Since you will be on the move, you don't need to worry about having multiple outfits, since people you encounter will not likely be seeing you again. Even if they do, you can easily change up your look with accessories, such as scarves. Scarves are practically compulsory when in Paris anyhow.
|This dress takes up no space and does not wrinkle!|
The most important wardrobe essential for travel, without question, is comfortable shoes. You need at least two pairs, so you can alternate, especially if you are unfortunate enough to get a blister. I have problem feet, so I can't wear little ballet flats or any kind of heel. In summer, at least one of my pairs (packed in my luggage) is either Birkenstock Gizeh, Fitflops or Dansko sandals. The other pair, larger and heavier, are my black Blundstone boots, which I wear at the airport with leggings and a tunic. They may not be the most beautiful shoes in the world, but comfort trumps looks when you are walking all day long! This time, for a 3-week trip, I brought 3 pairs total and I did not regret having any of them!
I find leggings ideal for plane or extensive car travel as they are so comfortable. Leggings are also good to pair with a little dress in the morning, when it is cooler, and you can strip them off as the day warms up.
I always have a cozy scarf on the plane. It looks elegant and also comes in handy when the air becomes frigid when in flight. Layering your clothing is also a good idea for the same reason, since the temperature when on board can also get very hot at times.
Packing light for a 3-week trip is a challenge, but you will be very thankful to have spent some time planning how to get by with as few items as possible when you are hauling your luggage up and down stairs.
|With my leopard Birkenstocks, little black dress, scarf and small cross-body bag at The Louvre|
The small backpack is useful for day trips, so choose one that is a neutral which will coordinate with your outfits. You are able to bring a jacket, your camera and lunch in the backpack and still have your hands free.
I usually pack enough underwear to last a week (in a mesh zip bag), a few tops, a button front shirt that can also act as a light jacket, a knit dress and a pair of black pants, which can look casual or dressy. Rolling up the articles keeps them wrinkle-free. I also bring a few pairs of wool blend socks, which are blister-proof. If you fun low on clothing, you can always buy some new tops at your destination, which will be a fun souvenir of your trip!
I learned the hard way during my latest trip to always bring my featherweight down coat (even in the summer) which packs down to take up very little space. I froze on our first day in England, when it was rainy and cool. I think it is a good idea to bring a cashmere or wool sweater and rainproof jacket with a hood as well. A silk camisole which can slip easily under other clothing will keep you warm as well.
Make sure all your clothing mixes and matches. Wear your bulkiest items on the plane, including your outerwear, which you can take off upon boarding and stow in the overhead compartment. Start planning well ahead of time, laying out the pieces to see how things will match.
I am not much of a jewelry person, so I just wear my silver heart on a black silk cord, which is supposed to safeguard against EMF radiation. In order to get some sleep on the overnight trip to Europe, I used an inexpensive neck pillow (I got mine at the dollar store and put a cover over it which can be washed) and take a herbal supplement. There are many options - Valerian, Skullcap or Passionflower are a few herbs that will help you doze off.
I always debate about umbrellas. I did end up taking a small one this time, but I only used it once, on our first day in England. So, my advice is to buy one at your destination if you need it (for light rain, you can just flip up your waterproof jacket hood) so you don't have to unnecessarily carry it all over Europe!
Make sure to buy a power adapter (for the shape of the plug) for each country you will be visiting! They are different for UK and France. These adapters make it possible for you to recharge your computer and usually your camera battery (which usually operate on both 110 and 220 volts). If you haul along other North American appliances, such as hairdryers, that only take 110 volts, you will need converter plug adapters as well. I immediately regretted my lack of foresight in this area when I plugged in my water pik in my UK hotel room and after a couple of seconds of super power, it died! Converters and adapters are readily available at airports, so if you forget, that is the best place to purchase one.
I only check the suitcase if it is free to do so (tie a colourful ribbon on it for quick identification at the luggage carousel) or I am traveling with artist's materials that cannot be taken on board. Do you have a favourite travel tip?