As you can probably imagine, squeezing four months worth of clothes, toiletries, and travel items into two large bags and a backpack is not an easy task. Especially when packing for unknown locations. I have to be prepared for snow in Switzerland, the beach in Spain (during the warmer months, of course), and everything in-between!
Before I started packing, I read up on what to expect the weather to be like and the types of clothes typically worn in Europe. Apparently the Italians are having a colder winter this year than they’re used to (go figure), but 40 degrees beats the Midwest’s negative temperatures any day. I also found out it’s common for Europeans to dress nicely each day, which means leaving my go-to leggings and sweats behind.
I followed this packing list from a blog I found online. It’s written mainly for students studying abroad and covers most everything I should need while overseas. Since packing can be an overwhelming process, it’s nice to remember that forgotten items can be purchased once in the travel destination. All together, it took me about a week and a half to get everything packed.
For those of you with any reason to pack a suitcase in the future, here are some of the clever tips and tricks I’ve learned while packing for Italy!
Pro-tip – Color coordinate all of your clothes so tops and bottoms can be swapped to create more outfit selections. (Conveniently for me, my whole closet seems to be made up of maroon and black clothing, so choosing a color scheme was the least of my worries.)
The rolling method – Take each individual item of clothing, fold it in half, then roll it up tight and pack everything in, side-by-side. This saves so much more room than laying each piece out flat in the suitcase.
Make every space count – Save small items, like socks, for last. This makes it easier to fill in the smaller, empty spaces and frees up some room for bigger items in a bag or suitcase.
Be prepared for the worst-case scenario – Always pack clothes and basic toiletry items in a carry-on in case luggage gets lost. You’ll be able to live out of the carry-on for a day or two while the airline locates any lost baggage. (This actually happened to a friend of mine traveling to Spain a few weeks ago, so it does happen!)
I hope this was helpful to anyone with a trip coming up or any reason to pack in the future. For those of you who just want to read about my adventures in Europe – hang in there. I’m anxious to get there, too!