There are a lot of packing lists out there but I’m noticing I’m better at realizing what not to pack while I still hum and ha over what I should bring.
Last year in September I went on a similar trip as my trip to Europe this past summer, and took my big 28″ upright suitcase for a trip of 16 days, hitting two countries with a lot of train and bus travel back and forth to visit friends, family and fun stuff. I wasn’t able to fill that suitcase (I mean, 28″ expandable is rather… large) so I brought a box of lego as a gift, an extra purse, two different coats, scarves, 5 pairs of shoes and other nonsense and still had room to bring back (a LOT) goodies from my grandparents. I filled the room I had just because I could.
This last trip seems to have been no different. I downgraded to a 24″ upright that’s also slightly slimmer and does not expand like the 28″ but I still ended up overpacked intentionally. I managed to bring two pairs of jeans,
four five pairs of shoes AND flipflops, two summer coats, 5 summer dresses, about 6 tops, two sweaters, two dress-shirts, one skirt, 2 camisoles, t-shirts, shortsleeved & longsleeved, cute tops and a whole bunch of underwear and socks, two scarves, another Lego Duplo set as a gift for my friends babies and probably one too many of everything else in my fit to not have my suitcase packed too lightly for everything to fly all over the place on the journey over the ocean.
I honestly intentionally packed more, not because I needed it but becaause I could. While my suitcase wasn’t huge and it wasn’t THAT much hassle I still regretted it at a few points throughout the trip. I like to be mobile, pick up my stuff and go. When you have a purse and a larger suitcase it’s harder, clumsier. I have to set my purse down and use two hands to get my suitcase off the ground, it’s more junk to worry about (unless you have a bodyguard to delegate such mundane tasks to) I’m more obvious as a tourist with a larger suitcase walking down a cobblestone street. There are so many reasons that travelling with too much stuff is annoying. Next trip: carryon only!Back to what not to pack;
1. Too many shoes. I’m a girl. I like shoes, I own close to thirty pairs and some are more comfortable than others, I like variety too but 5 pairs of shoes for any trip is too much. I wore the shoes I brought because I could, but two would have sufficed. Don’t bring flipflops, they’re not great to walk on all day and unless you’re going to the beach they’re not a common thing to wear in Europe, more like not-done. (not where I’m from anyway) Sure, at home you might wear those cute shoes with that outfit… dragging them across the ocean for one night of wear sucks. DO bring cute shoes and DON’T wear hideous hiking shoes. I found that one pair of cute flats (that you can actually walk on) a pair of heels and the sneakers you wear on the plane (but please not the obnoxious white ones you wear to the gym) are really enough. 3 pairs, yes. 5, no!
2. One coat is enough and if you wear it on the plane, that’s more space in your suitcase or backpack. Don’t bring that sportteam embellished jacket, do bring a nice casual jacket that can go with dresspants or a pair of shorts or a dress on a cooler night. Your wintercoat, a nice pea coat or a thin trench is perfect. You don’t need more! Do bring an umbrella though if you’re going to Western Europe so you don’t, like me, end up paying 20EUR for an overpriced umbrella because if you’re there more than a few days… it WILL rain. Gahh.
3. Your entire medicine cabinet. Well, unless you’re going to Africa… There are pharmacies and doctors everywhere. A few prepackaged tylenol are enough. Don’t bring full bottles of shampoo, the mini-refillable travel containers WILL last two weeks unless you overdose. Also, friends & family usually don’t mind if you ‘borrow’ some shampoo and nicer hotels usually supply little sundries like that. I consistently bring a few items I don’t need, I’m getting better at it though.4. White socks. White socks get dirty after making twelve steps anywhere, and if you’ve tried washing them in a sink… the soles never get completely clean so your socks still look dirty. Bring grey or black or blue, thin socks. Rinse them with detergent sheets, hang to dry and voila. Clean socks. (or find a laundromat) and nobody will be able to tell that OMG, you handwashed them. Seriously, white socks? No go!
5. More than one pair of clothing that looks the exact same as another pair you’re bringing. Two pairs of dark jeans that fit great? WHY! Just find somewhere to wash them, also… wearing jeans for a few days in a row is okay. Unless you’re mr spillypants? It’s pretty standard where I’m from. When I grew up I would wear the same clothes on Monday and Tuesday, a new outfit Wednesday, the same clothes on Thursday and Friday. The whole must-wear-different-outfit-everyday-phenomenon is markedly American. Two little black dresses are pointless, two of the same t-shirts.. same. I am so guilty of this.
6. Pillows and blankets. I’ve seen countless people with full-fledged bedpillows and also blankets in airports. Why do you bring this stuff? Use a rolled up sweater, the blankets the airline supplied or bring a traveltowel, tightly rolled. It’s just more to lug around, more to worry about. Annoying.
7. Membership cards to the local YMCA/Library/Whatever. You don’t need em, don’t bring em. Empty your wallet and only bring what you need, also saves you headache if you lose your wallet or let it get stolen.
That’s my list so far, anything else to add?