Aug 13, 2013

I'm the crazy girl that likes to pack

Only 7 more days until I leave for Europe for 17 days of adventures!
The itinerary-keeping, schedule-loving side of me had a bit of fun a few nights ago.
You see, for the past several months, I have been holding onto a goal of packing for the trip with only a carry-on and backpack. And for the always-be-prepared-so-bring-it-all-with-you packer in me, this is a challenge that is taking me out of my box (and it's about time!)

Some advantages to packing light for my Europe trip, of course, would include not paying for check-in fees, not straining my back with pulling 50lb worth of stuff, and forcing myself to think more simply (which is a struggle for me because I tend to complicate and over-think everything).

So I put together a list of essentials I felt I would need , and then figured out how to use them in different outfits. I tried to accessorize to further snazzy-it-up a bit.
I had a few rules (beacause if you're an itinerary-keeping, schedule-loving soul such as myself, you need rules, right?)

Rule #1: Every article of clothing must be worn in atleast 2 ways, or it can't join us on our trip
Rule # 2: You may break Rule #1 twice if you buy yourself some macarons in Paris 
(well, there had to be a loophole somewhere!)

After some soul-searching, closet-digging, I came up with this plan:
2 dresses
4 pants
2 skirts
4 tops
2 tanks 
3 pairs of shoes
2 cardigans
3 necklaces
(unmentionables and pjs are mentioned here but not pictured)
=
16 outfits 

I might add a few "extra" pieces depending on if there is a bit of room left, but I am pleased with what I have so far. As an avid overpacker, this is a good lesson on the beauty of simplicity. I tend to bring things I don't wear and the last thing I need is to lug around extra baggage through Europe!





Here are some very helpful blogs I found through the magical world of Pinterest for packing tips:
Gina from The Feminist Breeder shows the art of "rolling and tetrising"
Travel Fashion Girl gives 20 tips to avoid overpacking
Little House Big Heart opened my eyes to packing cubes!
Perpetually Chic breaks down her carry-on, step-by-glorious-step 
Steph's Travels offers lots of practical tips for 3 weeks in Europe
Marie Claire offers 10 tips for traveling light 

So tell me what you think and if you have any packing tips!
Also, for those who have traveled, what do you recommend for exchanging currency? I'm currently trying to figure out how to get the best bang for my buck (pun intended).

p.s.  do you see the two articles of clothing I broke Rule #1 with? 

21 comments:

  1. That's awesome, Well done! And all the outfits look fun and comfy :)

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    1. Thanks, Erica! Fun and comfy are key when traveling!

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  2. Elle- this is GREAT!! Girl - I need you to come help when I am traveling!! hahaha
    :) Can't wait to hear all about your trip!
    :) Rebecca

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  3. Wow! I'm impressed! 1. That you can get that much in a backpack! 2. That you are basically already packed!! I'm not that organized! ;) Just fyi as of right this moment, temps in England are 50s at night, 70s at the peak of the day. As long as your toes don't get cold in sandals or your shoes can take on any rain you might encounter, then you'll be fine! I know you'll be in some warmer areas on your trip as well. Just don't want you to be cold and wet! =) I'm sitting here in a hoodie and slippers! =P

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    1. Thanks, Tina! I haven't packed it all in my carry-on luggage yet, so I really hope it all fits! It'll be a carry-on luggage AND a backpack (more of a knapsack, not a huge backpack), so I think it'll be ok. And THANKS for the heads-up! I am still trying to figure out my rain-ready shoes. I dont know if I want to bring boots along, but it may be a good idea after all.

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  4. Ooooh I hope you have fun!! Love the outfits also. I'm a horrible packer..I either over pack or under pack. It never fails!! You broke #1 with the two dresses..right?

    I had a semi horrible experience with money while I was in the UK- I let my bank know I was travelling and then exchanged a couple hundred at the airport before I left. When I got to London, all my credit (debit) cards were declined. Since this was before I got my Amex, I only had Visa & MC check/debit cards and due to the large amount of fraud they put blocks on my transactions. It took a few days to figure it out since the time difference & lack of credit card made it difficult to make a phone call back home to the bank. I ended up going to a bank and getting a cash advance.

    I would check the exchange rates and see what the airports offer on both ends- I found that it was cheaper here in the states but once I got to London, the transaction fee went up. I even think an ATM was cheaper than the actual currency exchange counters at Heathrow- can't remember the exact difference though.

    P.S. Every rule is worth breaking for authentic french macaroons (YUM!)

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    1. Thank you, Leigh!!! Great info! I found a Wells Fargo here in town that has a rate that beats the travelex here in town. I have VISA as well. I really wish I would have a Chase Premium Credit Card or Bank of America credit card to avoid transaction fees, but I am too late for that now. I let my bank know a few days ago and really hope there wont be an issue! That would be a nightmare!

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  5. Wow, these are great tips--and great outfits, too! I'm definitely an over-packer as well as a girl who loves her closet staples (I like to know that I can wear a piece multiple ways before purchasing it) so all of those tips are spot on. I think you're going to be my packing expert, girl! :)

    p.s. I LOVE your purse! It's so cute!

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    1. Thanks, Kiki! Yes, closet staples are excellent! So easy to pair them up and add a few accessories for some POP! :)

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  6. Good for you, girl! You're going to look so cute but also be so thankful you're not lugging so much luggage around! Have an amazing trip! :-)

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    1. Thank you, Susannah! Yes, I am excited not to have lots of clothes I wont end up wearing!

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  7. Elle, thank you so much for your comment on Grace's special gift, it seriously brought tears to my eyes and I'm so encouraged that you took the time to remind me of Grace's purpose and God's goodness through it all. You are such a woman of faith and I admire that so much :) Anyways, I'M SO EXCITED for your trip to Europe!! Way to pack for it! wow! Make sure you take lots of pictures, it has always been my dream to go to Europe... there is so much history, architecture and culture there. The countdown begins! :)

    Christy
    Sunnywithasideof...

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    1. Aww, thanks, Christy!! I meant every word! I always love reading your blog. Your love for your sweet Grace shines through your writing and is always so beautiful to read!

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  8. You should come pack for me! ;) You're so organized and I love all of the outfit choices! Stripes are my favorite.

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    1. Thanks, Rachel! Stripes are my favorite as well! I started laughing when I realized how much of my suitcase was going to be filled with stripe-y clothing! Oh well... Stripes are tres French :)

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  9. You have packing superpowers, Elle!

    I'm about to start packing for fall semester, and I was dreading it... but after reading this I feel more inspired!

    www.clickclackclunk.com

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    1. Aww, HI LAUREN! :) It was fun to mix and match the basics and add necklaces for a little sparkle. Check out the link I posted of the true super-packers! I still have much to learn! :)

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  10. awesome job!! love the camel colored cross-body. do you mind telling me where it's from? i am looking for something similar for my europe trip next spring.

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    1. I got it from target last spring! How exciting! Have fun preparing for your trip!

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  11. Ah, thank you for mentioning me! I hope your trip is absolutely wonderful!

    -Steph of Steph's Travels

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Elle Alice