Tips for Packing for a Vacation

As you know (because I won’t stop talking about) Dave and I are finally off on our Ireland honeymoon! Traveling overseas is exciting, especially when you have gone as long as we have without a real vacation. But it can also be stressful when you consider the amount of preparation that goes into an international vacation. Once you’re passed the basics of booking a flight, hotels, etc, there’s still the daunting task of packing.

Tips for Packing for a Vacation1

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1. Make a Packing List. This is absolutely vital for me when I’m packing to go away. Part of it is that I love making lists and legitimately enjoy the process. Also, I know I would forget things if I didn’t make a list. I’ve definitely gone away for a weekend or more, only to discover that I hadn’t packed any deodorant, underwear, etc. Save yourself the extra shopping trip as soon as you arrive and realize what you forgot!

For me, it’s helpful to organize my list. In one section I’ll have clothes. In another I’ll have toiletries. In the final section I’ll have extras like phone charger, book, camera, etc. For the honeymoon I also did separate sections for carry-on versus checked luggage.

2. Make All Your Clothes Match. When you’re packing for more than just a few days, I recommend sticking to a particular color scheme, at least for basics. If you pack a brightly color skirt or pair of pants, you’re likely only going to be able to wear that for one outfit. A pair of jeans or black maxi skirt go a lot further and you can wear them with just about anything. For accessories, pick neutral colors so they can be worn across outfits. Dave and I are going to Ireland for 10 days and if we each packed 10 tops, 10 bottoms, etc, we would be carrying a much heavier suitcase.

3. Carry-On Only. This doesn’t work for all trips, but I definitely recommend sticking to just a carry-on suitcase when possible. I did almost two weeks in Europe with just a carry-on bag, as well as a week in Brazil. Did I have to re-wear clothing? You bet. But it was so much more efficient to pack only what I needed and save the time and money that goes into checked luggage. Plus this forced me to only pack what I knew I needed as opposed to packing a bunch of “just in case” pieces.

4. Pack Travel Size. Unless your trip is like a month, spring for the travel size toiletries. There is absolute no reason you need to carry around two pounds of shampoo when three ounces would be more than enough. When you consider all the toiletries you have (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, contact solution, etc), you’re talking a LOT of weight if you bring the full size containers. In additional to the hassle of carrying around an extra heavy bag, you’re also wasting valuable space in your suitcase.

5. Make Essentials Accessible. When you’re packing, consider what you’re going to need to get out of the suitcase first. It doesn’t make sense to have the dress you’re planning on wearing the last day of the trip at the top of the suitcase. And it would be a huge hassle to get to TSA and realize you’ve packed your passport at the very bottom. They won’t appreciate that, and neither will the people behind you in line. I always put those important documents in a separate, more accessible purse. Then I try to layer my clothing in the order I’m going to wear it.

6. Dress Comfortably. Pick the most comfortable item from your suitcase and wear that on the plane. Especially if you’re going overseas or on a red eye. It also wouldn’t hurt to wear your larger items (sweatshirt, etc) so they aren’t taking up all that space in the suitcase. Planes tend to be chilly anyways, so you’ll probably appreciate the layers.

What are your best tips for packing for a vacation?

My Travel Bucket List

My Travel Bucket List

If you read my blog regularly, you might have seen the Reverse Travel Bucket List I posted two weeks ago, highlighting all the coolest places in the world I’ve had the privilege of traveling to. I absolutely loved everyone of those trips, but there are so many more I want to take as well! Today I’m going to lay out for all of you my Travel Bucket List, all the place in the world I’ve most wanted to go.

1. Berlin, Germany

If you read my last post, you might be confused by this one. I’ve already been to Berlin. But out of all the places I’ve been, this is the one I most want to go back to. It was an incredible short and trip and there are so many more things I want to see there, if given the chance!

I studied political science in college and spent time learning about the government in Germany. I had no interest in this when I went to Berlin at 18, so I would love to visit the Reichstag (pictured below) on my next trip. I would also like to spend more time immersing myself in the city and it’s culture.

Berlin - Brandenberg Gate Reichstag building (German parliament)

2. Grand Canyon

This has always been on the list of things I want to see here in the United States. It’s one of the major attractions here, but I haven’t been out to see it yet!

Grand Canyon

3. New Zealand

New Zealand wasn’t always on my list of countries to visit, until my brother spent some time living there. I’ve seen pictures of the area he lived, and it was absolutely stunning. I’m not a skier, but I would love to spend some time in the mountains there.

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4. Australia

Australia is a country that has so much to offer, from the ocean to the large, vibrant cities to the vast openness in other parts of the country.

Australia - Sydney Opera House

5. Paris, France

I think Paris is one of those cities that makes everyone’s bucket list. It’s absolutely stunning with so much history from the Eiffel Tower to The Louvre.

Paris - Eiffel Tower Paris - The Louvre

6. Alaska

Of all the states in the US, Alaska is one of them that I most want to visit. The pictures I’ve seen are gorgeous and I would love to be able to see that beauty in person.

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7. Los Vegas

Vegas is one place Dave and I always talk about taking a trip to. It would be a much smaller time commitment than many of the other places on my list and (if we’re careful with the gambling) a cheaper one. I’m confident we’ll make it here sooner rather than later!

Vegas

8. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

I spent just under a week in Brazil a few years ago, but I didn’t make it to Rio de Janeiro. Brazil is one of my favorite places I’ve been and I would love experience this part of it as well.

Cristo de Corcovado e Bahia de Guanabara RJ Brasil

9. Cross-Country Road Trip

This isn’t exactly a destination, but something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s even something Dave and I have talked about doing and definitely will at some point in our lives. There is so much of the United States that we both would love to see but haven’t. I’ve never been further west than Minnesota, so I want to head that direction so badly!

Reverse Travel Bucket List

A Travel Bucket List has been on my list of posts to write for quite awhile now. Except today when I finally sat down to write it, I thought it might be better to do a post of the amazing places I have gone before writing the one of places I want to go. I’ve been blessed enough to have the opportunity to go to some extremely cool places in the world (with more to come soon!), and I’m so excited to have the opportunity to share them with you! Especially since all of these took place long before the existence of Very Erin.

These are the international trips I have been on. Most of the countries I’ve visited actually took place on the same trip, a trip through Europe with my older brother that was a high school graduation present. These trips are some of the most amazing experiences I’ve had in my life. Excuse the picture quality, most of these are 8 years old!

1. Belgium. 

Brussels was the first place I landed on my Europe trip. I had never been out of the country, and I was flying alone, since I was meeting my brother there. I was so nervous!

The first day we spent in Brussels, we did as much walking as we could. We wanted to see as much of the city as possible!

Brussels Center 1 Brussels Center 2

2. Germany

Germany was the one country we visited on whim. Because of the amazing energy in Berlin, it was my favorite of all the cities we visited! We had the chance to tour most of the major sites, seeing the Holocaust Memorial and remnants of the Berlin Wall.

Holocaust MemorialBerlin Wall

3. England

We were also able to visit London! It’s one of the cities I’ve always wanted to see and was such a fun day! We only had one day in the city, so we walked as much as we could and saw everything we were able.

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4. Scotland

Scotland was the most purposeful part of our trip to Europe. Part of my family came to the United States from Scotland, and many very distant relatives still live there. One of the distant relatives was a commander in WWI, and the family is well-known in the area. We were able to visit the family home and explore the small nearby town of Melrose, as well as visit Edinburgh. The landscape on the walk to the home is the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.

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5. Brazil

This was my most recent international trip, about 4.5 years ago. My brother and his wife were getting married and had chosen a gorgeous beach on the east coast of Brazil. I can’t even tell you how beautiful and peaceful it was there. It was my first time seeing the ocean and it was stunningly beautiful. The water was surprising warm, the food and drinks were delicious, and the atmosphere was amazing. I could have stayed for so much longer.

This first picture is the beach where we spent much of our time.

Beach Umbrellas

Beach Signs

What are some of your favorite places you’ve visited around the world??

Christmas Recap

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It’s hard to believe that after months of planning, shopping, wrapping, and more planning, Christmas 2014 is over. For as much preparation goes into the day (or in our case, many days), it seems to be over so quickly. Dave and I had an amazing Christmas. We got to see both of our families and watch them open the gifts we put so much time into picking out. We also received some amazing gifts. Pictured above are the Packer jerseys we received from my brother, which have our (soon-to-be) last name and wedding date.

Christmas, along with being a wonderful time, can also be a hectic one. So many individuals, couples, and families spend much of their holidays in the car as they attempt to see all their loved ones in a short amount of time. It makes that day or two after you get home particularly important, as you recover from your travels.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with as much magic and as little stress as possible, and that you took advantage of the long weekend to recover.