Our quest to travel light is of course a fruitless whim. We like the idea of strolling down to our nearest mainline station and hopping on a night train to the other side of Europe with no more than a light day sack. But it never happens. By the time we have packed half a dozen maps, a guidebook or two and a few essential clothes our luggage has expanded to proportions that would surely have many discount airlines eyeing us up as clear candidates for some hefty excess baggage charges. Fortunately rail operators do not yet value overburdened passengers as prey for extra revenue.
So, weighed down by our own baggage as we are, we take heart to read on a leading American travel website (Fodor’s if you must know) that we are leaving home without the essentials that many other travellers judge as absolute necessities. Evidently, there really are people who pack an inflatable ice bucket, a collapsible vase for a bouquet of flowers, a supply of ducting tape and a camping headlamp. We are still struggling to fathom quite what purpose the ducting tape might serve, but it is good to know that next time we board a train and find ourselves sharing a compartment with travellers wearing headlamps, this is just a transatlantic habit that is absolutely normal.
And what of your luggage? Would you, like us, dare to venture abroad without an ice bucket?
Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries