several bags on trolley near train in station
Babcia and Yia Yia!, Notes on Planning and Packing

Europe Bound? Pack Like A Pro!

Nobody ever, ever came back from a trip and said that they wished they had brought more. So says, travel guru Rick Steves. I agree with him for the most part but he did recently admit to using like a whole 5 shirts for a two month trip. Ummm, I betting that five shirts isn’t getting me through two months- ever. I think we can all concede that slimming down our capsule wardrobe and sticking to one well packed bag is the best we can all do. So, let’s get packed and head to Europe!

Get your world organized!

First thing’s first. Organization is every packer’s best friend. Having an organized closet and home base make the first steps into absolutely everything travel related. Moreover, it will wind up saving you a little money letting you put more into your travel fund! Slim down and streamline! We highly recommend Marie Kondo: The Life Changing Habit of Tidying Up. This staple of the organization world will whip any closet into shape and get you ready to pack for any destination. It seems obvious at first but, we’re betting that if you ever really dig in to your closet with a critical eye, you’d find all kinds of things that don’t belong.

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A dedicated travel wardrobe

Stop! Don’t do it! We are in no way suggesting that you need to have completely different clothes to travel with. In fact, we are recommending just the opposite. Hear us out! Now that you’ve paired down your wardrobe to what you truly love and use, we’re guessing that a few things have started to stand out. Have you noticed a particular color that steps forward? Are you starting to see those pieces that make you smile when you put them on? Can you easily pair these items with some trusty neutrals? If so, you’ve found it! The foundations of your dedicated travel wardrobe.

african american woman putting luggage in suitcase
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The travel pieces that you pluck from your closet are comfortable, easily washed, no iron, trusty faves. They have your favorite color palette and never fail to make the day a little easier. They mix and match and they layer easily. For more on how to decide on the right pieces click here.

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Suitcase Smarts

We’ve got a few confessions to make. When it comes to suitcases, we are partial to a few things. First, we are fans of the hard shell. Durable and trustworthy, they’ve never let us down. Next, we are totally on the cube train! Packing cubes keep us organized and use our space efficiently. We especially like to use the small ones for packing our bathing suit, raincoats, and knitwear. Finally, we always, always bring a laundry bag and a versatile wrap. All in all, getting our things packed neatly and test driving our favorite gear has been the best way to get going.

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The Big Controversy…

Speaking of going, we are going to say something you may not think is realistic. We CHECK our bags. There, we said it. Are you shocked? Here’s the deal: with the amount of time we spend going from here to there, we’ve come to the conclusion that checking makes things just a little easier in the end. We get through TSA quicker and we have free hands to shift into travel mode instead of dealing with the chaos of lugging our closets past 57 gates.

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At the most, we use an under the seat roller bag for our paired down electronics that are multi use, headphones that plug into the plane’s sound system, a portable battery for charging delays, a change of clothes and our medication. We’ve figured out how to get our purse in that bag and how to ensure that we are rolling with one hand whether we have just our small carry on or our big bag. Our faves these days are:

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  • The Away Bag 295
  • Samantha Brown Bags are leaving the market, but we love them.
  • Rollink collapsible luggage 155
  • The under-seat roller with stacking strap from Amazon basics
  • We also recommend:
  • Apple Air Tags
  • Blue ribbon bags which a new way to find lost bags!

Hold your packing horses!

If there is one thing our experience has taught us over the years, it’s that overpacking will always be a regret. So what is the stuff we are passing on? First and foremost, we have given up multiple sources of entertainment. Things like magazines, multiple tour guides on the same destination, both an iPad and a computer, and electronic cords for everything under the sun! Whew!

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Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.com

Our solution is to ensure that every piece of electronics that we pack does more than one thing. By the time, we examine all of the different gadgets out there, we take our iPhone, a charging pack, and the cords we need to run it. That’s all! No camera, no extra iPad. None of it. It’s so much easier! We also pack a water bottle that we can lose and we download as many books as we possibly can whether we do that on our Kindle app or on Audible. Now, everything is one place and super easy to carry.

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Travel Stuff We’d Pass On…

We can’t tell you how often we get asked about all those travel products that spam our social media and Amazon home page. We’ve come across a few that, upon second thought, weren’t the wisest purchases in the world! So, we’ve got a few swaps to share with you.

  • Instead of a dedicated jewelry container, wrap your jewelry in a beeswax sandwich wrap so you have your jewelry and a way to wrap a mid day snack! The wax wrap will keep your jewelry from tangling and it’s washable.
  • Instead of dedicated travel containers for liquids, or worse yet, travel size products, hold back the last of your full size products and toss them at the end of your trip to make room for your travel memories.
  • Instead of an umbrella, pack a raincoat. This will provide hands free cover and a little warmth if needed. It can also be layered to insulate in colder weather.
  • Instead of a suitcase scale, choose to pack your suitcase to capacity without over-stuffing it.
  • Instead of a medication organizer for overseas travel, keep all of your prescriptions in the issued bottle. Additionally, take a picture of each one to ensure you have a copy in case there’s a need to seek out a pharmacist.
  • Instead of a neck pillow, pack a multi use wrap. It’s not bulky and will always come in handy.
  • Instead of a selfie stick, make a friend and have them take the snap. Many places are banning them anyway.

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