International Travel Packing

How appropriate that I am writing about travel packing. At this very moment I am preparing for my highly anticipated and much needed trip to Portugal with my amazing boyfriend. This is our first time traveling across the big pond together (been together 8 glorious months!). Initially I sensed his worry as he looked and then hoisted my weekend travel bag into the trunk for a visit with his brother and sister-in-law that he would possibly be lugging many suitcases around Portugal. In the past, his worried look would have been 100% justified. Let me put it to you this way: my family and friends would have either laughed hysterically or blinked in absolute and utter bewilderment at the very notion that I would now be giving tips on how not to overpack. I was the classic overpacker, WAS being the operative work here. Some of my friends prior to the "change" bore the brunt of my overpacking, having to carry my bag around several travel destinations taking pity on me; well, maybe they were just sick and tired of me struggling and slowing them down.

I have improved my packing habits, as my business colleague and good friend Margot can attest to. Last summer traveling together on a business trip to France, Italy and Switzerland for two weeks I packed all I needed into a 28" x 20" suitcase and still was prepared for all weather situations and looked stylish day-by-day. It was a liberating experience to be able to move much more freely, with less back and body strain too. So bye-bye to the overloaded suitcase days; my boyfriend is no longer hyperventilating. I must give credit where credit is due. My dear friend and former roommate Anne-Marie enlightened me to the way of packing wisely. She is the expert; she has lived in and out of suitcases for the past few years, moving between places from Holland to Guatemala to Spain to Philadelphia then back to Spain. Now that I have taken her cue: the advice is STICK WITH THE BASICS. Also, it's best to first research the weather. Although unpredictable, you can at the very least get the averages for your particular destination and know what you should definitely bring and what can be left behind. Stick with basic colors when packing pants, skirts and shorts. This way you only need a couple pairs and can toss in some extra tops in different styles and colors to make casual and dressy outfits. Certainly practice makes perfect. The more seasoned traveler has applied this advice for a long time and likely have some advice of their own along with other tips to share. New advice and tips welcomed!

I am all packed now for Portugal, have been since Tuesday, and I am happy to report I have one suitcase that even I can lift and tote around.

On the flip side, there are always some items that you do not want to forget and pack extra of. Here is a list that I have compiled, after asking around the office, of the top 5 "pack extra of this":

  • Individual tissue packets (Will come in handy in many situations including those times where toilet paper is scare or not available!)
  • Batteries (for travel alarm clock, camera, walkman, etc.)
  • Hand sanitizer / Wet wipes
  • Pain Relievers (aspirin, ibuprofen, Tylenol)
  • Socks and underwear
  • Feminine products

Happy travels!

By Beth Klemick

Comments are closed.