In mid-July, I created a challenge with myself. I was going to pack for my semester in Amsterdam in one suitcase. Part of this was practicality–I didn’t feel the need to bring my entire wardrobe with me especially with my plans to travel through the month of January. The other part was to see if I could do it. Being an overpacker, I wanted to see if I actually could pack for five months in one suitcase. Many hours later, I successfully did it! I want to share with you how I was able to fit it all in one suitcase.
Invest in a Good Suitcase
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Finding a good & sturdy suitcase is quite the challenge. First, you want the suitcase to be spacious but you also do not want it to be over fifty pounds when packed full. I found this awesome suitcase (similar here) at TJMaxx for $70. For a large, light suitcase, that was a great deal! I especially love that this one is hard shell because it is waterproof and I think it will last longer than fabric suitcases.
Find a Packing Friend
I enlisted my lovely cousin, Lauren, to help me pack. Without her, I would have not been able to pack as light as I did! At one point, I had way to many grey sweaters packed. She helped me narrow down which ones I should bring and she was also able to help me be realistic with how much I should bring. Plus, it made the packing process much more fun (even though her face suggests otherwise 😉 )!
Leave the Toiletries At Home
Soaps, shampoos and shaving creams can really add to weight. If you are approaching that 50lb limit, you should think about just purchasing toiletries when you arrive. This also eliminates the risk of them exploding in your bag! You can also throw a few trial size bottles in to hold you over until you are able to buy new toiletries when you arrive.
Buy Vacuum Bags
Honestly, without the help of these space/vacuum bags, I would not have been able to pack as many bulky winter clothes as I did! I especially liked the ones I bought because they don’t require a vacuum (you can just fold them to get the air out). This will be especially helpful when I am packing to come home because I won’t have a vacuum!
Do you actually need three white t-shirts? Can you do without an extra pair of jeans? Figure out exactly what you think you will need. Obviously, you won’t know fully until you are there but be realistic in your estimations.
Now, the real trick will be packing everything in one suitcase on the way back, especially if I buy a lot of extra stuff! I will keep you posted.