So, it may seem weird to you, but before I head off on a trip, if even just for a few days, I start packing well ahead of time! Like, WEEKS! Mentally I prepare what to pack long before I physically move anything. I love packing. I mean it! I. LOVE. PACKING!
I love this bag. I got it for free on Amazon as a product tester!
I look up packing tips all the time to see if any new Pinterest style ideas come up. Not really. It's just packing, after all. There are only so many ways to fold, roll or shove clothes into a bag.
For my upcoming trip to Europe I did it all on the cheap- discount flights, no extra baggage to incur any extra fees, no carry-on. It's just me and my backpack, almost already perfectly ready to go. So I have to be sure to pack well enough so that I don't feel like I'm missing anything when I get there, and need to remind myself that some things, if I need them, can be purchased there like extra socks or ear plugs.
I'm only going to Europe for a few days- 7 in total but the whole first day will be various states of traveling, and it's all budget friendly stuff or staying with friends- which is even better! (If only I could real quick make some trusting Dubliner friends for next time! Hit me up, Dubliners!)
A lot of the time when I said I was doing everything budget friendly to others I had to explain that it means more than just airfare. To some it just means tickets; to me it means tickets, bags, rooms, food, excursions, everything! So, in an effort to try to inspire small weekenders or budget friendly trips this summer I am putting to list my ideas to help rationalize your trip planning to save a few bucks!
1. Plan your packing! I used to be a chronic over packer- like what if we go to to a fancy dinner? What if the Queen comes to town? What if I meet the Pope? None of that happens. I rarely go out to a fancy dinner at my own home- why would I be nervous about packing for it in a new place? I would also over pack so far ahead of time that I wouldn't have clothes to wear to work and I would have to UNpack things just to get through the week(s) leading up to vacation! Rationalize ahead of time what you can live with and without so then when you set out to pack it's easy and efficient.
2. Find a sturdy bag or suitcase. It sounds silly, like, no duh, BUT accidents happen. Rips happen. Overweight bags happen! You do NOT want to get caught up at the airport with a heavy bag and have to pay to check it because the price triples! Same goes for personal items- make sure it fits the qualifications set the the airport before packing so that there are no surprises. Qualifiers are on all of your airline website's FAQ. Spending an extra $100 of your hard saved cash before you even leave for vacation is a big bummer. And you HAVE to do it; otherwise you can throw it away or not go on your trip. Your choice. Plan ahead.
3. Pick your schedule. Do you know that you want to visit a specific place or two, or more? Check out my post about City Pass for an idea. For this trip I knew I wanted to revisit Guinness Storehouse and hit up a few places I didn't have time to see last time I was in Dublin, so I bought a 2-day City Pass Dublin card again, which though not to terribly cheap, at about $45 a day it's still better priced than if I were to pay out of pocket for each destination, plus free bus tickets and discounts. I'm digressing. Plan your trip out, if even loosely. If you know, like me, that you want to visit a place, check into it. Make sure it's open, that it's affordable, kid friendly, what have you. You owe it to yourself to do a few minutes of research so that day of you're not wandering around aimlessly because you planned to spend all day at a location that is not even open during your trip. Prepare a backup plan, as well, in case of closures, weather, tantrums- you get it.
4. Finally Packing! It's funny, when packing I always plan and plan and somehow think it will still take all day, so I set hours aside to do it- nope. It takes about ten minutes. Kind of a let down, that. I typically start with the most important stuff, if even to just toss it in the bag before I fully pack so that I don't forget it- like my passport, money, phone chargers (I need THREE different plugs this time! Three!) I also plan ahead for my toiletry bag- grab my SteriPod cover for my toothbrush (a Target find), band aids, some makeup, washcloth, baby wipes, aspirin- things I know I would use but won't want to buy while there because chances are I will need or want them before I remember to buy.
It's all there- jeans, 3 tees, 3 tanks, undies, socks, Polaroid camera, passport, money, toiletries, electronics and not pictured are treats for my Dutch Sister from another Mister
Note: Cutting out over packing is when you really get to know yourself, if you don't already. I'm going away for 7 days but I know myself well enough to know that even if I packed a pair of pants for every day, or a special outfit for every day, that I would just wear the same two pairs of pants- so I'm only packing one pair of pants (and wearing the other). I don't need 4 pairs of shoes or dresses for every whim (like I have at home). I have a few shirts and tanks, always extra socks and undies, PJ pants and that's about it. I'm much more into not paying for a carry-on suitcase than I'm into being a fashionista on this trip. Bare minimum. Less is less- less to pay for, less to carry, less weight on your back, less to clean up after, less chance of leaving something behind forever.
5. Double Checking Everything. Check in to your flights when applicable. Make sure your ride to the airport is still on board. Grab your book/gum/candy/snacks. Portable phone charger. Make sure that you either have access to your email for flight reservations or, like me, a folder in your phone's photo album of screencaps of ALL of your trip information in case you need to present it at a moment's notice. After countless viewings of Friends, I refuse to be Rachel Green here, forgetting my passport and telling the lady at the ticket counter that it's on my nightstand at home then having to race home to get it. It's the first thing I pack and I keep it in an accessible (by me) pocket for easy grabbing until I pass security.
6. MOST IMPORTANTLY! Kiss the cats goodbye for an absurdly extended period of time to make up for time away. They love it.
Not pictured: Dave
So, that's that. Just a few tips on helping avoid over packing and baggage fees. Plus, this way there's no waiting around at the luggage carousal for sometimes two hours (it happened to me) waiting for your luggage to drop! I don't know about you, but until I actually see my bag rolling past I am in a state of panic that it's lost. No matter what. And, for some reason, it's always one of the LAST to fall! .
Honestly, it's a liiiiiittle jam packed and could do with some repositioning.
Do you have any other tips? Let me know- I'm always down for learning something new!
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