Clothes are literally leaping into my suitcase.

Ok, that title is a lie.  But my clothing and I are in a fight right now.  They ALL want to come with me to Europe.  But they cannot.  I am packing in a carry-on sized suitcase (which will be checked), a backpack, and a small messenger bag.

I said, “Some of you will come with me, and some of you will stay home.  But I love each one of you.”

They said, “If you leave one shirt behind, you leave us all behind.  We stick together!”

So as you can see, we are at a bit of a stand-still (much like the MN gov. when it comes to settling a budget).

Solution 1: Hire a butler, circa 1910, to haul our steamer trunks across the continent of Europe for us.  Then we can pack as much as we want, not worry about carrying it up and down the streets of Austria, and everyone wins.

Solution 2: The Spreadsheet. My sister and I have an extensive google doc for our trip, with tabs for each city, an expense sheet, a daily itinerary, joint packing list, and personal packing lists.  On my personal packing pages, I have one where am listing out each day’s forecast, activities, and potential outfit, including shirts, pants, cardigan, and accessories.  I laid out all the options of clothing on my bed, then began trying on varying combinations, strategically considering mixing, matching, and switching up accessories.  I think I have come up with a plan of what to wear each day.  I then have another where I actually list out all the items I need to pack, sorted into categories and in the column either for carry-on backpack or tiny suitcase.  Yes, I realize this is a bit over the top.  But it works.  And I may have used the word “ruffle” to describe 2/3 of the clothes I packed.  So that is something to get excited for.

Other packing strategies: 

We are firm believers in rolling our clothes.  This goes back to the days of rolling clothes and putting them in gallon sized ziplock bags for the Boundary Waters.

Putting all my cords together in a pouch/bag/thing.  That way when I need to plug in an electronic device, I will have that jumbled mess together instead of spread out everywhere.

New idea: packing cubes.  My sister discovered them when we were looking for a wedding registry on the REI website.  The reviews say things like, “Did angels in heaven bring these to me?  Because they are amazing.”  Or that is not actually a review I read, but it IS the review I’m hoping to write after this trip.  The reviews did talk about how it helped people stay organized when packing, especially when they are traveling to multiple locations, because everything doesn’t get strewn everywhere each time you open your suitcase.  I’m excited to give it a shot.

All these little organizational wonders...

into one neatly packed little suitcase!

Shoes: Shoes are always my biggest conundrum when it comes to trips.  I want stylish feet, but I also know from experience that practicality is the most important.  There is a particular brand that I try and avoid.  They have suckered me in on numerous times abroad.  Their shoe looks like a cute yet supportive option for your feet.  And every time, my feet look like I’ve walked through a field of scissors at the end of the day.  So this year I stayed strong and went a different route.  I really am a flip-flop or cute ballet flat kind of girl, so it pains me to leave those less-than-practical shoes at home.  How do you find a balance between clunky tennis shoes everywhere you go, and your feet not falling off after a day of walking?

This year I am going with

  • New Balance light weight tennis shoes.  They are cute, yet good walking shoes.  They’ve proven their worth in Canada and Argentina.
  • Toms.  They feel like a cloud is giving my foot a hug, yet they are also comfortable to walk some sort of distance in.  They are cute with jeans, capris or skirts.  I give full credit for this suggestion to my roommate.
  • These new sandals.  The brand is Priva and they are I think related to Clarks.  They go around my ankle so my feet won’t fall of the sides, yet they have an awesome sole.  And best of all, they do not rub anywhere on my foot to potentially give me giant blisters of hurt.  As you may have read in the previous post, my sandals never arrived.  I contacted the company, and they refunded my money.  Instead I’m bringing my black teva sandal/flip flops that can fake their way to being dressy enough for our type of outings.  And have also proven their walking worth on previous trips.

I will give you a full shoe report upon my return, but I feel good about my decisions.  I have a sandal for going out in the evenings or walking small distances, a shoe that will be good for a day out and about, and a shoe that prides itself on how far it will carry me for those days that are full of walking.

The Nook.  I love to read, and it is a great way to pass the time on planes, trains, and automobiles.  It is always such a challenge when I’m packing for trips to bring the right amount of books.  I am also a fast reader.  I don’t want to run out of material, but I also don’t want to overpack because books are heavy and take up space.  I am delighted to have a nook to bring on this trip.  All my reading materials in one tiny package. 

I have a lot of genres stored up, so whichever way the wind blows me, a book will be waiting.  The latest Sophie Kinsella book, the sisterhood of the traveling pants girls grown up in: Sisterhood Everlasting, The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges, Hunger Games, Tina Fey’s Bossypants, Room – everyone is talking about it, some Harlan Coban, Kristin Hannah, Karen Kingsbury, John Grisham, and some classics such as Pride and Prejudice and Little Women.

And then I have my giant camera and memory cards that will hold the millions of pictures I am bound to take.  Get excited!

Goal: don’t forget the passport and those darn rail passes.  Either of those things could trigger an epic failure to our trip.  Good thing I’m so responsible??

Well, Happy Trails to me!  I’ll see you on the other side of the ocean!


4 thoughts on “Clothes are literally leaping into my suitcase.

  1. Ohmigosh! I can’t wait to hear about your trip when you get back 🙂

    And for what it’s worth, my clothes exhibit the same sort of solidarity-type tendencies. Retrospectively, I could have easily survived on half of my suitcase.

  2. Enjoy your trip! My favorite part of this post was your reading list. A) I have been seriously considering purchasing a Nook or Kindle. And every time I hear people talk about all the fun they are having (or planning to have) with theirs, I’m a little more convinced I need one. B) I’m so excited for the new Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants book, and it makes me happy that you are too. C) Room is a little bit heavy, emotionally speaking, but still a good read. Safe travels!

  3. Enjoy you trip Laura! You are going to love Hunger Games. I am almost done with the first one. It so fun to have time to read for fun now that we have a break from grad school!

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