choice for you: a Cabin Zero Backpack.
Review CabinZero Classic 44L Limited Edition Flags
When I got the CabinZero Classic 44L, I loved the many compartments and how light it was empty. I do carry it on my back anyway but the handles on two sides are great for people like my husband (who are ok with the mini duffle option) or for when you need to put it in the overhead bin. Oh, and I also thought it was huge!
When I started to pack for my trip, my first reaction was: where does my laptop go? There are two pockets that can “act” like the place to put your laptop but neither of them is ideal. Crickey. The front one is an invitation to hit the laptop full frontal while the back one is super hard to get to if your bag is packed to the max. I wished there as a padded pocket accessible on its own between the front one and the main pocket.
However, packing is super easy. The zipper opens almost to the max so it is easy to put things in. I still prefer to stack as I stack them in any backpack but, access is super easy at the hotel, for example. And the interior small pocket with zipper is perfect for small items you don’t want to lose in the main compartment among the clothes.
I also found the mash pocket to be an excellent addition. I added there many important items and they were always safe but also within easy reach.
Once I packed, I weighed the CabinZero bag. Less than 5kg!
My travels took me to Budapest via Romania. My train was at 6 a.m. Which makes for a pretty cranky me. Thankfully the bag was super easy to carry despite being, well, big. At least compared to what I’m used with. And I’m only 5’2” (158cm).
I breezed through the train and metro stations. I even wore it an entire day (Sunday) in Budapest as I went sightseeing (because check out was at 10:30 am and my train back at 7:10 pm). Yes, after that many hours, those 5kg feel a lot more but the bag was still super comfortable to wear.
The backpack is waterproof (thankfully, I didn’t get to test that as the weather was gorgeous!) and it comes with the Global Luggage Tracker, powered by Okoban, included (again, thankfully, didn’t get to test that and hope I would never need to). 10 years of warranty (25 if you like CabinZero on Facebook) complete a very appealing package.
What I loved about the CabinZero Standard 44L backpack:
- Light when empty
- Enough and well-organized pockets
- Can fit a lot of items in (I came back with 3 items I have never used during the trip)
- Easy to carry as the padded shoulder straps do a very good job
- Super easy to use in the accommodation (when you don’t unpack like me)
- Easy to stow when you stay at a café or restaurant to eat
- Excellent zippers (I’ve been cursed with awful ones before)
What I wish was different:
- The laptop pocket is not in an ideal location (for me and my husband who mentioned that the pocket should be dedicated, with its own access, and padded on both sides)
Overall, I really liked the CabinZero backpack. For me, it’s ideal for at least a week’s worth of travel. It is rather big for a weekend for one person but if you travel with your partner, you can pack for both of you, easily! It is super easy to handle – pick up, put in the overhead bin, etc – and you don’t bump into things when you walk on the street (yes, I’ve been known to do that before). And I absolutely loved the shoulder straps!
Video and photo credit: Alex P. from LooknWalk