The Packing Challenges:
As the London departure date was fast approaching, I had to pack something for my trip…. for thirteen days…in the summer…and in a carry on. Okay, so London is typically rainy. Even in the summer. Easy. Just pack what should be London-wear.
Guess what? No rain and sweltering heat instead. Actually, any travel location can leave you staring into your suitcase wishing you had packed different items.
I only used my umbrella once and that was to block the sun from my dewy brow. Looking back, packing the umbrella wasted valuable suitcase space. I rolled, ‘cubed-packed’, stuffed and crammed. It will be fine….traveling from late June to the beginning of July should be better than Tucson in the summer, right?
So what did I do? Packed LAYERS. Living in a hotter climate and being sensitive to the heat, I’m usually a one layer gal….maybe two if it is cool in the morning and night. I gathered a collection of thin long sleeved tees, camisoles and tees to provide options. If the temps were warm or hot, I knew I wouldn’t want to lug around a coat while walking, on the Tube, or in a taxi = dewy brow for Dana.
Below is the (clickable) photo gallery of clothing and accessories I sewed, bought, or made for the trip.
*Camisoles in white and tan, not shown.
As you can see, my color scheme was white, tan, bronze, gray, black, chambray blue, and olive green. Everything was neutral and could be mixed and matched to be worn together. I ended up wearing everything but the black merino sweater and the Jacket in a Pocket. I was still too warm overall but enjoyed wearing my newly made vest for a few cool mornings.
1.) I packed and weighed my rolling bag to the 22 pound international airline limit. Turns out, nobody cared! Maybe I was just lucky.
2.) Toiletries were simple when packed in zip top bags. Not glamorous, but effective. I had all of the liquids in one (upper right) and the remaining three bags contained all other essentials.
3.) Self-packed snacks of trail mix and string cheese. Sharing these with my mom helped stave off hunger at the airport, on the plane, and in our hotel room. Another benefit as we ate them was the extra space they afforded for packing souveniers.
4.) Empty water bottle. I packed an inexpensive one that clipped to the side of my bag. It was convenient to have for post-security. The opening was big enough to fill with ice cubes, which I love in my drinks.
What I brought on the plane:
-My rolling suitcase carry on measured 22″ x 14″ x 9″. It is a older Samsonite from Costco. Here is something similar.
-The under the seat ECOSUSI carry on from Amazon measured 18″W x 8″H x 11″L. This was a lifesaver bag! I LOVED the sleeve on the back to slide over the telescope handle of my rolling bag.
-Neck pillow was a MUST since I want the option to sleep on the plane as much as possible.
Most important items I packed: Padded inserts for shoes. I thought my shoes were comfortable before I left, but the padded inserts from Dr. Scholl’s were invaluable! My handy little Fitbit clocked in over 20K steps one day, so I’m glad I had extra cushion.
Second most important item: Portable battery charger There is nothing like the horrible feeling of being lost and having a dead phone. If needed, I could charge my phone in my purse quickly when relying on Google Maps and the Citymapper App. (Available for Android and Apple).
Third most important item: The Yubi Voltage Power Converter. This was used every day after returning to the hotel to charge up the extra batteries. It was a bit overkill for this trip, but we hope to use it for other trips in the future.
Fourth most important item: Olive green anorak jacket. This is still one of my favorite makes. It was a great coat to have on the plane to keep warm and use as a pillow.
What I would have packed instead: Cotton or rayon dress or skirt that could have been worn with comfortable walking shoes or sandals. I’m not sure I have ANY sandals that could have passed the 20K-steps-a-day test, but in hindsight, I would have begged, borrowed or stole for a pair.
What worked and why: Tees and camisoles! They saved me. I’m so glad I threw a few in my bag at the last minute.
Biggest lessons learned:
1.) I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that it was the too-big-for-my-phone recommended SD storage card. To allow for videos and tons of pictures, we wanted a new SD card. We were misinformed by the phone salesperson where we bought the new phone and should have double checked. I didn’t figure it out until a few days into the trip. I was happily clicking away, a few pictures were stored, but the phone was not capturing any future photos. I was pretty bummed, to say the least. So take it from me. Verify for yourself on the largest SD card your phone can handle BEFORE you leave for your trip and make sure it is storing the pics!! 🙁
2.) Carry on luggage. No checked bags. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to try and to get around with a heavy checked bag. Being self sufficient and ready to go was so convenient. I only regret not packing some lighter weight dress/skirt items. This will be my new goal for all travel going forward.
When in London, you MUST take a cheesy tourist-y photo in a phone booth.
I hope this post was helpful on some level. More tips can be found in the companion post about travel jewelry.
Have you had packing fails for your trips? Or do you have any trip tips you want to share? I want to hear about it! Please leave your comments below.