Let me get this out there right now, I am an over-packer. I go on long weekends with a checked bag and enough clothes to dress a small village. I go on week long vacations with a pair of shoes for each outfit and act like I’m about to change 4 times a day. And the funny thing is, I never EVER wear it all – I don’t even come close. Which scared me when it came to this trip. Part of the reason my flight was so cheap was because it was through WOW – which if you have ever flown WOW, it’s pretty simple and they upcharge for things like my mid-flight Sprite, a bag of pretzels and quite obviously a checked or carry-on bag. So it was my mission to fit everything into a personal item but still look cute for my time in France (because duh, fashion capital and seeing my man for the first time in 72 days?! Gotta look good). Let me also preface this with the fact that I’ve quite obviously never backpacked anywhere in my life, unless you count to the city for a weekend at a girlfriend’s. So like BIG goals here.
Steps to Successfully Tiny Pack
- Find a backpack. I wasn’t about to buy a new backpack so I found one that I already owned. If that doesn’t work, see if a friend has one you can borrow. I suggest one that has a big open container without the frills of pockets and water bottle holders that are a pocket inside the bag. This ultimately takes away space from the other stuff you can fit in your bag.
- Plan your outfits to a freaking T. I’m talking even underwear and socks.
- Cut down your outfits. And see what you can re-wear. For example, I wore the same outfit on the plane there, when I ventured to the Eiffel Tower that first night and on my flight home. And I reused that tank with a pair of shorts for our hike. Another thing to think about is how to make your outfit physically less – I opted for a few rompers and a dress because that is one piece of clothing compared to a shorts and shirt outfit.
- Watch this video. It’s life changing.
- Plan your toiletries. What must you absolutely have (contacts for me) and what can you cut back on (I don’t need a full face of makeup so nix everything except mascara and a lipstick)?
- Pack your bag. And you may be surprised you’re able to fit more. I was able to bring my laptop and a mini curling iron because I had so much more space than I anticipated. In hindsight, I didn’t need the curling iron because my hair always ended up but the laptop was great to have during this 7 hour layover.
Weird Things You Might Not Think You Need But You Do
There were quite a few things I really missed while on my week adventure like my breakfast peanut butter toast and electronic toothbrush. And while you can do without these, there are a few things that you absolutely cannot miss out on.
- Shampoo, conditioner and lotion. If you stay in a hotel, it’ll probably be there. If you stay in an Airbnb, it might be there but here’s the thing, I stayed in both and neither of them had it. The hotel had a bar of soap and the runniest lotion I’ve ever touched and the bnb had two bars of soap. It’s an added thing that you have to carry but it’ll be worth it to have the lotion you know you like and works for your skin. And you can only go so long without washing your hair.
- Dry shampoo. Because you’re gonna want to go straight from the airport to the Eiffel Tower and not worry about your greasy travel hair.
- Bug spray. Especially if you’re traveling in the summer because HOLY F my legs are torn up.
- A travel pillow. I’ll be honest, this isn’t my favorite thing when I’m on planes. It’s not that comfy and takes up space but when the bnb had a feather for a pillow and I was stuck on a metal bench for 7 hours in Iceland, that thing came in handy. And get yourself a good one. Mine was memory foam and saved my butt from falling asleep.