What’s inside my backpack
+ Packing tips
Every time I travel, I always bring my handy dandy backpack! I have been asked so MANY times how the heck I fit everything for a trip inside there!?! I will get to that.
Picking out the right outfits for your trip
I’ll be honest, I love wearing pajamas almost as much as I love dressing up (I said almost!) You can usually find me wearing comfy clothes while hanging out around the house, running errands too! So when do I get the chance to give my “pretty clothes” the time of day?! I would hate for them to feel left out, ya know? Well, traveling is the answer!! I already love traveling for 8 million reasons, which makes getting to wear creative outfits the cherry on top!
I consider it a great joy to pick out outfits that “match” the theme of the place I am traveling to! Going to Scottland? Wear Plaid. Going to France? Pack a beret! Etc. It’s so fun!!! It’s like playing adult dress up! I don’t always wear what that place is known for, sometimes I just wear what I think will look good in the pictures I plan to take there!
To start this outfit planning process, I blast music and put on a fashion show for myself! (You heard me). I pull over the extra clothing rack I have and set it right next to the body mirror. Next, I rummage through all of my clothes, pulling out and hanging up anything that might be a potential fit for the trip!
Next, try everything on!!!
Check every outfit combination along the way in the mirror and ask yourself these questions.
- Do I feel confident in this?
- Will this look good with a particular monument or place where I am traveling to?
- Is it comfortable enough to wear all day and do a lot of walking in?
*Don’t fret! If you are just dying to get a picture in a certain outfit and it just ain’t that comfy? Plan to wear it for a quick pic and bring a change of clothes with you that day to change into afterward! Yes, this is as extra as it gets, but sometimes it is just worth it!
Go through each day in your mind and find an outfit that works for the events you have planned for that day! For example–> A fancy event, a hiking day, a rainy day, a swimming day, etc. These are all things you need to think about while packing for THAT day. If you do not have set plans for your trip, just try your best to plan for a variety of potential activities and weather.
Don’t forget the add on’s! With the outfit on, take note of what else you need to complete that outfit. Don’t just guess what you think will go with it, try it on to be sure! Nothing is worse than packing blindly, thinking something will look good together and then getting there and realizing it doesn’t! Gasp! Try it with earrings, a belt, a hat, special socks, a certain style of bra/underwear, anything you need with that outfit! You don’t want to show up with a strapless dress and realize you didn’t think to pack your strapless bra! I’m sure you see my point.
After you have pulled everything out of your closet and have a set idea of what you’re going to bring, put each completed outfit on (accessories and all) and TAKE A FULL BODY PICTURE in the mirror! Do this for each outfit you want to bring. Why you may ask? Simple, when you arrive on your first day and you can’t remember what the heck you packed and everything is all rolled up and hard to see in your backpack, you just look at your outfit planning pictures! Like this, “Oh yeah! I forgot I packed that amazing outfit with those earings. Cool!” It may sound ridiculous, but it works!! You can thank me later.
Once you have designated the correct accessories, underwear AND have taken your final picture of an outfit, set all of it aside in a “ready to be packed” pile.
The art of packing
Yes, it is an art. Packing it all in a backpack does require you to be somewhat minimalistic. But not as much as you would think!! People always ask me how I manage to fit cute clothes in my backpack… Like I’m sorry, what? Cute clothes fit in just the same as grungy clothes! Haha, silly people! Yes, you have to get creative with certain things though. Like maybe try not to pack heavy duty jeans with every single outfit! That would take up a lot of room! Try throwing in some lightweight dresses that roll up really small into the mix! You could also do leggings! OR, just be ok with wearing the same pair of jeans more than once.
I have mentioned this “rolling” thing a few times now. I think most people know this packing trick already, but just in case you don’t, I will go over it. ROLL all of your clothes tightly and then pack them in as tight as possible! This is a more efficient way to pack compared to regular old folding! The bag will fit way more items in this way!
As for my actual packing list, it looks a little something like this.
Main Carry on Backpack:
-Day 1-7 outfits (including accessories and underwear)
-Electronics pouch (Holds chargers, SD cards, earphones, camera battery, etc)
– Shoes. Pack the flat ones into the side pockets, wear the chunky shoes on my feet for the flight.
-Hats. Giant one goes on my head for the flight, smaller/compactable ones go in the bag.
-Minimal makeup (powder, brow shadow, blush, lipstick)
-A couple meds. -A few Ibuprofen, Sudafed, anti-acid chews, etc. Just in case.
-Mini liquids. (Shampoo, soap, toothpaste, hairspray, dry shampoo, face lotion)
-Neck pillow (hangs on top of the backpack)
-A mini camera tripod (put inside the other side pocket)
-My camera (although this is actually hanging around my neck, not in my bag)
Side note- I try to never bring hair tools. Well, I do bring a brush actually! But most hotels & Airbnb’s will provide blowdryers though! Luckily my hair does fine just air drying. But if yours doesn’t, you can get creative with your hairstyles that don’t require heat! OR….just shove it in the bag.
Next, there is the “personal item” as it is referred to on the airplane. This can be a purse or a small backpack! But keep in mind, this is another thing you will have to carry around from place to place, so don’t make it too heavy! (Been there, done that!) For me, this looks like one of two things- a small backpack or side satchel that carries a small number of necessities to go out for the day with.
An alternative option that I try not to do too often (because it can be a pain in the butt) is to bring one of those sturdy produce bags! I will use this if I am planning to do a promotional photo shoot in certain items that don’t fit in the main backpack. Ex- giant hats, multiple purses, big jackets, etc. It works if you need to do it, but if you don’t, I suggest making your personal item as light and small as possible.
In the small satchel version of my personal item, this is what you will find inside:
-Pocket tissues (necessary because other countries don’t always provide toilet paper in their bathrooms!)
-Feminine products, because you never know!
-A little cash
-Phone battery pack
-A couple Ibuprofen
Why a backpack?
Lastly, I would just like to clarify that I am NOT lugging my backpack around with me all day every day. Wherever I check into for my stay, I leave my main backpack there for the day while I go out and explore! All I bring out with me is my small day bag (satchel or fanny pack) that has the small things I need while out and about. Oh, and I bring my camera everywhere with me of course! This means I only have to “lug around” my backpack in-between changing hotel/Airbnb locations. It’s really not so bad!
I prefer backpacking compared to rolling around a suitcase because it’s just more convenient for me to have something strapped on my back rather than it dragging/rolling behind me on the floor! Especially when you are in a huge crowd rushing through metro stations. The rolling ones tend to trip people…
Answering IG Story questions about Backpacking:
(There are a ton of similar questions, so I will condense and answer)
Q: How do you fit everything you need into one backpack?
A: Outfit plan with precision and be sure to roll up everything! Bring mini and compact items. Not huge, chunky ones!
Q: What is better, backpack or a roller suitcase? And why?
A: Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I personally love having the backpack. It just feels more efficient to me. Plus it doesn’t get super in the way like a rolling suitcase does! And stairs!!! I would much rather have a bag on my back for walking up all those steps in the metro station!
Q: Do you get tired lugging the backpack around everywhere?
A: Sometimes, but if the backpack fits correctly, it should have a buckle latch that connects in front of your stomach that holds most of the weight of your backpack on your waist (which is not as tiring). Also, you shouldn’t have to bring your backpack everywhere. Just bring it when you are changing hotels and whatnot. Don’t bring it out with you every day.
Also, if you are not able to check into your hotel right when you arrive, or maybe you are at a hostel that doesn’t have big enough lockers for your backpack, you can usually google “coin lockers” in the area you are staying and that way you have a place to drop your bag safely for the day. You should never have to carry it for too terribly long!
Q: Do you have to do make due without some stuff that you might normally want to take in a regular suitcase?
A: I don’t! A lot of people overpack when they bring suitcases…which is fine, just a personal preference. But when I put the proper time and planning into my packing, I always have everything I need!
That’s about it, folks! Hopefully this helps the next time you are packing for a trip! Thank you all so much for your questions. I hope I answered everything you wanted to know!
Enjoy your travels!
[ALL pictures edited with my personalized sj2themoon presets. You can purchase those here.]