On my last overseas trip, pre-COVID, I travelled with my daughter-in-law to Portugal. Prior to this trip I’d always been someone that packed pretty much anything and everything that I thought I might need. However, when planning for this trip, I really wanted to try my best to do what so many other travelers have done…pack with some rules in mind! So here’s my 5,4,3,2,1 for packing.
Five is the number of tops to take. Because we were travelling to Portugal in February this became a combination of short-sleeved t-shirts (a graphic tee is always fun to have), one sleeveless shirt, and a black cardigan. Yes there are six items here because the pullover was something I wore on the plane, the other pieces were packed in my carry-on suitcase. Obviously depending on your destination you will play around with the kinds of tops, but I would suggest having a long-sleeved top for the plane…something comfy!
Four becomes the bottoms…a combination of pants, skirts, or shorts, based on the destination and time of year. I always like a pair of black pants…so versatile for either casual wear during the day or dressing up if the occasion calls for it. Wear something loose fitting for the plane ride. I love my Eddie Bauer pants on the left for that! When the weather got hot, which it did, I just rolled them up and wore with sneakers.
Three is the number of shoes…including the black runners that I wore on the plane. These were perfect as we went from plane to train to taxi before arriving at our destination. Make sure whatever you wear it’s comfortable, especially when using different modes of transportation. The booties were perfect for wandering around the cities, as well as evenings, and my white Keds sneakers are a staple anytime I travel. These ones were well-used and I’ve since bought myself a new pair. A sunny destination would have me replace the booties with a nice pair of sandals…maybe even throw some flip-flops in the bag. Use the inside of any shoes you pack for “stuffable” items!
Two is for jackets. I love my rain jacket (Eddie Bauer again) which was great for the plane ride as well as cooler days. I also packed a faux leather jacket for city jaunts and evening dinners. We were going to Europe and yes they do dress up more than we do in North America. So glad I rolled up this jacket and added it as I wore it a lot! I do love scarves so I wore one on the plane and stuffed one into my suitcase as well. A beach destination would mean ditching the extra coat and packing swimwear.
One becomes all those odds and ends that you might need to add. I travel with a backpack, but I always take my Mountain Equipment Co-op day purse. It fits my wallet, small bottle of water, and maps. If I am meandering around a city I will just carry this and my camera. An umbrella also gets added inside my backpack, as well as my Kobo, camera, sunglasses, and whatever else you might want to travel with. Don’t forget those chargers…I had to track down a camera store in Seville after discovering I had packed the wrong one…lesson learned!
I’ll admit I was a bit of a skeptic before I actually went ahead and packed with these “rules” in mind, however it worked out so well that I would definitely use them again. Another thing I do add is a “packable” bag which I can then use on the journey home. I just check-in the carry-on suitcase and use the “packable” bag to take on the plane with any souvenirs or other items I’ve purchased while travelling.
This may seem like a strange choice of topics to blog about at the moment, but we will travel again one day…and I for one want to be prepared. If you’d like to read about Portugal trip check out our itinerary here.