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Whether I’m traveling for three days, three weeks, or three months, my packing list is pretty much the same — I like to pack light. For me the main difference between a three day trip and a three month trip is that on longer trips I wear my clothes multiple times and wash as I go. I pack everything in a backpack that can fit underneath the seat in front of me when flying (if necessary). This makes traveling less stressful, while also making it way easier to have fun and be spontaneous.

The image on the left was from a 2 day trip. The image in the middle from a two week trip, and the image on the right from a two month trip. But in each case the backpacks were similar sizes.
The image on the left is from a two day trip. The image in the middle from a two week trip, and the image on the right from a two month trip. But in each case the backpacks were similar sizes.

Over the years I’ve fine-tuned my perfect pared-down packing list, which I tweak depending on where I’m traveling and the projected weather. Here’s my list for an eight day trip to Germany and Italy that I’m planning with my sister-in-law later this month.

Important stuff:

  • ID: passport and license
  • money: credit cards, debit card, cash
  • phone and iPad
  • keys
  • universal rubber sink plug
  • light weight nylon rope (20 ft)

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Zipped plastic baggies of stuff:

  • medicine: antacid, ibuprofen, cough drops, Band-aids
  • powdered laundry detergent: double-bagged
  • bathroom liquids (in bottles of 3.4 ounces or less):
    • toothpaste, mascara, sunscreen, concealer, lip balm
  • other bathroom stuff:
    • small comb, fingernail clippers, tweezers, compact blush, bobby pins, deodorant, toothbrush, floss, hair tie, headband, a couple emergency feminine hygiene products
  • electronic stuff:
    • portable battery and charger, electricity converter/adapter, cheap airplane earbuds, iPad charger, phone charger

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Clothes:

  • 3 underwear
  • 3 socks
  • 3 solid shirts/blouses
  • 1 skirt (or dress)
  • 1 swimsuit
  • 1 pajama that can double up as a swimsuit coverup
  • 1 pair of shower flip flops
  • 1 light weight sweater
  • 2-3 light weight silk scarves — scarves take up almost no space, and can really change an outfit

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What I will wear while flying to Europe:

  • 1 pair of pants
  • 1 blouse
  • 1 bra and underwear
  • 1 light weight jacket
  • 1 pair of socks
  • 1 pair of shoes that are super comfy for walking and look good with both jeans and my dress

— Laura Rowley

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Written by Laura Rowley

I am an artist, flight attendant, and travel blogger.

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