Packing for travel can seem overwhelming even for a compulsive traveler like myself. There are many factors to consider such as the length of time, activities, weather, accommodations, if you’re traveling alone, in a group and if you are traveling with someone even they shape your #Lifeinabag. (These are all the factors I consider when creating my #Lifeinabag)
If you are the type that dreads packing, leaves packing for the last minute or feels they have mastered packing. Below is my personal must have’s in my backpack regardless if I’m taking a backpack, carry-on or a luggage.
- 3 shoes (1 flipflop, 1 gym shoe & 1 nice shoe. The nice shoe should not be high heels as they take up a lot of space in a bag and ultimately will hurt your feet based on the type of streets your walking on. During my last trips I’ve been taking either neutral color booties or wedges based on the weather of the place I’m traveling to and they have worked perfectly. Additionally, I’ve discovered that mixing the length of shoe and type helps put less pressure on your feet from wearing the same shoe day in and day out during your travels. How else could I have managed walking 28 miles in Vienna and still managed to go out at night with no issues the next day.)
- Small inexpensive towel (I use this at hostels as they sometimes charge you and it doubles up as a beach towel as well. Why inexpensive you ask? I always leave this towel behind on the last day of my trip as this frees up space for gifts and souvenirs in my bag so paying for that Egyptian cotton isn’t needed.)
- Lock (to use during hostels)
- No accessories (accessories take up a lot of space and add up quickly when you are trying to make outfits. Also God forbid someone think that your H&M necklace is expensive and tries to steal it from you. I save myself the drama and even jewelry I tend to wear daily when I’m home stays home. The most I will take is sunglasses, cheap earring studs and a cheap watch.)
- Foldable tote bag (This helps for carrying items to the beach and doubles as an extra bag to bring things back home should your #Lifeinabag get packed.)
- Bubble wrap (not much but you have no idea how many times I buy something that I feared would break that I simply wrap in my bubble wrap. It also helps with dividing your clothes and shoes in your bag.
- Small shoulder bag or those compact bag packs (easiest way to walk around and have your things close to you while still freeing your hands.)
- Small grocery bag (I keep my used undergarments in this bag as I hate mixing those with clean clothes and typically will wash those when I shower so they don’t stink up my bag. You have to remember that depending on the climate of where you travel it may be hot and you may be sweating.)
- In terms of clothes bring things that are light and you can mix and match with other items you are bringing. (My rule is if you can’t wear it with something else you are bringing then it probably shouldn’t be brought. I only break my rule with a light nice dress or 2 because you never know if a going out opportunity will come up and you can typically wear a dress on another night in another city and be ok.) The above picture of me in a dress shows you what I mean with “light” aka clothes that won’t take up so much space even when folded.
- Sweater and nice scarf (you never know when the temp will drop so a light sweater can help with that and you can always use a nice scarf to dress up any outfit.)
- Toiletry bag with only essentials (Instead of body wash I do a small bar of soap which is more compact then a bottle of body wash. I keep this in a sandwich baggie and throw out at the last day of my trip. For females take only the makeup items you really think you need. For me its a foundation, bronzer, eyeliner, 2 lipsticks; typically a light pink gloss and a red lipstick, waterproof mascara, eye curler and a small eye pallet.)
Another useful packing list that I am referencing for my 2017 travels by Gap Year can be found here: https://www.gapyear.com/articles/120995/packing-list
Ultimately, the secret is to find what is best for you and your travel style and decide early on what are your must have’s based on your personal style.
Picture: Left, my backpack for a 10 day trip through Thailand and Hong Kong in 2015. Right, my luggage for a 3 day weekend in Austin. As you can tell, considering all factors of your trip is important when deciding what you will be packing and length of time does not translate into size of your #Lifeinabag.
*Please note that my opinions expressed in this site are my own and I have not been compensated by any brand to write or review them.