Nothing brings down a trip to Greece faster than hauling around too much luggage. It can even ruin your trip if flinging that overpacked carry on throws out your back and sends you seeking a Greek chiropractor on your arrival. But fear not. Here's how to lighten your heart with light luggage, have everything that you'll really need for your journey, and still look great in almost any situation.
Time Required: 60 minutes
- Choose a soft-sided bag suitable for carry-on. Some airlines are sticky about wheeled luggage with pull-out handles if the flight is crowded; a soft bag will almost always get on board with you. Newer wheeled duffle bags are the best of both worlds and my current favorite. If you must take a standard bag, be sure it is a "spinner" with wheels that let you move in any direction.
- Decide what you will wear to travel in. Deduct those items from the list below, suitable for spring-summer-fall travel in Greece.
- 1 long skirt of scrunchy, naturally wrinkly fabric with top OR one simple long dress
- 1 pair light-colored heavyweight pants, jeans type but preferably not blue as this still has a '60s "hippie" association which may not be positive in all contexts. (Disregard this if you are attending the Matala Hippie Reunion Festival held in June.)
- 1 light sweater
- 1-2 pairs shorts
- 1 long-sleeved top; 1 sleeveless top.
- 1 - 2 bathing suits. Take two if you know you will be changing locations a lot; depending on the heat and humidity, they may not dry overnight (ditto underwear!). Add a ventilated bag you can tie onto the outside of your luggage to help with drying and avoiding mustiness in the rest of your luggage.
- 3-5 pairs underwear, 1-2 bras, and 3-5 pairs socks depending on how often you expect to be able to wash items and have them dry by your departure time.
- 1 oversized T-shirt (for sleeping, beach cover-up, etc.)
- 2 pairs shoes - 1 pair good walking shoes, already broken in, and one 'nice' (but still very comfortable and well-soled!) pair for enjoying the nightlife. Tuck socks into the shoes to save space.
- 2 pair of sandals. One should be a rubber-bottomed, strap-on, 'swimmable' type to avoid sea anemones and jellyfish when wading along the shore. I like the cheapest possible "go-aheads" or other flat, light, packable sandals with me on the plane - so I can take off the big shoes but still not be barefoot.
- 1 windbreaker or other light, waterproof jacket; hooded is preferable.
- 1 big scarf or square, tie-able sarong - suitable as an emergency skirt for monastery and church sightseeing. A day pack or fanny pack.
- Don't forget necessary medications in original bottles; notebook with pocket for receipts, booklets, etc., a camera with extra digital media (much cheaper outside of Greece).
- Bring a washcloth. Most hotels and lodgings don't provide them. That tie-on mesh bag mentioned above is also handy for letting this - and other items - dry in transit.
- Wear your bulkiest shoes and jacket as part of your travel outfit.
- What - your bulky shoes aren't comfortable enough for airport treks? This tells you that pair shouldn't go at all.
- Tempted to fill up any extra room? Don't! - leave it for souvenirs on the trip back.
- Take small-size toiletries and makeup (often, lodgings don't provide things like shampoo) - pack in Ziploc baggies.
- Trying to still do it all carry-on (bearing in mind that European regional airlines have tighter requirements?) Consider a travel vest with big pockets.
What You Need
- Light wheelie bag or wheeled duffle.
- A small backpack
- Ziploc baggies
- Optional: a Travel Vest
- Digital camera or cell phone with good picture taking abilities.