Packing for 3 weeks in Europe - Follow Up

We're back! Well, we've been back for a a little over a week, and I'm finally getting into my usual routine again. My house is clean again and all my laundry is done. It didn't seem like we brought a lot of clothes, but we had to wash EVERYTHING, plus the laundry we left when we went out of town, and the stuff we've been wearing since (Nathaniel said to me that it was weird having so many options to choose from!).

This is me with everything I brought. I've never lived so minimally!

So, how did it go? Pretty freaking well, actually. Before we left, I ended up switching out my solid colored tee for a graphic tee (with Mickey on it, obviously), but everything else that I listed stayed the same. I did end up with one more shirt and two more scarves by the end of the trip, but I never felt like I was super sick of my clothes. I think that's because I brought very neutral, versatile things, and anything eye-catching was something I loved.

Also, we walked over 200 miles while on this trip, so not worrying about going for runs feels like a fine decision ;)

If I were to pack up right now to do the exact same trip, I might change a couple things, but honestly I never felt like I was really lacking. I might switch out one skirt for another pair of jeans, added one more tank top, and I might have thrown in a pair of shorts (Madrid and Lisbon were both very warm). We did end up getting absolutely soaked in Paris a few times, so most of our outfits were hanging to dry during parts of that stay. Luckily we missed the flooding that happened right after we left! Any changes I would make in the clothes I packed had to do with the exact weather we experienced, and that can't really be predicted.

I'm really pleased with the toiletries we brought. We did forget dental floss, but that was easy to find abroad. The only things we didn't end up using were first-aid items and the Tide-to-go pen, and I wouldn't ever just leave those at home. And as far as the miscellaneous items go, I used everything I brought, and I don't think I ever really felt like I forgot anything. I did miss my hair straightener (I'm vain, sorry), but considering how much we got rained on and how much time it might have taken away from sleeping and/or exploring, I’m still ok with the decision I made. If we were staying in places longer and had a more leisurely pace, I probably would have justified it and brought it along.

And with all of this, we had just enough room for a few souvenirs. We collected ornaments from each place we visited, I got a purse, Nathaniel got a few soccer jerseys, and I added to my collection of foreign Harry Potter books.

We had such a fun time - I’ll be posting entries about each place we went, the food we ate, and the things we saw :)

Our trip was a great adventure, but it also feels good to be home ♥

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Packing for 3 weeks in Europe - Part 4: Miscellaneous/Accessories

I've covered clothes and toiletries, but what about that stuff that doesn't really fit into those categories? How will I entertain myself on planes and trains (other than sleeping, one of my favorite things)? How will I document the trip? How will I keep track of all our plans and reservations? How will I carry things when I don't have a giant backpack on my back?

Not pictured: bridal Minnie ears ✌

Nathaniel and I both enjoy having pictures as souvenirs from trips. He's the artsy one, I'm more of the "look what I'm doing!" type. We'll have his nice Canon DSLR, my little Nikon J1, and our GoPro, and we're also taking a camera connector so we can upload things to his iPad (just in case we run out of room on our memory cards). I'm also bringing a journal and pen, and a thin 3-ring binder as our document holder. Even though most things are digital now, I want to cover all our bases and I've printed out tickets and confirmations for everything. On our phones and iPad, we've got plenty of movies, TV shows and books to keep us occupied on flights and train rides, and we also got a little headphone splitter so we can watch the same thing on his iPad. And of course, we've got power adapters so we can charge our devices overseas.

I'm taking a purse that can zip closed completely, and of course some sunglasses, my wallet and passport, too. We bought an international SIM card to use in Nathaniel's phone while we're away, mostly for brief moments where it'd be nice to look up a map, which requires a data plan if we're out and about. Otherwise, our hotels and Airbnbs have wifi, which will be good in the mornings and evenings.

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It'll be interesting to see if I've forgotten anything! 

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Packing for 3 weeks in Europe - Part 3: Toiletries

Being a girl who enjoys primping (and who hates her natural hair texture), my bathroom at home is overflowing with products - at least according to my husband. Personally, I think I have just the right amount. 😉 But when traveling for 3 weeks with a carry-on backpack, there's no way that everything I use on a daily/weekly basis is coming with me, especially when any liquids have to fit in 3 oz bottles in a quart-sized ziplock bag.

Now, I already mentioned that I'm not bringing my straightener or dryer, so that helps save some space (plus I won't need any heat protectants or my round brush), but what about the other stuff I use? I'd like anything I bring to be multipurpose, and I'd even like Nathaniel and me to be able to share some products, like soap and shampoo). Also, I think I can probably bring a much more abbreviated set of make-up, since I'd rather be exploring than perfecting my smoky-eye look.

Here's everything that's coming with me:

This, of course, will be a bit different for everyone, but a few of specific things:

  • We got small quick-dry towels, which will be great when we're out and about, or on overnight trains

  • I am bringing a TON of bandaids, blister bandaids, some antibiotic ointment, ibuprofen, and vitamins. Just in case.

  • My hair products are minimal since I'm not straightening my hair while away. Just hair ties, bobby pins, a headband, a hairbrush, a comb and a shower cap. I'm also bringing my own conditioner, and some moisturizing, anti-frizz product. And most places we're staying have shampoo, so I am bringing some multipurpose soap that can be shampoo, body wash, and detergent

  • I like feeling clean, so I'm bringing wipes to carry with us in case our hands get gross, and some hand-sanitizer.

  • My makeup includes: powder foundation, eye primer (AMAZING), shimmery eye shadow, black eyeliner, mascara, eyebrow colored eye-shadow, concealer, tinted SPF chapstick, and finishing powder (also AMAZING)

And luckily I think anything we may have forgotten we can most likely buy while we're away. I'll let you all know how it went when we get back from our adventure!

Packing for 3 weeks in Europe - Part 2: Capsule wardrobe

If you're anything like me, you've got more clothes than you'll ever need, but each piece means something. You remember where you got it, why you got it, and it's difficult to get rid of things. When you're home, that's no big deal. You've got a closet and dresser (give or take), and even if they're stuffed, all your clothes stay in your house/apartment/room, which you can take out, put back, throw on the floor, whatever, and everything is fine (if a bit messy and chaotic).

But when you're on vacation, you're limited to what you decide to bring. For most of my vacations, I count outfits. If I'm gone for 10 days, I'll bring basically 10 of everything, and usually I end up re-wearing a few things, and come home with some outfits that are still clean. On most vacations, I just go one place, so I can bring one big suitcase, stick it in the corner, and not have to worry about cleaning up my mess too much until the day before I leave. But this trip, we're going LOTS of places! The most time we're spending anywhere is four days, so it would be a huge pain to have to repack and lug around a huge suitcase every few days.

Instead, we're bringing backpacks, and I need to figure out just a handful of versatile pieces of clothing to bring with me. The blog Travel Fashion Girl has been a good resource for me! I am bringing a "clothesline" of sorts to wash a select few garments (like underwear and socks), so I don't have to pack a few dozen each of those, and I can wash larger items at our Airbnbs, too.

I'm using a backpack (borrowed from my sister), which is smaller than any suitcase I typically use for shorter trips than this, and here's the clothing that's going inside:

Not pictured:
Socks, underwear, bras, PJs, swimsuit, raincoat, zip up sweater, hat, gloves

Things I'm tempted to bring:
Another skirt
Polka dot blouse
Mermaid dress
Graphic T-shirt
Sandals

Current List:
Boots
Two pairs of Crocs (AMAZING for walking)
Jeans
Black cropped pants (Fabletics)
Black cardigan
Two long-sleeved collared shirts
One T-shirt (green)
Three tank tops (black, white, grey with graphic)
Scarf
Two skirts (one is reversible!)
One dress

Once I get back, I'll let you guys know what worked for me, what I wished I had, and what was completely unnecessary!