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The Secret to Packing for a Month (or more) of Travel

suitcasesPacking for a simple one week vacation is a piece of cake. You pretty much take a few outfits and enough socks and underwear to last. You will most likely not have to worry about a load of washing during that time if you plan your packing list wisely.

Coming from someone who runs a site that helps women to pack, the one week holiday is never one to throw a woman off her track. The real problem comes when people start thinking about a 10 day trip, or a tour that encompasses several weeks to a month. This is the point where packing chaos breaks loose; the point where people bust out those giant suitcases big enough to stow an entire family if someone so desired.

Let me stop and tell you something right here.

Those gigantic suitcases should never be used!

Unless you are moving house via suitcase, or going on an expedition to some far-flung destination, a suitcase that big does nothing more than set yourself up for being sorely overpacked, accumulating overweight baggage fees, and acquiring a whole lot of stress. And, if you aren’t familiar with my philosophy yet, most people can get by on their travels with a simple carry on sized bag.

So, what’s the secret to packing for a month (or more) of travel?

Pack exactly the same as you would for a one week trip!

Here’s how to do it:

Bring enough socks and underwear for a week of your travels. This is the most important part of the wardrobe to have clean and fresh throughout a trip, so some choose to bring travel laundry wash in order to hand-wash undergarments as they go.

Plan to do a couple loads of laundry. On your days of travel rest (yes, you should have at least 1 day for each week of travel where you simply take a break from traveling), have your laundry done. Most hotels offer a laundry service.

Bring clothing that can mix and match. From a pretty basic wardrobe, you should be able to coordinate a dozen or more outfits. Accessories, such as belts and scarves, help to dress an ensemble up or down accordingly.

Re-wear the same outfit. Yes, it is okay to wear the same thing more than once on your trip. First of all, no one will know except for you. Secondly, how often do you wear the same pair of jeans or sweater at home before washing?

Bring more only of necessary items. Think medications. Unfortunately, you can’t pack just a week’s worth of these for a month-long trip! Other items, such as toiletries, are on a case-by-case basis. I never take full bottles of shampoo with me on my travels. Instead, I transfer them to travel-sized Nalgene bottles or GoToobs (these bottles don’t leak), and those generally last me quite a while. Depending on your destination, you may be able to simply buy replacement travel-sized items on the road, or live off the free amenities in hotels.

That’s all there is to it! I know you may not believe me yet, but this is a secret to packing for long trips that I follow on my numerous adventures every year. As long as you stay organized on the road, and avoid the many packing faux pas, packing light will be an easy and rewarding experience.

About the Author: Brooke Schoenman is the founder and editor of Her Packing List – a resource on packing and gear for female travelers. Brooke is a seasoned traveler, having acquired stamps in her passport from destinations such as Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Russia, Malaysia, and Guatemala to name a few. She blogs and writes for a living, and you can follow the Her Packing List related side of her life on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

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Written by Brooke Schoenman of Her Packing List

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