How to pack for a trip is the most stressful part of travel for some people. Having done a lot of 3-month long trips overseas, I’ve learned a thing or two about organizing your suitcase for stress-free travel. Leave that cute puppy out of your suitcase for example, no matter how badly you want to sneak him to Italy with you! But on a more practical note, I wanted to share the routine I’ve refined over the years that makes for stress-free travel. We all want that, right?!
1. Start with a plan. Rather than pulling everything out of your closet that you might want to bring and trying to narrow it down, start with writing a list of items you need then fill in each category. For example, 2 casual tops, 2 nice tops, 1 pair of pants, 1 dress, etc.
2. Use packing cubes. I’m not sure how such a simple idea could really be SO helpful, but I swear by these things. Before packing cubes, I spent a lot of time digging to find a particular item or felt like I had to entirely unpack every time I got to a new place.
3. Organize based on your morning routine. Keeping in mind how I like to get ready in the morning and the order in which I need each item, here’s how I do it: one bag for showering (this is your shampoo, soap, razor, etc), one bag for primping (makeup, toothbrush, tweezers), one bag for daily medicines/vitamins, one bag for underwear, and a dirty laundry bag. The night before, I choose what I’ll wear (not because I’m that organized but because I’m that SLOW in the morning!).
4. Think ahead. Where are your smaller pockets on your bags and what items will you need to be able to grab quickly? Think passport, cell phone, train tickets, wallet, hand lotion, chapstick.. I use a backpack instead of a purse when I travel so I keep my wallet in an inner jacket pocket so I don’t have to take off my backpack and open it up each time I need to buy a slice of pizza (or pay to use the bathroom!).
5. Bring gifts. This is an extra-special, optional tip! I always try to bring a few small items from my home country to give to those I meet along the way that really impact me or hugely help me out when I’m in need. It really is the people you meet that make the trip memorable- anticipate that and have fun giving back! My friend in Puglia, Italy loved this watercolor painting I made of a memory we'd shared together during my trip.
Now that you're packed and ready, where ya going?! How about a trip off-the-beaten-path in Italy to connect with locals and discover the authentic culture? Take a peek here.