Sunday, July 31, 2016

In-Depth Travel Packing List

Oh the excitement of travel is about to start!!!  But before my husband and I bid adieu to the US for the next coming weeks I would like to share what I’m packing for three weeks of traveling through Germany.  I wanted to travel carry-on only in order to allow mobility and avoid the possibility of lost luggage.  As everything fits into a child size rolling backpack one might call this a minimalist travel capsule.

But to be honest, the packing list does not look as minimal on paper when I consider and list every single item and bobbie pin.  This is how I account for the things I'm packing and they are the true contents of my travel wardrobe.  So, my travel capsule looks like a hot mess because it does not just list x amount of clothes and the rest are unmentioned extras.  
(↑ This picture shows an early packing list draft and my travel outfit:  striped t-shirt, navy blue maxi skirt, chambray button down, heeled sandals and also leggings, cozy socks and a beanie for dealing with a blasting air conditioning during the flight.)


Here are my tips for packing a carry-on backpack:

STEP 1: Write a Packing List
This is a similar process to designing a capsule wardrobe, just a much smaller one.  A few days before the trip, get comfortable at a desk and write down every single item you plan to pack, including ALL clothing, electronics, personal items and toiletries.

STEP 2: Take Inventory
Next, gather the items from the packing list and lay them out on the floor in stacks.  At a later time you can always add further items to your piles and packing list and remove items that don’t make the cut.  At this point, I recommend stepping away from the task and coming back to it the next day.  Now that some time has passed it's a good idea to review the selected pieces and to see what makes sense to bring, which colors go together better than others and if there are any extra pieces that can stay home.

Now shoes, bags and accessories can be very bulky and there might not be enough room for them in the backpack.  Narrowing them to some practical and interchangeable pieces is essential when packing a small bag.  Not only should shoes and accessories match and compliment clothing, but they should also be practical.  What is practical to you depends on your lifestyle and what's important to you.  Now, I could probably pack like my husband and bring just one pair of orthopedics hiking sandals; however, I might not always feel comfortable with just the clunky sandals.  I know I need closed toe shoes to stay warn and dry since I'm often cold and the temperature in Germany will be between 50-75 degrees fahrenheit with a guaranteed chance of rain (probably every day).  In addition to the issue with the rain, I would also like to have the option to pack away the casual clothing and dress up.  For this I would like to have a pair of heels.

Dressing up might not be that important to others.  My husband does not think much about clothes and though I asked him to bring some dress clothes, he will most likely wear them with the hiking sandals.  However the importance of dressing up is something I realized on our recent trip to Zion National Park.  For this camping and hiking trip I packed a light backpack with only the bare minimum to hike and sleep.  After a long day of fun, I noticed that some women went into the campground communal showers in their sweaty and dusty hiking gear only to emerge showered and beautifully dressed for an evening out.  At the time I wished I had a lightweight dress to clean up a bit.  Surely this would not have overstuffed my bag.  So, for this three week trip to Germany I planned some dressier options for evenings out, dinner and family gatherings.  I added a pair of black heeled sandals, one dress, one maxi skirt and a long necklace.  With these additions I will have the option to change out of my comfy travel clothes and dress up a bit. 

STEP 3: Coordinating Outfits
For coordinating clothes I recommend laying out outfits as well as trying on each bottom with each top to eliminate the last few pieces that are not multipurpose, versatile or essential.  For me, this step eliminated a cozy cardigan in favor for a chambray button down that added the same laying warmth.  The more tailored looking chambray simply went with every outfit and the cardigan didn't.

STEP 4: Packing Tips
Once all the selections have been made, it is time to pack the backpack.  Instead of using a packing cube, I used a small drawstring bag to store all my rolled-up clothes.  This worked very well because the cloth bag fit into the bottom half of my backpack.  I was happy to have a lot of room on the top for things to store loosely so I can grab it out of my bag when traveling: a quart size back with toiletries, an asthma inhaler, a microfiber travel towel that can double as an airplane blanket, a travel scrabble game, snacks, a fleece jacket, cozy socks and a beanie.
In addition to the backpack I will carry a crossbody bag for my laptop, camera and our travel documents.  It is important to me that both bags are not overstuffed so that I feel comfortable accessing the contents of the bags while we are on the go.  

This is the list of items I selected for my three week traveling capsule:

CLOTHING 
1 - white tank top
2 - flowy green camisole
3 - blue/white striped t-shirt
4 - green/teal patterned sleeveless blouse
5 - long sleeve white button down
6 - chambray button down shirt
7 - white camisole (1), black camisole (1)
8 - black swimsuit
9 - black bikini and swim bottoms
10 - white/navy striped long sleeve shirt (for sleeping)
11 - blue patterned wrap dress
12 - navy blue maxi skirt
13 - black athletic leggings
14 - dark blue jeans
15 - white pants
16 - navy blue sweater
17 - grey fleece pullover
18 - black beanie
19 - underwear (8) & bras (3)
20 - socks (2) & cozy socks (2)
21 - white tennis shoes
22 - black hiking sandals
23 - black chunky heel sandals

PERSONAL ITEMS 
24 - backpack
25 - camera bag
26 - water bottle
27 - spork
28 - sunglasses / case / wipe
29 - jewelry:  wedding ring and band, watch, pandora bracelet, necklace (2), earnings (3) 
30 - black belt 
31 - wallet:  id, credit card, cash
32 - passport and travel documents / itinerary
33 - cloth handkerchief
34 - travel pillow
35 - snacks:  chewing gum, Australian licorices and granola bars (2)

ELECTRONICS 
36 - camera / charger / SD cards (2)
37 - laptop / charger
38 - headphones / headphone splitter
39 - travel adapter
40 - external hard drive / cable

TOILETRIES 
41 - toothbrush / toothpaste / floss picks (6)
42 - deodorant 
43 - perfume
44 - face wash
45 - face lotion
46 - beauty balm with SPF 50
47 - makeup brushes (2)
48 - single eyeshadow in bronze
49 - small eyeshadow/eyebrow compact
50 - mascara
51 - lipstick
52 - razor
53 - hair comb
54 - black hair ties (4) / tiny back hair ties (4) / brown hair clip (1) / bobbie pins (4)
54 - vitamins:  digestive enzymes and b12
55 - small spray bottle of windex
56 - asthma medications:  steam inhaler, albuterol and emergency tablets


This is everything I will be taking for three weeks of traveling.  As a first time backpacker, my packing choices have been based on research, recommendations and personal preference.  I thought it would be fun and interesting to compare what I think I will need on my trip versus what I will actually need once I'm traveling.  We'll see how it will go...

Auf Wiedersehen and until then enjoy a lovely summer! 
   ♡ Nina 

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