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How You Should be Packing for a Weekend Trip

by Alexa Nofsinger
How to Pack Your Entire Life into a Weekend Bag | AIFS Study Abroad

One pro to living in Europe is that going from country to country is easy, and flights are super cheap compared to the prices we are used to in America. The downfall? Baggage limits. Small airlines such as EasyJet or Vueling offer great prices for their flights, but only allow their passengers one bag — not one cabin bag and one personal bag, just one bag per person. Imagine my frustration when I was trying to pack for a week of travels into one bag that fit the size requirements!

How on earth was I supposed to pack for two different countries and two different weather atmospheres, in one bag? Well, I managed and here’s my advice for you fellow travelers.

1. Find a durable bag.

First, and most importantly, find a durable bag that fits within the size requirements, and then start your packing from there. Look up the weather of the places you will be traveling to in order to allow yourself to pack accordingly.

2. Plan, plan, plan.

Next, outfit plan. Yes, even guys can plan out their outfits! 😉 It is a lot more efficient to put some options together that can be mixed and matched, rather than just throwing random clothes into the bag and calling it a day. Layering is your friend. Regardless of whether you’re traveling to a warm or cold location, your body continuously changes its temperature, and you will want flexible items to adjust accordingly.

3. Mix and match.

Mixing and matching is also your friend. It’s my recommendation that you have one pair of shorts (if going to a place with potentially warmer weather), one pair of jeans, and then one pair of back-up pants in case of an emergency. Then, you can either find seven different shirts for each day, or for ladies, have maybe five shirts that can be layered into a new outfit.

4. Leave the shoes at home.

Shoes. If anyone is like me, I feel the need to have four different shoes with me “just in case.” Don’t learn the hard way like I did: shoes take up most of your space. I would recommend three pairs at most: shower shoes, tennis shoes, and another comfort shoe of choice. Once again, know in advance what the weather will be like and what activities you plan on doing.

5. Ziplock bags are your friend.

They help to minimize space and keep things in order. I use two: one for toiletries — I tend to use the one that European airport security makes you use — and another bag for charging cords for my phone and camera.

6. Select toiletries carefully.

Toiletries. Travel size is obviously the smartest choice. However, be selective on what you choose to bring for one week. Maybe you do not need your teeth whitening or all of your skincare products. You probably don’t need shaving cream either. If for whatever reason you need certain products, you can buy them upon arrival. It will save you more money if you buy empty travel containers and fill them from your larger bottles. Ladies — be selective on how much make up you choose to bring because that can take up a lot of space as well.

packing-aifs-study-abroad-4Once you have gathered all of your stuff into a giant pile on the floor, it’s time to actually start packing. Here are some tips for you:

  • Roll all of your clothes like they do in the military, but don’t roll thick sweaters because they take up less space when laid flat.
  • Pack your shoes in the bottom. You want the biggest items on the bottom, and then you can cram little things or thin shirts into the small spaces remaining.
  • Keep your toiletries near the top so you can easily pull them out when you’re standing in the security line at the airports.

If you packed smartly, you will have just enough room on top to shove your towel.

Many people’s packing methods resort to throwing a bunch of clothes into a bag and calling it good. However, when you are limited to baggage and size limits, it will be more beneficial to be more of a planned packer. Remember: plan your packing according to weather and activities.

Happy travels! xx

This post was contributed by Alexa Nofsinger, who is spending her semester studying abroad with AIFS in London, England.

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