The Ultimate Packing List

As someone who has traveled around the world, lived in I don’t even know how many different countries and climates, been on the road for work on a weekly basis, and moved 8 times in the last 4 years (3 of them cross country), I’d say I know a thing or two about packing…

I hate lugging stuff around and since >50% of the time I travel by myself and I got no one to carry it for me 😉, I have learned how to pack extra light and bring only the absolutely necessary, no matter if I’m vacationing in a faraway land or going on a business trip.

Now let’s get real specific!

1) Size of luggage

For a day trip or overnight trip, I’d recommend <35L hydration backpack (I personally use an insulated snowboarding Camelbak for all my hiking/snow day trips) The lighter, the easier it is to carry, I’ll teach you how to pack in it everything you need. For up to 7 days, no matter if winter or summer, I travel with a carry-on and small backpack. Same applies to a business trip. If you are backpacking for more than 1 night in the wilderness, you may want to ask Laura of Backcountry Yoga for advice. She also has packing lists (aka what to bring) on her website.

The picture below shows the amount of luggage I had with me for the following 2 trips:

– 7 days surf camp in Puerto Rico over Christmas. (Since I lived in bikini and pareo, I didn’t wear half my clothes)

– 6 days snowboarding trip to Colorado in March. Even though it was winter, my stuff still fit in my favorite luggage pieces and I even had 2 sets of clothes for going out that I didn’t need AT ALL.

2) Cosmetics

In true girly fashion, first things come first 💄. I have a lot of cosmetics at home but I bring travel sizes of ONLY my favorites with me. This allows me to keep up w my skin routine but doesn’t add any bulk to my luggage. I use a hanging toiletry bag (you can find them at Target, REI, EMS, etc.) and everything I bring has to fit in it. Then I hang it on the towel rack in the hotel bathroom and it’s perfectly organized! Liquids go in a ziplock bag. What doesn’t fit, doesn’t come!

3) Documents and valuables

I never bring anything expensive or flashy with me, be it electronics or jewelry. (Unless I’m traveling to go to a wedding or gala.) My phone is so broken and in such deplorable condition that it doesn’t attract any unnecessary attention. When traveling, I also don’t wear any visible or valuable jewelry. #bettersafethansorry

In terms of documents, I bring only the absolutely necessary and use a safe box when abroad for anything I need to leave in the hotel while I’m out. I have copies of most of my documents on the Cloud (secured!!!) so I can access them if anything got lost or stolen.

4) Shoes

Flip flops are a must, no matter the destination. #youneverknow A pair of sneakers/trail running shoes/hiking boots depending on the trip you are taking. Two more pairs of shoes/boots/sandals for going out or swap the 2nd pair for additional pair of sneakers if you are planning on a mostly active trip. You don’t want to miss exploring due to blistered feet, do you? I wear the bulkiest pair of shoes while traveling so they don’t take space in my luggage and pack the shoes in plastic bags, with socks inside the bag. I stash the bags either in the corners of my luggage or at the very bottom of it, if bulkier.

5) Clothes

Last but not least, got to send you off clothed, right? 😆 Bikini – how can a mermaid travel without bikini. 3-4 pairs for a beach vacation, 1 pair for mountain vacation or business trip. On day trips in the summer I’ll usually wear my bikini underneath my clothes with the hope that we’ll pass by a swimming hole and I’ll be able to jump in and cool off!

I usually plan for 2 sets of clothes with matching undies per day. One for during the day and one for going out at night. If my gym gear is not part of my day activities (#damnworktrips), I bring a set of gym clothes too. Very often my bikini tops can serve as sports bras and my tank tops/t-shirts can be worn for exercising too. So that saves a lot of space. I would only bring 2 pairs of jeans/pants and would match 2-3 tops per pair of jeans. To finish it off, I’d add 1-2 dresses for going out depending on the length of the trip. (You don’t want to be suddenly invited on a hot date and be unprepared, right?)

Here is how I pack all that in a carry-on:

  • I roll every item so it takes less space,
  • I put things that go together next to each other
  • I line the undies/bras on top. Matching shoes go underneath.
  • Cosmetic bag and a book go on top. Easy to reach 😉.

In addition:

  • I wear my heaviest jacket or tie my windbreaker around my waist.
  • I tie my travel pillow and baseball caps to backpack.
  • I shrink my hiking towel (which expands on request with water and is super absorbent) and I put it in my backpack.

I know everything is hanging off my backpack in this picture and I look homeless but quite on the contrary I have everything I need and I know exactly where it is when I need it.

Since I’m such a minimalist with my clothes and belongings, I make sure I buy only stuff that I absolutely love as I’ll be wearing it often and for a long time. Oh, and it needs to be cute and colorful too. 😋#colorcoordinationisamust

If after reading all this advice you decide packing super light is not for you and you prefer to bring with you anything and everything, you may want to consult with my dear friend Teddy (guest blogger and featured content producer 😍), who is always so well prepared that when she came to the East Coast for 20 days for work, she actually shipped a box with her hiking gear, poles, and MOST importantly – cans of sardines – for the diet she was following at that time. We shall NEVER forget the sardines…they were a wonderful appetizer, even though I wasn’t on a diet 😆.

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