14. Consider bringing a duffel bag for the return trip
I don’t know how much shopping you plan on doing, or want to, but you should really consider bringing a duffel bag (that is very small and lightweight when empty) on your trip. Simple reasoning: it saves you from having to find one on those last days before you leave, when you’re trying to get all your shopping done.
I write a duffel bag because they’re just so much smaller and easier to deal with than a suitcase.
When it comes to the main travel bag, I’m a big fan of a big backpack. Mine has a sub-backpack that attaches to the front or, for shorter trips, detaches, making it perfect for backpacking.
I ended up using one of the bags I bought (shopping bag sized) as my second piece of checked luggage to store many of the scarves and shirts I bought over there. Fortunately for international travel, depending on the airline, you get two bags free, which is why I suggest the duffel bag.