Thursday, April 21, 2016

Greece Girl's Trip: The Packing List

We're going on vacation! Yes, yes, I know it's not exactly unusual for someone who writes a travel blog to be going on a trip. But. This is a girls' vacation, and I am thrilled. There are a couple of us going who don't travel regularly, so a few weeks ago, they asked me what I would be packing.

 For this trip, swimsuits and a sun hat are a must! (I don't typically bring a hat like this with me unless I'm going to be beaching. Also, I'm bringing two swim suits, because I've been to humid climates where suits don't dry overnight, and there's very little more annoying than putting on a wet bathing suit!)

Now, that's sort of a loaded question. I'm a firm believer that what you pack is pretty personal and varied, so this list is what I would bring with me. In addition to that, what you pack is also pretty dependent on where you're going, and when. Perfect case in point: I'm packing for a spring trip to the Greek Islands. If I were packing for a fall trip to London, my bag would be drastically different! My best advice is to take your itinerary (even if it's rough!) and try to figure out what you'd be comfortable in for each day/adventure.

Now on to my Greece trip!

We're planning on spending time visiting beaches and napping in the sun. We're planning a couple hikes, and a couple days of city adventuring. And we're planning on evenings of long, drawn out dinners with spectacular views and deliciously tasty food. Just keep that in mind while you check out what I'm packing!

Now, bags. I'm planning on checking a bag, and my goal (as usual) is to have my checked bag, my backpack, and a small-ish crossbody purse.

I'm not really a "pack everything in a carry on" type of girl. I know there are tons of ways to pack everything in a carry on, but I don't mind checking the bag. I'm not backpacking, I'm not staying in hostels, and there isn't to much of a reason for me to NOT check a bag. Now, I limit it to ONE checked bag - learned my lesson there when I lived in Italy and had to navigate switching train terminals with no elevators or escalators with too many things at once. Plus, Hubby has a rule for when we travel - I pack it, I carry it. It's a good rule that works well for us!

With this combination, I'm always aware of and in control of my belongings - my purse goes on first, followed by the backpack over the purse strap, and my awesome luggage has spinning wheels which makes navigating my way easy.

For international flights, I always make sure I have essentials and an extra set of clothes in my carry on. I've had my luggage lost, and M's bag was lost when we flew to Ireland a few years ago. It was only gone for about 40 hours, but it is still a very frustrating experience. (On the way home, I usually swap the extra set of clothes for the souvenirs I inevitably buy!)

- DSLR camera
- One pair of pants, a blouse and cardigan, along with socks/bra/undies
- Snacks (almonds, granola bar, candy)
- Make up bag with deodorant and toothbrush
- Glasses and all daily contact lenses for the trip
- CHARGERS - this is super important! When my bag was lost, I'd left my camera charger in it, and I only have a couple stray photos from the trip - so sad!
- Important documents
- Cell phone, iPad, book for the flight
- Travel journal 


Since we're doing a mix of hiking and beach, I'm bringing mostly tanks and t-shirts for daytime wear, plus a couple pairs of pants and a skirt that I am comfortable wearing with my hiking shoes, plus a couple of dresses. For evenings, I'm bringing some fun blouses and a maxi dress I don't get to wear at home often!

I have plantar fasciitis in my feet, so I am constantly seeking comfy shoes. For evenings, I'm ok with wearing sandals for short outings like dinner, or boots when there's more walking to be done. For this trip, since it's a fairly casual one, I'm skipping heels in lieu of a second pair of sandals.

I'll wear the boots when we're traveling via plane or ferry, so that I don't have to pack them in my luggage and take up precious snack or souvenir space!

- 1 pair boots
- 1 pair sneakers
- 2 pairs sandals

- 3 pairs of jeans
- 1 skirt
- 5 t-shirts
- 2 sun dresses
- 1 maxi dress
- 2 cardigans (navy blue and black)
- 1 casual tank top
- 4 dressier tank tops
- 1 three quarter sleeved blouse
- 1 long sleeved blouse
- 1 lightweight jacket

I'm traveling with a bunch of friends, and we did coordinate a bit so that we didn't all go out and buy the same sunscreen. Pretty standard stuff here - with a mini first aid kit with some antiseptic wipes and band-aids in case the sandals I bought aren't friendly to my toes!

- Lotion
- Perfume
- Febreeze (Restaurants and bars in Europe are notoriously smokey, and since I'm bringing items I want to wear more than once, using Febreeze and hanging the items overnight tends to work pretty well to keep them fresh and avoid doing laundry while on the road.)
- Poo-Pourri (we are sharing a villa, after all!) 
- Contact lenses
- Face wipes
- Soap (most hotels have this, but I'm picky about mine!)
- Shampoo & conditioner
- Body wash

- Jewelry (I'm not bringing much and I'm not bringing anything expensive. Two necklaces, two stud earrings, two dangly earrings, and a bracelet should be good!)
- Cross-body purse (more secure for running around town!)
- Two scarves (can be used as shoulder wraps when visiting a church if you're wearing a tank top as well)
- Travel wallet (I like this one that fits my passport and is rfid safe so no one can scan your personal info or credit card numbers)
- Bluetooth speaker

Now - packing the actual bag. I like to roll my stuff - it makes things fit better and I feel like it's more organized. Or, you could alternatively take a page out of Hubby's book and just throw stuff in a bag! But I like my way. :-) I'm probably a little too structured about it, putting the stuff that I think I'll use later in the trip and then layering the stuff I'll use first on the top, but it works for me... my advice for you - do what works for you!

First layer - shoes, pants, dresses, and tops.

Second layer - toiletries, snacks, the rest of my clothes, pjs
Third layer - lightweight jacket and sunhat (or anything else that could get crunched!)

And we're ready to go! I hope this helped you, or at least gives you a jumping off point to plan your own packing. And seriously - don't forget the chargers! (Or your passport!)

Carry on, checked bag, hoodie and scarf for the plane. The only thing missing is my purse! 

UPDATE FROM 5/16/16: 
Now that we're back from our trip, I wanted to give a couple of updates! 

 1) If you're going to Greece in April, make sure you pack a couple of warm layers. Though I was wishing for one additional cardigan a few times, I ended up being ok because I had brought along a hoodie and a light jacket, but a couple of friends ended up buying hoodies (not the end of the world, but unexpected!) because they were expecting warmer weather.
2) Beware the wind! Santorini was incredibly windy (and chilly with it), making it impossible to wear dresses that weren't long. Even my heavy canvas skirt that usually works in any situation had issues with the wind! The forecasts all said sunny and low to mid 70s while we were there and it ended up being windy and high 60s instead... and when I say windy, I mean VERY windy. 
3) Bring at least one pair of shorts. For the days that were warmer, I regretted not bringing at least one pair. Fortunately I was able to borrow some from a friend, so I actually got a little bit of a tan on my legs!
4) I definitely overpacked the snacks. We'd been told the food on Turkish Airlines wasn't great (and it was a bit hit or miss), so we brought a lot of snacks that we ended up just carrying around for most of the trip. Next time I'd cut back and just bring some packets of almonds for emergency snacking! 
5) I didn't need two pairs of sandals. I ended up only wearing the tan pair I brought. I should have swapped the second pair for a pair of sturdier flip flops to wear on the sand at the beach, as my feet hurt from walking barefoot along the ocean.
6) If you can afford it, find a super durable lightweight suitcase! I love my Swiss Army rolling bag, but we had to pick up and carry our luggage a bunch while we were traveling, and my friends who had the super lightweight ones had a much easier go of it.

More Greece posts coming soon! 

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