My friends and students know that I am obsessed with packing and that I am a member of what one student memorably called “the elitist culture of packing light.” Guilty as charged. I like to spend as little time and effort as possible on moving my stuff around during a trip–and I definitely do not want to spend actual money on overweight luggage fees or on checking extra bags. I’m always trying to see how little I can bring and not go crazy or feel deprived. On study abroad programs where I’ll be at the destination for several weeks and can wash clothes and buy toiletries, it’s surprisingly easy to pack light. Shorter trips are paradoxically more challenging. This trip to Italy will be a bare 7 days (leaving Monday, returning Sunday, only 5 full days in country) but I still have to wash my hair and wear pajamas and put my contact lenses in every day–and it’s not yet really warm weather there (or here), so I need layers. In addition to basic stuff (socks, underwear, PJs), I am taking:
- 1 pair of grey jeans and 1 pair of black dress pants
- 4 long-sleeve pullover tops: grey, red, black, and black & white stripe
- 2 sweaters (black, red)
- 1 button-front shirt (black with a flower print)
- 1 pair of Clarks oxfords
- 1 scarf
- London Fog trench coat
- Basic toiletries, especially contact lens solution, which I always bring from home–it’s expensive in other countries and sometimes you can only get it from pharmacies.
All of the above except the trench coat is in my suitcase–packing cubes courtesy of my bestie Vicki (thank you, Twinky!). The cubes are not strictly necessary in such a small suitcase but it was my first chance to try them out!
The suitcase is carry-on size but I’m going to check it.
My Orla Kiely cross-body purse is going inside the suitcase but I’ll carry it once I get there. Inside the backpack will be my computer, Bullet Journal, guidebook, phone, headphones, passport, wallet, glasses, toiletries for the flight (face wipes, lip balm, lotion, toothbrush & paste, deodorant), makeup, and a change of clothes in case my suitcase is lost.
[Confession: on a nonstop flight I usually don’t bother with the extra clothes in the carry-on, but on this trip I have to change planes. The few times I’ve lost a suitcase it’s been in this type of situation.]
On the plane I’ll be wearing blue jeans, a black sweater over a white long-sleeve top, a scarf or pashmina, and my Skechers sneakers. Obviously I’ll end up wearing all my pants and sweaters and one or two of the tops more than once. A nice thing about Europeans is that they’re much more blasé than Americans about re-wearing clothes, even on consecutive days and even in professional situations. I am taking a small bottle of Febreze in case anything needs freshening up.
As I’m writing I’m realizing I still need to throw in an umbrella, my travel slippers (packing light is well and good but I have never regretted having something to put on my feet in my room at night), and 3 different electronics chargers. But then I’ll be ready to go!
Finishing up packing for a trip is a good time to remind ourselves that all we really need is a passport and a credit card. Keep your passport close at hand and don’t forget to call your bank to tell them you’ll be traveling internationally.