As a mid-30′s, female solo traveler, I’ve outgrown the hostels but I’m not extravagant in any way. On my recent trip I stayed in: a shared Airbnb (Warsaw), two private Airbnb apartments (Riga and Vilnius), a hotel for one night (Amsterdam), and with friends for two nights (Paris). I was on a lot of different airplanes and trains. I took both the train and taxis from airport to city center and my main concern on this trip was to not pack or carry more than I could physically handle. Thus, I brought rolling 20″ suitcase and a small carry-on. I was able to bring all of my luggage on board (no checking) on American for my transatlantic flight and I was very happy about that! That is always my goal going over - I usually buy something, whether it is perfume or alcohol that prevents me from carrying on later in the trip but I firmly believe that packing light for the start of one’s trip is important.
So without further ado, my packing list for Europe, Spring 2016.
Worn on the plane: Black leggings, Adidas Samba sneakers, long grey tank top, long sleeve grey tunic, Lululemon vinyasa scarf (lifesaver for cold planes, linked item is similar but not the same print).
Outerwear:North Face Thermoball Jacket, faux leather jacket. I was mad at myself for packing two jackets but I am really glad that I did. The North Face jacket was necessary a few times because it was really cold in Riga the night of the race and the day after, the leather jacket was perfect for the rest of the trip open or zipped with a scarf and a dress, pants, etc. Neither took up too much space and the NF jacket rolled up very small and fit into my carry-on when I had to check my bag.
Pants: One pair of black skinny jeans, one pair of straight leg black pants, one pair of black, opaque tights. Black, I love it because it doesn’t show dirt, matches everything, and you will blend in well in Europe
Shirts: Chambray Shirt, one long black tank, blue short sleeved shirt, red and white striped short sleeve shirt, one grey tunic shirt with light pink floral details, one grey boyfriend fit t-shirt. Color palette of blue, grey, one colorful item of classic stripes, and light pink. Washed all of these halfway through the trip, never wore the striped shirt, didn’t need it!
Dresses: One long sleeved, knee-length fitted dress and one black and white striped dress of the same style. I never wore the black and white dress.
Accessories: The aforementioned scarf, a light pink scarf, a purple scarf (this broke up all the neutrals I wore), one pair of stud earrings, one necklace, watch. In hindsight, two scarves would have been enough, but it isn’t like they take up a lot of space.
Workout clothes: two pairs of capri pants to choose from for the race, one pair of shorts for the race in case it was really hot, 2 tank tops, 2 sports bras, 3 pairs of running socks, two pairs of underwear for running. I did run another time on the trip, one bikini (never worn).
Shoes: I only brought the black Adidas I wore on the plane and a pair of running shoes. I usually try to bring a third pair but I did not have room for my black leather booties, so oh well! I also shoved a pair of shower shoes in my bag last minute that usually live in my gym bag. I was super casual and okay with that, the Samba’s look cute with jeans or casual dresses and they are very comfortable
Socks and underwear for 7-8 days with plans to wash them halfway through the trip.
Toiletries: 3 oz or less bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, face lotion, face wash, small bar of soap, razor, small rollerball of perfume, sea salt spray for hair, wide tooth comb, foundation, mascara, tiny pot of lip/cheek stain, two lipsticks, eyebrow palette. Makeup previously posted here. I ran out of that concealer though so I didn’t bring it.
Extras: handheld water bottle for running, running watch, charger for watch, kindle, kindle charger, phone, phone charger, nutrition for race (2 packages of Clif Shot Bloks), universal adapter plug, electric toothbrush, toothbrush charger, empty plastic bags and ziploc baggies for repacking and separating wet items, wallet, and passport with cover!
So, if you’re not going to run a marathon in a foreign country, you can actually pack less than I did or bring a different pair of shoes because my running shoes take up a lot of space. In colder weather, I probably would have worn tall boots but it was May and my choices worked well. I honestly don’t think I packed that many items. I brought it all on board in a roller suitcase so that says a lot about my minimal packing philosophy.
My main change for future marathons is to bring a pair of running shoes that are ready to be retired and to just leave them in whatever country I run the race in. I’m already planning on that for the fall and using them sparingly now in preparation.
I know this topic isn’t the most exciting, but I hope it has been helpful. I think the keys to packing light are to plan on doing laundry, to try and travel in the shoulder season or aim for 50-70 degree F weather (you don’t sweat a lot and you don’t need bulky clothes), and to stick to black with a few colorful accessories.