Packing for a trip overseas (or any trip) can be incredibly daunting. Whether I am traveling for a quick weekend getaway or a trip abroad I always use the same process for packing. My friends can tell you that I am a very efficient packer. For a short trip I only take a carry-on and personal item. For any trip longer than four days or overseas I will add one checked bag.
Paris Prints c/o 527Photo
My strategy for packing starts with a color palette. My mom (a former flight attendant) taught me early on to pack with a color scheme in mind. This allows you to mix your pieces together to create different looks. You have more options if all of the pieces coordinate, rather than bringing entire outfits that can’t do double-duty. For Europe my base color is always black. It’s chic but will go with everything. Then I pick one to two accent colors.
Once I have decided on my color palette I go through my closet and determine the pieces I know I want to take with me. I use a rolling rack or clear a section in my closet to start hanging the pieces for the trip. This is so I don’t forget to pack something and so I can make sure that everything works together. Once I know what I want to take I can decide what I might still need to fill in, depending on our destination. I make a list on my phone of everything I need to pack and everything I still need to buy. I can check items off as I purchase them and then when it’s time to pack I can make sure I have everything.
Ideally I would start packing a few days before my trip, but honestly it’s usually the night before. But since I’m pretty organized about how I pack, it doesn’t take me too long. I pack the same way every time I travel, but add another bag for longer trips. My personal item is a large leather tote. This holds my laptop in the travel case, a smaller purse, a small tech pouch with all of my chargers and cords, my Bose headphones, travel documents and sometimes the camera. The trick is to pack things inside of other things. My smaller purse will hold my wallet, travel documents, the camera, and things like lipgloss, phone and sunglasses. I also never bring my normal wallet. I prefer to bring a wristlet with the two cards I need and my ID. As a bonus you can use the wristlet as your evening bag!
My carry-on bag will always have a few days worth of clothes in it, even if I have checked a bag. I don’t want to take the chance that my checked bag will be lost and I won’t have any clothes. So I stack all of my thin items into my carry-on. My flat shoes always go on the bottom on their sides (soles touching the side of my suitcase so they don’t get my clothes dirty) with jeans folded flat at the knee in the middle of the bag. Then I add tops and sweaters folded once in the middle with arms crossed over the top. My cosmetics and hair tools and pjs are always placed at the top. These are the items I will need first when we arrive at our destination so I want to be able to find them quickly.
When I do check a bag, this will include any boots I am taking as well as dresses and outerwear. I try to limit how many coats I take with me and I usually wear it on the plane to use as a blanket. This also saves space and weight for a checked bag. If I do have to bring a few I will wear the heaviest and pack the others. I also stuff my boots with socks, cotton tees and underwear.
When traveling I always bring one pair of leather flats, a pair of nice boots and depending on the destination my Hunter boots. I always have a pair of nice heels in either black or nude. I typically have a trench coat, a pair of black jeans and a pair of blue jeans. A few other items I always take with me are a travel steamer, power converters, umbrella and lint roller. Happy packing! xo Bryn