We've all been there... lugging around a stupid huge backpack around Europe that we packed 15 mins before our Uber to the airport got there and just furiously shoved junk in that seemed like a right idea at the time, then end up wanting to kill ourselves when the hostel is a 15 block walk from the bus station....Oh waaaait maybe that was just me.
Here are some packing tips from a reformed over-packer.
Derp! Take some time to plan out your outfits. One of things that I have done time and time again is pack clothing items without really having a plan for them. This will leave you with mismatched outfits and bulk in your bag that really sucks to lug around. For a trip 5-10 days, try picking out 5 of your favorite tops, and 4 favorite bottoms and see how many combinations of outfits you can make and take pictures of them on your phone. Picking versatile items that are in a complimentary color pallet so you can mix and match. Also look up capsule wardrobe ideas on pinterest.
DAYS OF THE WEEK UNDERS
When all of your belongings are jammed together in a pack it can be hard to keep track of what is clean and dirty, and when abouts you should think about doing laundry. Days of the Week Unders are great because you can do just that... except for Sunday...because of God. Also nostagia is hot these days so why not grab some of these cute nickers and look fly. Also, bring a "laundry" bag so you can keep dirty or wet clothes separate.
COORDINATING WITH TRAVEL PALS
So much of what we bring on trips is often duplicated in the luggage of our travel companions. Most everyone brings things like toothpaste, hair products, make up etc. Planning together means that you can cut down on duplicated items, and maybe get to use some of your fancy friends' expensive products. (Wink!) Coordinate beforehand to determine who brings what. You all may need things like a laptop or a power adapter but you can try sharing one instead of having everyone bring their own. Just don't share toothbrushes...cause that's nasty.
Seems like a no brainer but you'd be surprised at how many people pack 20 days worth of clothing, for a 20 day long trip. Which is just ridiculous. I know it's not the most exciting way to spend your time but drop off your laundry at a fluff and fold or pop into a laundromat and wash a load when you've run out of clean stuff to wear; this will cut your packing in half! And don't be weird about wearing the same stuff twice in pictures...you are not Lady Gaga.
...Because god forbid your instagram followers find out that you have a shirt that you didn't just throw away after using it once! Gasp!
Usually the thing that takes up the most space in my bags are shoes. They're bulky, can't really be squashed down, and more often than not are getting dirt on my clothes. Try and limit yourself to the bare minimum of shoes. If you're going to a cold climate place, think about packing an ankle boot and tall warm socks, or long johns under your pants instead of big heavy clunky boots. Pick neutral colors that go with everything, and don't be afraid to wear the same shoes a lot. I did Ireland, Scotland, and London for 3 weeks with a pair of Mossimo Liesel High Top Sneakers, and some Merona Alex Chesea Rain Boots from Teeeeerget and was totally fine. (Also pack some flippity flops for the shower.)
And always leave the crocs at home...in the trashcan.
LAYERING ON THE PLANE
Wear your bulkiest items on the plane...but make sure they still fit back in your luggage! That way you are having to carry less junk around with you at the airport and you can use your big fluffy coat as a pillow. It's easier to wear clunky things than carry them. It's really inconvenient when you are trying to make a mcmuffin run and your plane boards in 10 mins on the other side of the terminal and you are sprinting with a ton of bulk in your bags swinging everywhere (remember the real bulk comes after you eat those mcmuffs...yes there will be more than one.) Wear comfortable clothes that you can layer on and off in case the plane is hot or cold or if you need to unbutton the top of your pants.
LUGGAGE IS PIVITOL
Choosing the right kind of pack is so important. The most important feature I've found is a pack that has main compartment access from the sides, not just the top. This will make getting items out much less terrible when you don't have to unpack everything just to find your other matching sock. Or I guess you could just wear socks that don't match... but come on we both know you ain't no scrub. Other important features to look for are thickly padded shoulder and waste straps. Very important if you are not traveling with a masseuse. I mean I don't get why you wouldn't...
These tend to work better for suitcases. A great way to group together outfits, keep shampoo out of your pants, and keep all your clothes from getting into a big wrinkly mess ball. One good idea is if you are traveling with a mate, and decide to check a bag you can split your stuff between two bags in case the airline loses your luggage you both have some of your stuff. Using the cubes keeps it all separate and organized and dope and tight and p.h.a.t.