Wanderlust Wednesday: Packing Tips

Happy Hump Day! 
Not gonna lie, this week is a littllllllle bit stressful. It’s just been one of those weeks with work where things are not going as smoothly as I’d like and I’m having a little bit of a mini freak out about hitting my goals. And then on top of that, we’re leaving for Oregon on Thursday night for a long weekend and I’m taking Friday off for Cam’s birthday. I’m super excited about our trip, but it means I’m under even more of a time crunch to get everything done with work. So fingers crossed that today is extremely productive!

Anyway, I mentioned last week that for the month of October I’m going to be doing a series of travel related posts and since I love alliteration I thought Wanderlust Wednesday would be the perfect title 🙂 Today’s topic? Packing!

So we’re still in the process of planning our itinerary and making hotel reservations for our trip to Israel and Turkey next month, yet I’m already more concerned with what I’m going to bring! While Cam and I do take a lot of weekend trips, packing for a longer vacation is much different and requires a lot more thought. It’s also much different than when we go to visit our families in Michigan and Oregon as those trips usually involve bringing a wide variety of clothes from workout wear to more dressy items. Traveling internationally is all about packing light and choosing pieces that can be mixed and matched over the course of the trip. It can be a little bit overwhelming and so for a trip like this it’s
really important to plan in advance and really think about what you need.

While I am by no means an expert when it comes to packing, I do have a little bit of experience from our trip to Europe two years ago and I definitely picked some tips and tricks when I was working at the travel store in Boulder. The store held packing clinics to teach people how to pack light for an international trip. And when I say pack light, I mean using just a carry-on. And while that may seem crazy to some people, in my opinion, it’s by far the best way to travel, especially overseas. It makes your trip much easier not to have to drag around a bunch of heavy bags, it prevent your luggage them from getting lost on your flight over, and helps you avoid crazy checked bag fees airlines charge these days.

{Check out my post from last year with the tips from the packing clinic here}

Since I already wrote a whole post on how to travel light, I don’t want to just repeat all the same info. Instead I want to talk more specifically about what I should pack for our upcoming trip because I’m at a little bit of a loss as far as exactly what to bring…

When we went backpacking around Europe in 2010, Cam and I went a little overboard trying to figure the best clothes to pack because we were going for six weeks and space in our packs was limited to say the least. Plus, being that we were primarily staying in hostels, we also brought our own travel towels and sleep sacks. We basically ended up buying out REI and all the clothes we brought were made out of technical fabrics that could easily be washed and dried. Also, being that it was such a long trip through multiple countries with varying climates, we also had to bring a wide range of clothing for the weather. Everything we packed was super functional and ended up working out fairly well for the trip. Looking back through our pictures, most of my outfits are pretty simple and I’m happy with how they looked in photos (because let’s be serious, that’s a huge part of my decision making process when packing!)…and then there are some photos where I’m wearing outfits like this:

I basically look like the little drummer boy.

I don’t know why but I was convinced that I needed special travel pants that converted to capris for backpacking through Europe. And I wore them on a lot of the trip. And while they worked out fine, they weren’t necessarily the most attractive thing. Also, those Merrell mary janes I’m wearing that everyone online claimed were the best travel shoe ever? They hurt my feet so bad. Not fun.

I really want to try to pack as light as possible for our trip to Israel and Turkey, while also learning from my past mistakes. The nice part is we’re going for a much shorter time (only two weeks instead of six) and the climate should be more consistent and (hopefully) a little easier to pack for. The temps are supposed to be in the high 50’s-low 60’s in Istanbul and then in the low 60’s-70’s in Israel, which sounds like perfect weather to me. While I want to bring clothes that are functional, I also don’t want to look like a camp counselor while I’m there. Here are some of my current Pin-spirations for what I’m planning to bring:

Using that as my inspiration, here’s what I figure I need to bring…

{Our backpacks in Berlin!}

Luggage: Cam and I both actually really need new, grown-up luggage, and it’s on our list of “adult” purchases to make. I’m debating about getting a new carry-on before the trip because I would really like to have a nice 22” suitcase to use for future trips. However, if I don’t end up getting a new suitcase before this trip, I’ll probably end up using my backpack that I took to Europe. If it could fit enough clothes for six weeks, I’m sure it can hold enough for two! (Also, I swear by using packing cubes when I travel regardless of what kind of bag I take, but they are particularly handy when using a backpack!)

{Wearing my Marmot jacket in the cold in Paris waiting for the Louvre to open…my hair is so short compared to how crazy long it is now!}

Outerwear: I hate being cold, and one thing that I learned from our trip to Europe is that I’d rather err on the side of having too many layers and have to take some off versus walking around shivering all day. I will probably end up bringing my black Marmot softshell for sure (I can’t remember the exact model I have, I think it’s this one), as it really is the perfect jacket. It’s waterproof, wind-resistant, and keeps you warm without being too bulky. I actually bought it for our trip to Europe, wore it all throughout the trip, and have worn it constantly sense. It’s held up really well, so I’d highly recommend it if you’re in the market for a new jacket! However, I haven’t ruled out the idea of bringing a little bit more stylish coat and the options I’m considering are my trench coat (classic but kind of a pain to lug around), a black leather jacket (everyone in Europe had these on and my sister wore hers when she was in Israel and it looked really good–only problem is I don’t have one…yet), or a more military-inspired jacket (like this one, except in more of an olive green–and I also don’t have this jacket either so I’d need to find one before the trip). Oh and then there is a chance of rain on the trip as well, and I’m not crazy about my rain coat. I brought it to Europe as well, and it’s fine, it’s just not very cute. But since I don’t think think buying 3 new jackets is exactly in the budget before we leave, I’m going to have to make some decisions…

{Love Lauren Conrad’s airport style}

 Clothes: I definitely want to look cute on this trip, but still be comfortable. The whole leggings look still seems to be in for fall, so I’m definitely going to be rocking those on the trip, especially for our long flight over there! (I got this pair in on our trip to NYC and I love them!) I’ll also be bringing jeans, as well as lots of layering pieces to wear on top. I’m definitely going to try and stick to a neutral palette and I’m thinking I’ll probably go with black as my main color of choice for the pieces I bring. Most of what we’ll be doing is sightseeing so I won’t have much need for dressy outfits, but I will probably stick in a dress or two just in case, along with some cute fall tights. And then I’ll definitely be brining a few scarves for sure, they are my #1 travel accessory. They’re so easy to pack, instantly dress up your look, and they’re great as a make shirt blanket should the need arise. I’m not planning on packing too many though because I definitely want to buy some while I’m over there! Oh, and I’m definitely packing my bathing suit for the Dead Sea!

Shoes: This is the tough part. I would like to limit myself to just two pairs of shoes, but I’m still trying out what makes the most sense to bring. I really want to bring a cute pair of boots, but they have to be comfortable for walking around. And then if I’m mainly brining black/gray clothing should I bring black boots or brown boots? Cam is trying to advise me against bringing boots because he thinks they’ll hurt my feet walking around, but I think I just need to find the right pair. And then for a second pair of shoes I don’t know if I should bring ballet flats? My Toms? My Converse? I want to be cute, but comfort is key.

Purse: I’m debating whether I want to bring my normal black leather purse or bring my smaller black swing pack that I brought to Europe. I think the swing pack would be easier to deal with, but it also doesn’t fit our DSLR. Cam will probably wear some sort of daypack so he could hypothetically carry the camera, but then that doesn’t leave any room to store extra layers if it gets hot during the day. I just don’t want my shoulder to hurt from lugging my purse around all day…

As far as toiletries/makeup, I’m going to try to bring just the essentials. My hair is pretty low maintenance, so I’m probably not going to even bring my hair dryer and just try to use the one at the hotels. Other than that we’ll be bringing along our travel documents, adapters/converters, a packable tote bag (for bring home purchases from the trip!) and a few other travel essentials, but I really want to try and pack as light as we can. One thing I took from working at the travel store is that the old saying about travel to bring half of what you think you need and double the money is definitely true! 🙂

Now I want to hear from you! Do you have any suggestions on what to pack? Any comfy shoes/boots you would recommend? Anyone been to Israel/Turkey this time of year? What was the weather like? I seriously need advice so any tips would be very much appreciated!!

Have a good day everyone! Xoxo

PS: For some additional advice on packing, check out these tips from Rick Steves, Real Simple, and Seventeenth & Irving

{All photos not from my Europe trip can be found on my Pinterest boards}