Okay, here we go – packing! I’m guessing for most of you that this is THE most hated part of the travel process. I get it. I don’t like to pack either. But…I’ve developed some guidelines, strategies and downright hacks that make it easier to make decisions, keep it efficient and allow you to have everything that you truly need. There’s a lot to cover about packing. I’ll be constantly sharing on this topic, so you can get every nugget of useful information. Consider this a broad overview kicking things off – packing can be something you conquer and master instead of dread!
Let’s start with what we’re putting everything in – luggage. Yep, I’m going to say it, the word you may dread hearing, “carry on.” Unplug your ears. It’s okay. It’s the best decision you will every make. We have easily traveled for 6 weeks in only a carry on. We get the 21″ size and actually still check it, so I don’t have to deal with the liquids situation. I’m very particular about the characteristics of my carry on and why it’s important – more on that later. Let’s just say, for starters, the smaller your luggage, the less you have to lug around on all modes of transportation or try to stow away in your hotel room.
Backpack – I do prefer a backpack. I carry this on the plane and it holds all of my in-cabin necessities – book, compression socks, eye mask, neck pillow, computer, etc. I am partial to a backpack because it is one less thing I have to carry. It just seems easier to deal with because it’s already strapped to me.
Purse – cross body, for sure! I like it big enough for a water bottle and umbrella if necessary, but small enough that it’s not weighing me down. Guys, Dan carries a “man bag,” “man purse,” whatever you want to call it. Seriously, it is a life saver. And so many men carry these in Europe.
What to bring, what to bring. Well, we’re there to run, so let’s start there. Your shoes! The most important thing, don’t forget those darn running shoes.
- 2 workout bottoms
- 2 workout tops – maybe an extra if you want a long sleeve
- 1 sports bra
- Socks can make or break it. They don’t take up much space, so bring what you need – especially for your race! *Tech gear dries quickly, so you can wash your running gear in the sink with shampoo or suck it up and run in some stinky gear for a day to give you a break on laundry duty.
For the rest of the trip, my general rule of thumb is neutrals, with a pop of color here and there. Scarves and jewelry can always up the visual interest on your outfit and they don’t take up much space. (You can use those scarves to stay warm on the plane too. Usually I have one around my neck and use a warmer one as a blanket as those dang plane blankets aren’t exactly cozy.) Mix & match is key! My personal hack is that if I had to get dressed in the dark, 85% of the time, my pants, shirt and sweater would match. My go to fabric is merino wool because it keeps you very warm even if the sweater is thin, so you don’t need to compromise room for souvenirs or Belgian and Swiss chocolate because you brought too many bulky sweaters! For a more comprehensive list of what we pack when we travel, check out our packing lists for women and men.
Shoes…yikes, this is a beast of a subject that can really stump people. 3 pairs – max! That’s it.
- Running shoes
- Sneakers/Comfortable walking shoes – go with everything and you can last in them all day
- Dressier shoe (definitely optional here) – flat, bootie, loafer, leather lace up
So, I hope this has been a helpful start to tackling the packing situation! There is so much more to come on this topic. I’ll get into the nitty gritty on all categories of packing in deeper detail, so stay tuned!