This time last year, my husband and I were gearing up for a summer of travel throughout Europe. He and I have traveled quite a bit both together and separately; however, that trip was the longest I had been away at one time. Knowing I would be schlepping my suitcase all over Europe in the middle of summer, I was very methodical in how I packed. I also knew that I was about to launch All Awear, and therefore it was important for me to bring items that were ethical, versatile, comfortable, and would photograph well. I have shared some of my personal tips and tricks below!
Make a list:
If I am traveling for a week or more, I will create a packing list in order to not forget the essentials (passport, chargers, headphones, etc.). This, however, requires some advance preparation – not throwing items in the suitcase the night before. Doing a bit of planning and prep work on the front end will save you time and money in the long run.
Have an outfit plan:
Think about the activities you will be doing during your trip, and plan outfits accordingly. For our summer in Europe, I knew we would be spending most of our time outdoors exploring various cities, and therefore I paid a lot of attention to footwear. Nothing can ruin a day of touring like an uncomfortable pair of shoes. I also advise sticking to a neutral color palette and let your accessories be the focal point. Obviously, this step also requires some advance preparation, but it will help ensure that you do not under- or over-pack.
Invest in packing cubes:
A few years ago, a friend recommended I try packing cubes for an international trip, and I reluctantly bought these. Little did I know that this would be a total game changer in packing. They come in a variety of sizes and keep your suitcase neat and organized which is a lifesaver when traveling. I would also use them to store items that I needed for day trips away from the hotel or Airbnb. Trust me: these are worth every penny.
Do not bring a giant suitcase:
Unless you are planning to stay abroad for a year or more, I highly advise against bringing an enormous suitcase. Here are a few reasons why. 1. It is easy to go over the generally standard US airline limit of 50lbs 2. Many international airlines have lower weight limits than the US, and you’ll be stuck paying large fees to bring your bag on board 3. You will be exhausted trying to schlep a heavy suitcase from pillar to post. 4. You really do not need that much stuff. It is about the experience, not the stuff.
Bring the essentials in your carryon:
A few years ago, on a trip to Southeast Asia, the airline lost my luggage for five days. I had to make due with what was in my backpack, which was not very much. While that experience forever changed the way I look at “stuff,” I wish I had been better prepared. Now when I travel (especially abroad), I bring the essentials in my carryon such as: toiletries, makeup, change of clothes, undergarments, phone charger, camera, etc. I would also avoid putting highly valuable things in your checked luggage. I have had watches and jewelry stolen.
Carry travel-size toiletries:
With the exception of my facial cleanser and moisturizer, I rarely pack full-size toiletries. They take up too much space, and not to mention the frustrations that ensues when the shampoo/conditioner bottle leaks onto everything. For our travels last summer, I bought a few extra of the travel-size toiletries as a backup, but didn’t end up using them. On a related note, I did not pack a hair dryer – only a curling iron. It has been my experience that most places offer hair dryers, but you can always call or email in advance to verify. Pro-tip: let your hair air dry if you’re on vacation.
Wear your layers:
This may be a no-brainer, but wear your heaviest layers on the airplane. Even if I am traveling to a warm climate, I always bring a lightweight jacket and/or scarf for cooler nights. And while we are on the topic, I highly recommend packing a large scarf or sarong. They are lightweight and highly versatile. I have used them as coverage while visiting sacred places, blankets, beach coverups, etc. Pro-tip: if you are planning to visit a sacred place during your travels such as a temple, cathedral, or mosque, most of these require you to have your shoulders covered.
My travel necessities:
These are a few of the things I won’t leave home without.
Hopefully these tips are helpful as you plan your summer travels. Our summer will look very different this year as we plan for the arrival of our son in August. In the meantime, here are some of the images from our European adventure last summer.