How to pack for a four week holiday away

how to pack for a four week holiday vacation
how to pack for a four week holiday vacation

In just two days Luke and I will be hopping on a plane for a long-awaited holiday travelling around Italy and the US. To say I’m excited is an understatement; it’s been a good four years since I’ve travelled beyond Australia or New Zealand, so this trip away has definitely been a long time coming.

We are spending just shy of four weeks abroad, and it probably comes as little surprise that one of my biggest concerns is: what do I pack? Or perhaps more importantly, how much should I pack?

I’m definitely not planning on being as optimistic as the time I took a mere 13 items away with me for a six week holiday (let’s just say that a lot of shopping was necessary), but I also don’t want to overpack. While I might not be planning on doing much shopping, if at all, the last thing I want is to be standing at the airline counter worrying about whether my bag is going to be a lot heavier than it should be.

I’ve had the good fortune of taking a number of extended vacations in the past ranging anywhere from 3-6 weeks away, so I wanted to share some of my top tips for packing your suitcase like a pro for a long trip abroad…

Let’s start from the very beginning. It’s counterproductive – to say the least – to not have some semblance of what kind of weather you’ll be facing once you reach your final destination. I recommend adding all the cities you’ll be travelling to your phone’s weather app so you can keep an eye on the weather trends in the lead up to your trip. This will help you to plan and map out exactly what types of clothing you’ll need to bring with you, and help you to avoid any situations where you find yourself without a jacket or a pair of shorts right when you need them.

Will you be spending most of your time by the pool? Sightseeing? At the shops? Hiking through the bush?

Before you actually start packing your bag, thinking about how you will be spending your time. If you’re by the pool most days you’ll want to make sure to bring at least a couple of swimsuits with you. If you’re planning on going on the occasional hike, pack some leggings, a loose fitting singlet and some sneakers to get you by. A little like how I would plan my capsule wardrobes, I’ll get a broad idea of what my holiday will entail and then pack accordingly.

A while back, I stumbled across this packing concept on A Pair & a Spare, and I have to say, I think that the inverted triangle concept works perfectly for anything from a week to an entire month (or more!) away. What I love about this concept is that it helps you to maximize your options, while increasing the functionality of what you’ve packed away in your suitcase for your trip.

This means packing more tops than bottoms, more bottoms than dresses and shoes, more dresses and shoes than swimsuits and bags, and more swimsuits and bags than other accessories (think hats, sunglasses and watches). Trust me when I say, this, works. As you’ll spy from my own ‘packing list’ below, I’ve adapted it for the length of my holiday.

When I’m mapping out my vacation packing list, I always find it easiest to start with the basics; pieces like a staple pair of jeans, lightweight tees, a loose sweater, a comfortable pair of shoes and a light jacket. By approaching packing this way, I can plan the rest of my holiday wardrobe around those essential key pieces that I’ll be reaching for first, more often than not.

I find that this is also a great time to start planning your travel outfit. I tend to work in layers to make sure that I’m not doubling up (while making the most of my precious suitcase space), and I’ll always pack an outfit to change into for when I land.

Next, I’ll start to build in items that are seasonally appropriate; if you’re travelling to a country that is in the throes of winter, you’ll be packing things like chunky knit sweaters, sturdy leather boots and an oversized scarf. At the opposite end of the spectrum, for a summer vacay you’ll want to bring along denim shorts, pretty sun dresses, swimsuits, and a pair of sandals.

This is also where I’ll think about any statement pieces that I want to bring with me, and work it around the theme and colour palette which has organically presented during this process.

And if there’s one thing I can’t recommend enough, it’s to make sure that you pack at least one nice going out dress. Even if all you have planned is a week sitting by the pool, you never know what’s going to happen when you’re on holiday and I figure it always pays to be prepared.

You all know I’m addicted to shoes, through and through, so I find this the hardest part of packing for any holiday. For four weeks away, I’d typically pack about 5 pairs of shoes – this gives you enough options so you won’t get bored, and you can switch up your footwear if you start getting even a hint of a blister.

Take the time to also think about how many bags you’ll need; will you need an evening bag for going out? Do you want to take a small crossbody for exploring? And also whether you’ll be bringing along any jewellery, scarves, sunglasses or hats. I try to keep these to a minimum where possible – accessories (and my travel beauty kit) tend to weigh down my bag the most!

This is one of the more fun parts of packing… trying everything on! I like to have a few go to looks that I can just throw on; my main focus while travelling is to get out and explore, so I don’t want to be stuck in my hotel room fussing over what I’m going to wear. Take a couple of photos so that you can then refer back to the ‘looks’ while you’re travelling.

As someone who used to travel with just a bronzer, eyeliner and mascara, I know all too well how much a bulging make up bag can weigh you down. Where possible, pack multi purpose products – like a cream blusher you can also use as a lipstick – and try to narrow it all down to the bare essentials. My weak spot is hands down eyeshadow palettes and lipsticks – I always have a hard time trying to settle on my absolute essentials for a trip ahead.

One tip; bring along a bold red lipstick – it’s one of the few beauty products that I can’t leave behind and easily dresses up even the simplest of looks.

The final thing to organize – aside from your passport, itinerary and currency, of course – is your tech. I always tend to travel a little tech heavy; as someone who shares part of their life online, it’s hard to avoid. I find that the best way to narrow it down is think about what you can’t live without, and pack accordingly. Also, don’t forget to make sure that you’ve picked up the necessary plug converters for your final destination – that’s something that you definitely don’t want to forget.

As you’ll see from my own packing list below, I’ve kept things p-r-e-t-t-y neutral colour wise, adding in a bit of colour with my accessories.

Obviously there’s the odd piece missing, like my Nike Roshe Runs, my gym gear, and a couple of samples that I’ll be shooting while I’m away, but for the most part, this is everything that is coming along for the ride with me. The one thing that I couldn’t manage to cut down? Shoes. Let’s just pretend that there aren’t seven pairs of shoes sneakily stuffed into my suitcase. I guess we all have a weakness….

My Long Haul In-Flight Travel Uniform

When it comes to long haul flights, comfort is king. Trust me, I’ve made the mistake of wearing a pair of tight fitting jeans on a 26-hour journey only to very quickly come to regret my decision.

This time around, I’m keeping things simple, and tying in what I wear on the plane, with pieces that I know I’ll wear while I’m away. For me this means…

A comfortable pair of leggings in a neutral shade – perfect for travel days and also great for hiking or if you can manage to squeeze in the odd run (which I’m definitely hoping to do!).

A loose fitting long sleeved striped tee (my favourites are from T by Alexander Wang) – one of my travel essentials (it’ll go with e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g) and perfect for those cooler days, which I’m anticipating we’ll probably have in San Fran.

A super soft knit sweater – no matter the weather, this is worth it even if it’ll only get worn on the plane. I find it’s great to have something plain just in case it gets cool when you’re heading out in the evening.

A pair of trainers – if there’s one thing you’re probably going to be doing a lot of when you’re away on holiday, it’s walking. Usually a pair of trainers – if you have Nike Roshe Runs like me – can take up a lot of suitcase space, but they’re also typically one of the more comfortable pairs of shoes you’ll have with you.

A scarf or shawl wrap – planes get cold, and usually I find that the blanket the air hostesses provide you with just isn’t enough. I’ll always bring along a scarf or a shawl to double as a second blanket while on the plane, and as a scarf or cover up when at my final destination. This is a great piece to bring with you as depending on your destination, there can be cultural sensitivities and requirements at local temples, churches and the like, so it’s useful to have something to hand that you can whip out in those situations.

An oversized tote bag – I’m always the girl with a carryon suitcase and a bulging tote bag on my shoulder. I find it’s the perfect companion for all your in-flight essentials (think books, laptops, ipods, and beauty essentials) and doubles as an everyday bag while you’re on your holiday.

Lastly, if there’s one thing that I’ve learnt, it’s how essential travelling with a spare change of clothes in your carry on is. After spending 25+ hours travelling, the first thing I want to do is shower, and put on a fresh change of clothes; it’s one of those little rituals I have that makes me feel re-energised, especially in situations when going straight from the plane to sightseeing.

Do you have an in-flight travel uniform?

The Big Apple

new york travel web jet review

If you had to ask me which city was my favourite – out of all those that I’ve travelled to, so far – it would be a bit of a toss up between Paris and New York. Both vibrant cities, entrenched in their own very rich histories, with a combination of grimy, gritty back streets, and lush city-centric parks.

2016 is shaping up to be a pretty big year for us; aside from planning our own wedding (and hopefully a brief honeymoon to follow…), we’ve just recently booked a three and a half week trip to Italy and the US, which of course wouldn’t be complete without a pit stop in the ‘Big Apple’. While the main purpose of our trip is to celebrate the wedding of Luke’s brother, it seemed as good an excuse as any to tick a few things off that ever-growing bucket list. Without a shadow of a doubt, we’ll be wandering the winding trails of Cinque Terre (for those iconically beautiful seaside views), sipping wine in the rolling hills of Tuscany, and across the Atlantic, riding bikes at breakneck speed through Central Park and drinking our way through Napa Valley.

I’m definitely your typical type-A planner; not only is there usually an itinerary (virtually mapped out to the minute), but also a back-up itinerary, just-in-case.

Booking a holiday is time-consuming enough as it is; deciding on the itinerary is the easy part; picking a hotel, however, is not so easy. To try and save a bit of time (and hopefully money, given the terrible exchange rate at the moment), I’ve been checking out Webjet‘s new app. It’s a little bit of a one-stop-shop for flights, accommodation and car hire, which at first glance has the makings of a great all-rounder for those planning their next trip overseas (myself included!).

new york travel web jet review

So far, I’ve found the interface clean and simple to use; the filters and sorting options make finding a hotel in the right location and within budget a breeze (the map display has to be one of my favourite features). When booking flights, you aren’t limited to just one group of airlines (even for a simple AU/NZ return trip) – which opens up so. many. options, and car hire is just as effortless to navigate and book. Given I tend to spend hours upon hours browsing online for the best deal, it’s comforting in a way to know that you can expect to receive a good (if not the cheapest) deal available out there, and from recent experience, the app mirrors the daily and weekly deals that Webject regularly shoots out to your inbox (and who isn’t a fan of getting a good deal?).

If there’s one thing I do question, it’s the $40 servicing and booking charges added to your total as you enter the check out; it’s not a major if you’re spending big bucks, but if you’re booking a night’s accommodation which clocks in at $150 for example, you’re getting copped with a 30% additional charge – so do keep this in mind. If you’re planning your own trip and want to try out the app for curiosity’s sake, it’s a short click away (or available on Android here).

As for me, I’ll be immersing myself right back into my hotel search for Cinque Terre – recommendations are welcome!

Packing for a five day trip away

packing for a five day trip holiday getaway capsule minimal travel

Packing for any kind of holiday is downright difficult; be it an overnighter, a week, or a month away, there’s always that underlying question… ‘did I pack too much, too little, or just enough?’.

Last Wednesday, Luke and I flew to Wellington for a five-night stay to celebrate our engagement with friends and family, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a whirlwind trip – they’re always over too soon!

I’m the type that tries to fly with just a carry-on (and a very large shopper tote), so I try to narrow down my travel-drobe as much as possible. I managed to keep it to just the essentials (even if my make up bag was overflowing a little…), keeping in mind that what little I packed would need to be effortlessly paired together. I find that the most fail safe combination is a neutral palette of black, white, grey and navy, so I focused my suitcase heavily on those four colours.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the weather was *mostly* miserable – Saturday was the exception – so I tried to pack with this in mind. Which honestly, was a little tough given my Spring capsule is so heavily geared toward warmer weather. I ended up swapping out a couple of my shoes for two pairs which were a little more appropriate (my Acne jensens and Charlotte Olympia kitty flats), and packed a couple of pairs of stockings just in case.

The most useful things I packed? A HUGE blanket like scarf and a heavy leather jacket, which were truly a lifesaver against the bitterly cold wind you often get in Wellington. And what I could have done without? The Everlane silk tank I hastily packed and one fewer skirt – outfit repeating (or remixing) is 100% okay, especially when on holiday.

Do you have a formula when you pack for a trip away? Or do you throw the kitchen sink and them some into a bag and hope for the best? x