“Lay out all your things, then take half the clothes and twice as much money.”
I don’t know about anyone else but I still find myself writing up lists on what to pack for various trips, then leaves packing until the last moment and doesn’t bother to read the list.
When I packed for a quick trip to Europe to see my friend get married, I packed the morning I was due to fly out. Given that I didn’t depart until 11pm, that seems like quite a while, however, I started work at 10am and was then headed to my sister’s house for dinner before she drove me to the airport which is still a good 1½ drive from her house (two hours from mine). I had to make sure I had everything I needed for the week plus a change of clothes for after I finished work in my suitcase at 9am.
I had my list of things written out and when it came to packing, I didn’t look at it. I was only going for 8 days (2 full days would be spent travelling from Australia to Denmark and back again) so I was only taking a small carry-on suitcase but I still needed to pack a nice dress for the day’s festivities, make up, and heels for partying in plus a gift for the bride and groom. I also needed to take into account the Danish weather in September. It could be pleasantly warm one day and cold the next.
I also wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do any washing so I was taking enough clothes to get me through without washing. I was pretty impressed by what I actually managed to get into the suitcase!
Here’s the list of what I took
Antler Cyberlite 56cm Suitcase (my green one is 3 years old)
Clothes, Shoes, & Accessories
(Including what I wore on the plane)
- 2 pairs of pants/jeans, 1 pair shorts, 1 skirt
- 4 tops
- 3 cardigans, 1 jumper
- light raincoat
- one dress (I chose one based on the material- it didn’t get creased in my suitcase)
- 1 pair heels, 1 pair sandals, 1 pair flats
- Small leather bag
I only took travel or sample sized products where possible and put others in smaller containers. I also divided everything into 2 bags, a clear one for liquids and a pink one for everything else. This meant that I could easily locate all the liquids at security without any delays or annoying the guards and didn’t have anything confiscated because it was too big.
- travel or sample sized face wash, toner, & moisturiser (thanks Clinique counter at Myer)
- foundation, bronzer, eye shadows and make up wipes
- travel size body wash and cream
- tooth brush and small tube tooth paste
- hand cream- this lived in my handbag after I’d gone through security screening.
- lip balm with a tint of colour
- Kobo e-reader (which was sadly left on the Copenhagen- Doha flight coming home)
- headphones and airline adaptor
- cables, chargers, & power adaptors
Extras & Handbag
My handbag in this case was my Hedgren shoulder bag
- 2 packets Tim Tams (for the bride and groom)
- snacks for the flights (more were bought in Denmark for the trains and flights home)
- Lonely Planet “Denmark” guide (I know now that I can get these on my e-reader)
- passport and tickets
- glasses & sunglasses
- convertible travel pillow (which I somehow managed to fit into my suitcase when I didn’t need it)
So looking at all that now, it looks like quite a lot of stuff but I can assure you that there was nothing that wasn’t worn or used. It also all fit comfortably into a 56cm suitcase with room to spare!
These tips are ones that I have have learnt from past mistakes or were given to me by others and work well!
- Choose your clothes wisely. Think about the clothes and the climate/ weather of the place you are visiting. Seems like common sense but it’s amazing how many people turn up in the tropics with wool jumpers and believe me when I say it’s a big mistake to travel to Scotland without a rain coat! This also goes for special occasion dresses- that pretty dress you have your heart set on wearing to the wedding might not travel well (creases) and the last thing you want is to waste time trying to find somewhere to steam it or find a new one. I deliberately chose a dress made out of the scuba material that wouldn’t crease when folded in my suitcase! Also pack clothes that go with everything- fewer pieces + more outfits
- Don’t take too many pairs of shoes. The wedding was the first time I’d ever packed heels for an overseas trip. Unless you know you’ll wear them more than once, they’re not worth the space!
- Don’t take anything that you’d be devastated to lose. They’re best left safe at home.
- Do pack a nice outfit to go out in. This could be out to dinner, a show, or a club. You still probably don’t need heels though- flats can look cute! (I really want a pair of these flats)
- Avoid taking too many electronics. Unless you need that laptop for work, you can leave it behind.
- Always get travel insurance! If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel! Seriously, needing medical help abroad can be costly and don’t want to see the hospital bill should anything bad happen.
- Check the terms of the travel insurance. It might not cover all your activities or you may need extra coverage for certain items you plan on taking!
Anything I missed? Got any good tips? Let me know!