I’m a woman and I’m going to Europe. Now what the heck should I pack for two weeks?! Part 2 of 2

Standard

When I first had the idea for this series of posts I fully intended to complete the series before I left on my recent trip. However, things got busy and that never happened. But truth be told, I think that’s best because this post prior to my trip wouldn’t have been nearly as helpful.

So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to tell you what I packed and then I’m going to tell you what I wished I had packed.

My suitcase for two weeks

My suitcase for two weeks

Originally I thought it was going to be cold while I was traveling this year.

So here is what I brought:

3 scarves
10 Pairs of socks and underwear
2 Shelf-bra tank tops (ladies I’m talking the amazing ones from Express)
4 T-shirts
3 3/4 length shirts
2 Long sleeve shirts
2 Heavier outer-layer zip-up hoodies
2 Pairs of jeans
1 Raincoat

This was also knowing I would do laundry halfway through my trip.

As it turned out, it wasn’t really cold at all. This was both nice and also somewhat annoying. Probably only annoying because I live in Florida and I was REALLY looking forward to colder weather. But it truly did change the way we functioned day-to-day. Instead of being able to walk around all day and not stop at our home base, we felt like we needed to go back in the afternoon and freshen up because we walked around sweating all day.

Since it was so warm (I SWEAR I checked and re-checked the weather) I wish I would have brought the following:

1 scarf
8 Pairs socks and underwear
3 Shelf-bra tank tops (ladies I’m talking the amazing ones from Express)
6 T-shirts
1 3/4 length shirt
1 Long sleeve shirt
2 Heavier outer-layer zip-up hoodies
2 Pairs of jeans
1 Raincoat

The heavier outer-layer hoodies worked out well, but I was very unequipped in the shirt department. I also felt like I brought far too many socks and underwear. In short, the main changes would have been to take out some scarves, add a tank top and a few t-shirts, take out some 3/4 length shirts, long sleeve shirts, and some socks and underwear. It seems insignificant but it would have made a huge difference.

Hoodie

One of my heavier hoodies-a fleece from The North Face

Ultimately I made it work, but it was frustrating to sweat everyday, especially since that made it harder to re-wear clothes!

I also packed two dirndls for Oktoberfest, four pairs of shoes and a bathing suit. Four pairs of shoes sounds like a lot, and it is. But I had two pairs of walking/tennis shoes, one pair of TOMS for my dirndls and one pair of flip-flops for the baths in Budapest. And the bathing suit was for the baths as well. With a majority of these items being trip specific, they normally wouldn’t have ended up in my suitcase.

On the makeup front I paired down to the minimum. One set of eye shadow (Naked Pallet), one blush, one lipstick, etc. And as far as hair straighteners and curling irons, I brought both a straightener and a curling iron. I don’t think I would bring the curling iron again though since I only used it once.

I made due with a travel size hairspray (it lasted until my second to last day since it was an aerosol), travel size shampoo and conditioner and travel container full of my favorite hair serum instead of the two or three I generally use.

There are three things I brought this time that I hadn’t before, but would absolutely bring again. I got a travel duffle that folds up small and used it on the way home to hold souvenirs. It was great. I also ended up buying some travel dirty clothes bags at Target that were scented and they were perfect for dirty socks. Lastly I brought poo-pourri. With 8 people sharing bathrooms it was a life saver. It’s basically the best product ever and you should own it. Go to the store now and get some. I love it so much that this probably won’t be the last time you hear about it.

BEST Product EVER

BEST Product EVER

As you saw in the beginning, I pack in a backpack for two weeks. To accomplish this I utilize packing cubes. I most likely won’t be using my backpack again for a while just based on upcoming trips and personal preference, but I will always use the packing cubes since they are fantastic.

These are the best! And they come in tons of sizes

These are the best! And they come in tons of sizes

Overall, packing is tough, and there is no exact science but it does get easier the more you travel!

Advertisements

5 Tips for Picking a Perfect Itinerary

Standard

So if you’re anything like me, you are constantly making lists of potential destinations to visit. But what do you do when it’s time to actually plan a trip? How do you narrow down your list of amazing possible destinations, and put them into a manageable itinerary? Here are five simple tips to help you start planning your next trip:

1. Figure out who will be traveling. Will you be solo, with friends or maybe family? Also, find out what the overall physical ability of the group is. Some destinations are great for a family, while others are better suited for a group of friends. And there are destinations that pose physical restrictions, such as a trip hiking in the mountains.

2. Length of time. Once you’ve figured out who is going on the adventure, it’s important to figure out how long the adventure will last. Though a lot of the time this is dictated by vacation days and overall budget.

3. Geography. Grab a map, grab a globe, or get online. A map is one of the most essential itinerary-planning tools! Once you have your map, take a couple of potential destinations and check out where they are in relation to each other. If four are in Eastern Europe, and one is in South America, think about splitting those destinations into two trips. And it is also important to realize that what may look like the best itinerary on a map, may not logistically work out. Sometimes there just aren’t easy, quick or cost effective ways to travel between two close destinations.

4. Time of year. This can affect a lot of the things listed within the first three tips. Depending on when you travel it might make a difference on who can join. This can also be a determining factor on the length of time you are able to be gone, or want to be gone. And it can definitely impact the geography of the trip. If you are trying to ski in Switzerland, it won’t work to go during the summer!

5. Research. Once you’ve narrowed your list down a little bit, do some research! Get some books, look online, and write down things that seem interesting or fun to do in each destination. This also helps if you want to go somewhere for a specific event, like Oktoberfest in Munich.

As you start planning, keep in mind that there is no such thing as a perfect itinerary; perfect doesn’t exist when it comes to travel. No trip ever works out 100% how you planned it. There is also no right or wrong way to go about planning. And sometimes the best things happen by complete accident. For me at the end of the day, travel is more about the actual journey, than the physical destination.

Trip planning at it's finest!

Trip planning at it’s finest! From my 2012 trip!