When we decided to make this adventure happen, we knew that it was only going to work if we were highly mobile ie. no checked luggage. I did my due diligence and rounded us up some convertible backpacks for the journey. When we arrived to the airport, I knew our bags where too big despite my best efforts to make sure they were the right size. P.S. – my Rick Steves bag specifically said it was for international travel. WTF Rick? I was very nervous that we’d get caught and have to pay the steep checked baggage fees. You know that I hate to be a rule breaker. **Note to future travelers – get an even smaller bag if you are looking to breezily pass the carry-on restrictions.
We got away with them on the way there, but were finally caught on our last flight back to Seattle and the bags had to be checked. Luckily, it was at the gate so we didn’t have to pay 🙂
While we did appreciate the backpack aspects of them, we packed them to the gills and they were truly back breaking at times. If I could do it all over again, I would totally bring less. We were able to wash as we went but I really struggled with the wide variety of climates – the north being more like Seattle with rain and the south being warm and sunny. I did the best I could and never felt ill prepared but knew I’d, once again, over packed! Typical Leslie.
What I would bring next time:
4 tee shirts I’d go with 3
4 tank tops 2 would have been fine
1 zip sweatshirt
2 button downs I’d go with 1
1 black suit jacket
2 cardigans I’d go with 1
1 fancy top
2 pairs of jeans I’d go with 1
1 pair of leggings
1 black skirt
2 pairs of shorts I’d go with 1
1 small purse
1 reusable bag
1 large purse
1 baseball hat Never even wore it!
Nike tennis shoes
Plastic black Birkenstock sandals
1 bathing suit
1 set of light weight pajamas
Socks, bras, underwear
1 rain jacket
1 light jacket
I also broke down and bought a pair of light weight loose fitting animal print capris pants at H&M, which ended up being awesome for the warm nights in Croatia.
• We didn’t need to get as fancy dressed up as I thought we would so I could have gotten away with fewer of my nicer pieces. Most of my basics were enough to get by for sightseeing during the day and dinner at night.
• Choose plain colored tees and tanks so you don’t have to worry about mixing and matching them to your bottoms.
• Black jeans were my best decision. They dressed up and dressed down and always looked flattering.
• Not all athletic shoes are created equal. I thought these ultra-light weight Nike shoes would be perfect for travel, but they gave this gal major plantar fasciitis as they were meant to mimic barefoot walking. I paid dearly for that!
• BUT Dansko booties are the way to go! And Birkenstock Madrid Slides are the bee’s knee’s. Lightweight, comfortable and super versatile.
• Having a light weight set of PJ’s helped keep my shirts, well shirts, so that I could wear them a few times before washing.
• I brought this large, fabric multi-compartment purse, which seemed like a good idea, but wasn’t in the end. It was way too heavy and not comfortable to walk around with. Plus, it’s like the black hole. I could never find what I needed.
• I bought a few pairs of earrings and two necklaces. I could have only brought one of each and been fine.
• We bought two of those money fanny pack things to keep our valuables close and safe. Yeah, didn’t need those at all. Same with the backpack locks. Not needed (at least in the areas we traveled.)
• In the end, I really learned that an ambitious itinerary like ours really didn’t allow for much brain power to devote to outfit selection. Bring the classic, key pieces you love and save your energy for the adventure!