Nikki-Taylor Principe, currently studying in London, shares her tips for packing smart when it comes to traveling abroad.
Packing is an art form, and when you’re country-hopping, it is imperative that you bring only what you need. After a couple trips, I’ve come to learn a thing or two about how to maximize space.
1. Fanny Pack > Crossbody
Yes, you heard it here first, folks: Fanny packs are trendy again. (How convenient.)
I realized on one trip that a crossbody purse may not always be the best idea; someone had reached into my purse without my even noticing. Thankfully, he or she didn’t take any of my cards, but I did lose some cash.
After that, I went out and purchased a fanny pack. Don’t get me wrong. I still wear my crossbody from time to time, but when I know I’ll be going somewhere particularly crowded, I opt for my new fanny pack.
Trust me. You’ll feel more at ease with your valuables in sight. I know I do.
2. Bring Detergent, Not Your Whole Closet
This trick is a pretty obvious one, but you’d be surprised by the number of people who don’t consider it when packing. Instead of bringing one outfit for every day that you’re gone, you can just pack some detergent. If getting through security is a worry, you can purchase some once you get to your destination.
Either way, it’s a great way to cut down on the number of clothes you’ll bring–without running the risk of smelly clothes. If you’re worried about where you’ll be able to wash your clothes, check out the local area ahead of time. If you’re staying in a hostel, chances are it will offer amenities, such as a laundry room. It only took me a couple of minutes to locate the laundry room in the hostel I stayed in during one of my trips.
3. Country-hopping? Ditch the Luggage, and Take a Backpack
If you plan on taking public transportation to and from the airport or train station, lugging a bulky suitcase may not be ideal.
Consider condensing all of your possessions into a backpack. This will force you to cut down on what you bring, and you won’t miss the extra weight. Best of all, you won’t have to deal with the airport baggage claim. I speak from experience when I say it can be a real nightmare.
4. Pack Comfortable Shoes Only
This was a hard pill for me to swallow. After much debate while packing for my first trip, I decided to pack only one pair of shoes. If you know me, you’ll understand why that was a feat. I picked a pair of chunky high-platform boots. They matched every outfit that I packed, but they weren’t very comfortable.
That was probably my biggest mistake. Never compromise comfort for style, especially if you intend to walk around a lot. Instead, consider packing a pair of sneakers. These don’t have to be ugly, but they should still be comfortable after many days of walking.
5. Invest in a Paper Travel Guide
When my best friend suggested that we purchase a paper travel guide before our trip to Barcelona, I laughed, much to her disdain.
I didn’t understand why we’d need one if we had our phones and access to WiFi in our hostel. Wouldn’t it be a waste of money? Couldn’t Google answer any questions we had? The answer to both of those questions was no.
It wasn’t until we got there that I understood that a paper travel guide was a necessary purchase. Even if you do have unlimited data, conserving your phone battery is important, especially in case of emergencies. Travel guides can provide instructions for using public transportation, getting directions, looking at maps throughout the city, and providing suggestions of places to visit. They may even help you find some hidden gems–and that’s always good for your Instagram.
Nikki-Taylor Principe, Staff Writer
Nikki-Taylor Principe is a full-time student at Boston University’s College of Communication from Staten Island, New York. In her junior year, she is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Communication with a specialization in advertising. As a member of the co-ed a cappella group the Boston University Allegrettos, Nikki spends her free time performing on stage. And if she’s not doing that, she’s probably watching videos on YouTube.