I love to travel in the Fall and Winter months. I’m what you would consider a “pleasantly plump” traveler, and I feel more comfortable wearing a sweater and jeans than letting my belly hang-out in swim trunks. I’m still working on getting fit, so my six-pack is a work in progress. Right now I only have one ab, and it’s a big one. Anyway, I digress. Even though I love the change in weather, traveling in the Fall presents a whole new set of challenges when packing.
Bulky sweaters and jeans can quickly add unwanted pounds to your luggage. When you’re traveling on a budget, the extra weight can easily translate to additional fees. To avoid the hassles of checked baggage, I stick to carry-on only. Below is what I packed for our 9 day trip to Japan and helpful tips.
What I Packed
On this trip, I’ll be using our Tortuga Setout backpack. It meets carry-on measurements for our airline and doesn’t make me look like I’m about to summit Everest.
7 Pair of Cool Comfort, Fresh IQ Underwear (I’d rather be safe than sorry, and besides a quick change of underwear and you feel like a new man.)
4 Pair of Ankle Socks
Laptop & Cover
Portable Power Bank
2 Phone Chargers
2 Pair of Headphones
Universal Adapter (Not a must for Japan but just in case)
Health and Care
Clear Quart Plastic Bag with all of my Toiletries (Travel toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and hair gel. I only bring enough to be able to freshen up at the airport. The rest I can purchase when I land.)
First Aid Travel Kit
7 Day Pill Case with Over the Counter Medicine for diarrhea, gas, muscle pains, headaches, flu, and allergies.
18 Emergen C Packets
Pack of 20+ Disinfectant Wipes
Travel Size Pack of Kleenex
2 Pair of Travel/Luggage Locks
Pair of Flip Flops
Sling Bag (Perfect wandering the city streets)
Running Belt Wallet
Envelope with Printed Copies of Important Documents (i.e., passport, itineraries)
2 Pens (For completing customs & immigration forms)
Russell from Up (He comes with us everywhere. We are helping him get his “Wilderness Explorer Badge.)
Travel Day Outfit
Sweater Hoodie (This can double as a blanket since we’re sleeping overnight at the airport)
Zip-Off Cargo Pants
Quick Dry T-Shirt
Cool Comfort-Fresh IQ Underwear
Pair of Socks
Allbirds Wool Runners
Wallet & Passport
Helpful Tips & Lessons Learned
Make Sure You Know Your Airlines Carry On Restrictions
Remember that carry-on restrictions vary by airline. It’s important to do a quick check before booking your flight, so there are no surprises. There have been quite a few times when we thought we were getting a great deal only to find out the luggage requirements and fees were ridiculous. It may be tempting to grab the lowest rate, but this could end up costing you in the long run.
A little bit of research goes a long way. We start with Skyscanner then visit the airline’s webpage for fees and fine details.
Find a Packing Style That Works For You And Your Adventure
Some people have mastered minimalist packing and only need a 30L Backpack for months of travel. As you can see from the packing list about, I’m not quite there yet and don’t think I will ever be. I’m okay with that. Sometimes you may have to check your bag, and there is just no way around it.
The most important lesson I’ve learned about packing is that you have to be honest with yourself. Ask yourself if you really need the different items you are packing or if you can do without it. If you can justify packing it, then bring it. It’s okay to have a little luxury but remember to keep it within reason. You can still be assessed extra fees for checked bags over a certain weight.
Pack Clothes That Work For Any Occasion
Versatility is key. After traveling through Southeast Asia, we made a stopover in Seoul. Since most of the clothes I packed were t-shirts and shorts, I felt really out of place when we visited a nice restaurant. Don’t get me wrong, I had no trouble eating I just felt even more socially awkward than usual. Now I always try to pack a nice polo & pair of jeans or slacks. It’s worth the peace of mind.
Check The Weather Before You Pack
About two weeks before traveling, I add my travel destinations to the Weather App on my iPhone. I do this to get a feeling for what the weather will be like and what I should pack. For example, even though we’re heading into the colder months, it will still be mild while visiting Tokyo. At night the temp will dip to the low 50s and on a few days the upper 40s. Since we’ll probably be out late to soak in all the sites, it makes sense to only pack a lite sweater jacket. It’s also easier to put on and take off when squeezing in and out of any Izakayas.
Practice Makes Perfect
Each time we travel, we get a little wiser and more efficient. In December we’ll be visiting Europe. That trip will bring a whole new set of packing challenges coming from the mild winters in Dallas, Texas. The more we travel, the more we learn.
We would love to hear from you and how your packing style has evolved. Are you full blown Minimalist or do you still check your luggage?
Interested in getting another perspective on packing, be sure to check out What I Packed for Japan in the Fall | Women’s Edition