How To Pack For A Month-Long Trip Through 5 Destinations Like A Total Travel Pro
No matter how many times I pack my luggage to head out on yet another travel adventure, packing never fails to stress me out. I've written piece after piece about the best suitcase tips for any occasion, but even though I consider myself a packing pro, I still fail to follow my own advice every once in a while. I just headed out on a month-long excursion between five destinations (Tampa, Florida; Paris; London; and Ahus and Stockholm in Sweden), and had to figure out how to pack for a month-long trip without going overboard.
Because each of the destinations are vastly different in vibes and aesthetic (and because I'm attending quite a few special events in each city that require an extensive wardrobe), during my packing process, I put a lot of effort into making sure that I had enough clothes to get through the trip. I even broke my "no checking bags, ever" rule so I can effortlessly nail each of my #OOTDs on this trip.
I genuinely believe that packing for this trip was a lot more stressful than others I've recently been on, so I gathered up my thoughts into a list to keep track of the techniques that helped me get through it. Time will tell if it actually worked, but I'm feeling pretty good so far.
1. Figure Out What Clothing Pieces Can Suit Every Destination
A trick I always implement whenever I have a bunch of trips scheduled back-to-back is to make sure I pack pieces that will fit each destination.
I'm definitely extra enough that I want my outfits to perfectly fit each city's ~aesthetic~ but if you plan your outfits in neutral colors that can be mixed and matched, you're almost guaranteed to have the perfect #OOTD pics every single moment of your trip.
2. Pack One Of Every Accessory Staple
I'm not going to lie: I'm the kind of person who has the tendency to overpack accessories. From fanny packs to heeled booties, I always think I need one (or five) more than I actually have space for. My solution? Limit myself to one. That's right — just one.
If I tell myself that I can bring two pairs of heels, my packing situation just rolls downhill from there. So, limiting myself to one of each accessory (including small things like sunglasses) ensures that I don't overpack.
3. Plan Your Outfits Out In Advance
This one is way easier said than done (especially if you're not entirely sure what your itinerary is going to look like), but I've found that I always pack significantly less if I plan out my outfits in advance.
For this trip — because I haven't finalized my schedule yet — I decided to pack by "occasion" for each city. So, in Paris, I have a "strolling down the Paris streets" outfit, a "sitting at a café and getting some work done outfit," and a "going out to dinner" outfit. This helped me get rid of a ton of extra things I didn't really need to bring.
4. Limit How Many Clothes You Actually Need
I'm the kind of person who thinks that I need extras of everything: I want 15 sweatshirts, six pairs of sandals, and maybe 10 pairs of sunglasses — just in case. Obviously, I will never have a need for all of those things in one trip — even if the trip is a month long — so I try to walk into my packing situation with the mindset that I'm going to limit how much I need.
For example, if I think I need five pairs of jeans, I'll only pack three. At first, this technique can be pretty stressful and it makes me feel like I'm under-packing for a trip. But once I get into the groove of things, this actually helps me really reduce how much stuff I cram into my bag.
5. If You Have To Check Your Bag, Put All Of Your Heavy Stuff In There
A month is a long time to travel just out of a carry-on, and even though I've done it before, it's not the most enjoyable experience. For this month-long trip, I decided to check a bag. Everything heavy — like my shoes, beauty products, and bulkier clothes like sweaters and jeans — all made their way into my checked bag to make my airport transit a little easier. Though this hack isn't necessarily going to make your packing process easier, it definitely helps to make your total traveling experience a lot more enjoyable.
6. Accept The Fact That Packing For A Month In Five Destinations Is Really Hard
Honestly, like many other difficult processes, the first step in packing your life away for a month is accepting that it's going to be tough. I spent a couple hours at the beginning of my packing experience straight-up panicking because I thought that I just wasn't going to have enough time to do everything I needed to do, but I ended up finishing with an hour to spare.
All of this is to say that sometimes, all you need to make a stressful situation a little more manageable is to sit down and take a deep breath. That way, you can go in with a clear mindset, totally ready to take on the challenge.