The Ultimate Guide to Packing

You've booked the flights, you've paid for your hotels, you've made reservations for dinners and shows, you're almost ready to go... But now you have to pack! *cue overdramatic horror music*

I am notorious for overpacking -- I'm just always so worried that I'll forget something or that I'll regret having left something at home. To give you an indication of my personality, I'm also that girl with the "mom bag" full of various medications, snacks, tissues, bandaids, and any number of things one might need at a moment's notice. I'm really trying to become a more strategic planner when packing, especially when embarking on a long trip like this next one I'm leaving for soon...

My top tips for packing:

  1. Plan ahead! If you have an idea of the weather and conditions where you are going, you can assume you will need certain types of attire and pack accordingly (thick jacket for the mountains, bathing suit for the beach). But even more than this it really helps if you plan ahead, day by day, what outfits you are going to wear. You can always switch it up once you're there as needed, but it will really help to have a pretty solid idea when you're packing.
  2. Don't forget the essentials! There are some things that just can't be replaced in a foreign place, including any medications you may take, your glasses or contacts, your passport and ID, and the like. These should be at the top of your packing list in big bold print because if you're anything like me, the second you think "I would never forget to bring that," you forget to bring that. 
  3. Pack the irreplaceable items in your carry on! If you have essentials, the last thing you need is for them to get lost in transit, stuck in some nether world of missing luggage. Your carry on should always have your most important items, the ones that you cannot replace, as well as a change of clothes (just in case) and some small toiletries (just in case). See tip 7 about expecting the unexpected. 
  4. Choose clothes you can easily mix-and-match! This should be fairly easy considering most people tend to have a fairly cohesive wardrobe (especially those all-black-all-the-time wearers). But even so, it helps to choose 
  5. Pack two or three statement pieces! Maybe you have a bright pink dress (or four) that you would love to wear on your trip
  6. Pack comfortable shoes! This cannot be stressed enough -- you are likely going to be doing a lot of walking, you may not have any way of knowing what the terrain will be like, and you don't want to be limited by something so silly as having worn the wrong shoes. Maybe your favorite pair of heels is comfy enough when you're wearing them on a city sidewalk but you get to your destination and someone tells you about this amazing hike to a waterfall or an overlook and you can't go because your shoes aren't appropriate. Bummer.
  7. Prepare for anything! You should always assume that anything can happen and by this I mean expect the unexpected. Okay, clich├ęs aside, you should bring a jacket in case it gets chilly and a rain jacket in case it rains, a hat and/or sunglasses, some sunscreen, etc. Further, if you're going outside the U.S., you should have a universal charging adapter/converter. 
  8. You can buy small things once you get there! If you're limited on space or on weight, there are some items that can be left behind that are generally pretty easy to purchase once you're at your destination. These include such things as toothbrush/toothpaste,  shampoos/conditioners, razors, etc.

My go-to packing checklist that I always refer to before any journey:

  • Shirts
  • Skirts
  • Pants
  • Shorts
  • Jacket(s)
  • Rain jacket  
  • Cardigan  
  • Warm jacket  
  • Shoes
  • Sandals/flip flops
  • Sneakers
  • Heels
  • Belts
  • Socks
  • Swimsuits
  • Underwear
  • Pills/Medications
  • Glasses
  • Contact lenses
  • Camera(s), Lenses, Charger(s), and SD Cards
  • Sunglasses
  • Laptop
  • Laptop charger
  • Bandaids
  • Q-Tips
  • Earplugs
  • Sunscreen
  • Jewelry
  • Contact liquid 
  • Face wash
  • Makeup
  • Curling iron
  • Straightener
  • Hair dryer
  • Convertor 
  • Hair clips
  • Headbands
  • Deodorant
  • Perfume
  • Pads/tampons
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Chapstick
  • Pajamas
  • Lotion
  • Purse(s)
  • Backpack
  • Tripod
  • GoPro
  • GoPro charger
  • Bonine (motion sickness pills) 
  • Book(s) and magazine(s)

Tips to Make the Weight:

  • Bring the heavier items in your carry-on bag
  • Wear your jacket(s) on the plane
  • Leave behind the toiletries, you can buy a lot of the basics once you get I your destination
  •  Get yourself a kindle or iPad for your books and magazines