I have officially decided that I am going to adopt the European way of saying “vacation” – HOLIDAY. It just sounds so much more pleasant. And fun. And exciting. So, here it is… you’ve booked your long holiday and you’ve done all your planning. BUT… there is still have this one daunting task ahead of you: packing. You don’t want to pack too little – nobody wants to be sitting in a laundromat doing laundry while there is so much world to explore! You don’t want to pack too much – nobody wants to be the one who can’t carry their own luggage and is struggling pulling two huge suitcases down cobblestone streets or can’t make it up tiny Parisian staircases to get to their room. (By the way, there is NO way that I know from experience. Ha. Ha. I can only laugh about it now). So, believe it or not, there is actually a smart way to pack. And I only know from doing it wrong oh so many times.
Yup. This will be your saving grace – packing lots and lots of basics. Jeans, white t-shirts, black t-shirts. This way you can change the look of your outfit (see accessories) without actually having to pack tons of clothes and risk your suitcase being overweight. But hey, it is definitely okay to bring that one printed top you just bought!
Expert tip: I packed tons of basics the last time I spent 3 months in Europe. However, all of my basics seemed to have some version of black and white stripes. Which I didn’t even realize until my friend pointed it out…. “umm did you bring any clothes besides the same stripes that I keep seeing in your Instagram?” Ha… oops! Make sure to pack a variety of basics.
JUMPSUITS AND ROMPERS
Oh hi entire outfit in one. No need to pack shirts and bottoms… you have both things built into one outfit! Throw in a few of these; it’ll be your saving grace!
There is a smart way to pack accessories. And if you do it correctly… all of those basic t-shirts you brought will look like totally different “outfits”.
Smart: Different scarves, hats, sunglasses. Small, light items that will fit easily into your suitcase.
Not as smart: Big necklaces, purses. Not to say these items aren’t okay, but purses tend to take up a lot of room and necklaces tend to get tangled. You don’t have any time for that on your holiday!
If you’re going somewhere in the summer, you’re instantly going to have more room! No coats and heavy jeans taking up space. But, if you are packing for winter things can get tricky. Boots and coats tend to take up more room. I always wear my heaviest items on the airplane to make my room in my bag. However, I don’t tend to over-pack these things – you will more than likely only need one coat and one pair of boots no matter what you convince yourself of otherwise. (If you’re worried about a variety of Instagram pics, you can always take your coat off and you can always cut your boots out. So problem solved!)
Now, if you’re planning on being gone for two different seasons or going to different parts of the world where you’ll experience both hot and cold, things can get real tricky! This hasn’t happened to me, but my friend Alyssa did experience this. She said to take very cheap clothes to your first destination, be it summer or winter. Leave all your stuff and buy new cheap stuff for the next leg of your trip. Trust me when I tell you, you do not want to over-pack and end up bringing more than one suitcase. It is truly better to buy and leave.
- Remember: H&M is EVERYWHERE! If you’re bored of your clothes you can always go buy something cheap. Better to under-pack and buy, than over-pack and be stressed carrying a heavy suitcase everywhere.
- Always remember to leave room in your suitcase for that “ONE THING YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT IN THAT QUAINT TOWN IN ITALY THAT MAKES YOU THINK OF VINO AND PASTA AND THE BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE”.
And those are my expert packing tips. Just in time to get my ready for my solo European adventure!