It can be tough knowing what to pack when you’re heading overseas, even if it is only for a short trip. So many things are uncertain, like the weather at different times of the year. Maybe you’ll be hiking and also be going to nice restaurants. How do you know what to bring? Luckily, there are tips you can follow to ensure that you’re packing just the right amount.
Know the climate:
The biggest reason people overpack is that they aren’t too sure what the weather will be like in their destination. You need to do a little research into the climate – what is spring like Paris, what is fall like in South Africa – and you’ll know what to pack. Climate research is especially necessary if you’ll be doing any long hiking in your destination: is it the rainy season, or can you get away with hiking shorts and a tee?
Plan to layer and re-wear items:
Layering will be your best friend while traveling. Things like tank tops can be your main shirt, or you can layer them under a jacket if it’s chilly. Also, don’t be too hard on yourself for re-wearing certain things. You don’t wash your jeans every day at home, why would you only wear them once on the road? Shoes are another culprit of over packing. Pack one pair for hiking/walking and another for a casual dinners. Only bring sandals if you’ll be someplace warm and beachy-otherwise skip them!
You CAN do laundry:
Many people pack as if they will never see a washing machine again, packing undies and socks for weeks.. Even if you don’t have access to a washer/dryer, you can still do laundry in the sink with store bought individual laundry packets. Another option is to seek out a laundromat if you are desperate. We avctually enjoy going to laundromats in other cities- you get a real sense of “local” life.
Buy toiletries as you go:
This is one thing that most people forget about packing: unless you use a very particular kind of shampoo/conditioner/face wash, you can buy it in most destinations. If you use a prescription one, then definitely take it with you (pro tip: this also goes for medicines – do NOT assume you can find certain perscriptions meds overseas!) You can also purchase travel-size toiletries, or take them from the hotel if you’re going for a short period of time. Keep in mind that other countries don’t use the same voltage that the US does for power, so ladies, leave the hair dryer and curling iron at home unless you want to fry them.
Pack it all, then half it.
A good rule of thumb is to lay out everything you think you want to take, and then ruthlessly cut it down to half the amount. Don’t take one shirt for every day, only take one dress, one pair of long pants, etc. Be harsh. If you discover later that you need a few more items, then it’s a good excuse to go shopping in a new country.
Did I miss something? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Packing can be an art if you master it. Happy travels!