Packing for Abroad, Part 1

Luggage

This post has taken me so long to put up because there are so many more aspects to consider while packing for abroad than I realized. If I were to do just one post about packing, it would be the longest post ever created lol. So I am splitting it into two posts: one about clothes, shoes and accessories and one about everything else.

This post is about clothes and accessories. To help me decided what clothes to take, I made a list of how many of each kind of clothing item I should take (if you couldn’t tell by now, I am a list-maker at heart and will take any excuse to make a list). I got together things that could be easily paired together, dressed up or down, were lightweight and could be layered for fall and winter. I wound up with more dresses than anything else, because dresses can be extremely versatile (if you pick the right one). I took shift dresses that can be used under skirts as top for a change of style, dresses that can easily be worn for summer or winter when layered, and one or two ‘statement dresses’. I also packed a good deal of jewelery, patterned and colored stockings and other accessories, which can easily be added to any outfit to change it up.

I knew packing my ‘real clothes’ was going to be be hard. But, (for those of you who haven’t seen my previous posts) I am going to be attending a theater conservatory in Italy. Which means I also have to leave room for clothes to wear for my theater classes. Aka movement clothes. Aka what I wear to the gym. Aka ‘not real clothes’. This, I knew, was going to make the experience that much harder. Since my program has a strict neutral color clothing rule for theater classes, I packed a multitude of black and white sweatpants, yoga capri pants and shorts, tank tops, shirts and leotards. Although most of the pieces are strictly for workout wear, I made sure to pack a few pieces such as leotards and long sleeve shirts that I can incorporate into my everyday wardrobe. So I guess I can’t classify the WHOLE lot of it as ‘not real’ πŸ˜›

I also decided to pack 11 pairs of shoes. Yup, 11. This was 3 more pairs than I wanted to pack, but one pair was rain boots, another flip flops for the beach and another sneakers for hikes and such. So in my mind, I took 8 pairs of REAL shoes and 3 necessary pairs πŸ˜€ (I am aware that I sound like a total fashionista right now lol)

After I finished my list, I did a mock pack of my bag. Looking at the piles upon piles of clothes, shoes, hats, scarves, underwear and other items thrown so carelessly next to my suitcase made me feel quite uneasy at first. But it wasn’t long into my packing process that I was assured I would not have any problems fitting it all in. My method for packing clothing items is to roll them to prevent any air from getting trapped in between the clothes, which takes up space and weight. I also packed all of my socks, stockings, and underwear inside of my shoes and boots to save room. Also, I stored my sandals and ballet flats in my taller boots to utilize the space that otherwise would have gone unused.

Before I knew it, all the items I had next to my suitcase were neatly packed in my bag! Here is a picture of what it looked like (minus the rain boots which are going in my carry on):

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Not too shabby, right? I for one was proud of myself. I was bracing for the worst (all the clothes filling both the suitcases). But I wasn’t out of the woods yet, I still had to weigh it. I bought a luggage scaleΒ to assure that the weight would be correct. Crossing my fingers, I attached my bag to the scale and lifted, and… 44 pounds! After at least a week and a half of preparation and an hour of rolling and packing, everything fit and turned out just fine! Now all that is left is to pack the second checked bag, my carry on and my purse… Will it ever end?!

Here is a recap of all the packing tips:

1) Be smart with your clothing choices. Pack clothes that will layer well for colder days and will pair well together. Make sure that the majority of the clothes are lightweight, with the exception of a heavier cost and a few sweaters.

2) Roll your clothing instead of folding it. This will save you a lot of room and prevents the kind of creases that folding your clothes would normally cause.

3) Utilize the space inside shoes and boots. Pack your socks and stockings (if you wear them) inside of your shoes or tall boots. Also, in your taller boots, pack any sandals or ballet flats that will fit in the shaft of the boot to save room.

4) Put tank tops on the bottom with shoes. I didn’t actually mention this in the post, but it is best to pack rolled up tank tops and use them as a cushion between shoes (If you pack your shoes in individual bags to protect them, you won’t have to worry about your clothes getting dirty from bring in contact with the shoes). Tank tops are small and thin and will do a much better job of filling in the gaps on the bottom of your bag than a pair of jeans will.

5) Get a luggage scale. It is the most reliable way to weigh your luggage by far. Normal scales can measure inaccurately because the whole weight of the bag will be different depending on which side you lay it on the scale.

*Some of these tips are geared towards those who are going on lengthy trips, but most of them can apply to any packing scenario!

That’s all for right now! Keep checking in to see part two of my packing for abroad post with more tips you can utilize for packing for all sorts of trips!Β Have any questions about tips that were mentioned in this post or have any tips for me to use? If you do, just put it in a comment below! Thanks for reading!

xoxo Kristen

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11 thoughts on “Packing for Abroad, Part 1

  1. KallyW says:

    Hi there,

    Nice post! Packing is a huge challenge – the desire to take ‘just one more’ or ‘just that one thing’ that get out of control quickly. I also found taking dresses and things like lightweight knitwear worked really well to reduce volume because of the potential for mixing and matching. I kept my jewellery, makeup and accessories under control by taking “signature” items. it worked out really well – now when I wear those items or that perfume, I think of my trip abroad πŸ™‚

    Nice tip of rolling instead of folding and using shoe space – i’ll jot those down for later!

    .K. xx

      • KallyW says:

        Yeah I recently went to Japan for three weeks which was kind of an awkward amount of time to pack for.

        I did a decent job of packing but still ended up taking a bit too much and you know, once you’re out on the road, that extra kilo or two can be killer!

        You must be excited going to Italy! I think it’ll be a thrilling and beautiful adventure πŸ™‚

        • kristensehn says:

          That must have been amazing! And yes, I do know what the extra weight can do haha. One trip to Disney and Universal taught me a huge lesson on packing πŸ˜€

          Thank you so much! I am very excited to go! Especially since I have never left the country! It will be a whole bunch of firsts that I am very much looking forward too

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