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How to Pack for a Long Vacation

Like anyone who has traveled a lot around the world, I know how to pack. I’m not someone who can throw two clothes in a backpack and jump on a plane through Europe but I’m also not someone who likes to carry luggage, even if it’s on wheels. I went on 12 day cruises, 2 weeks of European holidays, and a 3 week trip to Australia and New Zealand. I’ll do laundry on holiday if necessary, but it’s not something I like to do when I have to spend a lot of time.

So, I’ve learned some tips on how to travel light enough to also take enough clothes for a week of two weeks or more.

1. My first suggestion is to make a travel list on your computer and save it. When you travel, just pull it up and adjust it for the current holidays.

2. The second thing to do is get a good suitcase (assuming you’re checking a bag) and a good carrying bag. We recommend using a basic coach style suitcase at an average price like Atlantic. I suggest a color other than black, because there are so many black suitcases. Don’t use one much larger than a hand luggage because if you exceed the weight limit.

For a luggage I really like a suitcase and an all-in-one rolling backpack like the Sierra Carry-on Rolled Backpack. It can be disassembled into a small suitcase and a day bag if needed or it can be zipped together and thrown on your back when you need to take a flight.

Be sure to buy luggage that can all be packed together and rolled up if necessary.

3. When I travel abroad, I read years ago that there are ways that people in other countries say who American tourists are by the following:

• White tennis shoes, especially if both of them are worn in pairs

• Adjacent clothing such as “jogging suits” or color-coordinated store sets

• Fanny packs

• Shorts are rarely worn in many cities around the world. I was in Paris in July. It was a party (Bastille day) and I didn’t wear shorts all week.

4. Put together a travel wardrobe based on two neutrals plus a bright color. I like to pack black and brown / khaki clothes plus a few pieces of another color like red. I had tried to pack all the black clothes but I got too tired of the lack of variety and ended up buying clothes in my destination. However, I recommend taking dresses in which each top corresponds to each bottom. This allows for endless combinations.

5. Pack so that 90% of what I pack can be washed in the sink and hung to dry if needed. This means lightweight polyester blend dresses with no iron to travel with. If you want to spend a lot of money and plan to travel a lot, you can buy clothes from a travel company like Magellan’s. I never found it necessary to do so, even though I considered it.

The following is a recommended travel wardrobe. This would be the most I take for a two-week vacation. I probably take less.

Depending on the length of your trip and your destination, a basic wardrobe, if chosen around the combination of red and beige, would consist of:

• 2 black pants, one casual and one dress

• 1 beige / khaki pants (I wear real khaki cotton pants)

• 1 black skirt in your favorite length

• 1 basic black dress that can be worn day to evening

• 1 black jacket and / or light sweater

• Many black, red and beige tops in various sleeve lengths

• I always wear a white shirt without the use of iron, white as gauze

• Shorts in basic colors in season and destination approvals

• Black tennis shoes for long distance walking

• Basic black walking shoes (like skimmer boots with a good sole)

• Basic black dress shoes for the evening

• Sandals if needed

• A black or red raincoat. I always took a pullover type raincoat that I could carry in my day bag and have in a moment.

• A small evening bag that can also double as a makeup / toiletry bag in your day pack.

• Lingerie, sleepwear and socks that can be washed and hung to dry.

• I always wear a microfiber jacket up to the knee because it took up almost no space and could be thrown away due to unexpected interruptions to room service and the like.

• Beautiful accessories like a fabulous necklace and pendant, scarf or belt

• Pack everything you need for specific holidays such as a bath, winter jacket, water shoes, etc. But if you don’t need it, don’t take it.

6. Take the following necessary toiletries and supplies:

a. Shampoo and conditioner of hygienic size, toothbrush, toothpaste

b. Minimum make-up

c. A good moisturizer with sunscreen (I like Lubriderm spf 15) – It has many uses.

d. I always take a steamer and a travel-sized hair dryer with an actual adapter.

e. When I travel internationally, I take a couple of bath towels or sponges because clothes aren’t always available.

f. Bottle size good laundry detergent shampoo (concentrate) to use in the sink. You can also use shampoo in hotel.

g. If you think there will be washers and dryers at your destination, pick up all-in-one Purex dishwashers / dryers.

h. Light colored nail polishes and pads to remove nail polish (in individual packages)

i. Sunscreen, bug spray

7. Pack everything you can in collapsible plastic travel bags. These are great, especially for dirty laundry.

8. Pack everything you need for 2 full days in your luggage, especially if you go on a cruise. That way, if your luggage is lost, stolen or delayed, you can even continue with your vacation. Make sure everything in your luggage can be washed in the sink and dried overnight.

9. Put everything in a bed several days before your trip. See how you put it in your suitcase and then pack what you don’t need. I rarely regretted not bringing anything, but I was sorry to carry too much when I wanted to bring something home with me.

10. Finally, limit your memories. Digital photos, a digital journal, real postcards sent to family and friends – These articles will make memories to last a lifetime.

Bon voyage!