It’s just under three weeks out from my trip to Europe, and it’s definitely starting to sink in now. I have been planning this trip since early August, at least the Poland leg of my trip. As for the Ukraine part of my trip, I have been planning that since March. There has been a lot of time, sweat and effort put into this trip, much more than my last adventure overseas.
Last time I went overseas, I spent six weeks studying abroad in London. Looking back, I over packed a lot. I remember bringing a blazer I wore once, maybe twice, a stack of movies to watch that I never touched and at least five pairs of shoes. Seriously? What was I thinking!? This time around, I know better. Instead of a blazer I’d only wear once, I’m packing clothes that can be mixed and matched to create a wider variety of outfits. I’ve put digital copies of as many movies as I can on my iTunes, along with some that are on Flixster. I’ve whittled it down to three functional pairs of shoes: tennis shoes, flip flops and ballet flats. I’ll wear the tennis shoes on the plane, put one in my carry on and one in my checked bag. Already, I’ve saved a lot of space in my suitcase.
When I look at my packing list, I actually think that I’m not packing enough clothes. I’ve been doing my research (and by research I mean spending hours upon hours on Pinterest), I’ve seen a variety of packing lists and most of them say that you only need four or five bottoms and six or seven tops, that’s it. I like my clothes, I like my variety, so that doesn’t seem like enough for me. Right now I have five bottoms (two skirts, three pants) and five tops. I know I need to add more to my packing list, I’m getting there. All of the packing websites I’ve seen have instructed to pick a color palette and then add a little splash of color. As a result, I have almost entirely black and white picked. I need more color in my wardrobe. There are a few scarves tossed into the mix, so I have something. Scarves are lightweight and so versatile, they’re perfect for upgrading an outfit while on the road.
As for the actual stuff needed to travel I definitely feel like I’ve got a better hold on this as well. I have a travel power strip, a clothes line and detergent for laundry in the hotel room (yeah, that should be an adventure) and, most importantly, a collapsible duffel bag for the journey home. This was something huge I didn’t have when I was coming home from London (along with a luggage scale, so I ended up buying one at a ridiculously high price because I was desperate). Between the extreme over packing and the surplus of souvenirs from London, I desperately needed an extra bag to get all my stuff home. Rather than planning for this ahead of time like some of my friends did, I was left scrambling a few days before coming home and ended up overpaying for a cute (but cheaply made) weekender bag to fill up with souvenirs. You’ll start to a notice a pattern here. Twice while I was in London I was unprepared and had to overpay for something. Yes, both were necessary, and buying the luggage scale actually saved me money because otherwise my luggage would have been too heavy, resulting in paying more to bring it home, but that’s not the point. I was more focused on what clothes I was going to bring and not the other “stuff” necessary for a long trip abroad and how to pack. Will this trip go flawlessly? Probably not. Despite my incredibly detailed spreadsheets outlining everything I need that are so organized it borders on obsessive compulsive will I forget something? Undoubtedly. Will I end up running around in a foreign city looking for something really stupid right before leaving to come home? I plan on it. Is that part of the adventure? Absolutely. As long as I don’t have issues with customs, I’m pretty much golden.
I’m not expecting any issues getting into either Poland or the Ukraine, but that’s always my big fear. A few days before I left for London, I had a dream that I wasn’t allowed into England because I didn’t have the appropriate paperwork. This resulted in me running around the afternoon I left collecting a stack of papers to present at customs. Low and behold, I get to customs, and the guy couldn’t care less. I’ve already had one dream like that for this trip, and I expect several more to follow over the next 20 days. I also know that despite my over preparedness for customs, I will most likely not run into any issues getting into the country. It’s best to be over prepared in this case.