Summer might be gone but I'm still living on my trip to Germany, Austria and New York. While normally I am a huge over-packer (I blame my mother and my desire for options), I knew that would be a huge pain for this trip between the planes, trains and automobiles I would be using to get around. I decided to fit everything I would need for the almost 4 week trip into a carry-on size suitcase, a backpack and a weekend tote. The most challenging part was figuring out how to manage all of the weather possibilities in the small space-- I think I did pretty well!
I started by laying out everything I thought I would want to take by category (pants, shoes, dresses, etc) and then whittled everything down to the following:
- Pants-- 2 pairs, one denim skinny and one black (worn on the plane)
- Shorts-- 1 pair, denim
- Jackets-- 2, one raincoat, one lightweight (worn on the plane)
- Sweaters-- 5, one long sleeve cardigan, two 3/4 sleeve cardigans, one short sleeve cardigan, one wrap sweater (worn on the plane)
- Tops-- 7, two sleeveless blouses, two shirts (one worn on the plane), two tank tops, one long sleeve button up
- Dresses-- 2, one nicer maxi dress, one short day dress
- Shoes-- 4 pairs, boots (worn on the plane), sneakers, sandals, and clogs
- Accessories-- two dangle and three post earrings, four necklaces, watch, rings, sunglasses, three scarves, one slouchy beanie
- Undergarments & Lounge-- 9 pairs underwear, three regular bras, one sports bra, 7 pairs of socks, three camisoles, 1 pair of leggings, light sweatshirt, PJ set (tank and shorts)
- Toiletries, makeup, hair brushes-- packed into two zippy bags
- Diversions-- magazines, iPad loaded with books (+cords!), headphones, knitting, journal, pens
- Bags-- I swapped to my travel wallet that fits my passport/tickets and packed my cross-body purse flat to use once I got to my destination
It's helpful to keep outfit ideas in mind while narrowing your options down-- I prefer to have lots of outfit options so I don't get bored and also have plenty of layers to account for unpredictable weather. Also make sure you know what kind of activities, weather conditions, and access to laundry you will have. This info will help you make better choices when it comes to clothing.
Also, can I talk about this suitcase for a second? It's awesome. Hard-sided, spinner wheels and has one side that zips and has pockets-- it's great. I got it at Macy's, it was more expensive than I would usually spend but it was totally worth the price.
On the open side of the bag I packed all my pants, tops, sweaters, dresses, and my raincoat. I use a combination of rolling sweaters/small items and folding but frankly find that most things pack the most compactly when neatly folded.
On the zippered side, I packed my shoes, socks, toiletries, scarves, etc between the runner bars as this is a more efficient use of space.
Then, in the zippered pouches I put my underwear, bras, and pajamas. I like having these things corralled and it also makes it easier to find your jammies after a long day of flying.
Then I packed my backpack and my carry-all with all of my documents, distractions, electronics and cords. I prefer to check as many things as possible because I hate having to keep track of stuff in the airport while walking, eating, using the bathroom, etc. I know some people don't like this uncertainty but since I have yet to have a problem (particularly when it's a non-stop flight), I don't worry about it. Yet. Because of that, I like to pack a little zippy bag of toiletries for my carry-on, especially for international travel. Over time I have found that having a few things at the ready not only reduces my travel anxiety but also means that I won't be out of luck if my bag doesn't arrive on time.
Realistically, though, it turned out that I didn't even need the carry-all. With some further finagling in the suitcase and maybe a slightly bigger backpack, I could have done without it given how little ended up in it at the end. Though it is always nice to have extra room for gifts or somewhere to shove a jacket you thought you would need.
I hope this was fun and informative! Let me know if you like it or if you have a different take on long-trip packing-- I'd love to hear any secrets you may have. Until next week, keep up with my day-to-day on social media--xoxo