The Eagle has landed. We safely arrived in London on Tuesday.
Our friend, Peter, that picked us up from the airport was shocked at how light we traveled. We each had one carry-on backpack plus one personal item, a small purse for me and a small daypack for Tom.
It wasn’t easy, but we did it!
In order to pack for this trip, we did quite a bit of shopping. We had to be intentional about what to bring in order to live out of one bag for a year. The items needed to be dual-purpose, able to be mixed and matched, dressed up or down, and comfortable enough for walking.
As mentioned in past blog posts, I’m a typical girl in the sense that I want to look nice while footing my way through Europe, but I am very atypical in that I hate to shop. It’s not that I don’t like clothes, but decisions in general overwhelm me.
To solve this problem in the past, I have used the services of Tog & Porter. I highly recommend them and you can read more about them on their website (togandporter.com). In short, they offer personal shopping services to the average person.
In the past, my Tog & Porter stylist skyped with me at no cost to learn about my needs, wardrobe, style, and budget. Then she sent me a box of clothes to try on. I kept what I wanted and returned the rest. Brilliant.
Unfortunately, when I contacted Tog & Porter to send me clothes for this trip, it was too late to get the box in time. Nevertheless, they were kind enough to put together a style guide for me and it set me in the right direction. You can view it on their blog here.
Listed below are the specifics of what we packed:
After being here a few days, it is already clear that Tom packed just the right amount and, not surprisingly, I still packed too much.
I plan to throw a few items out to lighten my load. I’m not sure which items I will toss just yet, but below are a few items that I know we will keep. These have already proven themselves:
1. Our Backpacks: Tom bought the REI Vagabond Tour 40 Travel Pack and I bought the Osprey Farpoint 55 with a zip-off daypack. So far, we have been pleased with our selection. When choosing our bags, the following features were important to us:
2. Packing Cubes: These not only help us pack more into our small bags, but they help us stay organized as we travel. I know exactly where everything is and I don’t have to unpack everything to get to the bottom of my bag. Tom and I bought 2 sets of 3 cubes each (small, medium, and large). Tom uses a large and a medium packing cube. I use a large and two small cubes and we had one medium cube to spare.
3. Gold Havaiana Freedom Sandals: I wanted a pair of sandals that look dressier than flip flops, but still made from a material that I can wear at the beach or in the shower at hostels. These sandals were the perfect solution. The gold color glams them up a bit and true to Havaiana’s brand, they are durable and comfy to walk in. I have already walked over 20 miles in them all over London and my feet feel great with no blisters.
4. Cocoon Grid-It: This is by far the best $20 I spent on gear for this trip. Between Tom and I we have a plethora of electronic devices, which means we also have an abundance of chargers, plugs, cords, converters and earphones. All of these are packed in a single day-pack. Without the Cocoon Grid-It, all of our cords would be in one big knot at the bottom of our bag. Now they are neatly organized, easy to find, and easy to determine if anything goes missing.
5. Manna Kadar Make-up: Although, I agreed to this whole backpacking adventure, I didn’t want to trek through Europe looking like a complete frump. So I visited my friend, Manna Kadar before leaving for the trip. Her line of cosmetics is highly-pigmented (meaning you only need to use a little bit at a time) and many of the products have dual purposes. Therefore, it will last me a long time and it is compact for packing, making it ideal for the girl that travels a lot. In fact, out of all the make-up I bought from her, everything but the mascara should last me the entire year. Her tagline is Beauty Simplified so, obviously, I was immediately intrigued. I’ll give you more detail on the make-up in a later post, but in the meantime check out her cosmetics here: mannakadarcosmetics.com
6. Ex-Officio Men’s Give-N-Go Boxer Briefs: Tom first heard about this underwear on Tim Ferris’ blog. Their tagline says it all “17 countries. 6 weeks. And one pair of underwear.” The boxer briefs are made of an extremely breathable and moisture-wicking fabric making them easy to wash and dry as you go. Tom opted to pack just 4 pairs. As an added bonus the fabric is treated with Aegis Microbe Shield to control odor. They're not cheap at about $16 a pair, but Tom’s tush is happy and he says their worth it. Not traveling the world? They are great for other outdoor adventures that make you sweat like running, climbing, hiking, and fishing.
Swiftwick Pursuit Zero Socks: Tom set out looking for the perfect sock and he ended his hunt when he found these. When he told me he bought wool socks, I thought he was crazy, but so far he has proven me wrong. The socks have insulating and wicking qualitites and, counter to my preconceived notions of wool, these socks appear to keep his skin dry when sweating and cool when hot. And they don’t have an itchy feel either!
As we spend more time on the road, I’m sure we’ll refine our packing choices, so we’ll give you an update after a few months on the road.
Also, since we’re newbies to extended travel, we certainly appreciate recommendations from others. Please comment below and share your favorite travel supplies.
I'm Jaime. My husband is Tom. Suburbanites, backpackers, and expats...we've been them all!