Being the person I am, I have read a lot of travel blogs. Now that I am composing a blog in the same vein, I feel obligated to write about packing. Instead of making a list of everything I brought and why I chose it, since I am composing this in hindsight, I am going to talk about the mistakes I made while packing so that when you go on a two-month adventure you will make your own mistakes instead of the ones I made.
1.) Don’t wait too long to get your backpack – You can’t pack until you have your backpack and it’s great to spend six months researching backpack sizes and weights and all but all the research in the world won’t matter if you wait until a month before your trip and the backpack of your choice is sold out at REI, Amazon, and the company website until a week into your trip. That is what happened to me. I got so wrapped up in making sure that I got the prefect backpack for the trip that once I made my choice I couldn’t find it anywhere. I ended up going with the smaller version of the ideal pack and while it worked well I really missed the extra 10 liters.
2.) Pack a book, an actual paperback book – Now, this advice probably isn’t for everyone. I read a lot but my boyfriend does not so in order to save space (because I had 10 liters less than I planned) I had an iPod mini with very little music and 20+ audio books. It was a good solution but there we times when I wanted words on a page. There were train rides that were too long for the battery of the iPod. And it was very hard to find a book in English before we got to Paris, which was halfway through the trip. Maybe you do not feel as strongly about books as I do, maybe this is a piece of advice you can ignore. I’m just saying, next time I travel, I’m making sure to bring a book.
3.) Don’t worry about bringing EVERYTHING you might need – This is the simplest and most important piece of advice I can give. Aside from certain important things like prescriptions and your passport and, if you are traveling to a country with a language you don’t know many words a phrasebook, you can get stuff there. I spent a lot of time making and remaking decisions about what clothes to bring when I should have been taking notes from the travel books we weren’t going to get to pack or trying to convince my boyfriend that a paperback was a worthwhile use of space. Make a list, check it twice, and then pack. Don’t stress. It will all be fine. And if you don’t pack enough clothes for warm weather you can buy a cool skirt like the one I got in Florence. Why did I get a skirt? Because even though I thought and rethought all my clothing options I still made a mistake in not packing enough warm weather clothes. So, yeah, worrying doesn’t even work.
4.) Purse v. Day Pack – Purse. Now, if you are doing a lot of hiking and general sport-like things, a day pack might be a better option for you, but we were mostly in cities and towns and I would have felt much less like a tourist and felt a lot more comfortable if I was wandering around the Louvre with a purse than a daypack. Not to mention I would have looked a lot less ridiculous with a purse and my pack than I do in the picture at the top of this post.
5.) Remember to leave space – I actually do this, so I did make some good choices. Remember you will want to get souvenirs, you might need to get extra clothing and you will want to have room to accommodate your purchases. There is another option, which I will discuss once the blog gets to Paris, but if you leave space for souvenirs, there is also the added benefit that your pack will be lighter! For a little while at least.
Hope this advice helps you on your own adventures! Please feel free to share your own packing advice so we can all become better packers and travelers. Best Wishes & Happy Travels!