The Ultimate Packing Guide For International Explorers

Well, I leave the good ol’ USA in about 3 days and 15 hours (but nobody’s counting). I gotta tell you- things feel pretty weird. I’m  in limbo where I have all this excitedly nervous energy emitting from my poofy blonde locks…..but I havent actually left yet. However, getting to pack does put some of that unused energy into something a bit more productive. And, as you guessed, I LOVE PACKING. I love suitcases, I love luggage tags and I love those little cute travel-sized body washes and shampoos from Target.

With packing, there is one caveat- you can’t bring everything! It’s 50 pounds in your big mama suitcase and whatever else you can shove  errrrr nicely place into your carry on. As I’m studying abroad for two semesters, this presents a little bit of a challenge (my love for shoes DEFINITELY exceeds 50 pounds). Not a problem though!

  • If you’re going away for a while but have to hop from plane to train to bus and don’t want the hassel of lugging around a bunch of stuff, just ship yourself a box of things slow and low before you go. Chances are, it’ll get there about a week  after your arrival!

Something else that’s a constant conundrum for me (and all you other liberal arts majors out there!) is the whole “do I need a voltage adapter AND converter?” “what does that even MEAN?!” Never fear! Thanks to the help of a sciency dad, I’m here to put it all into simple terms.

Here in the USA, electric power ranges from about 110 to 120 volts out of the wall. The power in most other countries, however, ranges between 220 and 240 volts. So, now you have two options:
  1. If you have a device like a computer, iPod, phone or camera charger, most of these are “dual voltage” and can take anything from 110 to 240 volts. For these, all you need is an adapter to fit your plug into a wall somewhere else. (Dual voltage appliances will say something like 100/240V or 110~220vac.)
  2. If you have some kind of “appliance” like a hairdryer, iron, alarm clock etc., it’s probably not dual voltage unless specified. For these, you’ll need a voltage converter to step down the power from 220 to 110 volts AND an adapter to fit your plug into a wall.
That’s it! Now, all you have to do is book it to Target or Best Buy and find one of these kits that has both an adapter and converter for the country to which you are traveling.

Getting everything to fit in a suitcase is one thing; getting the job done nicely is a completely different can of worms. Luckily, there are a few steps to follow to ensure packing perfection.

  1. Gather everything you want to take and edit items down to keep from overpacking ( a good rule of thumb is 2-3 tops per bottom).
  2. Roll wrinkle resistant clothes such as jeans, t-shirts and athletic wear and place along the base of the suitcase.
  3. Next, carefully fold those nicer clothes that tend to wrinkle and place atop the rolled clothes (tip- if you have that one finicky shirt that raisins up every time you put it down, place it inside another shirt and fold both together)
  4. Wear your bulky items on the plane and fold the rest in half to fill the length of the bag.
  5. Choose a few pairs of shoes and use them to line the bottom and sides of the suitcase
  6. Look for any extra space along the sides- these are perfect places for socks, belts and other small items

And, just for fun, you can use this handy dandy packing list I created just for you guys!!!!! 🙂

Bon Voyage mes amis!


5 thoughts on “The Ultimate Packing Guide For International Explorers

  1. Pingback: Art in the Find:A Chic Packing List - Art in the Find

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