I cannot tell you how many times I have packed four too many dresses or three too many outfits; I can’t help but err on the side of safety. If the laundry at my destination were ever to break down, I’d be the one most prepared. And a three-day flight delay? BAM! That’s where those outfits come in handy. However, for my first international travel, I don’t want to be THAT person. I need to pack enough clothes to get me through the month but also pack lightly enough to bring back presents for friends and family. Thus, this is my process to perfectly and practically plan outfits for my month abroad in Ireland, while also leaving room for gifts.
Step 1: Use your resources to plan ahead
Since I have never been to the UK or Ireland before, I searched the web for people who have and recommend certain pieces. Some of my findings included packing lists like this one and this one. Like the Pacific Northwest, where I’m from, Ireland’s weather can change in an instant—in the morning it’s sunny, but by mid-afternoon it’s raining sideways! When it comes to clothes, pack colors that go with everything, like black, neutral, or white. And of course, feel free to sneak a couple of fun colors in there to brighten the essentials.
If you’re going abroad with a scheduled program such as AIFS, check out their itinerary to see where you’ll be traveling. For my program, we’ll be going from cliffs to castles to cities, so comfortable walking shoes are a must, and layers to go from indoor coffee shops to outdoor weather.
Step 2: Gather proper tools
For the sake of space, I headed to TJ Maxx and went to their travel section, where I found some air-tight storage bags. These can also be found at Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, Macy’s, and Amazon. My family uses them on a much larger scale for general storage of our clothes as the seasons change, but the pack I bought is smaller and does not require a vacuum. These bags compress my clothes, which come in handy as I’m loading up warm coats. I’m only using a couple bags for the flight over, but I will need all of them for the return flight to clear space for gifts!
Step 3: Leave the purses behind; wear what you can!
Instead of packing three different purses to match different outfits, pack the SCOTTeVEST! This thing has EIGHTEEN different pockets for anything from a small water bottle to iPad. Rather than worry about my purse getting stolen, I wear everything in a concealed, zipped up pocket. It sounds like they’d be bulky, but they’re quite lightweight! In addition to the vest, they offer pants, long-sleeve coats, and more.