Packing recommendations for long term travel

Stressed. Stressed is what most people feel when they are packing for a trip and have one small suitcase to work with. I know there are times when I still sit and ponder how the hell I was going to fit two weeks’ worth of cutesy outfits into one teeny tiny suitcase.

However, practice makes perfect, and after many trips that have absolutely forced me to practice smart packing, I think I have it figured out. You really don’t have to wear the same two pairs of underwear or Lynyrd Skynyrd band tee for six days straight. Just keep it simple. Think solids, layers and scarves.

Tips for traveling light for a longish trip around the world, across country, or down the street.

1. Tops

Solid colored tanks, t-shirts, and long sleeves are your friends and should be your go-to. Stick with basic and neutral colored tanks, t-shirts, and long sleeves. With basic tops, it’s hard to tell when you have worn them multiple times, and they are easiest to layer under a jean jacket, zip up, or pair with a fun scarf. Aztec, striped, or script filled tops grab your attention and will definitely stand out if worn a few times in travel pics. Keep it simple. If heading to warmer weather, bring two tanks, three short sleeves, and one long sleeve. If heading to colder temperatures, pack just one tank, for layering purposes and or sleeping, two short sleeves, and three long sleeves. Play around with layers.

2. Scarves for a little pizzazz

Scarves are a great way to make your boring outfits pop while on the road. I usually bring two or three longer ones with different patterns that I can wrap around my shoulders as a shawl (great for churches and temples that require visitors to wear sleeves out of respect) or I tie one around my neck for a little pop, whichever you prefer.

3. Bottoms and Dresses- the fewer, the better

Jeans can be worn plenty of times before needing a wash, so bring two pairs. Do not think in terms of days, think in terms of fade. Darker jeans are more versatile but light jeans are good for day time adventures. Bring one dark jean for dinner and night time bar hopping and a light pair for touring around. For warmer destinations, bring two pairs of shorts and one neutral colored dress that can work as both a day and nighttime outfit. One pair of yoga pants or joggers should be worn on the plane and worn as pajama bottoms or as your go-to bottom for trains, boat or bus travel during the trip.

4. Jackets (R, E, D)

Jacket (s) are necessary. If traveling somewhere a bit cooler, think R,E,D. A rain jacket (R) for the unexpected down pour, an everyday (E) jacket, like a jean jacket or bomber, and a durable (d) jacket with some weight to it, like a short winter coat or fleece. If traveling somewhere warm, just stick with R & E and wear one of them on the plane to reduce the luggage load.

5. Bras and underwear

Be a minimalist. Two bras and 6-10 pairs of underwear are necessary. Make sure to book an Airbnb or accommodation that offers up their washer and dryer or has these services somewhere on site. As for bras, bring an everyday simple t-shirt bra and one with adjustable straps that can work for any occasion that could come up.

6. Accessories, don’t need ‘em

Do not bring valuable jewelry on your trip. Costume jewelry is fine but it’s really not necessary. It all just takes up space and you won’t care about the earrings or matching necklace two days into the trip. Save the space and buy some cool accessories at the end of your trip to show off upon your return.

7. Shoes- Again, keep it simple.

Keep it simple when it comes to shoes. As much as we think we need them, we do not need 10 pairs of shoes for every occasion and especially heels (ladies). Shoes take up too much room. When it comes to shoes, focus on being comfortable, since you will probably be walking a lot. Bring two pairs of flats, a casual sneaker, and a pair of flip flops. If heading to colder weather, trade one pair of flats for an everyday boot. No matter the weather, flip flops are always necessary. You never really know how clean foreign hotels, apartments, or home stays will be and it will be nice to have these for the shower or just for walking around the space.