In preparation for my second trip to Ireland with my fabulous Carlow colleagues, I have decided to document my attempt to fit everything I need for 11 days into a smaller, more easily manageable size. Pictured below is the bag that I found at Ross, a discount store for $30 bucks, and it is glorious. I take it with me everywhere, so when I vowed I would take this instead of my normal suitcase, it was bound to get ugly when the packing time came.
Luckily, I did my research. And a lot of it. I spent hours on Pintrest and Google trying to find the best formula for minimal packing, and while I plan to check my bag anyways (it’s free) I want to make sure I’m not bringing more than I need. My first plan was finding the right set of clothes, ones I knew would make me feel put together and work in the weather I was traveling. Ireland is beautiful, but it won’t be 80 degrees in June, so I had to make sure to pack coats and sweaters. I , have a phenomenal wool overcoat that I discovered on the racks of Goodwill for $8, and a Columbia jacket in grey that I plan to wear on the plane.
Then I wanted to supplements the bulky sweaters with some classic graphic tees that I could bring some of myself over with me. Two band t-shirts (Paramore and Escape the Fate), one plain grey t-shirt (from Target and I plan to buy more), and a printed Tiger shirt. These would be the staples on which I could build my wardrobe for the trip. I could potentially do without so many shirts, but I make up for it by having less bottoms.
I wanted to go with a theme that would compliment each piece, so I stuck with blues and greens with some accents. For example, my camisoles and tanks are both colored and patterned. Leopard, blue and black to go with the various outfits I have constructed.
The bottoms I chose were very different from the last time, which is always a good thing. I think I took three pairs of jeans, two skirts, and two pair sweats last time. Definitely not going to happen this time. I have one pair of sleep leggings which can also be a change of clothes, one pair of good shapewear leggings in black (substituted for grey in this photo because they haven’t arrived yet), one pair of jeans (wearing on the plane), one pair of dress shorts, and one bodycon skirt that goes with just about anything.
I know that may not seem like much less to you, but the versatility of these pieces greatly out weighs the ones I took last time. Speaking of too much, you can see I am only bringing three pairs of shoes. The boots I plan to wear on the plane and the sneakers and flats will be packed one in the carry-on and one in my checked bag in case my luggage is lost and I need a change of shoes.
Oh, and I almost forgot, I have two lovely dresses for the special dinners we are having, but they can also be used in other outfits. I am so excited to wear these.
Finally, I have some accessories to go with the outfits. I have two scarves, two pairs of tights, one of which I have to smother in glitter before I go. Not pictured is a skinny black belt and in one of the outfits I have pictured below is a brown belt.
Now before I show you the outfits I have pre-planned for the trip, I want to preface them by saying I don’t have them all accessorized because seriously trying on 14 outfits and accessorizing each of them is confusing and very time consuming so you will have to use your imagination. It took an extremely long time to plan these outfits, but now that it’s done I won’t have to worry about what to wear once I’m on my trip. So, here goes nothing. The trick is to pick a color palette and stick to it so that you don’t take any unnecessary clothing. I’m sure I could do without a shirt or two and a pair of shoes, but oh well. It’s a much better selection and style than last time.
Oh and my trial run for packing worked! I was able to fit everything in with room to spare, so hopefully (crosses fingers) I’ll have plenty of room for souvenirs.
The first outfit is my travel day and I’m actually trading out the sweater for my grey Columbia jacket because the sweater is easier to pack than to wear. My beautiful leopard dress could also be paired as a skirt with a basic black shirt that I picked up at Goodwill for $3.
My favorite outfits involve the bodycon skirt (left) that I found at Macy’s and my dress shorts (right). They make me feel like I’m less of a bum and that I’m actually trying to look put together, which I hope I am.
Here is where I stopped putting shoes on. It was hard to get all of the outfits ready to take photos haha. I chose to only bring one pair of jeans because to be honest they are too bulky to include in every outfit. I picked a pair that were lightweight and easy to pack. On the right side, I have my grey leggings which were substitutes for these Suddenly Skinny shape wear leggings that have officially blown my mind. They are very comfortable, I don’t know what I would do without them now. So they are going with me to Ireland.
Here’s where I circle back in the white sweater and the bodycon skirt to new outfits. I think it’s easier to have more tops to pair with a few bottoms because tops can be mixed easier.
The most important step to planning the outfits is to finding pieces that you can mix and match. It may take a little bit of practice, but the harder you look at your clothes, the more outfits can come out each piece.
Finally, I picked out a going out outfit (right) that I could wear on the night all of the girls go out because sadly there are mostly girls in the graduate writing program. I also made two separate outfits for the opening and closing dinners shown below. I am really excited to wear these. Oh and apparently Nyla wanted to be in the picture. She is such a silly kitty.
But here it is–my packing list for Ireland. 11 days and a few extra outfits for going out and the special dinners.
What are your packing tips and tricks? Share in the comments section and if you have any questions on how to pack for a two week trip with minimal luggage, ask away!
Happy reading and writing!