Packing 101

This is all you need - eliminate what isn't on this list - and pack what applies to you and or remains after elimination

1. A simple rolling carry-on inside
     a. a daily bag
     b. a laptop case
     c. a simple purse
     d. a pill case
     e. a jewelry case
2. Basic toiletries for everyday use

3. Hostel supplies
     a. a sleep sheet
     b. a travel pillow
     c. a versatile towel
4. Laptop and a case
5. Camera and a case
6. Phone and a case
7. Basic clothes
    a. a pair of jeans
    b. a few skirts
    c. a few pairs of shorts
    d. a few dresses - one casual one dressy
    e. a cardigan

    f. a swimsuit
    g. lingerie/hosiery 
    h. pajamas (I loathe them but I really should have brought some pants)
8. Basic Shoes
   a. Sneakers
   b. Flip-flops - one black one brown
   c. Shower shoes
   d. Dressy flats

9. Advanced toiletries for 5 to 7 day use
10. Climate control
    a. a windbreaker
    b. a sweatshirt
    c. a sturdy umbrella

    d. a sunhat or cap
    e. a scarf or two (even in summer)
11. A travel hair dryer

If you can pack the above and zip your suitcase - you are good to go - if you must open your expansion to zip everything shut - try to eliminate as you go - here's what I eliminated up front and why 

1. I eliminated all "hostel" supplies because I wasn't backpacking - but I did carry my sleep sheet which was awesome to drape over questionable linens or under dripping items on "laundry day" - I brought a beach towel but only used it a few times
2. I opted for one bag that fit my laptop and camera eliminating an awkwardly shaped traditional camera bag
3. I only brought casual dresses which I regret but a dressy one would have added bulk
4. My dressy flats were thong sandals - a close toe shoe or nothing at all would have been fine
5. 5 to 7 day use toiletries i.e. pads and tampons aren't primitive overseas - in fact they are better - I could have left my stuff at home
6. I could have eliminated all my climate control items with one zippered hoodie, a scarf and my umbrella - everything else was bulky
7. Most hotel rooms had a dryer and I forgot a convertor anyways

I totally forgot to account for cables, plugs and any other small electronics I needed to carry - make sure whatever holds your electronics can fit those too - otherwise you will forget or lose them

Here's why....

1. Hostel supplies are extremely bulky - long distance planes and trains provide blankets and pillows that you can actually keep - you can also buy a towel and lose it when time for a new one - way cheaper than buying an expensive towel and it taking up valuable space
2. You want one outside bag other than your suitcase - most travel options are only going to allow one carry one and one stowed bag
3. Dressy clothes may work for the occasional dinner or night out - but how often will that be in a short vacation or more of an expedition like I had - yes I felt underdressed at times but I didn't look out of place to anyone but myself
4. You don't need dressy shoes without dressy clothes - but according to climate maybe switch one pair of flip flops for close toe flats, ballerina slippers or soft foldable booties
5. Yes, they have better sanitary options overseas that are competitively priced
6. Anything that only pulls over your head is worthless no anoraks, pullover sweatshirts etc - if alone you have to sit down stuff or take off your cross body purse while out - stupid move when a zippered hoodie or buttoning cardigan will fix all woes - I overpaid for a zippered hoodie and donated all my bulky options while traveling
7. I used a dryer about four times over sixty days - I could have had less weight and more space in my case - besides I actually broke the dryer in traveling - which I realized once back home

Here are some other tips...

1. Bring a re-usable water bottle - most places have access to free and filtered water
2. Invest in a decent cross body purse - don't bring an aged purse or a luxury one - straps will wear on your older bag and your luxury one may get damaged or stolen
3. Test your umbrella - make sure it works and it is light before packing - I'd bought one that was utterly useless and had to return it
4. Use hotel toiletries for shampoo, soap and body wash - you only need vitals from home like skincare or styling products
5. Beach towels are for beaches - not going to one - don't bother bringing it - if you're only going once or twice bring the hotels towels
6. A swimsuit means one - you only need one - if you like versatility bring two tops with one solid bottom or vice-versa
7. Bring in-soles - your shoes will warp and stink and in-soles will help
8. Have first aid that applies to you - pharmacies overseas had odd hours and never have what you think you may need
9. Get a back up charger for your phone and or MP3 player - you'll kick yourself when you can't take a photo or have to miserably ride a train for a day with no tunes
10. Bring a re-usable bag - you will need a bag to shop, put things in at random, bring to the beach and for "laundry day" - it'll hold all your dirty stuff until you find suitable means to actually launder them be it the bathroom sink or a neighborhood lavanderia

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