Tips for Traveling Light

Tips for Traveling Light

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything packing related, and these posts remain to be my most popular, so I thought I’d get back to my roots! One thing I’ve learned during my travels, whether it be a month-long Europe trip or a long weekend getaway is how important it is to travel light. Not only is does it convenient and cost-effective, it’s just way more practical and less stressful. Anyhow, I suppose if you’re reading this, you’re already on board with my logic so I’ll get right to my tips for traveling light.

Open that weather app
This seems silly but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say “I thought it was going to be cold, so I wore the same dress all week.” Check the forecast and check it again the day before you leave for your trip.

Plan ahead
The first thing I do before I even get my suitcase out is pull items from my closet that I think I want to bring and lay them on my bed. From there, I think about everything I have planned for the trip. Do you have a nice dinner planned? Instead of throwing in options, figure out what you’re going to wear. Pick pieces that are tried and true — wardrobe staples you know you look good and feel comfortable in.

Make more outfits with less
This is definitely the most important tip of all and something I talk about in all of my packing posts. Especially if you’re going on a longer trip, you’re going to re-wear piece. It’s inevitable. But that doesn’t mean you need to wear the same exact outfit. I recently partnered with an incredible Canadian based company called Encircled, that’s all about creating more outfits with less. All of the clothing is ethically-made and versatile in design so every piece can be worn multiple ways.

For example, the Retrograde Kimono can be worn forwards, backwards, as a dress or as a layering piece. In the first photo below, I’m wearing it open with a silk tank, my favorite vintage-inspired jeans, and my go-to black booties. In the second, I’m wearing the same piece reversed and zipped as a dress. Oh, and accessories are your best friend! Here I threw on some layered necklaces, a pop of lip color, and tossed my hair into a braid. To completely change the look, I could wear my hair down with a light scarf. Bada-bing, bada-boom — new outfit!


Another easy item to dress up or down is a simple tee shirt like this Nomadic V Neck, which is ethically made and won’t fall apart in a foreign washing machine like your $8 tee might.

My other favorite piece from Encircled is the Dressy Sweatpant. Of course, they can be worn with a sweater, denim shirt, tee shirt, you name it — but you can dress them up effortlessly. Below, I paired them with the same silk tank I wore with the Retrograde Kimono above, and added a leather jacket (this one was a steal for only $50!) and heels. Perfect for a night out or even a semi-casual business meeting. Click here for more inspiration on how to style these (I think you’ll be surprised by how versatile they are).

Packing cubes, packing cubes, packing cubes
If you’re heading on a longer trip and really want to bring as much as possible without checking a bag, these are your best friend — I swear by them. There are a bunch of different size options and functional designs (I’ve linked them all below). They really help to organize and compress everything in your suitcase. Check out how I packed everything for a month long Europe trip in a carry on using packing cubes here.

carry on packing image

Be mindful of your beauty bag
Break out the three ounce bottles, and only bring the essentials when it comes to makeup. When it comes to skin care, I pack a lot but I do it in a really small amount of space. It’s all about being strategic — for example I use little sample jars (like the kind you can get for free from sephora) for things I don’t need a lot of like eye cream, heavier night moisturizer, etc. For a more in-depth explanation, check out my toiletry packing guide here.

Got another ‘need to know’ packing tip? Leave a comment below! Shoutout to encircled for sponsoring this post.

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Encircled pieces: Retrograde Kimono, V Neck Tee, Dress Sweatpants.

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TravelingLight

How to Pack the Perfect Carry-On Bag

How to Pack the Perfect Carry-On Bag


Every seasoned traveler knows a well packed carry-on bag can mean the difference between a comfortable or miserable flight. Luckily for you, I’ve done the leg work! No matter how short or long your flight is, here’s everything you need to ensure a seamless travel experience.

Bag:

My go-to carry on bag is the Lo & Sons OG Bag, AKA the most incredible carry-on bag in the world. I’m not exaggerating when I say this bag has a place for everything. There are so many little compartments for your laptop, tablet, pens, chapsticks, keys… Heck, there’s even a hidden compartment for an extra pair of shoes! My favorite feature is the slit in the back, which allows you to slide the bag onto your carry-on luggage handle. No more achey shoulders! If you don’t need the extra compartments or if you want something more versatile that you can use on a daily basis, consider a Longchamp Le Pilage Tote.

Sleep:

If my flight is in the early morning/late evening, or if I’m flying to Europe, I pretty much always plan on sleeping to pass the time. Pro tip: To avoid jet lag, consider the time zone in your destination. If you’re flying to Italy at 2pm from NYC, it’s already 8pm in your destination. Take an over-the-counter sleep aid and catch some ZZZs!

Neck pillow
These don’t have to be bulky! I use this Memory Foam Travel Pillow that rolls up into a little ball and fits into a drawstring pouch. It also has a little clip in the front so you can drop your head forward on it. There are even inflatable options like this one. If you’re still contemplating if you’ll need a neck pillow, please just trust me when I say it makes a world of difference.

Eye mask
You’ll thank me when your neighbor wants to look out the window the entire time, or when the flight attendant turns on the cabin lights while you’re snoozing. I’m obsessed with the ultra-soft and ultra-cute masks from Wildfox like this one and this one.

Ear plugs
What crying baby? I can’t here a thing when I have Macks Ear Plugs in.

Over-the-coutner sleep aid
Only take one if you plan on sleeping for at least 4 hours! I take Unisom Sleep Gels.

Hydrate:

Water bottle
I usually pack my own empty bottle and fill it up once I’m through security at a refill station or water fountain to avoid paying high prices at the airport.

Evian Facial Spray
This stuff is like a drink of water for your skin! It’s the best way to refresh during a dehydrating flight, and it’s perfect for setting your makeup and making it last throughout your long travel day. I’m obsessed with it because it comes in a TSA approved 1.7oz size, and unlike other facial sprays, it’s mineral based and fragrance free, so it doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin. Learn more about Evian Facial Spray here.

Moisturizer
In addition to Evian Facial Spray, I always use a good moisturizer before a long flight. For shorter flights, I use Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer. It offers light coverage and SPF protection (yes, you still need it on travel days!). For long haul flights, I nix the makeup altogether and go for a traditional moisturizer like Clinique’s Moisture Surge.

Eye Cream
To avoid dark circles, I always use a good eye cream before boarding. Clinque’s All About Eyes Rich is one of my favorites.

Lip balm
My lips are always the first thing to dry out on a long flight. I swear by Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment!

Read next: My Travel Skin Care Advice // How to Avoid Jet Lag.

Rejuvenate:

Wipes
Never underestimate the power of a wipe! Not only are these Yes to Cucumbers Wipes great for cleansing your face on-the-go, but they’re also perfect for refreshing your body. Pro tip: I always have wipes and/or tissues on me during travel. You never know when you’re going to use a public restroom that doesn’t have toilet paper! (This is a common occurrence in Europe).

Mascara
Mascara is the one makeup item I can’t live without. It just instantly makes me look awake and refreshed after a long flight.

Wisps
There’s nothing worse than traveling for hours on end without having a chance to brush your teeth. Wisps are convenient and easy, and you’d be surprised at how effective they are! Gum and mints are a good supplement.

Healthy snack
Although most flights offer a snack at the very least, it’s not always the healthiest option. I like to bring some type of nutritious comfort food like a granola bar or banana.

Disinfect:

With all of the germs you come in contact with at the airport, on planes, and on public transportation, you definitely don’t want to leave home without these:

Hand sanitizer
No explanation needed.

Well-Kept Electronic Wipes
I’m obsessed with these Electronic Wipes from Well-Kept because they safely and effectively remove bacteria and makeup build-up from your phone and laptop, which prevents you from getting sick or having a breakout.

Emergen-C
Before I reach my destination, I like to give my immune system a little boost. Airborne is another great option.

Gadgets:

Phone
I know, I know. It’s usually glued to my hand at all times. But it doesn’t hurt to make sure you have it!

Tablet
While most international flights offer free movies, I like to bring my iPad for shorter flights or for trips with long train or bus rides. For blogging purposes, I sometimes opt for my laptop, but my tablet is much lighter. I see a Macbook Air in my near future…

Headphones
This is one item you definitely do not want to forget! The over-the-ear kind make a huge difference because they cancel out all of that airplane noise.

Chargers
I typically pack the chargers to all of my electronics in my carry-on, but at the very least, I throw in my phone charger and laptop charger.

Back-up battery
Soooo, I’m kind of awful about draining my phone battery. My back-up battery has saved me on many occasions. The only catch is you have to remember to charge it. But if you can handle that, I promise it will change your life! This one from Ban-do is adorable.

Necessities:

Passport

Boarding pass

Wallet
Pro tip: Be sure to call your credit card companies to make them aware of your travels. Also, ensure that your credit card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees and that it has a microchip.

Sweater
Flights can be extremely chilly! Plus, your sweater can double as a pillow when balled up.

Pen
A pen is invaluable when you need to fill out immigration documents!

Carry On Bag Guide

If you’re checking luggage, don’t forget to add anything you wouldn’t want to lose should your bag get lost. I typically pack my Nikon DSLR, GoPro, jewelry, sunglasses, and all of my toiletries and makeup (don’t forget to keep them under 3 ounces!). Throwing in an extra outfit or two never hurts either! Of course, carrying on your luggage is the way to go.

Extras:

Electronics

Jewelry

Sunglasses

Toiletries

Medications

Makeup

Read next: My Toiletry Packing Guide // How to Pack for a Month in a Carry-On.

My last tip is to double, and then triple check that you have everything you need! There’s nothing worse than getting to the airport and realizing you forgot important documents or the charger to something.

How do you pack the perfect carry-on bag?

Thank you Evian Facial Spray for sponsoring this post! As always, all opinions are my own.

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How to Pack For a Month in Europe in a Carry-On

How to Pack For a Month in Europe in a Carry-On

I know this may sound harsh, but I always feel sorry for people who go to Europe with a massive suitcase (unless they’re studying abroad). I mean, do you really think that’s practical for a trip where you’re going to be bouncing around every few days in another continent? Trust me, no amount of outfits is worth lugging a huge suitcase on trains, around cities, to your accommodations, or to and from airports.

With that being said, I’ll be honest. This was my first time packing in a carry-on for a Europe trip, and even I was a little skeptical about whether or not I could do it. I typically pack in a carry-on for trips under two weeks long, so packing for a month was definitely a stretch. However, it’s so much easier to have a small bag– especially in places with hills like Cinque Terre! So, I committed to fitting everything into my cabin-sized bag. Here’s how I made it work:

First, lay out everything you want to bring.

Think about where you’re going. What’s the climate going to be like? Will you have access to a washing machine? I knew I was going to be gone for 25 days, and that some of my B&Bs would have washing machines. I also knew it was going to be hot in all of my destinations besides Budapest, so I would only need a small amount of warm clothing. I also tried to be strategic with what I packed. For example, I brought three white tops that matched all of my bottoms, and two kimonos I knew would look great over my black romper to make different outfits.

Obviously, your packing list is going to vary depending on where and when you’re traveling, and what you plan on doing while you’re there. The key is to be minimalistic, and to only bring what you know you’re going to need. After narrowing down my selection, I ultimately decided on bringing the items pictured below. My only regret is not packing an extra bathing suit, because I was in the water a lot during my trip.

carry on packing image

Packing cubes are your best friends.

These little babies have completely changed the way I pack. Not only do they keep my bag completely organized, but they save a ton of space. Another added bonus of using packing cubes is they basically act as drawers when you get to your destination.

The clean/dirty cube (the large black one pictured below) is one of my favorites because it’s double sided to separate clean and dirty clothes. I also have a black [non-compression] half cube, which is the perfect size for my bras, underwear and bathing suits. Prior to packing for this trip, I also purchased two white and lime green Eagle Creek compression cubes (one full-sized and one half-sized).

To use the packing cubes, I roll everything to the size of the cubes, and fill them up. Believe it or not, I could’ve fit more in them than I did. Don’t be afraid to cram them full if necessary! Lastly, I lay out what I’m going to wear on the plane. (Side note: I actually purchased these Birkenstock sandals after I took this photo, so I opted to wear them on the plane and leave my espadrilles at home).

carry on packing image

The Eagle Creek compression cubes can zip down to almost half of their height. I decided not to use this feature because I had enough space in my bag and didn’t want my clothes to wrinkle from the compression. However, if you want to pack even more clothing in less space, these will do the trick!

packing cube image
packing cube image

After filling the packing cubes, it’s time to break out the suitcase! I use a Delsey Helium Sky 21″ carry-on. If you’re in need of a new carry-on, this one is more than 50% off right now. Take advantage! I always throw in a few dryer sheets to keep my clothes smelling fresh throughout my trip. Another tip is to use a bag with two wheels instead of four. I know the four-wheelers are easier to roll, but they don’t store as much.

carry on packing image

The two full-sized cubes fit side by side on the bottom of the suitcase, followed by the two half-sized cubes on top. This leaves the perfect amount of space for the rest of your loose items.

carry on packing image

On top of the other cube, I fit my wet brush, curling wand (which I barely used), an umbrella, and two bags. In the black and white patterned pouch is my Rebecca Minkoff Mini Mac crossbody purse, which I take pretty much everywhere with me. I also brought my ultra-light longchamp backpack for hiking in Cinque Terre and Plitvice Lakes. On the other side are my white ralph lauren sneakers (I kicked my converse to the curb because they gave me blisters) and my Nike running shoes.

carry on packing image

On the outside pocket, I fit my shower toiletry items along with my Sam Edelman sandals.

carry on packing image

The rest of my items go into my Lo & Sons OG Bag, AKA the most incredible carry-on bag in the world. I’m not exaggerating when I say this bag has a place for everything. There are so many little compartments for your laptop, tablet, pens, chapsticks, keys… Heck, there’s even a hidden compartment for an extra pair of shoes! Definitely check it out to see why it’s such a great investment.

Anyway, inside it, I store everything I wouldn’t want to lose should I have to check my bag, like my electronics, chargers, jewelry pouch, sunglasses, toiletries, and of course my wallet. Click here to read what exactly I fit into my toiletry bag.

I also add items I know I’ll want easy access to like my neck pillow, eye maskear plugsWell-kept wipes, and Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment. Tissues are another must, as many restrooms abroad aren’t stocked with toilet paper. Not pictured: Nivea chapstick, pen, travel jewelry pouch, Nikon5300 (used to take these photos), and my wallet.

carry on packing image

Don’t forget to add a name tag in the rare case that you’ll have to check your bag!

carry on packing image

My last piece of advice is not to get discouraged. The more you travel, the easier packing light will be. I promise!

Have you packed for a month-long trip to Europe or another continent in a carry-on? I want to hear your packing advice in the comments! Happy travels.

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How to Pack for a Month in a Carry-On: Packing Guide    How to Pack for Europe in a Carry-On: Packing Guide

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My Toiletry Packing Guide

My Toiletry Packing Guide

How to pack more beauty products in less space.

Some people might call me crazy for wanting to give advice on packing toiletries. Yes, I do pack a lot. But I think it’s important to note that I pack a lot in a very small amount of space. I keep the makeup and hair products pretty simple (at least I think so), but where I go a little overboard is with the skin care products. I really don’t have any justification for it except for that I never know how my skin is going to react to travel. I also really enjoy giving my skin a little extra love and attention to preserve my youth, so to speak. (At least I’m admitting it, right?)

Anyway, I used to pack three toiletry bags with me: one for my shower items, one for my skin care products and other hygiene items, and one for my makeup. I know, I know– it was excessive. But I didn’t want to remove all of my products from my bag. So instead, I got strategic with what I brought and how I packed it. I now travel with one cosmetics bag and another clear pouch for shower items. The only reason I don’t use one bag is because I honestly like to keep my shower items separate.

Now that we’ve got that all of out of the way (phew!), here’s my toiletry packing guide:

travel toiletries image

First and foremost, pack everything in a three ounce bottle (or smaller).
For the products I know I’ll be using a lot of, like shampoo and body wash, I opt for three ounce bottles. I could probably get away with using two ounce bottles for my leave-in conditioner and face wash, but I already have these three ounce bottles, so they’ll do the trick for now.

Remember: You don’t have to fill them up all the way.
Consider the duration of your trip, and think about how much you’ll use. This will help to keep your bag light. I’m traveling for three weeks, and will probably need more than three ounces of these products, but I know toiletries will be available at most of my accommodations.

A full bottle of sunscreen is a must! I use Sun Bum because it’s not greasy and smells like bananas. Typically, I don’t pack dry shampoo. However, I’m going to Europe and may not always have the time or patience to wash my hair, so it’s coming with me! Whether you want to bring a sea salt spray or a small hair spray bottle is completely up to you. I use this one from Not Your Mother’s to create my beach waves.

Take toiletries from your hotel.
Whenever I stay at upscale hotels, I take the toiletry items home with me– especially lotion! They’re already travel sized, so you can refill them again and again for future travels if you don’t already have TSA approved bottles. I grabbed the tube pictured above from the Mandarin Oriental New York.

travel makeup image

Opt for multi-purpose products.
bobbi brown shimmer imageThis Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in bronze was actually a gift and not something I would’ve thought to buy, but it’s become a staple in my travel make-up routine. (Thanks Vanessa!) This one compact takes the place of my bronzer, blush and eye shadow! I typically brush a little on my cheek bones to highlight them, but if I’m going out, I’ll sweep the lighter stripes across my entire eyelid and press the darker stripes into the crease.

My retractable kabuki brush is one of my favorite items as it’s so compact. I use it to brush on my Clinique Almost Powder with SPF 15. I also bring a small MAC concealer brush that doubles as an eyeshadow brush. Hourglass concealer is my favorite for travel as it’s easy to apply and incredibly hydrating. For my brows, I use a Clinque pencil and Anastasia clear brow gel (one of my brows has a stubborn cowlick). Lastly, I swear by Maybelline’s Colossal Mascara. I’ve been using it since I was in high school and no expensive name-brand I’ve tried tops it. I bring both waterproof and regular as waterproof is more difficult to remove and doesn’t work as well. But that’s just me!

travel toiletries image

This is where I start to get really strategic (or crazy?).

Confession time: I’m a sample jar hoarder. And by that I mean I intentionally go into Sephora and ask for a sample of something to get the jar. Try not the judge me. Anyway, I do this because they’re perfect for those products that you only need a small amount of, like eye cream and zit cream. I also bring a sample sized jar of moisturizer, brightening serum, and BB crème for when I want a little more coverage. I pack two jars of Peter Thomas Roth’s Cucumber Mask in case my skin freaks out from sun exposure or climate change.

The hydrating mist I use is from Benefit. I just started bringing this with me on trips because it’s perfect for refreshing my skin during flights and it sets my makeup. This may sound excessive, but I can fit it in my toiletry bag, so it’s coming to Europe with me. I also always bring this small rollerball of Flowerbomb.

travel toiletries image

Instead of packing multiple pill bottles and a full first aid kit, I’ve put together what I like to call my ‘cure-all’ pouch. In it, I have Advil, Imodium, prescription strength nausea pills, Claritin, Unisom Sleep Gels, Band-Aids, bobby pins and Q-tips. I pack my toothbrush in a plastic bag instead of a toothbrush holder because mine was too bulky for my bag. Of course, I also pack a travel-sized toothpaste, floss and a razor.

travel toiletries image

As you can see, I put everything I use in the shower in the clear pouch, and everything else in the purple cosmetics bag. I pack the clear pouch in the small, outer pocket of my carry-on suitcase and the cosmetics bag in my carry-on tote. Note: I’ve been searching for a travel toiletry bag that has multiple pockets for organization, but I’ve yet to find one that isn’t big and bulky. If you know of one, please let me know!

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It zips, I promise!

I hope my toiletry packing guide can help you to simplify and pack more in less space. But of course, you have to find what works best for you and your beauty routine.

Do you have a strategic way of packing your toiletries? Let me know in the comments!

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What to Pack for a Summer in Europe

What to Pack for a Summer in Europe

Not sure what to bring to Europe this summer? This ultimate packing list has you covered!

So you’ve decided to spend the summer in Europe. Congratulations! Making the decision to go on a cultural adventure is the easy part. The tough part is figuring out what to pack! The weather is different from country to country and you don’t want to leave out something you’ll wish you brought later. Well, good news! This packing list (based on a 4-6 week trip) is all you’ll need before taking off on your European adventure.

Important Tips

Pack light! You’re going to buy items while abroad, even if you don’t think you will. Don’t risk dishing out money on your return flight because of an overweight bag. You also don’t want to be the girl struggling to keep up with the group because your luggage is too heavy

Choose a color scheme. It doesn’t have to be all neutrals, but try to make sure you can wear almost every top with every bottom, and your outerwear pieces and shoes with every outfit as well. This will allow you to make more outfit combinations out of less clothing.

Be practical. If you aren’t sure you’ll wear it, you probably won’t. That fancy dress will probably never leave your suitcase, and you’ll wonder why you ever thought you’d be fine wearing heels on cobblestone roads.

Choose the right bag. If you’re on study abroad, it’s normal to check a large bag and carry-on a small bag to use for weekend trips. If you’re backpacking or on an organized tour, do your best to fit everything into a carry-on or risk holding up your group and paying fees. To do this, you may need to omit a few items from this list. Check the climate in each of your destinations to determine what not to bring.

Share with friends. If you’re traveling with a friend, only one of you needs to pack certain items like a hair dryer or curling wand. You may even consider sharing jewelry, scarves or staples items like plain tank tops and cardigans.

Don’t stress! Anything you forget to pack can be found in Europe— aside from your passport of course!

Now on to the packing list…

Dresses/Rompers

  • 3 sundresses or rompers— I love packing these because they’re a top and bottom in one.
  • 2 maxi dresses— Maxi dresses can be dressed up or down, making them extremely practical.

Tops

  • 2 casual tank tops
  • 2 dressy tank tops
  • 1 short sleeved top
  • 1 long-sleeved top— I like bringing a denim shirt, as I can roll the sleeves or use it as an outerwear piece.
  • 1 t-shirt
  • 1 athletic top

Bottoms

  • 1 blue jeans
  • 1 colored jeans (black, white, or color)
  • 1 flowy pants— These are amazing for bus rides, train rides and long flights. Plus, they look nicer than leggings.
  • 1 denim shorts
  • 1 cotton shorts
  • 1 leggings
  • 1 exercise shorts

Outerwear

  • 2 cardigans— Stick with neutrals like black, white or tan.
  • 1 jacket— Jean or cargo style.
  • 1 heavy jacket— Bring something you know will keep you warm like a leather jacket or light coat.

Shoes

  • 1 sandals— Make sure they’re comfortable!
  • 1 boots— I know they take up more space, but you’ll be glad you brought them when you’re in cooler countries like Amsterdam, London and Switzerland.
  • 1 flatsYou’ll probably wear these the least, but they’re very versatile and come in handy when traveling to places where you need to be covered or want to look less like a tourist (think Paris and Rome).
  • 1 walking shoes— Choose something comfortable like Toms, espadrilles or Converse.
  • 1 sneakers— Bring these if you plan on hiking, canyoning, skydiving etc.

Accessories

  • 2 scarves— Scarves are your best friend! Wear them to instantly switch up any outfit.
  • 1 pair of sunglasses
  • 1 crossbody bag
  • 1 tote bag— Make sure it has a zipper and isn’t easy to get into!
  • 1 umbrella
  • 1 stud earrings
  • 1 statement earrings
  • 1 simple necklace
  • 1 statement necklace
  • 1 bracelet
  • 1 watch

Other

  •  1 sleepset
  • 2 swimsuits
  • 1 towel— Many hostels charge a fee for towel rentals.
  • 1 neck pillowIf you’re tight on space, bring one that’s inflatable. You’ll be glad you did when you’re trying to get some sleep on a cramped bus.

Unmentionables

  • 1 standard bra
  • 1 strapless bra
  • 1 sports bra
  • 12 pairs of underwear—This is my one exception to packing light. It’s always a good idea to bring extra underwear as you never know when you’ll be able to do laundry.
  • 5 pairs of socks

Toiletries

  • Shower products— Pick up a travel sized toiletry kit and fill it with your own products. I fill mine with shampoo, conditioner, body wash and face wash. You’ll find these products in most hotels and in stores at your study abroad destination, so don’t waste suitcase space on large bottles.
  • Make up bag— Keep it simple! A small bag with SPF 30 BB crème, concealer, mascara, eyeliner, SPF 15 powder, blush, bronzer, an eyebrow pencil, a small eyeshadow duo and a tinted SPF lip balm will do the trick.
  • Medications—Daily vitamins, ibuprofen, sleep aid, anti-nausea, anti-diarrhea and any prescribed medications such as birth control.
  • First-aid kit— A few band-aids and a neosporin packet should do the trick.
  • Packet of tissues— You never know when you won’t have access to toilet paper. Carry them in your purse throughout your trip.
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste (travel sized)
  • Dental floss
  • Moisturizer
  • Pimple cream
  • Sunscreen (travel sized)
  • Deodorant
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Earplugs
  • Hairbrush
  • Hair ties

Electronics

  • Laptop/tablet
  • Laptop/tablet charger
  • Phone— Look into international plans before you leave. Even if you’re getting a basic cell phone from your study abroad program, take your cell phone for pictures and wifi use.
  • Phone charger
  • Camera
  • Camera charger
  • Outlet converter Don’t forget this!
  • Headphones
  • Cheap hair dryer— Even if you use a converter, your hair dryer may stop working or even fry by the end of your trip.
  • Cheap curling wand

Documents

  • Passport
  • Copies of passport— Hide these in both your carry-on and checked bag.
  • Driver’s license
  • 2 credit cards— Make sure they don’t charge foreign transaction fees! Keep one hidden as a back-up.

Packing Tips

Pack all medications, jewelry, and important documents in your carry-on.

Throw a spare outfit in your carry-on in case your luggage doesn’t make it to the correct airport. Fingers crossed that doesn’t happen!

Roll your items to save space.

Invest in packing cubes to save space and stay organized.

Pack laundry sheets in between your clothes to keep them smelling fresh throughout your trip.

Europe Packing Guide image

Once you’ve tripled checked that you have everything, you’re ready for Europe! Feel free to ask any questions in the comments, or connect with us on Twitter or Instagram. Bon voyage!

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A Weekend in Costa Rica

A Weekend in Costa Rica

What to bring, see and do for a seamless weekend in this Caribbean paradise.

If you’re looking for the perfect combination of relaxation and adventure in a destination, look no further than Costa Rica. Last March, I traveled to Playa Hermosa for a spring break getaway. A year later, I’m still dreaming about the black sand beaches and breathtaking sunsets. If you’re thinking about experiencing this Caribbean island for yourself, this all-in-one guide is for you!

Traveled from: Ft. Lauderdale to Costa Rica

Arrived by: Spirit Airlines

Stayed at: Sandpiper Inn— Highly recommended!

Visited: Playa Hermosa and Jaco

What to bring:

costa rica packing guide image

 

1. Sun dress— Something easy to throw on over a bathing suit and wear into the evening without getting too hot.

2. Beach bag— I usually bring a linen Free People shopping bag as it hardly takes up any room in my suitcase.

3. Sunglasses— For obvious reasons, you’re going to need these.

4. Bathing suit— Pack at least one! You’ll be living in it all weekend.

5. Sunscreen— The UV rays are extremely strong in Costa. Don’t forget to reapply frequently!

6. Wet brush—This brush can tackle even the worst ocean-induced tangles.

7. Sandals— The black sand in Playa Hermosa is scorching hot during the daytime! You’ll want to wear these until you hit the water.

Black Sand Beach image

8. Sneakers— There are tons of great hiking trails in Costa Rica. Bring these to make sure you’re comfortable.

9. Athletic shirt— I brought a couple of American Apparel racerback tanks to wear while I hiked and during my zip-lining excursion.

10. Athletic shorts— Pair these with the athletic shirt and sneakers for your outdoor adventures.

Must-dos:

Surfing— Costa Rica is one of the best surf spots in the world! But while Playa Hermosa is a surfer’s paradise, it’s not ideal for beginners. I rode my first waves in Jaco, which is much calmer. Carton is a great place to rent boards at a fair price!

Costa rica surfing image

Zip-lining— An adrenaline rush in Costa Rica isn’t too tough to find. Zip lining is available all over the island, and the views of the water are incredible.

Trits icecream sandwich—This Costa Rican treat consists of a vanilla ice cream between two graham cracker sugar cookies with a drizzle of chocolate sauce. It’s truly the best ice cream concoction I’ve ever had! You can find them at almost any convenience store on the island. Tip: There is a button of the bottom used to pop the sandwich out of its container with ease.

Graffiti Restro Café— In downtown Jaco, just a quick drive from Playa Hermosa, is a restaurant called Graffiti. It’s a bit pricier than other spots in town, but it’s worth the splurge. The seafood dishes are absolutely incredible and the presentation is even better.

Watch the sunset every night— Costa Rica sunsets are hands down the most beautiful I’ve ever laid eyes on. Make yourself comfortable and enjoy.

Costa Rica sunset image

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