How to Travel Light for International Trips

We all romanticize vacation. We romanticize roaming the streets. We romanticize new cities. We romanticize experiences.  The main idea that everyone forgets with travel is traveling

While we all want to be cute in our vacation photos, we also must remember practicality. The reality of vacation is travel. Travel means schlepping your things across all modes of transportation. You want to have a good vacation? Minimize the weight you have to schlep around town – without sacrificing personal style.

Figure out your perfect tourist uniform. Everyone’s style is different – and the area you are visiting is a huge factor. Review your plans and look for a pattern. Sightseeing around town? It’s best to bring your most comfortable and broken in shoes. Lying on the beach most times? Then you can probably get away with flip flops all day, every day. The main idea is to find things to match your activities and bring only those. 

  • Don’t bring heels if you only plan on wearing it for one night out. Most countries find them to be more out of place than wearing simple flats. Consider all activities and plan accordingly. 
  • Consider your most loved pieces. There is a reason you wear the same few tops every week.
  • Pack multiples of the same uniform. Wear the same formula – but different pieces – throughout the duration of the trip so you will be fuss-free. Example formula: fitted tee + bouncy skirt + comfortable sneakers.
This is my usual formula for European trips. Since flights usually take the bulk of the vacation budget, we like to stay longer and explore as much of the country as possible. A medium jacket keeps me warm in the cooler countryside, while flats keep my feet happy during all the sightseeing. For trips that involve a fair amount of aimless roaming, I rely heavily on a hands-free bag. Tip: Confirm that individual items pair well with one another for ease of mixing and matching.

This is my usual formula for European trips. Since flights usually take the bulk of the vacation budget, we like to stay longer and explore as much of the country as possible. A medium jacket keeps me warm in the cooler countryside, while flats keep my feet happy during all the sightseeing. For trips that involve a fair amount of aimless roaming, I rely heavily on a hands-free bag. Tip: Confirm that individual items pair well with one another for ease of mixing and matching.

Leave the hair dryer. Most hotels or AirBNBs have hair dryers on site. If this is a big deal to you, it is worth the time to do extra research and make sure your lodging provides them prior to booking. Not only will this save in cutting extra bulk, it will also save you the hassle of getting plug adapters (or worse, transformers).

Find your minimal makeup routine. While you might be a fan of strip lashes and fun lipstick during the work week, you might reconsider both if you plan to do a beach trip. Likewise for adventures through Asia as the humidity will melt everything. Find a look you can do in a few minutes and makes you feel good.

Get comfortable styling your hair. The hard lesson I’ve learned with my hair is that not all water is created equal. While water is incredibly soft in the US, the water in Europe strips your hair of everything for that squeaky clean feeling. Because of this, my hair is extra frizzy and dry during vacations. Combat this by learning simple hairstyles, like buns and braids, on those off days. Hair ties and bobby pins take up minimal space. 

Always have two pairs of walking shoes. You might be tempted to have one comfortable pair of shoes and one that is more fashion forward – but it is best to have two for you to switch between. In my experience, after so many hours in one shoe, your feet starts forming blisters on the smallest hot spots. To prevent this, I swap between two shoes. I add an extra shoe if the vacation exceeds 5 days. Tip: wear your bulkiest walking shoe to save packing room.

Beach vacations are when most people tend to over pack. We see how little space is needed to carry loose, tiny beach clothes that we tend to pack extra “just in case” items. In reality, all we really need are thin items that will air dry quickly and a general cardigan for the cool island nights.

Beach vacations are when most people tend to over pack. We see how little space is needed to carry loose, tiny beach clothes that we tend to pack extra “just in case” items. In reality, all we really need are thin items that will air dry quickly and a general cardigan for the cool island nights.

Bring thin layering items. When traveling in the colder months, you can generally get away with one medium weight jacket. When bouncing between different climates (like if you are traveling across one entire country), you can generally layer underneath the jacket if needed. I like to add one scarf to block out any ‘holes’ that the jacket does not cover. Additionally, I like to bring thin thermal leggings to wear underneath my regular pants.

Carry a smart personal item. When choosing a personal item, find something that can double as your vacation day pack. Don’t bring a cute weekender only to fulfill your flight needs. Bring a bag that you can comfortably use to carry daily essentials (water bottle, snacks, wallet, etc) during your trip.

Sincerely, Tania