Tuesday, May 13, 2014

How to pack for a year away, across the globe!

How is it possible for this girl to fit 4 seasons and 12 months of clothes in a couple suitcases when I move to Australia? Heck, I could barely remember the essentials for a week in Nicaragua! Forgetting toothpaste, hair brush, cash, and sunscreen...you know, the necessities. Yet managed to remember ten sundresses, 5 rompers, 4 swimsuits, and my fedora. My lesson has been learned, it pays to be prepared!
Basic rule of thumb: less is more!
Travel blogs are telling me to pack my bags "half-full" so I will have plenty of room to fill my suitcases with all the clothes and souvenirs I acquire throughout the year. The mindset is that you are coming to a country to "fill yourself up" and it will all be there when you get back. You are going to have to carry whatever you pack by yourself, so leave behind half of what you think you need.

My list may vary from a typical traveler, as I need business attire for my 9-5 and I will be taking an extended year long stay (but still consider it traveling since I still have a home in Ohio)
In the office

Let practicality be your guide
If you plan carefully so that all articles of clothing mix and match, you can create plenty of different outfits from a minimum number of items.  Lay out everything you want to pack on the bed before packing the suitcase, making sure that each piece of clothing can be worn with at least 2 other items. Then fill in the holes with bold, colorful accessories (scarves, jewelry, hats, bags).

Pack neutrals
This can expand belong just black and white. Think grey, olive green, navy blue, and tan with a layering tank or tee in a color with some zing. Build from there using a handful of foundation pieces. Add patterns and prints in the same tones so everything isn't boring and monotone.  Use the same pieces in every outfit to maximize space, but wear them in different ways so that no one really notices.

Layer up
Weather can vary quite a bit throughout the day and from town to town.  Bring lots of layers to fill in the gaps and stay warm. They are thin, and easily roll up and fit into the crevices in your bag. Long tanks, short sleeve tees, long sleeve tees, and cardigans are great for staying cozy. Plus, layering gives you the versatility to change up your outfits by swapping out different pieces for a totally new style each time.

Weekend Chill

✓ Check individual airlines for international limits on weight, size, and number of bags. Typically, you are allowed two checked pieces + one carry on item, with a small purse/camera/laptop.

✓ Clearly identify your luggage with your name, US and overseas address. Colored makes it easy to identify among similar baggage.

Carry on
Should contain all the necessities to live for two days in the event the airline loses your luggage. 

✓ A change of clothes
✓ Toiletries in TSA approved 3 oz sizes.
✓ Prescriptions
✓ Gum: avoid the ear popping
✓ Important documents (passports, ID's, visas, arrival instructions) along with copies in case they go missing
✓ Kindle Fire: rather than hauling bulky books, have hundreds of books right at your fingertips!
✓ Laptop (transfer all your important documents and photos to a hardrive you leave at home in case your computer breaks down)
✓ Digital camera
✓ Travel size stain remover
✓ Chargers (phone, camera, Kindle, laptop)
✓ $100 in local currency for when you first arrive

Check it!
✓ 10 pairs of underwear and socks. I'm the kind of girl that will do laundry based on my underwear supply.
✓ 6 bras- 2 everyday, a strapless, a backless, a convertible, a push-up
✓ 2 swimsuits- I'll be living on Manly Beach, after all.
✓ One business suit
✓ 10 business casual outfits
✓ 2 pairs of shorts
✓ 5 sundresses
✓ Shoes: One tennis shoes, two sandals, one heels, two flats
✓ Sunglasses
✓ One pair of jeans
✓ 3 pairs of leggings/yoga pants
✓ One set of PJ's (honestly, I prefer to sleep in the nude)
✓ One lightweight jacket. I won't need much winter gear as weather in Sydney is fairly temperate.
✓ Makeup. Buy all other toiletries there to avoid taking up space
✓ Bold statement accessories to make your limited wardrobe more versatile
✓ Electric outlet adapters 
✓ International voltage convertors (laptop)

Space saving tips
✓ Bring expendable items that you can pitch before heading back to the states (think old workout shirts)
✓ Fold your shirts in half, then roll them up with a rubber band. They will stay wrinkle free and take up half the space. Win/win!
✓ Pack thin knits and light cottons which don't add much weight
✓ Pack in the nooks and crannies between fragile items and roll socks and scarves in shoes
✓ Use a purse with a cross-body strap to prevent pick pocketing  
✓ Choose light weight luggage so you aren't burdened with overweight bag fees every time you travel. 

Leave behind!
✖ Hairdryer and flat iron. 
The electrical current in Australia is 240/250 volts, in the US, it is 110 volts. You will not only need an adapter to plug in your appliance, you will also need either a transformer and adapter plug, or a dual voltage appliance which can be switched from 110 to 240 volts. 
✖ Bedding, linens, kitchenware
✖ Industrial size shampoo and body wash
Dry clean only clothing
✖ Phone cards (less expensive in Australia)

Find a customized packing list no matter your destination!

This is beginning to feel all to real. Hold me while I sob tears of excitement and anxiousness. There is no doubt I will acquire a lifetime worth of memories in 12 short months.


Kriselle Mendoza said...

Wow love this post! I'll definitely be keeping this in mind when I pack to travel this summer [: Have fun prepping for Australia!

Chelsea Oliver said...

Wow! Sounds like you're ready!! Thanks for the tips - I hope all goes smoothly for you!


Kaelene Spence said...

Packing for a year abroad is so difficult. I always separate my clothes in piles from ones I want to take for sure and then the maybes. I add in from the maybe pile if I have room. Best of luck packing!

Kirsten said...

I've just been reading all your Australia posts! How exciting! Although I'm the opposite - I'm Australian, but I have always wanted to move to America. You will have a great time in Sydney, it is a beautiful city :)

Kirsten | kirstenlearns.com

Kallie @ But First, Coffee said...

WOW! Great tips! I always try to follow the less is more rule, no matter how long I'm gone. Having too much can be such a pain!

Amy Fashion Blog said...

great tips.

Angel de la Flor said...

This is very helpful... thanks!

The Rachael Way said...

Pinning this for my china experience- I'm going to make a pin board for China! ah!

Kelly said...

I love the blazer and the cobalt blue suit - so pretty!

xx Kelly
Sparkles and Shoes