Europe in One Amazing Bag

April 6th, 2010 § 27 comments

European Travels, originally uploaded by academichic.

Finally, as promised, the story of how I packed for a 10 day trip through 4 European countries in one amazing carry-on bag!

I’ve traveled with E. a number of times over the past few years and have always been jealous of her Tom Bihn Aeronaut.  Then I saw her packing post last year and I got a bit more jealous – not only did she have the prefect bag for carrying onto three forms of transportation on our NY research trips, but this amazing bag seemed to fit more than any carry-on bag I’ve ever seen.

E. and I decided to get S. her own Aeronaut for a wedding present last summer, just in time for her travels to Germany.  After her packing post, I was yet a little more jealous.

So, I can not express how excited I was to receive my very own Aueronaut from Tom Bihn just in tome to pack it full for my trip to Europe.  A2 borrowed E’s husband N’s Aeronaut so we could both carry our bags onto 7 flight, 1 train ride, one long bus ride, and a few car and metro rides.

Aeronaut Back Pack originally uploaded by academichic.

We both used the backpack straps on the Aeronaut as modeled by A2 above for almost the entire trip.  We found this the most comfortable and convenient way to carry the bag, especially when we had to sprint from one terminal to another or walk from the Dart to our seaside hotel in Ireland!  However, it was very helpful to be able to carry the bag like  a regular suitcase to get through narrow plane aisles  and I frequently used the flat almost unnoticeable handles on either end to pull the bag out of overhead storage or car trunks.

But, the best part about this bag, is how much fits in it!  E’s recent weekend trip to a warm climate has nothing on our 10 days in four cold and rainy countries!

The Spread, originally uploaded by academichic.

The Packing List:

  • Skinny Jeans – Banana Republic
  • Skinny Cords – Banana Republic
  • Short-sleeved long cardigan – NY & Co.
  • Black Sweater Vest – Banana Republic Outlet
  • Argyle Cardigan – Banana Republic Outlet
  • Thin Olive Sweater – H & M
  • Black Henley – Gap
  • Grey Tee – J Crew
  • Teal Tank – BR Outlet
  • Grey Ruffle-neck Tank – J Crew
  • Maroon Sleeveless Top – Banana Republic
  • Floral Blouse – Maurices
  • Light Blue Long-sleeved Tee – J Crew Outlet
  • Turquoise Scarf – NY China Town
  • Blue Scarf – Old Navy
  • Floral Scarf – Anthropologie
  • Black Belt – NY & Co
  • Brown Belt – NY & Co
  • Grey Flats – BR Outlet
  • Running Shoes, Running Pants, 2 Running Tops, Sports Bras
  • Jewelry, Socks, Tights, Underwear

Yep, I fit all of that into one amazing carry on bag!  For the plane, I wore my BR Outlet black jersey dress, a thick cotton wrap sweater from Gap, my Old Navy teal belt, my teal paisley pashmina, my BR wellies, and my coral tench.

Tom Bihn Aeronaut, originally uploaded by academichic.
The generous folks over at Tom Bihn also sent us all some packing cubes to try out and I love them – I’m convinced they are magic! I used two medium packing cubes and one clear quarter packing cube and was able to fit all of the above clothing, including running shoes and clothes, my toiletries, and my laptop and still managed to bring a few things back with me.
The cubes made it so much easier to find what I needed without letting my bag explode to much.  I put all of my layering tops (the tee-shirts and thanks and light olive sweater) and pajamas in one medium packing cube and bulky sweaters and a few scarves and my running pants in the other.
Tom Bihn Packing Cube, originally uploaded by academichic.

In the small clear cube I put my underwear in one side and my socks and tights in the other side. It was way easier to find and access these everyday then whey they are just shoved in a side pocket.

In the main compartment, I layered my pants in the bottom and then fit my flats and toiletries in around the cubes. Finally, I placed my laptop on top. In one end section I packed my running shoes and most of my running clothes and in the other I fit my computer cord, straightener, and my liquids for easy access at security.

Tom Bihn Clear Quarter Packing Cube, originally uploaded by academichic.

In addition to the packing cubes, Tom Bihn also sent us a selection of organizer pouches. I loved these almost as much as the packing cubes.  I used the large cork one to hold boarding passes, maps, and other important documents and then slipped it into my purse.  I used the small clear pouch to hold my jewelry, packed in top zipper poach of the Aeronaut. I used the mini cork pouch to carry my Pounds and Euros.  I clipped the pouch to a ring on my purse so that I could easily find it among everything else in there.

Tom Bihn Cork Organizer Pouch, originally uploaded by academichic.
Tom Bihn Clear Mini Organizer Pouch, originally uploaded by academichic.
Tom Bihn Mini Organizer Pouch, originally uploaded by academichic.

If I haven’t convinced you yet,  let me just share a quick travel story….  When we arrived in Dublin from the US, we had a short layover before we needed to catch our Ryan Air flight to Salzburg.  Ryan Air only allows one personal item/carry on – not one carry on and one personal item and maybe one shopping bag like most airlines – so, I had to stuff my purse (my fairly large leather purse) into the Aeronaut.   I didn’t think it could be possible seeing as I had filled what seemed like every inch of the bag, but some how I managed to rearrange a few things and shove it in there just in time to run to our boarding gate.

A2 and I can’t wait to travel again just so we can use this amazing bad again – I have a serious case of bag love!  And, since we all at Academichic want as many of you as possible to experience the wonders of Tom Bihn, be sure to check back later this week for another Tom Bihn giveaway!

As for what I actually wore on my travels, I don’t have much to show you as it was rather cold, so in most pictures I appear to be wearing the same thing I wore during my visit with S.

23 March 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

My skinny jeans, wellies, and coral tench saw quite a bit of Europe and Europe saw quite a bit of them!  In reality, I managed to come up with several different combination of the items I packed and never actually wore the exact same thing twice.

Boots across Europe, originally uploaded by academichic.
Castle Combe, originally uploaded by academichic.
London Tower Bridge, originally uploaded by academichic.

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§ 27 Responses to Europe in One Amazing Bag"

  1. maureen says:

    First of all —I was at the Tower of London last Fri…climbed the bridge and walked over to Camden (I think)…were you there Fri?

    Thanks for this entry…I packed way more in a bigger bag for about 4 days in England last week…I have been anxiously awaiting this entry. I will read/and reread it and look into purchasing this bag.


  2. Deidra says:

    Spent a week in Paris the beginning of January with the husband, cousin and her husband. It was during the unusual cold snap. At the end of the week we wished we would have just packed different coats, hats and scarves. It didn’t matter what else we wore because that’s all you saw of us. Even in museums it wasn’t warm enough to shed our coats. But we did manage to have just one carry-on each, a practice I fervently follow!

  3. Jane says:

    Glad you are enjoying Europe despite the drizzle. Ryanair is always a challenge. I went to Austria a couple of weeks ago with them. On the flight over they let me carry a small personal bag and carryon but not on the way back. Instead someone had bought an item in a large carrier bag and I stuffed everything in the one cardboard bag!
    I think I will have to invest in one of these carryone bags you talk about.

  4. Patricia says:

    Hi, this was a great post. I currently live in Europe and we often take budget flights. I wondered if you would be taking Ryanair and how you would deal with that. I can’t believe that your bag would fit into their criteria for carry-on baggage! Usually you are only allowed 10kg – is that all you had?!! Kudos!

  5. Kathryn says:

    This was an amazing post and now I’m eagerly awaiting this bag giveaway. I don’t travel nearly as much as I wish I did, but you three have me re-thinking the way I pack for a long trip.

    Your Europe trip sounds amazing. It’s great to have you back.

  6. This is a great bag that would be perfect for packing for shorter research trips, too!

  7. Katie C says:

    So, did you do any laundry, or did your two pair of pants hold up?

  8. T. says:

    No wheels on the bag? That gives me pause. I am completely unhappy with all of my luggage, and keep searching for the perfect suitcase. They are all either too large or too small, and our one decent one got destroyed on a recent overseas trip.

  9. N says:

    I am traveling to Scandinavia in the fall and was eagerly awaiting this post! You have given me so many ideas and confidence that I too can pack lightly!

  10. jentine says:

    I am very impressed with the magical powers of your one piece of carry-on luggage… I need to learn the art of packing lightly nad efficiently.

  11. Nancy says:

    I LOVE packing posts! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Megan says:

    I love packing posts, too! Thanks for posting about your experience with that great carry-on bag. It looks like you guys had an amazing trip! Makes me so excited for my trip to England in a few weeks!

  13. Leslie says:

    I love your gray purse…if it’s a recent purchase, could you share where you got it?

  14. That’s a lot of clothes in only one bag! Amazing.

  15. Camaeleo says:

    I second Leslie’s comment above about your purse. And, please share where you got it. It appears it doesn’t have a zipper closing from the photo. Did you miss that traveling overseas, security issues?
    Also, many, many thanks for sharing packing pics. I am traveling to England for two weeks this summer for a seminar and plan on trying to take just one bag.

    What is the one item you wish you would have packed? taken?

  16. Jean says:

    I went to France and Italy with a group for 9 days. A lady in the group brought a backpack–that’s all. She had:
    2 scrunchy-bumpy short sleeved blouses which she alternated wearing with
    a navy blue suit of skirt and jacket
    a black slip that she used as a nightgown
    2 panties
    a thin navy blue sweater
    a small comb
    No make-up, no jewelry except a wedding ring, no soap. She wore sandals for the entire trip (in May).

  17. Shiva says:

    This is great. One question: in the pictures, the bag seems to really hang low on your back–almost all the way down past your back. That does not seem an optimum way to carry a backpack. I am relatively small, and I do have the Western Flyer which fits me well. I have stayed away from the larger Aeronaut precisely for this reason. Thoughts?

  18. [...] it also makes for a great vacation bag whether your heading to visit in-laws for the weekend or to Europe for ten days.   In addition to this amazing carry-on bag, we are also huge fans of all of their travel [...]

  19. Joy says:

    The Aeronaut’s the best luggage I’ve ever owned. So well designed, and amazingly capacious.

  20. [...] I had these two options in mind but no time to try them on, so I threw all the elements into my Tom Bihn and figured I would make the final outfit decision with the help of a few sisters. Option 1 [...]

  21. Ms. Loaf says:

    I think this is only possible if you are a thin person and therefore your clothes are small. I just bought this bag hoping I could make it work the same way y’all did and it definitely did not fit as many of my clothes. So sad. I can see how it would be a great bag for someone thinner, though.

  22. [...] for European get-aways, A. also figured out how to pack for 10-days and four countries all in one bag, and I (L.) briefly noted what I like to wear when flying “across the pond” as they [...]

  23. [...] when traveling. I actually pack my carry on for my whole trip whenever possible (see some great tips for packing a carry-on bag here), but at the very least you should think to yourself: What would I need if my luggage got lost, my [...]

  24. [...] was especially inspired by this post to try going to Paris for 9 days without checking any bags. Bobby and I each took a small personal [...]

  25. Sarah says:

    I am considering buying this bag, but it is a HUGE investment. I am going to Europe for one month in the winter. I am not concerned about space as this bag seems to hold a lot, but I am wondering about comfort. I might be lugging my backpack around all day. Did you find the straps okay? they seem to lack padding. Thanks.

  26. [...] Read the full review – with many great photos and detailed packing lists – at academichi… [...]

  27. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say superb blog!

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