Choosing to travel Wizz Air unleashes my creativity. Here I show you how to pack for a one-week trip and meet the Wizz Air baggage requirements.
Wizz Air, the Hungarian “budget” airline, has one of the tinniest free baggage allowances of any of the no-frills airline. Their free on-board allowance is one bag measuring 42 x 32 x 25 cms. This is smaller than the smallest wheelie case I have been able to locate. However, if you pay for priority seating at the time of booking you get to take on board another bag such as a small handbag, camera bag or laptop case. In addition, you can take an “airport” carrier bag with your duty free purchases, reading material such as a book and one of those little food bags from the eateries.
Having spent several days measuring up my own collection of rucksacks and those available in local shops, I have finally settled on one. It is a bog standard work or school rucksack which is marginally smaller than the size allowed. I picked it up off Amazon but they have similar ones in supermarkets, sports shops and the like. I like the colour and the three pockets on this one. The straps at the bottom will be ideal for holding my sunhat. There’s also one of those mesh side pockets which will become home to my vacuum flask.
This bag is not huge, and far smaller than a small suitcase, and so requires clever packing and serious trip planning on my behalf.
The trip is a seven day research trip to the Czech Republic and Poland. I will spend two days in Prague, then take a cross country train over to Poland, spend three days in Silesia, take the train back to Prague for another 30 hours or so. The bag, therefore, needs to be lightweight, sturdy and easy to pack and unpack. So far, on trial packs, this bag meets the criteria.
As the trip is combining travelling, museum visits and archive research with some sightseeing the packing list includes items suitable for a city visit. In my trial pack, I have squeezed into the main compartment socks, underwear, two pairs of chinos, three light shirts, a tee shirt, a thin sweater, PJs, two exercise books, a camera, tin mug and coffee bags, some charging cables, slippers and some odds and ends such as cotton shopping bag and a bottle opener. In the outside pocket, I am carrying plug converters, a small water heater and all toiletries. All clothing has been rolled up so it will a) fit and b) come out looking reasonably wearable. All the accommodation comes equipped with irons so I can spruce things up on the way. I have gone for a blue and terracotta colour scheme to maximize usage.
I have learnt from previous trips that it is essential to keep key items in large freezer bags so they don’t get mislaid or the bag emptied to find them. I have one freezer bag for chargers and connectors, one for toiletries and one for miscellaneous items. Small clothing items are in nylon bags.
I have a nice collection of small tubs for aloe vera gel (for rashes and sunburn) and hair gel. The shampoo is made from a shampoo base with a little olive oil and sage essential oil. The blue liquid is laundry detergent. I take a bar of homemade soap to use in the shower and sink. It is stored in an Altoids tin. The toothpaste is low cost supermarket own brand. I decant where possible as small versions of toiletries are very expensive and wasteful.
I always have a stash of useful items in a plastic bag. I always take some spare freezer bags. The roll up sports bottle is both extremely useful and lightweight. I have added a clothes repair kit because accidents do happen.
I am saving space by taking a bridge camera i.e. a DSLR which has one lens to cover wide angle and zoom. My phone is a back up. I need to take notes so am packing my Samsung Galaxy Note and a keyboard. They fit in a small shoulder bag. I am also taking a small notebook and some photo mounts to create a kind of journal/safe store for the tickets and receipts I collect on the journey. The small book contains post-it notes in case I want to make a note.
And finally, coffee. I always take a water heater, a tin mug, coffee bags and some dried milk. I will only take a quarter of the milk in a plastic bag.
That’s almost it. I have a small nylon rucksack for days out, a travel towel and some plastic cutlery for picnics in the park etc.
Everything fits comfortably in the small rucksack with some wriggle room and space for chocolate while meeting the WizzAir requirements. I am now ready to travel.