Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Euro Trip Packing reflections - clothes

After researching backpacks for our vacation, another subject I made sure to research extensively was what clothes to bring on a summer Euro trip. Between conflicting advice about what works, what doesn't, what brand is better, what you don't need to squander your money on, what is important to spend the big $$$ on and buying everything ahead of time to test it out, I felt like I was going in circles a bit. Fortunately the last tip did me wonders. The more I bought ahead of time and tried out, the more I knew what suited me best and I learned from the experience.

Top tips when purchasing/packing travel clothes and items. I recommend bringing or buying the following:
  • Clothes that don't wrinkle easily, but if you do, something with a pattern or fringe that hides creases
  • Items that wash easily and dry fairly quickly
  • Clothing that absorbs or doesn't show much sweat 
  • Comfortable clothes that appear neat and tidy 
  • Consider a light pair of jeans that dry quickly, even though some travelers advise against it, for the comfort fact, I was glad I did
  • Stick to a basic color palette that is easily interchangeable and flattering
  • If you need new shoes, buy your shoes ahead of time and break them in

Instead of writing a packing list, since there are so many available, I decided to reflect on what I'm glad I brought, what I wish I left behind and what I wished I packed, minus any obvious essentials.

What I am glad I brought and why
  • scarfdresses up casual travel day outfits 
  • dark colored jeanscomfy, light weight, easy to hand wash
  • casual cotton t-shirts - comfy, light weight, easy to hand wash
  • ruffled polyester tank top - absorbs sweat, doesn't show shape, dries quick,
  • cotton zip up sweater - for travel days, cold weather, layering
  • leggings (3/4 length & full) - under dresses on cold days & flowy shirts
  • cotton black shorts - for hot travel days, the beach, or a night in 
  • polyester PJ shorts - doubled as casual shorts or for under a short dress
  • short acrylic dress - for hot exploring days and over leggings on cooler days
  • polyester maxi dress - for humid evenings, or in between waxing
  • short polyester dress - hot and humid days, multipurpose, swim cover up
  • white bolero - can go into churches, hides tank top tan
  • 3/4 length cardigan - went with everything but the fabric is rayon - wrinkled :-( 
  • waterproof rain jacket - no liner, matte black color and stays warm (doesn't breath well)
  • thongs/g-strings - take up less space, dry fast
  • strap less bra & 2 reg bras - worth taking 3, don't take up much space
  • no show slip socks - for flats and Toms, prevents foot odor and blisters
  • bathing suit - one was fine         
  • Teva sandals - very comfortable but dressy, easy to break in, great reviews 
  • Toms - comfortable, breathable, although not much grip I had no trouble
  • black flats - needed them in rainy weather, Toms became too dirty
  • chunky necklace - really dresses up a semi-casual outfit 
  • travel wash pack - soap packets for delicates, lint removers, stain spot treatments
  • sink plug - a lot of sinks in Europe don't have plugs 
  • carabiners - for water bottles and keeping day pack safe from pick pocketing
  • Ziploc bags - various sizes - for dirty laundry, small items or leaky toiletries


What I wish I left behind and why
  • swim cover up - can use a dress
  • blue & gold dress - not practical (too flowy)
  • black dress - a bit fancier, didn't use but nice to have as an option
  • took too many under shirts (5) - only needed two
  • too many socks for runners - we ended up not doing any running and only a couple hikes
  • delicate bolero and white blouse - too delicate to wear with a day pack
  • navy 3/4 cardigan - I stuck to black for outer layers
  • black long sleeve cardigan - wore my zip up sweater (more comfortable & durable)
  • sailor shirt - the 100% cotton fabric wrinkled too easy
  • Grey dress pants - OK but could have worn them more, black jeans would have been better
  • money belt - too bulky under clothes, obvious when retrieving or putting away money, easy to lose money

What I wish I had packed and why
  • comfy and light Capri's or pants - good for hot weather but easier to travel in than a dress
  • little black bolero - used the white one a lot, would have been nice to have in another colour
  • portable cutlery and small fold up bowl - for hotels/B&B's without kitchenette
  • crystal light packs - for bad tasting mineral or city water
  • sanitary wipes - for spills, or bathrooms without toilet paper
  • Kleenex - brand of tissues in most of Europe were quite rough
  • mini soap bar & another wash cloth - we brought one cloth, could have used two plus soap
  • tea (a few packets) - better than buying a whole box that you then have to carry

Overall I am quite pleased with how my packing research paid off. My list of what I would have left behind isn't too long and the items it consists of were light weight and small. What I wished I would have packed, I could buy along the way if needed. Buying something along the way is almost always easier than packing every "just in case" item and carrying around WAY too much.

Some of the sites I found useful while researching for our trip: