Packing Tips to Get you Around the Globe – Learn how to pack like a pro!

    This past summer, I traveled to Italy and Denmark on an 18 day trek / Honeymoon with just one carry-on and a purse. If you had told me that I would do this 5 years ago, I would’ve laughed in your face. Throughout my life, I have been famous for over-packing. When I visited family or friends, I’d usually get the “that’s your suitcase?” look. Then I’d sheepishly grin and think to myself “What? I like to have options!” Here in-lies the problem: I never even used or wore half of the stuff that I packed. And trust me, once you’ve lugged a bag around a hectic, smelly train station in Milan, the novelty of a large suitcase quickly wears off.

This time would have to be different, so I put my thinking cap on and figured out a way to pack 18 days worth of clothes into one 21” carry-on. Here are my tips for you if you have a similar vacation coming up:

  1. Invest in  Good Luggage. I have the Samsonite Lift2 21’ Spinner and it was a life saver. This one is easy to handle and extremely sturdy. For your personal carry-on item find a great purse that zips or  backpack that’s good for organization. I used mine to store my laptop and camera. If you want extra space to bring items home, I pack a  canvas collapsible duffel bag at the bottom of my carry on. Throw your clothes in the duffel bag for the way home and put your new found travel purchases in your structured carry-on.
  2. Pack Travel Size Toiletries and minimal make up. This isn’t a beauty pageant, gals! Travel size toiletries are key to saving precious space in a cramped suitcase. You can also use the hotel’s hot tools so leave your massive hair dryer at home. Most hotels have a hair dryer in each room and you can ask for a curling iron or flat iron. If you just can’t live without your American hot tools, think about investing in travel versions of your favorite brand.
  3. Mix and Match Outfits. If you’re traveling during the summer, pack lots of dresses! I was able to pack a variety of outfits and get a few extra things home at the end of my trip by doing this. Dresses are cute, they keep you cool in hot weather and most of all they don’t take up a lot of space. In the winter pack 2-3 pairs of pants and alternate. Mix and match tops and bottoms and make sure you have a few layers for unexpected weather. Shoes take up a ton of space so I pack 2 pairs max (plus the ones I wear on the plane). These are stylish, comfortable and ready for miles of cobblestone streets.
  4. Bring a Travel Size Package of Laundry Detergent. Along the way, you may need a fresh pair of undies or you might spill gelato on your favorite pair of jeans! You’ll need a handy way to handle this in your hotel room sink.
  5. Wear your bulkiest shoes and outerwear on the plane. It tends to get cold anyway and this will allow you to save room in your suitcase for other goodies.

If you’re traveling during winter, it can get a bit trickier, but in reality when you are wearing sweaters, jeans and coats you can recycle each of those items a few times. It’s not that icky I swear! Some people even say that you should never wash your jeans… but that’s just gross.

It might be hard to break the over-packing habit, but once you do it will change your life. You’ll be smiling as you saunter up to your 5th floor AirBnB in Florence that has no elevator access. Reducing any type of logistical stress will give you more time and energy to chase serendipity.

Until next time!

International Travel Packing Tips by Maggie Holst

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