In My Bag: Packing for Summer in Europe

In My Bag: Packing for Summer in Europe

While I’m currently gallivanting around Europe, I thought it might be apropos to provide another dose of packing advice.

It is my travel mission to pack as light as possible (hello carry-on!) while still managing to look stylish. I look back at the photos from my 8-month back packing trip to Europe in 2005/2006 and I cringe at the outfits I put together. I wore a ski jacket in 80% of my photos and couldn’t have looked more like a tourist if I tried. Since then, I’ve learned that comfort and efficiency does not have to sacrifice style. With some strategic choices and some handy tools (read: packing cubes!) I am travelling in Europe for 2 weeks with less than 20 lbs on my back!

Here is the breakdown of what I packed in my bag:

CLOTHING AND SHOES

  • 1 pair of walking shoes (BOBS with memory foam)
  • 1 pair of dressier sandals (Clarks)
  • 1 pair of flip flops (Flojos with arch support)
Three is the perfect number for travel shoes.

Three is the perfect number for travel shoes.

  • 1 pair of jeans (for the plane and chilly evenings)
  • 1 pair of loose fitting hippie pants
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 3 dresses
  • 1 skirt/dress (convertible)

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  • 8 tops (3 t-shirts, 5 sleeveless)
  • 2-3 cardigans (for the plane, chilling evenings, hot air balloon)

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  • 1 bikini
  • 1 set of sleepwear
  • 12 pairs of underwear + 3 bras (excessive maybe)
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • 1 pair of bandelettes
  • 1 belt
  • 1-2 scarves (for the plane or to use as a shawl)

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Note: Packing Cubes!

All of my clothing easily fits inside three small packing cubes. The larger blue one is for all of my bottoms and dresses, the medium red is for tops, and the small red is for underwear. These packing cubes make it insanely easy to pack and repack quickly when living out of a backpack. Read more about my packing cube obsession here.

TOILETRIES & ACCESSORIES

  • Stella & Dot Hang On Travel Case (toiletries/make-up/jewelry/sunscreen)
  • Norwex Cloth
  • Small Medicine Bag (Kleenex, band-aids, medication, hand sanitizer, wet wipes)
  • Travel Flat Iron
  • 1 Pair of Sunglasses
  • Tote Bag (for beach use/extra stuff for airplane)
  • Cross-body Bag (Lug – Moped Day Pack) – The best travel day bag that I’ve found!

ELECTRONICS

  • iPhone 5C
  • Headphones
  • iPhone Charger
  • Camera + Charger (Canon Powershot SX700)
  • Spare Memory Card
  • Portable Charger
  • E-reader (Kobo Aura)
  • Voltage Converter
  • Adapters

DOCUMENTS & MISCELLANEOUS

  • Passport & Visa
  • Wallet
  • Travel Documents & Insurance
  • Sleep Sheet
  • Pillow Case
  • Ear Plugs
  • Travel Journal / Pen
  • Travel Umbrella
  • Luggage Locks

This was my first time bringing only a carry-on to Europe. Do you find it difficult to travel light?

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In My Bag: Hawaii Packing List

In My Bag: Hawaii Packing List

Packing is one of those topics that people surprisingly seem to love. After my last packing-related post was a gigantic hit I vowed to start sharing more of them (since you know I’m making these list anyways).

This is my packing list for a four day girlfriend getaway to Maui in April.

This will be my third time visiting the Hawaiian isles so I already have an idea about what to pack. The real challenge here is fitting everything into my trusty carry-on suitcase and an over-sized purse. The only reason that I am able to travel as much as I do is by cutting extra costs wherever I can… and the last place I want to spend my money is baggage fees. So here’s how I packed for a carry-on only vacation.

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I like grey and black… apparently even in tropical destinations.

CLOTHING AND SHOES

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  • 1 pairs of jeans (for the plane and volcano summit)
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 2 dresses
  • 1 skirt
  • 1 beach cover-up
  • 4 tops (1 t-shirt, 3 sleeveless)
  • 2 cardigans (for the plane, chilling evenings, air-conditioned restaurants)
  • 1 fleece jacket (for the top of the volcano)
  • 2 bikinis (following the wash one, wear one rule)
  • 1 set of sleepwear
  • 4 pairs of underwear + 2 bras
  • 1 pair of socks
  • 1 pair of bandelettes
  • 1 sun hat
  • 1 long scarf (for the plane or to use as a shawl)

Note: I used three packing cubes for my clothing: 1 for dresses/bottoms, 1 for tops/cardigans, 1 for underwear/swim suits IMG_3351 TOILETRIES & ACCESSORIES

  • Stella & Dot Hang On Travel Case (toiletries/make-up/jewelry) – mine is sold out, but click the link for a similar version.
  • Norwex Cloth
  • Small Medicine Bag (kleenex, band-aids, meds)
  • Travel Flat Iron
  • 1 Pair of Sunglasses

ELECTRONICS

IMG_3352 DOCUMENTS & MISCELLANEOUS

  • Passport
  • Wallet
  • Travel Documents & Insurance
  • Tote Bag (for beach use)
  • Small Purse (for day use)
  • Ear Plugs
  • Travel Journal / Pen
Everything you need to know about Packing Cubes

Everything you need to know about Packing Cubes

If you read my last packing tips post then you’ll know that packing cubes are my new best friends.

Word is definitely spreading! Over the past month coworkers, friends, and family have rushed out in droves to purchase these handy packing aids and the verdict is in: AMAZING!

I’m still getting a lot of questions so here is a simple guide to help you through this packing cube craze!

What are packing cubes?

By definition, packing cubes are “cube-shaped bags designed to fit inside luggage and hold and protect clothing, shoes and other small or large items. Packing cubes are great for preventing wrinkles, keeping organized, and fitting more clothing in each piece of luggage,” according to the eBags blog.

The concept is really quite simple and doesn’t seem revolutionary at all. Oh but it is!

Why should I use packing cubes?

It’s no secret to those that know me that I’m a bit OCD when it comes to organization. But, it is such a challenge to stay that way on the road. I hate living out of a suitcase – and worse a backpack! – so when I discovered these amazing, light weight travel accessories, I knew I had found my perfect solution. Packing cubes are an incredible way to keep your clothes organized and reduce the amount of space they take up in your suitcase. They come in all different shapes and sizes so they fit into just about any bag. By rolling and compressing your clothes into packing cubes you can squeeze in so much more! And with checked bag fees on the rise – this is a major cost saver! I am a huge proponent of carry on only travel and packing cubes make it so easy.

When should I use packing cubes?

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My co-worker’s suitcase – packed for New Zealand!

To cube or not to cube? It’s true that packing cubes are most useful on slightly longer trips where you will be heading to multiple locations and required to unpack and repack frequently.

That being said, packing cubes are also useful for single destination trips. My parents recently went to Thailand and stayed in a gorgeous resort where they had hoped to unpack but alas their hotel had no dresser drawers. My mom had wisely chosen to use packing cubes and found them to be the perfect way to keep her clothes organized while living out of suitcase. My father, on the other hand, did not use packing cubes and boy did he wish he had. He was continually fussing with his bag and spending way too much time searching for the right item. By the end of the trip he was completely converted!

Personally, I prefer to use packing cubes on any trip longer than 4 days. If I’m just going away for the weekend, then it doesn’t seem worth the effort to roll and strategically pack my clothes. I’m probably only bringing a couple of things and it’s just easier to squish it all into a backpack or duffle. But, for longer trips the benefit is truly incomparable. Packing cubes all the way!

What kind of packing cubes should I buy?

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The rule of thumb here is to use multiple small cubes. Most packing cubes come in sets with various sizes. I find that I never use the largest size because sometimes they don’t even fit inside my suitcase. I try to look for small to medium cubes that I can arrange like a jigsaw puzzle inside my bag, using all the little nooks and crannies. In this case, good things come in small packages :)

Other details that I look for are mesh tops and secondary compartments. The mesh top allows you to see exactly what is inside an individual cube (ie. shirts or pants) at a glance. I also like using cubes that have a second compartment where I can shove dirty laundry.

How should I use packing cubes?

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I encourage you to use packing cubes however works best for you. That being said, if the motivation is to stay organized then I have a few tips. I usually travel with 3-4 cubes. One for tops, One for bottoms, One for bulkier clothing, and one for delicates (read: underwear). I also prefer to roll my clothes because I find that it is easier to see each item and it fits better.

Where can I purchase packing cubes?

You can find them almost anywhere at this point. I usually like to check out my local travel store – Wanderlust (can’t beat the name!) but they probably don’t have the cheapest prices. Eagle Creek is a great brand and you can find them online. I know that Wal-Mart sells packing cubes and I even scored a set using my credit card points.

So that’s what I know. Send in any more questions you may have in the comments.

Take my advice… If there is one thing you purchase before your next trip, let it be packing cubes!