Travel Tips: What to Pack

I can't believe it's been two weeks since we flew back from Norway. It honestly all feels a bit like a dream now, or just a very far-off distant memory. It's crazy how much has happened, and how quickly the time has flown by, in just two short weeks. We landed in Austin late on the 4th, then woke and drove to Padre Island early afternoon on Cinco de Mayo. Both of our sleep schedules were thrown off for a few days as we readjusted to the time difference, so for the first week back, Keith and I consistently were asleep between 8 - 9 pm and awake by 4 or 5 am. Thankfully, while at the beach this was okay, because we went for a few morning runs as the sun rose. Also thankfully, it only took us about four days to adjust and by the end of that week, we were back to a pretty normal sleep schedule. 

A few people have asked if it's strange being back. We both adapted pretty easily to our house and super comfy bed, though there are still a few things I can't remember where they are stored. The strangest things for both of us have actually been the language and heat. It's already up to 90 degrees and severely humid, and that has been very difficult to handle. Also, every time either of us has gone to the grocery store or a restaurant in the last two weeks, we initially expect to be greeted in a different language. And though it was confusing at times during our travels, I miss the variety of foreign languages now. Before I launch into the craziness of the last week and prepping a house for sale, I promised a packing post and backpack recap. 

We both packed very lightly for our trip, and are hoping that these packing skills carry over as we prepare to move from a 2100 square-foot home to a 600+ square-foot apartment in New York. I took a few photos of what went into my Osprey Tempest 40 pack, and talked about some of it in a previous post too. First I'll give my review of the backpack that transported all my clothes, and our travel bag of bathroom items, for six weeks. The short feedback is: I loved it! The longer feedback is the bag size was perfect for 4 - 5 days worth of clothing, bathroom items, 1 - 2 slim books and a few pockets for snacks or accessories. I was nervous about the fact that everything had to be packed and unpacked from the top or bottom, but after a week, I was used to it and got into the habit of packing more used items (like jeans) in easier to reach spots (the bottom of the bag). I brought a shoe bag to keep my unworn shoes for any portion of the trip away from my clean clothes, and stored dirty clothes between laundry days in a plastic grocery bag in a side pocket. I made sure in advance that at least every other place we stayed throughout the trip had a washing machine, so we only needed clothes for about 4 - 5 days. A clothing line came in handy too for hanging items in showers or bathrooms since only two places had dryers. 

Here are photos of what I packed for six weeks in Europe (minus underthings): 

Left to right, top to bottom: PJ pants and two pairs of tee shirts, workout outfit, two sweaters (wound up only packing one and a not-pictured jacket), sports bras, five shirts (one long-sleeve, one 3/4 sleeve, three short-sleeved), walking shoes, two pairs of jeans (one medium-wash, one dark wash).

Left to right, top to bottom: Camera in bag (clipped to Keith's backpack during train rides), earbuds, straw hat and bandana, travel purse and money clip (for days I didn't want to wear purse), activity books (only brought one and never used), REI clothing line, travel journal, universal adapter, two scarves. Not pictured: bathing suit I bought in Budapest, red moccasins I wore during train rides or shorter walking days, REI travel bag with bathroom items.

There are a few things I might have changed, and I mentioned some of that in previous travel posts during this trip, but looking back now, I think the packing and backpack were perfect. Keith also loved his Osprey Farpoint 55 pack, and either of us would highly recommend checking out Osprey if you need a backpack in the future. Both our bags were very comfortable, and though it probably would have started to hurt after a while, we both agreed we could have carried them for an entire day of walking if it had ever been necessary. I have been packing and organizing our house most of the day, so I'm off to bed now, but will share one final travel recap post in a few days. We kept a running list of all our favorite things, and not so favorite things, from the entire trip and thought it would be fun to share that here. Also, as we prepare to list our house this coming weekend, I've been coming up with a few post ideas all around preparing your first home to sell. Keep your fingers crossed the open house goes great and exciting offers start flooding in soon!