Any tips or resources? I'm the girl who can pack a 50.5lb bag (the max SW airlines allowed for free) for a 3 day trip... and we're going to Italy for 2 weeks and planning to do it in a 50L backpack (one for me, one for him at least).
This is really nerdy but I made myself a spreadsheet. It lists where we are staying, the average temperature for the time of year (av. high and low), and what kind of activity we might do during the day and evening.
I am exact in that if we're in x city for two days, I know one will be sightseeing on foot, one will be sightseeing in the car, and one night we will have either fancy drinks or dinner. But I'm not like, it's Wednesday, today we must do x! I just list what kinds of activities we'll be doing, so I know what kind of thing
I need to wear.
On a trip with city & country, and temperature differences, I tend to do layers. So a cotton dress that looks nice and flowy with flip flops in town in the heat, can be worn with leggings and trainers and a knit tank top underneath on a cooler day. On a colder day the same dress can be worn with a thermal long sleeved t-shirt underneath. That t-shirt can then also be worn on a very cold day with trousers for hiking, with the same leggings underneath those if necessary. I can sleep in the thermal t-shirt whilst camping, if it's really freezing. And then when we're back in a city the cotton dress with heels and a belt, and we're out on the town.
I take wedge heels for evening wear. White jeans, rolled up a little with wedges and a nice vest type top is appropriate for dinner and drinks most places if I don't want to wear that dress every time we go out. The white jeans with a t-shirt is fine for mid temperature days, with trainers or flip flops depending on weather. I look for versatile items. I don't wear jeans much, and blue denim is limiting, but white can read casual or dressy. Dresses are great: The same one can go from very casual, to summery, to eveningy, just by changing your shoes and demeanour.
Anyway, I list activities, locations, temperatures, and then I choose a rough 'outfit' for each day and evening. I have a tab in the workbook that lists items I am considering taking by 'genre' eg dresses, trousers, t-shirts, vests etc. I include the correct underwear (eg white jeans!) and swimwear.
On the 'day planner' tab I select the clothes from a drop down linked to the second tab showing me what clothes I think I will take. I then use a 'count-if' function to tell me how many times I plan to wear each item on the trip. For a trip of 10 days + if something is not being worn 3 times MINIMUM I remove it, and reallocate something else those days.
I take laundry soap sheets - they are dry little sheets you dissolve in warm water so they can't spill. I only wash things that are dirty (in life, as well as on holiday). Once something is declared 'dirty' it goes in a wash bag to keep it separate. If we happen to stay in a hotel with washing machines (much common than I knew before going carry on), we will put a wash on a night we stay in and do a grocery store picnic. Honestly, I find it fun to work these things out, like a little adventure in our hotel. Otherwise I will pull things out as needed from the wash bag and do it in the bathroom sink and hang over the shower rail / towel rack. I always do this in the evening, by morning it is usually dry.
Pare down on cosmetics massively. I usually buy shampoo when I arrive as I love foreign grocery stores / pharmacies. Get a smallish bottle and you won't need to bring it home. I avoid hotel freebies as they are a lot of packaging for a small amount of product and seem wasteful. 1 lipstick, 1 blusher, it will simplify things greatly.
Depending on where you are going, most things can be bought. Eg, recent trip to the states I was due my period. Years ago I would have taken everything I needed. But they sell tampons in America, you know! I took 1 in my handbag, used that when needed, and immediately went to find a CVS. Not a big deal.
(On a different trip, I had the same plan but my period was a week early! I had 1 tampon and a two day train trip with NO stops. They did not sell feminine hygiene items on board. After a 30 second panic, I got over myself, asked around, and made a couple of very nice friends who gave me what I needed! So if you are somewhere inaccessible, take items with you! But also, most humans are nice, and humbling yourself and asking for help is a good thing to do once in a while, and gives you greater empathy with your fellow humans).
You will have fewer outfit choices. You probably won't care. If you plan carefully, and make sure you feel good in everything you take, no-one will notice you are rewearing the same stuff.
I take a mac (ugh, is this a British word?) - a trench coat? Lightweight. With layers underneath it will protect you from the wind which is often all you need for keeping warm if you have a thermal base layer and cardigan on underneath. Good for over your knees on the plane. I also take a large scarf. It will be a blanket, sun protection, and I can tie it over my head if we hire a convertible. On a cold day it will really make a difference.
Here's what I took for 18 nights in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico with mid way stops in the cooler mountains and finishing off at the grand canyon where it was really cold: 3 dresses, 1 trousers, 2 leggings, white jeans, navy skirt, 4 tops (2 sleeveless - one of which acts as tank underneath other stuff on colder days, 1 short sleeved, 1 long-sleeved), 2 cardigans, flip flops, trainers, wedges, belt, swimsuit, bikini, mac, scarf.
It was plenty and I had loads of choice. You just add layers for colder weather, and take them off for warmer. I stick to navy / white as the 'base' colour for bottoms and cardigans, and tops / scarves etc in bright colours all mix in nicely.
Also: I don't have kids and am generally not a messy person. Also, planning my vacation, down to packing, is a lot of the fun of it for me. I know this system will not work for people who hate organising and spill stuff constantly.