All Packed and Ready to Go ~ 2 days, 19 hours and 13 minutes till takeoff

So, with just under 3 days left till take off, I am packed up. I have gotten a lot of questions about how I am packing for a month long trip, so I will attempt to address that here.

The Luggage: 

I debated luggage quite a bit. Did I want to go the traditional backpacker route? I knew I didn’t want to use my hard sided luggage (They work great in the US, but in Europe, through train stations and up and down stairs – not so much). I researched and decided I wanted to go with a convertible bag that could be wheeled as a suitcase (great in airports and on streets) but could also be worn as a backpack (for stairs and places where I needed free hands). I decided on the REI 26′ Stratocruiser Wheeled Backpack with Detachable Day Bag – My decision was made easy when I was checking it out at the Kennesaw REI and it was on sale. I bought it and have been able to test it for several trips to Kentucky to visit the Stenners, Special Olympics and more – and it has been great. The added bonus of this bag was the integrated daypack – which would give me a small bag to use as a carryon, and that I could use as I explored Europe. With my daypack and my luggage situated, I moved on to looking at a purse. I knew my current purse wouldn’t work, because it was already starting to show wear, and I had some concerns about how easy it would be to slash or snatch. This lead me to discover the PacSafe brand. I decided on the CitySafe 200 Cross Body Bag –  (I actually bought it on Amazon for 1/2 the price you see here). It has some great features (RFID blocking passport slot, zipper locks, exomesh lining and wire straps to deter thieves). And with that, I had my luggage arsenal situated. Slide1 The Packing:  I have embarrassingly detailed packing lists, but the end result is a organized suitcase and set of bags that I feel will travel very well. My packing list was divided into 4 areas: Electronics (which I addressed in My Tech “Travelosophy”), Paperwork, Clothing and Toiletries. Paperwork 22600_10205406172886344_3467727594700555311_n This was an easy category – but very important! This list really just gave me a way to double check myself. Did I pack my passport, credit cards, currency, rail pass, reservations, tickets, etc? All of these items either went in my purse, or in the folder in my carryon. I also have a notebook to use as my travel journal that I included in this category. I did get some starter currency so that I would have local currency for each location I might visit, just in case my credit or debit card decide to malfunction.


I knew I needed to maximize space with this category – which meant making sure that every item served multiple purposes. There was no sense in packing anything that I would only use or wear once. I also knew that I needed to make sure everything could be worn in different combinations together, so that I could take less clothing. I also wanted clothing that would not wrinkle, would be comfortable, and would wash (AND DRY) quickly. For clothing, what I ended up packing was 4 pairs of Capris (all black to make things simpler), 5 shirts, 5 pair of bamboo (quick-dry) socks, 2 pair of Yoga Pants and 2 T-shirts to sleep in (One is my CCEF shirt for the contest for those that have asked), a swimsuit, 2 simple, comfortable dresses (for high tea and days when I need to be more dressy) and of course, relevant undergarments. I also added a black hat and raincoat, both from Columbia for sun and rain protection. Shoes were a tricky thing – I have strange feet, and knew that I would need shoes that could withstand a lot of walking. I decided to go with my SKECHERS Skech-Flex – Ultimate Reality shoe – (They are like foot pillows), My Keen Newports– Amphibious Walking Shoes, and My NewBalance Black Flats , which would work as a dress shoe, but would hold up to walking all day through the city.  I also threw a pair of shower shoes in my bag, since I would be using some hostel bathrooms and sharing shower areas with folks.


In this category, less was more. I purchased some Dr. Bronners soap to serve multiple purposes (body wash, shampoo, dish soap, laundry detergent and more), but found it made my hair WAY too dry, so I added a small container of conditioner – I will run out of both, and have decided that will be an opportunity to try something new. In addition to the typical toiletries needed, I also needed some items to assist with washing clothes on the road. I got a universal sink plug and clothesline to simply that task when I do not have access to a washing machine. I bought a small first aid kit, moleskin in case of blisters and even some travel toilet paper after hearing some friends’  horror stories about bathrooms in Europe. I put all of these items in my hanging Vera Bradley Toiletry Bag so that I could clip it up in bathrooms with no counter space. Because I was staying in a few hostels, and trains, and even the one night on a bus, I also packed a sleep-liner and inflatable pillow, just in case the accommodations are not what I anticipated, or I need additional comfort.

General Packing

  • Ziplock bags were my friend – I packed everything that might remotely spill in ziplock bags, and threw extras in the bag for when I buy food for my longer train journeys and picnics.
  • I packed extra carabiner clips for securing items to my bag as I go through Europe.
  • I included some Cable Ties for securing zippers and my bag to fixed objects on trains and in travel, and made sure to pack a pair of clippers (in my checked bag) to open them.
  • I did pack a padlock in case I stay somewhere that the lockers don’t have one attached.
  • I also threw my travel corkscrew in the bag – better than having to buy one when I have a picnic, or just want some fabulous wine.
  • I used Eagle Creek Packing Cubes to organize my bag, so that if I have to open my suitcase at the airport everything has a place and goes back together nicely.
  • I bought a spare pair of glasses and a pair of prescription sunglasses from Eye Buy Direct – I highly recommend them if you need eyewear – they were a great deal, and I really like them.

So there we go, everything packed, and in a suitcase that weighs less than 30 pounds, and my carryon and purse weigh less than 10 pounds. Is it Tuesday yet?



  1. Sounds like you have it all under control! Despite the fact you are excited – hope you can sleep a bit! It may be difficult on the road! ;))

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Have a wonderful adventure!! You will love traveling abroad. I always find it fun to shop when traveling, there are some interesting items to purchase.

    Liked by 1 person

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