When preparing for a trip, the first thing I do is lay out all the things that I know that I either want or need to take with me. To take into account: climate, upcoming activities, lodging, and possible national differences from home.
When I studied abroad in London for six weeks, I was able to fit everything I needed in one medium-sized suitcase, a carry-on bag, and a personal bag. From this experience, I now know it is very unlikely that I will ever need to take that much with me on future travels because I now know what is truly necessary.
Rather than explaining all the things that I packed for a six week long trip, instead I’ll lend suggestions for a trip of a shorter duration. For example, I find it to be considerably easier planning for my trip if I decide on a few basic colors for my clothing. I usually stick to black, navy, and cream, with accents of lighter blue and red. That way, you don’t need to pack full outfits for each day, and can use each item multiple times.
For a two-week-long UK vacation during the early summer, I would suggest taking:
-1 compact umbrella
-Shoes: 1 pair each of flats that can be dressed up, versatile sandals, sneakers, and boots for when it rains (wear bulkiest shoes during flight to save space in suitcase)
-Toiletries: be sure to follow flight regulations before arriving at airport, and pack them in a quart-sized zip-lock bag! Another helpful tip is to invest in bars of soap and shampoo to save space for other items in the baggie
-Pants: 2 pairs of blue jeans, 1 pair of black jeans, 1 skirt, 1 pair of shorts
-Tops: 3 cardigans, 4 undershirts, 5 neutral shirts, 1 button-up
-Dresses: 2 casual, 1 nicer
-Undergarments: research before-hand if there are washing machines available where you are staying, to pack lighter and bring a small amount of detergent with you
-Raincoat/Jacket: the rumors are true! It really does rain frequently in this region, and the summers aren’t as warm as most American areas
-Accessories: bring (inexpensive) fun jewelry with you to brighten otherwise neutral outfits
-Copies of travel documents, all forms of ID, travel insurance, maps, medications
-Travel journal, pens, stamps for postcards to send home
-Something to read on the plane