Hold Onto Your Hat
While I love wearing a structured hat in real life, traveling with a hat proved to be cumbersome, and I ended up accidentally leaving my beloved felt fedora in an overhead bin in a plane in Stockholm. Next time, I’ll skip the hat, or just bring the packable straw hat that I picked up from Target for $8. Also eyeing these super chic packable hats from Janessa Leone.
Have a Laundry Plan
I learned that most hotels have laundry services available, but I picked up a couple mini packets of liquid detergent, and I was able to easily wash the items I wanted to wear again in the sink and hang them to dry. Next time I would pack even lighter and just plan to do a little laundry mid-way through my trip. Also, If you’re anything like me, it’s always helpful to have a stain stick or wipes in your handbag so you’re not walking around with ketchup stains on your favorite white blouse.
Try a Trench
During my travels to four countries the weather varied vastly, from cold and rainy to humid and sunny. While I’ve never been a trench coat person, I noticed that all of the chic women had one – the perfect light, rain-resistant layer that works for all seasons. It will be my next investment piece for sure. I also wish I had packed or bought a tiny umbrella that could have fit in my handbag. Paris proved to be quite the rain soaked adventure!
Sneakers for the Win
Another surprise: Everyone wears sneakers in Europe. I took up valuable space in my suitcase packing high heel booties for dinners out, but quickly realized I could have skipped them. Even at the nicest restaurants I noticed most people were quite well dressed (blazers, slacks, red lipstick, nice handbags), but got away with wearing super comfortable sneakers.
Pack a Portable Phone Charger
When I travel, I like to walk everywhere using Google Maps, which, it turns out, quickly drains my phone battery. Next time, I’ll be sure to pack this portable phone charger (or battery pack) so I can stay out all day knowing I won’t lose access to a map. Pro tip: I now pack all of my chargers and adapters in this durable clear pouch in my handbag so I never have to hunt them down.
Hold the Toiletries
I always go very light when I pack toiletries (deodorant, face wash, moisturizer, SPF, powder, mascara, lipgloss, and toothpaste), and found that every hotel I stayed at had nice hand cream, shampoo, conditioner, and even extras like razors, toothpaste, and earplugs. My advice? Keep toiletries to a bare minimum, especially because in Europe you have to squeeze everything into a tiny plastic bag (removed from your suitcase) every-time you go through security. Update: I’m now using this TSA approved clear pouch for toiletries in my carry-on.
Bring a Duffle
Even if you pack super light it’s likely that you’ll want to bring home a few souvenirs from your trip. I had several frequent-traveler friends recommend the same stylish, packable Longchamp duffle that is on my list for my next trip. It’s super compact, lightweight, and weatherproof – ideal for bringing home anything extra you picked up on your travels.
Hope these tips prove helpful on your next trip, and if you have any of your own, please share in the comments below.
P.S. While I typically travel without much cash, I’d also suggest bringing a small amount of foreign currency for tipping at hotels and restaurants.
Photography Credit: Vivian Johnson