Starting September 1, I'm embarking on a month-long sabbatical where I'll visit five different countries, meet multiple friends to family,
and attend one wedding along the way. Although I craft shopping content around everything from the best travel bags to accessories, putting my professional skills into practice is still incredibly intimidating — a.k.a., what's shaping up to be the trip of my lifetime is also shaping up to be the packing-feat of my lifetime. In order to help myself work through this process (and to keep my travel-shopping stories really real), I decided to detail my personal packing experience right here: from luggage to clothing and all the little items in between.
As someone whose last major international adventure took place a decade ago, my travel-savvy muscles were more than a little atrophied. To warm myself back up, I combed through past
R29 packing coverage ( there's a ) and distilled the major takeaways down into a four-step strategy. Step 1: ton Find the right luggage; Step 2: Calculate travel outfits; Step 3: Minimize; Step 4: Pack like a pro. Ahead, while I won't go into complete item by item details, I will overview these steps as a shoppable guide including many of the products I'm actually bringing with me on my month-long hiatus. Scroll on to peep my plan and holler at me in the comments below with your favorite travel tips to packing hacks and must-have items for lengthy trips abroad. At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission. Step 1: Luggage
photographed by Alice Gao. More
Deciding on a suitcase that would be big enough to hold a month's worth of my shit while also not weighing me down completely was tricky — I ended up going for Away's largest (and top-reviewed) suitcase.
They don't come cheap, but are a sound (and stylish) investment for extremely roomy, ultra lightweight, and lock-code secure travel bags. And, depending on the length of your trip (or amount you're planning to pack), the medium-sized suitcase for $275 is a solid option too!
The Large, $295, available at
Since I am only planning to bring one purse with me for an entire month, I also wanted to have a durable tote-type travel bag too — for extra airport travel space and in case of long day excursions where just a handbag won't cut it.
This durable and easily packable, canvas bag comes designed with a separate compartment for keeping shoes along with interior and exterior zippered pouches for storing smaller essentials. As an added bonus, it conveniently attaches to your larger suitcase for secure in-transit toting.
Lo & Sons
The Catalina Deluxe Tote, $138, available at
Lo & Sons More
The last bag! (I am not a Lo & Sons' spokesperson, I just really do swear by all of its bags as being travel-essential.) I've never been big into purses — get me one seasonally and situationally transitional style and I'll be sticking with it for years to come. But, because an old over-the-should type tote wasn't going to cut it, I decided to invest in a secure and customizable bag for my multi-international trek.
If you haven't heard of Lo & Sons, check it out. (Again, just a very happy customer speaking here.) The simple, stylish, and incredibly compartmentalized styles are travel-bag gold. I opted for the Waverley 2, described best as, "1 Bag, 4 Ways." I can dress it up or down; wear it over my shoulder, across my body, as a clutch, or around my waist as a fanny pack.
Boom, the only purse I'll need for an entire month. Lo & Sons
The Waverly 2, $135.2, available at
Lo & Sons More Step 2: Travel Outfits
-Transitional Dresses (Wedding Guest-Approved!)
-Lounge To Workout-Wear
-Sleep To Day Basics
photographed by Alice Gao. More
What to pack for a month-long international trip that includes a wedding along the way? An under-$100 slip dress that takes up barely any suitcase space, can be paired with heels for the formal event, and then recycled with a short-sleeve tee underneath and a pair of canvas sneaks for the remainder of the trip.
Della Slip Dress in Black, $88, available at
Need Supply More
Although I already own quite a few different outerwear styles, I wanted to bring something along that was going to be lightweight and easy to pack but still with enough structure to keep me warm and dress me up (if needed).
While a denim jacket felt too rigid and situationally limiting, this chic sale find made from organic cotton did the trick — I can dress it up, dress it down, layer it, and easily fold it up to pack it in my travel tote or suitcase. And if toting one white jacket around Europe for a month gives you dirt-covered nightmares, opt for a navy or black option instead! I just happen to be a fan of white, plus a professional stain-avoider.
Organic Cotton Jacket, $49.99, available at
I plan on packing mainly sets that I can mix and match for maximizing my travel-outfit potential — from flowy skirts to pants and more structured pieces that can be swapped around, layered, and dressed up or down depending on the occasion.
Faithfull the Brand
Uma Shirt, $99, available at
Shopbop Faithfull the Brand
Gabrielle Pants, $67.05, available at
I'll be living in sweat-resistant, body-supportive sets that can stylishly double as workout gear
and walk-around loungewear — and GC's leggings and bra tops are by far the comfiest and most eco-friendly around. Girlfriend Collective
Paloma Sports Bra, $38, available at
Nordstrom Girlfriend Collective
High Waist Full Length Leggings, $68, available at
Girlfriend Collective More
For this trip, it's comfy-chic tops and bottoms that can easily transition from sleepwear to day-wear or bust. Everlane's linen pants and classic cotton crew are two perfectly breathable examples that I can't wait to take a jet-lagged snooze in and also wear out on the town.
The Cotton Crew - White, $18, available at
The Linen Pant - Blue Indigo, $65, available at
Bringing a pair of shoes I could both physically run in
and stylishly travel around in (from airports to city streets and country roads) was high on my packing list — so, I opted for a pair of these crisp white Adidas sneaks that I can easily wear with my workout gear and in-transit outfits. Adidas
Duramo Running Sneaker, $64.95, available at
From a wedding-guest to night-out-in-Amsterdam look, this block-heel shoe has both covered in easy, supportive, and elegant style.
& Other Stories
Suede Criss Cross Heeled Sandals, $99, available at
& Other Stories More
More white sneakers! While I can't run in them, I
can transition these sneaks from casual day-walking outfits to dressier night looks in effortless style. Superga
Superga Core Classic Sneakers, $65, available at
Anthropologie More Step 3: Minimize
photographed by Mindy Best. More
Aside from my phone and
maybe a camera, one of the only other tech essentials I'm adding to my packing list will be this 5-in-1 adapter from Flight 001 — it's compact, color-coded, and streamlined to correspond with 150 different countries so I don't short-out a hostel trying to get some battery juice. Flight 001
5-in-1 Universal Adapter, $35, available at
And speaking of batteries, this lipstick-sized portable charger that holds up to a full extra charge for my phone is my other tech-essential MVP.
PowerCore+ mini Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger, $23.99, available at
In the travel-beauty department, I'm planning to streamline my month-long lineup with only my very basic makeup favorites; a group of goods that pull double-duty, from SPF protection to hydration and longevity.
Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30, $47, available at
This hydrating lip balm soothes my travel-weary lips while adding a lush, lipstick-reminiscent tint that I can also dab on my cheeks for a touch of blush.
quench lip rescue, $19, available at
Eyelids down: the best thing to happen to my lashes. For under $10, this Korean beauty brand's tubing formula smoothly wraps itself around my lashes to form a lush, curled, and plumped black-velvet embrace that stays un-smudged even after smooshing my face into a plane seat for six plus hours.
Eye Scream Volume & Curl Mascara, $7.99, available at
Instead of buying one-off travel sized versions of my skincare favorites, I'm planning to invest in one all-encompassing set that I can rely on for a month — and this m-61 kit is my current travel-sized obsession.
Not only is it packaged in a compact travel-pouch, but it covers every base of a hydrate-and-glow routine for sensitive skin (from serums to eye cream, daily moisturizer, cleanser, mini face peel pads, and even a cute blue hair tie, too).
Hydrate & Glow Must-Haves, $58, available at
Ok, so maybe it will majorly out me as a tourist but IDC — I'm skipping baseball caps or straw sun hats and opting for the throwback style, classic canvas material, and packability that this cute lil' bucket hat has to offer.
It will defend me from harmful UV-rays while still looking stylish in whatever outfit I decide to wanderlust around in (while throwing up peace signs, of course).
Short Brimmed Canvas Bucket Hat, $29.5, available at
Only packing a scarf that also works as an in-transit body blanket.
Mer-Sea & Co.
Linen Wrap in Pink, $89, available at
Mer-Sea & Co. More Step 4: Pack Like A Pro
photographed by Alice Gao. More
Instead of packing cubes, I opted for pouches. I've sworn by these BAGGU babies as multi-purpose MVPs for a myriad of reasons that also powerfully translate to travel: organizing electronics, beauty products, snacks, and standing in as a casual beach or poolside clutch when needed.
This colorful trio can be folded to take up nearly no packing space, securely attached to other bags, and thrown in the wash to clean off any in-transit dirt.
Go Pouch Set, $9.5, available at
I could use one of my BAGGU pouches to hold my travel-toiletries, but I wanted to go with an option that was a bit more structured and durable for the long-haul.
Dagne Dover's compact toiletry bags come in a range of chic colors that are crafted out of water-resistant neoprene and performance mesh materials — a.k.a. they are strong enough to save my beauty and grooming goods from suffering a squished fate inside my overpacked suitcase.
Hunter Toiletry Bag, $35, available at
Dagne Dover More
will be investing in a solid travel-sized skincare set, I won't be investing in travel-sized body lotions or haircare (gotta cut costs somewhere!).
Because these are the products I use most in bulk, I'll be rationing out my favorite-product stock from home into these portable silicone bottles for toting country to country with me.
Portable Silicone Travel Bottle Set, $7.99, available at
Keeping my tech accessories streamlined and easy-to-access is a pro-packing move — I picked up this vegan-leather cord roll off Amazon to do the job and it's one of the best purchases I've made to date.
The blush-colored organizer is crafted to keep up to eight cords, two plugs, and a few other knickknacks tangle-free.
Brouk & Co.
Travel Cord Roll, $19.99, available at
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