• Nicole

Packing: Three Weeks of Travelling in Europe with a Carry-on

I'm a frequent traveller. I love the pre-travel excitement, seeing new places, eating new food, looking at new people. What I do not like is large suitcases that require check in, baggage tags and waiting by a carousel when I arrive at my destination.

The Plan: A three-week trip planned to Europe travelling with various airlines, trains arriving and departing from different countries. With each airline and each connection, my fear is that a checked bag will get delayed or worse – lost. If I am in a destination for a couple of days before moving onto another place, the anxiety level just keeps going up. There is no Ativan strong enough to combat that feeling.

My answer by default is to pack everything I will need into a carry on and a personal bag. The dilemma for this trip is that it will include South England, Northern England, Wales, Spain and Ireland. That means a little of a lot of possible different types of weather. A bit more challenging that what I am used to, but I will use this guide in the future because I love staying in places for a few days before moving on to somewhere new so I can see as much as I can in one go.

Choosing a suitcase: A hard shell case is a must. These types of cases protect your things from moisture and dirt and can double as a chair on a really crowded train. (Been there.)

Wardrobe: Wardrobe is everything. I need options, I need things that work well with one another and I need pieces that can do double duty.

Outerwear: Lightweight shiny H&M black jacket that works for anytime of the day/occasion and a loose, lightweight long-ish cardigan. Great layering pieces that do not take up a lot of room.

Tops: Cotton tanks and light weight t-shirts in various colours that can be rolled small to pack and also used to sleep in.

Trendy pieces: A black body suit with a frilled top that can double as a swimsuit that I cannot wait to rock in Spain. A backless slogan top that is cute, small and can be worn with shorts or jeans.

Dresses: A short linen floral dress that I can hang in the bathroom while I am showering or hang when I arrive at my destination to allow most, if not all of the wrinkles to fall out. Body heat can get rid of the rest. This can be paired with leggings if I’m not feeling the mini. A backless black dress that isn’t too mini, but is not super long that can be paired with my cardi or I can throw a t-shirt over top for touring around.

Shorts: Denim, my favourite lululemon tennis shorts (that are loose enough to wear to the beach and can be paired with a tank top to sleep in.) Cotton twill, a pair of neutral coloured patterned shorts that can be used for the beach, kicking around or sleeping in and a completely indulgent shiny black shorts with sequins and applique all over it. This is a total evening, going out piece.

Jeans: One trendy ripped that can be dressed up with the bodysuit that doubles as a swimsuit (and cute shoes) for the evening, one medium coloured denim and a black pair (my preference for all is skinny) and they are all super lightweight.

Leggings. Two pairs. I can work out in them and wear them with a t-shirt. Easy.

Footwear: Simple neutral sandals or decent flip flops (for hanging out or at the beach), running shoes, trendy flat shoes with laces that can tie up to my shins and my blacked out high top chucks. (Always.) Europe is not the place for high heels with cobble stone streets and sidewalks that are usually super old and super uneven. I don’t care if I wear heels for a few weeks as I am more into the wardrobe aspect. If I HAD to bring any type of shoe with height I would bring wedges – but I don’t because I am not prepared to ditch another type of shoe or clothes. Wedges just are not worth it for me since they tend to be bulky, heavy and take up precious packing room.

Accessories: A couple of necklaces and rings all individually placed in snack sized Ziploc bags to avoid tangling and placed into a makeup bag. (Or one of those travel jewellery cases that I don’t own, but probably should.)

Skin Care: I go to drugstores and ask for sample sizes. Seriously. I never have to worry about decanting things into travel sized containers and when I am done with packages, I toss them so that I am not bringing back empty containers. And the bonus is this gives me a chance to try out new products.

Makeup: Two lipsticks that can be layered to create a new colour and which I could double as blush, if I used blush. Some lip conditioner, BB cream (I used to hate BB creams, but now I love them for travelling paired with a dusting of MAC translucent powder which comes in a thin compact to keep the shine off of my #oilyaf skin), eyeliner, mascara primer (prevents smudging and travelling) and mascara and we’re done! Thanks to microblading, my eyebrow game is pretty solid so that's truly one thing that I never have to worry about.

I will never pack bulky compacts or foundation. Again, I find it to be a waste of precious carry on suitcase real estate.

And after all of that, I always have room to purchase a couple of small and/ or light wardrobe pieces like tops, scarves and notebooks as well as shot glasses for Sarah in my carry-on bag.

Next up: What goes in the personal bag?

Short, sweet and easy: Whatever I need close at hand. A scarf that can double as something to keep me warm on airplanes or an air-conditioned train. A minimum of three books of different subjects (in case I get bored? Or to keep me occupied at the laundromat)

InStyle magazine (my favourite), laptop, journal, travel documents, camera, cables for electronics, power converter (Surprise! The plug-ins in Europe are very different than those in Canada), money, lip conditioner, hand lotion, phone ear buds, ear plugs (one too many flights with screaming children) and Advil. Bam. Ready for adventure.

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