Things I Wish I’d Known: Packing

Maybe you’ve recently accepted a job in Italy. Maybe you’re coming and staying with me for 90 days (hint hint!). Either way, here’s my two cents on what to pack.

Packing:

Your checked bag: Your checked bag should have all the basics, and you *should* be able to fit 90 days of clothes into one checked bag. USA Today has a great article on packing here: http://traveltips.usatoday.com/packing-list-outofcountry-travel-103495.html. For my Cosmo-loving ladies, they have a good article on maximizing space here: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/style-beauty/beauty/a28267/genius-hacks-for-packing-your-suitcase. It’s important to bring basic colors: black pants, grey pants, dark blue pants., a black blouse or button-down. Ladies, pack at least one pair of black leggings.

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Image from Pinterest

Men, you can never go wrong with khaki pants and shorts. A light jacket and sweater will get you anywhere in the evenings. Unless you have very specific toiletry needs, pack travel tins of everything you need. You can buy larger sizes here and the prices are very comparable (if not less) to U.S. prices. Bring a swimsuit and flip flops or whatever you like to wear to the beach–note that the shores have rocks so swim shoes may suit you better. Bring sunglasses. Every time I leave work I remind myself to buy sunglasses but haven’t yet. Shoes–one pair of workout shoes, three pairs of ballet flats or comfortable Columbia walking shoes, and one pair of dress shoes–ladies, a nice nude kitten pump is perfect; men, a nice comfortable oxford will go far. Bring at least four lightweight outfits for working out. You’ll be surprised how often you want to run here.

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Image from Pinterest

Gross tip: you’ll sweat a lot more than planned so bring a few extra undershirts and, ladies, don’t expect your bras to last two weeks without a wash. *Do not pack electronics in your checked bag, even if it seems inconvenient. You never know how much you can trust customs and the rule of thumb is just don’t do it.*

Your carry-on: Your carry-on should have all those items you can’t live without. Pack at least five books (for Italy I packed: Room With a View by E.M. Forster; Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert; The Day of the Battle by Rick Atkinson; That Summer in Sicily by Marlena de Blasi; and Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter) for the flight and don’t forget to let Blankie and Grover breathe before you stuff them back in your purse before going through security (what? just me?).

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Traveling to Guam, Fall 2016

Okay…practical items. Get a cover for your passport that isn’t trendy and doesn’t have “Passport” all over it.

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Plain and boring=perfect

Just a plain leather cover is perfect. You can get these at Target or TJMaxx. I got mine at Ross for like $2. Bring one of those darn plane pillows and ear buds. They’ll go far. I *know* you’ve probably been warned not to put all your travel documents in one place, but I am guilty of this. One wallet (Independent has some great suggestions here: http://www.independent.co.uk/extras/indybest/travel/flying/best-travel-wallets-passport-security-for-backpacking-10259274.html) with IDs, cash, card, orders, important phone numbers, medical info. Just don’t be a buffoon and lose it.

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Travel wallet with all the things

Pack dramamine or melatonin or whatever drugsies you need for the flight. I always pack a set of charcoal face wipes (I like Yes to Tomatoes) and a disposable tooth brush (anything you’ve taken in the past from a hotel works!). If you tend to get cold on the flight, dress in layers no matter where you’re traveling to. I wear a loose-fitting tank, nicer leggings, ballet flats, and a poncho/sweater that can easily fit in my carry-on. I also pack sock/slippers (BUILT has some specifically for travel) and put my ballet flats in my purse and operate in slippers for a majority of the flight because I’m a frozen little human when traveling. Pack deodorant, chapstick (I use Blistex Moisture Melt), and a perfume/cologne stick (Lush’s Vanilla perfume stick literally smells like a warm hug–and reminds me of my girlfriend, Charissa). I like to bring a few “basic” magazines like Women’s Health, The New Yorker, and National Geographic. Once you read through them, you can make friends by giving them away and rescuing the bored-looking lady next to you.

I’m interested in hearing your ideas! What do you pack for long-term travel?

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