Packing can be such a daunting task. You’re excited to go on your trip, no doubt. Most of the time but the thought of getting everything you need in one or two suitcases is overwhelming to say the least. When my husband and I decided to go to Italy this fall, one the first things I noticed for airline ticket was how many bags I could bring. In my mind being able to check two bags was perfect for me. Picturing a lot of room on both of them to bring back gifts or extra things that I wanted for myself. In speaking to my very wise friend, Nancy, who has traveled a lot internationally, she said, “you absolutely do not want to do that”. Here’s why.
There are horror stories of people traveling to Europe, and losing their luggage. Not having anything for five days or more is my idea of a total nightmare. After the conversation with Nancy then speaking with my husband about it, we decided this was the way we were going to go. Nancy had suggested a few things including packing cubes from Bluffworks and a really good backpack to make it doable. I have not carried a backpack since 1983. In high school, I was the girl who had a tote bag because I was preppy and a Jansport back pack didn’t fit my vibe.
Some of the nice leather backpacks that I’ve seen out there do not hold a lot and therefore defeat this purpose. To be able to accomplish our goal, I needed some type of bag to act as a second suitcase/tote. The backpack by Everlane accomplished all of those goals it is available in or beautiful colors and have pockets and functionality galore. One of my favorite features is the fact it has the loop on the back so it can slide on the handle of your wheeled luggage. I ordered my backpack and the recommended packing cubes and started my list.
I have been going through a style edit this fall. I hired hired style consultant, Erin, also known on Instagram as @stylethieffashion, to help me. Adjusting to my new life of no longer going into an office and working at home for myself I needed to define my style. As a woman in her mid-50s, who’s in the midst of menopause my style needs had changed but also inevitably my body was changing shape. Instead of feeling like I was failing and being upset about it I decided to embrace this woman that I am now.
Erin helped me accomplish this task through numerous zoom visits, emails, texts and Marco Polo conversations. She helped me decide what I needed to exclude from my wardrobe and what was my new “daily uniform“. Since I was going through this process prior to traveling to Italy, Erin agreed to help me come up with a travel capsule wardrobe that would fit in my suitcase and provide me with outfits for 10 days for both daytime touristy stuff to nighttime dining in Michelin star restaurants. Mission accomplished.
I purchased the little travel containers by Cadence. I had seen their ads for months on Facebook and Instagram and decided to check them out. I bought the 12 pack, figuring that I could fill up most of them and guess what I filled them all up! This eliminates having to bring all of the small bottles of shampoo, conditioner, etc.
The other thing that we decided to do was to get TSA pre-check. After doing some research we decided to go for the global entry level which would help us when we returned to the states and included TSA pre-check. It’s about $15 more than just a regular TSA pre-check, but I’m excited about not having to stand in lines upon the return from a foreign country.
Now that I have all the tools, how did I make it happen. Going to Italy at the end of October beginning of November the weather is about 10° cooler on a day-to-day basis, but it is where I live in South Central Texas. Knowing that I watch the forecast to find a day where it might be a little cooler than normal. When I saw that day forecast in a few days out, I got all of my outfits together and decided to try them all on and go outside and make sure that I was not too warm or too hot. It’s like Goldie locks packing – Goldie- packs. This also helps to ensure that I could sit in every outfit comfortably that there was some stretch in the waist because I was gonna be eating a ton of pasta. The outfits need to look as good in actual use as it did on the website.
When Erin and I worked on this capsule wardrobe, I gave her a few items that I definitely wanted to take. My very comfortable cute pair of Freda Salvador sneakers were on the list. I believe looks very chic with pants or a skirt. Also, I wanted to take my leather and denim jackets from Able. Those would be my layering pieces. I have a beautiful scarf that I wanted to bring that I thought could be very versatile. Skirts, with elastic waists, a few pair pants and then coordinating tops were high on the list. We chose one dress, four pair of pants, three skirts, two T-shirts, two sweaters, one fall and one cardigan, a sweater vest, and two button-down shirts.
We also threw in two other pair of shoes, one or some loafers that I’ve had for a few years that are very versatile and comfortable totally broken in and the other were a pair of Nisolo booties that were newer to my closet, but extremely comfortable. I have some time to wear them and break them in a bit.
When the day arrived of the 65° weather, I tried on every outfit to make sure it is what I wanted it to be. I have photos of what they all look like so I don’t have to think too hard when I’m there. I decided to add another scarf for the chill in the morning.
When it came time for packing, I used the packing cubes and rolled my clothes to insert into those cubes. I brought enough underwear for all 10 days in case I don’t get to wash, but I also brought a bar of laundry soap from The Laundress. This will help if I get stains, if I have to spot wash some thing or if I need to totally washed a T-shirt. I did a trial run with all of my liquids and my cadence containers in a see-through plastic bag that I got at TJ Maxx years ago. This is TSA compliant but because I am TSA pre-check I don’t have to remove those liquids anymore! Yay me!
I also had another bag for my non-liquid day today things like hairspray, deodorant, toothbrush, etc. I also had purchased a large pill container from Amazon. If you take medication is that is very important to make sure you have all of your pills and even a couple extra days in case something happens. All of my medicine bottles are too much to take them wrong so this, big pill container works for me. The ones that were given in the morning and at noon I used for two weeks of morning pills and the ones for dinner and bedtime. I used for my evening for two weeks.
I brought my expandable Longchamp bag in my suitcase for my purchases. I can transfer my clothes to that bag and check it on the way home. If it gets lost, I’m already home so worth the risk! If there are big liquid items, like wine, vinegar, olive oil, etc. I will have them shipped to my house versus bringing them on a plane.
Let’s start by packing my backpack. I need to bring my iPad so we be able to watch movies so that goes in the back part of the backpack. For other electronics, I brought my Kindle, corresponding chargers and a plug that would work in Europe. In the front pocket, I placed my wallet with my passport, my global entry card, and some gum. Inside the backpack, I placed my pill container, my plastic holder of my 3 ounces or less liquids and my other bag with my deodorant, etc.
The clothes that I am wearing on my plane ride, I chose to wear the heaviest things in layers. It’s an overnight flight And I don’t know how warm or cold I will be. This also saves room in the suitcase by not having to put boots and a leather coat in the bag.
I’m excited and proud to say that I did it much to my husbands disbelief I am ready to go and be gone for 12 days with changes of clothes for every day for twice a day. I hope that some of these packing tips have helped you and inspired you to maybe take a trip that you’ve been putting on the back burner no time like the present! Cheers.