This week I’m flying from Cluj to Cyprus (country #42) with Wizz Air. It’s not my first time flying with them, but it will be my first time making a conscious effort to keep my backpack within the baggage restrictions.
I’m notorious for getting away with taking too much luggage with me on flights. My bag by the end of 2015 was nearly 90 pounds! I’ve flown with EasyJet with two bags despite their one bag rule. I know all the tricks of filling your pockets with heavy things, and wearing your most baggy clothes and heavy shoes.
The first time I flew with Wizz Air, just last month, I was carrying three bags! I had my Osprey Farpoint 40 liter (my favorite travel backpack), but I couldn’t quite fit everything into it. What I couldn’t fit was packed into a 7-liter dry-sack carabineered to my belt, and I had an almost empty backpack hidden under my jacket. Please note, I was headed to Romania, and certainly didn’t need a jacket, but the pockets of said jacket were also full.
As I waited in line, the man two ahead of me in line was charged for his second bag, and the lady in front of me had to put her tiny hand bag into her luggage. Obviously I had no hope to get through with a bag which was nearly twice the allowed dimensions. But get through I did. When I entered the plane, I heard two of the flight attendants laugh at how large my backpack was. It’s true – that time, as with every other time, I had to wiggle my Farpoint 40 into the overhead compartment. While it’s acceptable for most airlines, it’s a little large for budget airlines, and way too big for Wizz Air.
The carry-on baggage policy of Wizz Air allows one free bag measuring 16.5” x 12.6” x 9.8″. You have to pay for anything larger than that. The Farpoint 40 measures 21.3” x 14.6″ x 13.8”. Believe me, when I pack, it’s bursting at the seams.
While I got lucky once, I really don’t have the money for a fee if they catch me. OK, I’ve gotten lucky every time I’ve traveled. But the truth is I just really don’t need my full Farpoint 40 for a week in Cyprus.
I spent several days researching different backpacks, walking around Bucharest and its malls, searching online and weighing my options. Unfortunately, nearly everything I found was too big for Wizz Air.
Finally, I was looking for a new pair of headphones in an electronics store when I saw their laptop backpacks. Most were hardly more than sleeves, but Case Logic had a couple that looked promising. I picked up the Prevailer and checked it out online. It had a 4.3 star review score on Amazon, and the online price was $40. Best of all, the dimensions were 17.9” x 12.6” x 12.2”. That’s a tiny bit more than what Wizz Air allows, so I’ll just have to refrain from filling it to bursting, and get ready to compress it if asked. Oh, and I really liked the color – black with blue highlights.
The price was 120 Romanian lei, which is about $30. But when I brought it to the counter, they only charged me 95 lei ($24). Seems I missed that the backpack was on sale!
This really isn’t a product review, but the back is great. It’s got three pockets with tons of hanging pouches so all your small things don’t fall to the bottom. There is a side pocket for your water bottle, and even a concealed slot for your passport. I’ve had it for a week now, and I can say I’m certainly pleased!
This is now the fifth bag I’ve picked up in my travels. Other than my Farpoint 40, I have the REI Grand Tour 85 that comes with a detachable day pack (which is too small for my laptop), and I brought with me an old, large duffel bag from the States. The two big bags are filled up and left with friends in Scotland with everything I don’t need on this trip, awaiting the day I have my own tiny house home base, or van to travel in.
What’s your favorite small backpack to travel with? I’m actually curious what’s the least amount of stuff someone has travel with for a week’s journey to a foreign country. Feel free to comment below.