Detailed Packing Guide for the Fashionable Traveler

A question that I am asked most often when people learn of my radical lifestyle change is What do you pack on a multi-year trip abroad?  Friends, family and strangers alike tend to be a bit curious at the mention of living out of a suitcase for an indefinite period of time. And rightful so. After all, no one in my personal, social or professional network has dropped everything to pursue a life of travel. In fact, the only person that I came close to “knowing” is Elizabeth Gilbert from Eat, Pray, Love and even she doesn’t count because she’s only an associate in my head.

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On the week of my departure, I painstakingly scrutinized my luggage to ensure I wasn’t packing unnecessary items. I already came to the realization that I couldn’t pack my suitcase to capacity because I needed to be agile enough to maneuver all modes of transportation and distances on foot (this logic helped me immensely in Australia when we had to pull our luggage up a hill to catch a cab and I sweated through my layers of clothing). In a nutshell, I need to ensure that I can carry my own weight unassisted, even if I travel with the hubster. Up until the day before my flight to New Zealand, I edited my wardrobe so thoroughly my mom and mother-in-law looked at the suitcase in disbelief and questioned whether I reduced my wardrobe by too much. It is pretty hard to imagine that I own ONE pair of jeans, let alone coming to terms that I possess three pairs of shoes in total.

Pairing down my wardrobe forced me to keep pieces that I absolutely love and forced me to leave items that I was on the fence about. Fortunately, I’ve created flat lays to illustrate my packing list for my indefinite time abroad. The visual aids below are interchangeable enough to assist both long-term travelers or weekend tourists. After a tedious examination of my new lifestyle, here is my wardrobe for travel.

packing_assortedtops
How did those grey shorts sneak into this photo? 😉 packing_dressyattire
packing_casualitems
 Not pictured: black skinny pants
packing_beachattire
 Not pictured: bras and underwear
packing_athleticattire
  Not pictured: a pair of sneakers and flip flops
packing_sportystaples
packing_essentials
 Not pictured: two DSLR cameras and a carry on size suitcase full of camera equipment.
packing_medicine

If probability were my strong suit, if  being the operative word, I calculate that my eight tops and seven bottoms equate to 56 everyday outfits, which doesn’t include four dresses and an athletic wardrobe of 24 potential looks. That’s a grand total of 84 looks in one suitcase! Not bad considering that I went from a walk-in closet to a woman with woman suitcase.

What items are on your packing list?

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