Monday, August 3, 2015

GUIDE | a packing list



Packing is always the most stressful part before a long trip. Usually I have no problem as long as the trip is under 2 weeks but when it starts going over a month that's when things get a bit tricky. I'm currently prepping for long-term travel in Europe. I'll be there from August until December and I'll be bouncing around many different countries, which means I have to prepare for all climates.

I've been lucky enough be able to travel a lot in the last few years and therefore have some experience with packing bags. On my first major trip around Europe I was moving one hostel to another every 3 or 4 days and I've learned through trial and error that the key to stress free days on the road is simplicity. I'm still learning how to be a light packer and here's kind of my basic packing list I always follow:

Shirts
3-4 t-shirts in black, white, grey and/or other neutrals. 1-2 long sleeve shirts. I tend to stick to basics like breton or chambray. This way I have a good range of shirts I can wear again and again.

Jacket/Coat
1 light jacket. Preferably something that can withstand a bit of rain


*1 Coat for colder climates

Jeans & Shorts
1 pair of jeans and 1 pair of shorts

Sweater
1 sweater/sweatshirt to layer when it gets a bit chilly. I usually go with the basic grey sweatshirt or a cashmere sweater.

Shoes
1 pair of sneakers (black or white), 1 pair of boots, and 1 pair of flats for dressier occasions, 1 pair of rubber flip flops for showers/beach

Dress
1-2 dresses

Wide Brim Fedora
Leave the beanies at home! They don't keep you warm and they give you bad hat hair. Instead, invest in a wool fedora (even cheap ones at h&m will work). They insulate heat much better, keeping you warmer for a longer period of time, and they look more fashionable ;)

edit: ok so I did buy a beanie while abroad and they do work to a certain extent. But make sure its a tight knit one

Pajamas
1 top & 1 pair of comfy pants

Card Case
One of the most important items on this list!!! So many times I've heard stories of friends getting their belongs stolen while on a trip. Therefore, keeping my wallet hidden away is always my first priority. There are many cities where you have to rely on a metro to train to get around. I keep all my metro passes, a bit of cash, and my student id in my card case so I don't have to take out my wallet as often

Lock
Many hostels have lockers but many don't provide locks so you'll have to bring your own. I usually bring a laptop and camera with me on my trips so it's important to have a good, sturdy lock to keep every thing safe. I prefer combination locks so I don't have to worry about losing a key.

Muji Travel Bag
These little packing bags help you save so much room, and makes it easier to fit everything in your suitcase. Buy 1 for shirts & 1 for trousers

Bag
1 backpack, 1 cotton tote, 1 cross body bag

Pouch/Envelope
To hold all important travel documents so they're all in one convenient location. Nothing worse than digging through your bags at a crowded station looking for bus tickets.

Toiletries & Makeup
Basic makeup (foundation, eyeliner, 1 lipstick etc.), 1 bottle of Dr Bronners soap, lotion, face cleansing towelettes. The trick with toiletries is: the less liquid you bring the better.

Quick Dry Towel
Most hostels will have towels available for hire, but usually at a price of 2-3 euros/pounds. I traveled towel free my first time in Europe but quickly realized the money I spend hiring towels could have bought me a quick dry towel (which costs around $15). I would recommend investing in a XL size. They're pretty compact as well so they don't take up much room in your suitcase

Misc Items
Earplugs, eye masks, vitamins, photocopy of travel documents, sketchbook, chargers, camera(s), external hard drive, laptop, sunglasses, scarf, umbrella, (optional) extra wallet, book

This list is still a work-in-progress and I'll be adding more to it as I go along. I hope this will be useful to someone in the future.

Happy travels everyone!