I'm back in one piece after my little European adventure - and I have to say, living out of a teeny carry-on was easier than I thought! We had twelve swift days scooting between Berlin, Prague, Vienna, and Budapest... and travelling with a single roll-on made it all so stress-free. I've tallied up how often I wore each item (above) - here are the takeaways...
The chambray. Oh, the chambray (Uniqlo - now on sale; buy a size up). Who knew a single item of clothing could be so darn versatile? I wore it under, over, open, closed, with sleeves rolled and buttoned... and it never complained. I also discovered that it kind of irons itself if you just wear it after washing. (Maybe don't go to any fancy restaurants for breakfast.) The down vest (Mountain Equipment Co-op - this one's similar), which was a present from my grandma in 2009, kept me warm and went with everything. The scarves (Shanghai markets), which were nice to switch up, and my hat (Winners) - because I love having a giant bow on my head.
A brighter cardigan with cleaner lines - maybe this John Lewis one (if, um, I found it on sale)? Also - one more scarf, and an extra hat and gloves. They're compact, and make you feel/look like you're the kind of person who changes her clothes. Which, you know, is classy.
The grey cardigan. The puffed sleeves looked weird over the chambray and the tunic, which means I could only get a few wears out of it - NOT OKAY. If I'd brought something with cleaner lines and a punchier colour, it would have given me a lot more options. If I really had to, I could have left the red sweater at home and just layer more undershirts - but I would have been doing laundry almost every night, which is not exactly what a European escapade is all about, is it?
I've always been a pretty light packer, but travelling in the winter with just a roll-on was a different game entirely - sweaters and jeans are bulky. The keys were playing mix-and-match at home first, packing only stuff I felt great in, and knowing that if I really underpacked, I could always buy a piece or two on the go. (In the end, all I bought was my the red pom-pom hat.)
Overall, packing lean left me room for jammies, toiletries, hostess gifts, a mailing tube for poster purchases, guidebooks, an empty daypack, and a spare duffel bag that came back stuffed with souvenirs and European yummies. Except the mailing tube, which my dear husband left on the train. I'm not saying anything.
What will you pack the next time you travel?
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