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How to Pack for an Extended or Overseas Trip

How to pack for a long or overseas trip

I could not believe the overwhelming and positive response I received from my “how I pack for a long, overseas trip” series on Instastories. I am still trying to respond to DMs! Clearly you all are just as into packing as I am, and I love it! Many of you requested that I write a corresponding blog post… so here it is — my packing process in detail for extended and/or overseas trips!

How to pack for a long or overseas trip

My Process:

Pull everything you want to take. I like to pull everything out of my closet a couple weeks in advance of a big trip and hang it on a rack in my room. This allows me to see everything together at once. At this point I don’t start eliminating pieces, I just allow myself to put aside everything I want to bring (of course, want to should or need are very different things). Pulling everything also lets me see anything I might need. Are there several skirts I want to pack that don’t have a coordinating top? Will one top work for all or some of those skirts? Does a color palette emerge?

Once you have everything pulled, it is time to start eliminating (people always tend to over pack and under budget!). I begin this process by setting aside my non-negotiables. These are pieces that I not only feel great in and are flattering (you really want items that will photograph well), but that are also practical and comfortable. For me, this is typically a slightly-flowy, fit-and-flare dress with short sleeves that hits at, or just above, my knee. From there I move on to sorting everything into type. I look at all of my skirts together and eliminate any redundancy, items that are not practical (this could be because of fabric, length, etc.), and items that are not very versatile. You don’t want to pack 5 skirts that can only be worn with 5 different tops. Instead, try to find one great skirt that can be worn with several difference tops (see example below). I move through each category – skirts, pants, shorts, tops, and dresses—carefully eliminating items as I go.

Take a break! I think the worst mistake you can make when prepping for a big trip is trying to do it all in one night or the night before. Packing over the period of several days will help you manage stress and give you time to reflect on what you are packing.

Once I have selected the clothing I want to pack, I move on to shoes, bags, and accessories. Again, you want to try and select items that work with everything you are packing. My go-to summer travel shoes are the Melissa Classy. So, I typically pack my white, black, and bronze pair. I could stop there because those colors go with everything I own. But, I will also add a sneaker and maybe a wedge for dressier occasions. For bags, I also go for versatility. In the summer a wicker bag will literally match everything – you want to keep it neutral and avoid patterns.

How to pack for a long or overseas trip
Now that I have everything laid out and set aside that I want to pack, it is time to start sorting what I want in my carry-on and what I want in my checked bag. By the way, your luggage makes all the difference. You want quality, light weight bags with plenty of room! I am obsessed with my new Bric’s Bellagio bags (c/o)!

For my carry-on, I pack my favorite non-negotiables and items that I would be devastated to lose. I always try to pack a couple of days-worth of clothing in my carry-on, just in case my checked bag goes on an adventure without me for a few days. I also pack my travel toiletries, 2 pairs of sandals/shoes, curling iron, and all of my tech gear and accessories (more on that below).

Everything else goes in my checked bag.

To save space, I use compression bags for some of my dresses and separates in my checked bag. I say some because you don’t want to use space bags for everything. While they maximize space, they do not impact weight! If you compress everything you are much more likely to over pack and have an overweight bag (50 lb or 23 kgs). Plus, space bags cause lots of wrinkles, so I use my sparingly, and for items I plan to wear later rather than sooner.

Finally, I use packing cubes for both my carry-on and checked bag. This will help keep you organized on long trips. No more rummaging through your suitcase for one item and having to repack!

Well, that is it, my packing process for long and/or overseas trips. I hope you found it helpful. I’ve list more of my packing posts below as well as my favorite travel gear and accessories. Let me know if you have any questions below!

My Go-To Gear:
Adorable pink striped packing cubes
A memory card reader that allows you to access your cameras memory card on your phone!
USB plug adapter (for Europe)
A lightweight and compact but powerful camera (this is what I use and this is my lens)
Extra memory cards (switch your cards out everyday, just in case something terrible happens to your camera)
Clear, spill resistant pouches
Packing compression sack (no vacuum required)
Phone case with an extra battery inside (I won’t travel without this)
Super functional voltage converter (again, for Europe)
Moleskin (a foot-saver)

More Packing Posts:
Tips for managing bag weight
When to start packing for a big trip abroad
Packing MVPs (clothing)