The Evolution of Downsizing My Luggage to a 30L Daypack

I used to be a heavy packer. Really heavy. I’d spend a week in the Dominican Republic, wearing a bathing suit or sundress pretty much every day and still bring a suitcase large enough for a family of four on the same trip.

I slowly started downsizing my luggage as time went on, realizing that I could repeat outfits while on vacation. I wound up with a rolling suitcase that was much smaller than my family-sized monstrosity, but it was still too big.

Experimenting with Packing Lighter

Then I spent three weeks in British Columbia with family. It was my first time flying alone and I was terrified that my luggage would get lost. I only brought a backpack. There had been a heat wave the week before I went, so it was easy to pack light.

But this wasn’t the end of my evolution. The backpack worked for a family visit in another province with a pretty even climate, but I wasn’t fully converted yet. What if I needed to have casual and fancy clothes on the same trip?

We visited 8 countries and experienced a wide variety of climates – from cold and very wet Ireland in early March to sweltering Lisbon in June. We each brought a 30L daypack and a carry-on size rolling suitcase, which we considered “light” given the length of the trip.

The Trip That Sealed the Deal

Big mistake. We regretted this decision less than halfway through the trip. Europe’s cobbled streets made maneuvering the rolling bags incredibly difficult, and the hilly cities we visited in Spain and Portugal made them a considerable burden.

I resolved to only carry a daypack from then on, which was easy to do on a road trip or when camping near my home in Toronto, Canada. But how would I make it work for international travel?

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