bon voyage, part I
I'm off to Europe soon for a couple of weeks with friends, and I'm quite excited about the prospect of dressing for cool weather - us tropical folks find it extremely novel and some of us even try to travel when it's spring or fall in our destination countries that we can wind scarves around our neck and sight-see without melting into a greasy-faced, sticky mess.
I love to pack. I've always been on the budget end of travelling and I backpack regularly, so space is precious and maximising it became quite the obsession. In the past, I packed things I would never want to be seen in back home, because I didn't want to bring things I'd worry about ruining, but I've realised it's possible to pack my "regular" clothes and still navigate the challenges of budget travel well.
These days, I sometimes still travel out of a backpack for long trips even though I'm not always slumming out in dorms in hostels. It just feels much easier going around on the subway from airports or crossing train platforms, etc, or when you rent an apartment on the sixth floor of some gorgeous old building with no lift.
I've learnt that:
- Black, grey and navy pack really well and they look fresh even after a few wears.
- Anything you pack should match at least three other things
- Minimise outerwear
- Do laundry on the go to save space; bring detergent. I like the type for delicate items because they're usually concentrated so a little goes a long way, and they smell awesome.
- Washed silk and linen knits pack really well
- I still don't know how to travel without jeans - unless it's a beach holiday
- Understand your shopping habits: I notice I almost never fail to buy scarves and shoes, so I pack as little of those as possible.
- Always ask for free samples when you buy skincare and toiletries - they are convenient for short trips and the packet ones are great for long transits to freshen up. Sephora, Aesop,and Kiehl's are generous
- Keep your suitcase only three-quarters full for shopping and gifts. There was the time I had to bring home two bottles of wine and a beautiful Murano glass dish as a wedding gift...
- One beige trenchcoat (may skip this, a bitch to pack)
- One grey blazer
- One grey chunky knit sweater
- One navy sweater with red and white striped cuffs
- One black cardigan (buttons up into a sweater)
- One blue and red striped pullover
- One navy washed silk shirt
- One blue and white cotton checked shirt
- One celadon and white print cotton shirt
- Two t-shirts for layering
- One pair of dark blue skinny jeans
- One pair of black skinny cropped trousers
- Off-white Converses
- Beige suede desert boots
- Flip flops - I don't like walking in rented flats barefoot, but neither do I like keeping my shoes on the whole time
- One grey jersey scarf/wrap
- One navy messenger bag
If I have extra room, maybe I'll bring a fascinating cashmere infinity scarf I got for my birthday that I've never used, and maybe another sweater.
By the way, anyone been to Brussels? I have a couple of nights there, and would love some restaurant recommendations.