Living out of a suitcase as a flight attendant taught me to be judicious when packing so as not to overpack. I also learned to work magic and turn pretty much any suitcase or tote into a real-life Mary Poppins bag.
Before I (finally) give details on our Europe trip, I wanted to provide a few packing tips. I knew when planning the trip that I wanted to take one suitcase and one tote bag with a small purse inside. The tips below are some of the ways in which I was easily able to do so.
- Make a packing list. As you are preparing for and planning your trip, begin a list of items that will be helpful and necessary. For Europe, I knew that I would want an empty water bottle, umbrella, electrical adaptor and a y-splitter, which comes in handy when sharing an audio guide with your travel buddy. Trips to Dallas would not necessarily warrant these same items. Starting the list in advance prevents the forgotten necessities or a last minute rush to think through every aspect of the trip and what you might need.
- Lay out all clothes before packing. Try to stay within the same color scheme, or at least make sure that all tops can be worn with at least two bottoms and vice versa. If you must bring dress shoes, pack a pair that are neutral in color. I knew we would be celebrating Dave’s birthday with a nice dinner one evening, so I brought a pair of nude heels, but I only wore them the one time and could have easily worn a pair of flats that I also used for sightseeing. Keep in mind that you can re-wear some pieces and that you can usually find a laundromat to clean anything that gets soiled. Some items like little footie socks can even be rinsed in the shower or sink of your hotel and laid out to dry.
- Pack layers! Even if the place you’re visiting is expected to be an extreme temperature, you’ll likely encounter other various temps throughout your travels, especially in airports and on planes. Light sweaters and scarves can usually serve multiple purposes and also add some variety to your wardrobe while on the road.
- Roll clothing. I honestly didn’t believe that this was beneficial for the longest time, but it works! I packed for 10 days in Europe all in one roll aboard suitcase with extra space, and honestly could have left a few items out.
- Never check valuables or important items. Use your “personal carry-on” for charging cords, medications and any necessary travel documents such as passports, as well as money and jewelry. Even if you are not planning to check your larger suitcase, keep in mind that you may be required to check it at the gate last minute due to lack of overhead bin space. Although rare, it is possible for a checked bag to be misplaced, and packing essential belongings in a tote that can be stored underneath the seat in front of you will prevent having to part with these items.
Happy Travels, y’all – hope these tips help!