PACKING TIPS FROM THE PROS: Cristina Puscas

Cristina Puscas has been a travel and lifestyle writer since 2005. She hails (mostly) from Western Romania. She opened her first blog in 2007 and she’s always been a budget traveler. She took her first independent trip when she was 20. But she has been bitten by the travel bug as a child, when she explored her native country with her family or during school trips. She runs two blogs with her husband and they explore Europe, focusing on local experiences, ideal for couples without children.

The countries they are mostly drawn to are Greece (which has a dedicated blog), Italy, and Hungary (on which they focus on blog dedicated to Europe). They also share a passion for exploring Transylvania, Romania. They both enjoy slowing down thus have already lived in Italy for 5 weeks in late 2016, planning to do the same next year (n.a. 2018) in Greece. While Cristina loves to write, run the social media accounts, and take landscape photos, her husband enjoys taking videos (and editing them) as well as capturing their moments together. They have been traveling as a couple since 2011. During the past six years, they have learned to pack less and less, focusing on essentials. The eye-opening trip was the first one together, when they flew to London in 2011, dragging a checked luggage with them. That was the turning point that quickly transformed both into carry-on only packers.

What's usually in your carry-on?

The essentials I need for the trip. I am a firm believer in packing lists. If I work during the trip, the laptop, mouse, and charger are the first to go in the carry-on. Followed by my smartphone, headphones, and motion sickness pills. Clothes wise, it really depends on how long I am away for, but at most I pack for a week since I don’t shy away from washing clothes when I travel.

Tell us about the usual type of clothes you bring when traveling? 

Save from throwing in the carry-on a summer dress for our wedding anniversary (possible) dinner, I have never planned outfits. My husband has it easier as he just packs a wrinkles-free shirt for any romantic night planned. I love wearing layers. So, for me, anything that can do double duty becomes a friend. I usually pack 3-4 t-shirts and 1-2 long sleeve shirts so that I can combine them. If I travel during the cold season, you can bet at least a pair of leggings will travel with me.

What's the best packing tip anyone has given you? Who gave it?

Bring half the clothes and twice the money. I’ve found the quote as I was researching an article many years back and it really resonated with me (especially since I was on a low budget for many, many years). But the truth is, there will always be a flea market somewhere to get a t-shirt or a store to get a pair of jeans (after yours rip apart while traveling in Italy – true story!) so I’d rather make sure my bank account allows for emergencies rather than carry my entire closet with me.

Photo Credit: Cristina Puscas

What is the best thing about packing light?

The major advantage of being a light packer is being able to explore places during layovers. With a 4-5kg backpack on my back I don’t mind walking an entire day anywhere. And because I can do this, I’m totally fine with long layovers. I’ve cursed my life dragging a checked bag (albeit weighing in 8kg) in London.

How does your packing for a travel routine look like? 

I pack the day before our flight/train. During that week I wash all the clothes I think I 'may' pack. Then , the day I start packing, I take out my packing list. And I make piles. I use clear zip locks. That means I can banish the air from between the clothes. Anything I need during the flight / train ride, goes in a separate zip lock, which I place where I can easily access (passport or ID card, headphones, motion sickness pills, ibuprofen, Imodium, boarding passes, etc). I love Evernote as I can sync it for offline use so I save there everything I need. Oh and I update my music playlist. And upload e-books on my smartphone.

How do you deal with "excess baggage" situations?

The only time I had this issue was after 5 weeks in Italy when I wanted to bring stuff home (and by stuff, I mean: olive oil, spices, and many other Italian goodies). What I did was pack all up in a cardboard box, made my way to the postal office, and shipped them back home (to my parents’ address). It was more expensive than a checked bag but I didn’t have to deal with a checked bag during winter, which was perfect!

What's your best-kept packing secret?

Layers. A pair of leggings, trousers, a long sleeve shirt, and a t-shirt can go a very long way. Add in another t-shirt in the mix and you already have 3 outfits.

Quick Q's

Photo Credit: Cristina Puscas

  • Favourite region? Europe
  • Favourite country? Greece
  • Favourite city? Athens
  • Favourite beach? Klima (Ios Island)
  • Favourite food? Greek
  • Favourite mode of transpo? Air and land (train!)
  • Favourite book? Murder in the Orient Express – Agatha Christie
  • Window or aisle seat? Always window (husband is always stuck in the middle)
  • Carry-on or check-in? always carry-on
  • Hostel or hotel? Hotel
  • What's your favourite design from the Cabin Zero collection? CabinZero Classic 44L Limited Edition Flags

You can follow Cristina's adventues on her travel blog, Greecelogue.

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