When my husband and I decided to take a ’round the world’ trip (well, around Europe and Asia) for 45 days, there were plenty of things we had to take care of in planning our trip. But for me, one of the hardest things was deciding what to pack! As you know, I love my fashion and I love my shopping so I wanted to make room for both. But the challenge was that we’d be visiting different locations with varying temperatures. Plus, we’d be on the go every few days. And I needed to buy souvenirs for family and buy something for myself in all nine countries, so I’d need to pack light. Ugh!
For my husband, this was easy. He packs light all the time anyway so figuring out what to bring took him all of five minutes. For me, it took a little longer. I needed the right clothes and shoes for different occasions. What if we were going out to a romantic dinner in Venice, Italy? What would I wear to walk around and see the sights in Paris, France? What was the right outfit for riding an elephant in Thailand? How would I keep cool in Mumbai but stay warm in London? And how would I cram all of my old AND new things into a carry-on sized suitcase, one large tote bag and one medium sized shoulder bag?
Here’s what I packed to travel for 45 days, abroad:
-Four long-sleeved tops:
- A merino wool zip top (it was lightweight and warm, but keeps your body cool too. It was perfect for sleeping in, or wearing on the plane, or even as a base layer when trying to keep warm)
- One long-sleeved white button down shirt (which unfortunately I left in our hotel in Venice)
- A chambray shirt
- A printed top
-Two pairs of comfortable, stretchy black pants. A pair with zip front pockets helps you easily store cash and credit cards.
-Three tank tops for layering: one white and two black ones
-Two pairs of jeans, although I only wore one pair
-Six sleeveless tops
-One capri jumpsuit/romper
-Ten pairs of underwear
-Five pairs of socks
-Three pairs of yoga/pajama pants
-Two stretchy zip blazers
-One black dress for evening
-One pair of flip flops
-Three pairs of shoes – surprisingly that was all I needed to cover all the bases:
- One pair of flat black sandals
- One pair of black loafers
- One pair of black wedge sneakers
-Two pairs of sunglasses
-A few pairs of earrings and necklaces
-One zip tote bag
-One Wink and Winn 3-in-1 Crossbody bag (c/o)
-A floral print infinity scarf
-A waist belt for passport, money and credit cards
-One bar of soap
-Carry-on sized bottles of lotion, face wash, hair oil, toothpaste, mosquito repellent
-Two bottles of nail polish and one bottle of clear polish
-One pack each of maxi pads and tampons: These were particularly hard for me to find in Asia so if you’re going, it’s best to bring them with you)
-Travel size Aleve and Advil
-Pepto Bismol tablets: We got sick when we left India and ran out of tablets. We couldn’t find any in Thailand and Japan. So if you’re traveling and experimenting with local foods bring enough to get you through!
-Shampoo, conditioner and laundry detergent strips: I didn’t use the shampoo and conditioner strips since most of our hotel rooms had either hotel sized bottles or shower dispensers. The laundry detergent strips were okay for handwashing small items but we used up a 50 piece pack in one use.
-Several packs of tissues: especially necessary to have on hand when visiting public bathrooms in certain countries
-Febreze Sleep Serenity Bed Refresher (I never used it)
-Downy Wrinkle Releaser (I never used this either)
-Unlocked iPhone: I took tons of great pics with this. It was easy to edit and quickly share photos with my family and friends while we were on the road.
-iPod & headphones
-Barnes & Noble Nook: I love to read when I travel but lugging several books was obviously out of the question
-Sony Handycam video camera
-International converter set
-Acer notebook: to do work, watch movies and download our photos each day
-Luggage locks and a cable lock to secure my suitcase
Things I brought with me but never wore:
-A little black dress. I was saving it for a romantic dinner out but as most of our days were spent out sightseeing, we usually just went to a romantic dinner in whatever we were wearing, without heading back to our hotel first
-One pair of jeans. Since most of the countries we visited were quite warm, I mostly wore dresses or skirts so two pairs of jeans was just a waste of space. I wound up shipping a pair back home along with a few other clothes/souvenirs
-A swimsuit: several of our hotels had pools but we either missed the pool times because we were out sightseeing all day, or we were too tired to go
A few things that I bought that I needed along the way:
-A wool pea coat and knit headband: We spent five days in Paris. The first few days felt like summertime – I was wearing sundresses and sandals. Then one night, the temperature dropped to about 45° Fahrenheit and I had to go and buy a coat. It served me well in Amsterdam, London and certain parts of Japan
-A sundress and a ring from an & Other Stories store I stumbled upon in Milan. Ok, so I didn’t NEED them, but everything was on sale so how could I resist?
-Toothpaste, lotion, bar soap and face wash
-A washcloth. Many of the hotels we stayed in did not have washcloths, or if they did, there was only one for the both of us. Some rooms had only a few body towels, or hand towels. If you need to use a washcloth, it’s best to bring your own! They were quite difficult to find throughout Europe and Asia. I managed to find one in Italy, but it was more of a hand mitt than a washcloth!
-An extra converter to charge our phones, cameras, and other electronics
-An embroidered tunic to wear around India
Travel packing tips:
-Take only the absolute necessities. Most toiletries can be purchased abroad and if you’re packing especially light (just a carry-on) then you can’t bring large toiletries anyway.
-If you’re planning on buying a lot of souvenirs, bring an empty suitcase with you. Or you can buy one abroad and depending on the country, it might be cheaper than in the US. Shipping back to the US can be quite expensive. I bought some clothes and jewelry for myself, but I also collect Starbucks mugs from around the world, and that started to get heavy so I had to ship them home from Italy. Finding a DHL was an adventure, then trying to translate was another adventure and the price it cost me to ship a few items was crazy so I wouldn’t recommend it! Just buy an extra suitcase!
-Many of our hotels didn’t have washcloths in the room. Some rooms may have had only a few body towels, or hand towels. If you need to use a washcloth, it’s best to bring your own! They were quite difficult to find throughout Europe and Asia.
-I also packed about ten extra-large Ziploc bags to pack toiletries and snacks, separate soiled clothes, wet clothes/washcloths/shoes, etc. They’re great for multiple uses and don’t take up a lot of space in your suitcase.
Shop these items for your next trip: