January 1, 2017

Travel Light: Packing for a European Winter in a Duffel + Backpack

Hi, my name is Hannah, and I'm a chronic over-packer.

What can I say? I prefer to be safe than sorry, because regret is one of my least favorite feelings.
On the other hand, it's a pain to lug around heavy luggage, especially when you're traveling around quite a bit.

As you're reading this, I'll have just landed in Spain for a 9 day trip with my parents. I haven't traveled out of the country in a few years, but I have learned to be more realistic with my packing after having moved to a school on the other side of the country for a year. I'm no extreme minimalist or packing aficionado, but I've managed to bring everything I need in a medium sized duffel and backpack.

Here's what I packed, and a few tips I have for any chronic overpackers like me:

(*for the record: I didn't show a handful of items, like my toiletries/makeup bag, tripod, or winter jacket. They're either small enough to still fit in the bags I'm bringing, or will be on my person as I'm traveling :) 

**full disclosure: my mom is a little concerned that she won't have enough space to store all of her stuff in a carry-on sized suitcase ;), so I'm stuffing my duffel in another carry-on sized suitcase for her. The point of this post remains the same - you can definitely travel light, even in the winter!)
To begin, let's take a look at what's in my backpack (The North Face Tallac)
Essentials, Entertainment, Snacks/Water Bottle, Tech (in my tote bag)
Essentials: first aid kit, hand sanitizer, umbrella, wallet and passport (similar), mini pouch (thanks Yasmeen!)  
In that mini pouch, you'll find hair ties, hair clips (not shown), chapstick, cough drops (helps keep my nausea at bay), eye mask, ear plugs (in the wooden box)
Entertainment: phone, earbuds, journal, pen, book (decided to bring a lighter read instead!), deck of playing cards (not shown)

On my phone: some music and podcasts! 

General Tip #1: Try to centralize all of your entertainment as much as possible - if your phone allows it, pack in as much as you can into your phone without sacrificing storage space for photos. 

General Tip #2: Soft-covered books/journals weigh less!
Snacks: It's hard to find convenient snacks that are also guilt-free and tasty. I don't buy snacks when I'm at home, but they're handy to have when I'm at school or traveling. One of my favorites is Laughing Giraffe Organic's macaroons, because they cater to a variety of dietary preferences and are made with only handful of wholesome ingredients. Best of all, they're conveniently packaged and mess-free (unlike homemade coconut macaroons). My favorite flavor between the two in the photo? Chocolate :)

Other snacks I'd recommend are: Sea Salt Rice Chips, Nut Thins
Guilty pleasure snacks: Clif bars (not health food by any means. If you're looking for a healthier alternative, try KIND bars or LARA bars. I still like Clif better, but the latter two are made with better ingredients!)

Drink: As of two years ago, I've brought my water bottle (similar) to every trip! You'd be surprised how many places offer water refill stations - but always do your research about the water quality of your destination first!
Tech: Camera, spare camera batteries (not shown), camera battery charger, phone charger, travel adapters, mini tripod (not shown), spare SD cards (not shown)

General Tip #3: minimize the expensive technology that you bring! For me, this meant packing extra SD cards (for more photos) instead of bringing my laptop (to transfer photos to), laptop charger, and camera USB cable. You're lightening the load that you carry, and reducing the magnitude of potential theft.

Now onto my duffel:
Learning more about minimizing my style and closet has helped greatly, and I can't recommend the blog, Un-Fancy, enough! In the past, the items that took up the most space in my duffels/suitcases were clothes. I was able to reduce the amount of clothes that I packed, while maximizing my use of each item:
(the items not photographed above will be worn to the airport!):
9 outfits, each item worn at least twice! 
(All items are old; if I can find any links to any of the items, they'll be included)

General Tip #4: When packing jackets, make sure they match with all outfits! (in addition to my winter jacket, the olive green jacket is a spare that can easily be thrown on top of any of the outfits)
side note: try to do the same with your shoes, too! Though the black flats are only shown in one photo, they can go with any outfit, too. I packed them instead of my white converse, since certain areas that we'll be visiting require slightly more formal attire.

General Tip #5: Plan your outfits and lay your clothes out! This helps you organize yourself visually, and will encourage you to maximize each item to the best of your ability. Minimizing your wardrobe is tough when you're traveling to various places for various occasions (beach to mountain, poolside to formal party), so give yourself a break and don't force yourself to pack less than you should. 

General Tip #6: Maximize your accessories! Find jewelry pieces and a scarf that can go a long way. That scarf can also serve as a pillow, saving you from carrying a bulky neck pillow.
Gap 3/4 length sleeved shirt, American Eagle olive button up jacket, Forever 21 leggings, Gap plaid scarf, BDG combat boots
Gap 3/4 length sleeved shirt, Forever 21 plaid flannel, Lulu's silver statement necklace (thanks Mom!, BDG jeans, BDG combat boots
Anthropologie top (thanks Mom!), American Eagle high rise jeans, BDG combat boots
Anthropologie top, BDG jeans, BDG combat boots
Gap sweater, Forever 21 plaid flannel, Forever 21 necklace (thanks Kat!), BDG jeans, BDG combat boots
Gap sweater, American Eagle high rise jeans, Gap plaid scarf, BDG combat boots, Forever 21 necklace
Urban Outfitters dress, Hollister sweater, tights, BDG combat boots, Forever 21 necklace
Urban Outfitters dress, Lulu's silver statement necklace, Tights, Anne Klein flats
Hollister sweater,  BDG jeans, Lulu's silver statement necklace, BDG combat boots
PJs: American Eagle top, Forever 21 leggings
Workout wear: H&M basic tee, sports bra, New Balance Leggings
(*no running shoes since I'll be sticking to indoor workouts this trip)

Happy packing!

Disclaimer: I reached out to Laughing Giraffe Organics for a collaboration. I've been a supporter of their products for several years now, and am very grateful for this opportunity. This blog post is not sponsored, but Laughing Giraffe Organics was gracious enough to send me products for this collaboration! As always, my opinions and thoughts are my own :)

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