Packing Light for an Extended Vacation

When preparing for a trip, one of the most frequent questions I am asked is, “How do you pack for that?”

I am not sure if the length of time is the concern, or the variety of activities I will have to plan for… or both!

BUT I will preface the rest of this article by saying… I pack light!! The irony for me, is the longer the trip, often the smaller the bag. Longer trips mean more travel within the country I am visiting, in buses, taxis, and often a good walk or two. There is nothing worse than dragging a heavy wheel tote down the torn up, dirt road, of a third world country. If you know you will have one home base while away, you can plan on dropping your bags the moment you arrive and not have to repack and lug them with you until you depart for the airport!

While packing up for my next trip to -Bali, Indonesia-, I decided to document my packing style for some tips and tricks in preparing for a variety of activities as well as constant travel on the island. I will be away for 3 weeks, and the weather will be in the high 80’s and 90’s with humidity; we plan to transport by scooter, attend yoga classes, hike, trek, snorkel, surf, and visit temples.

Here is how I prepare:

  1. I start by making a pile of all of the things I MAY want to take, as I do laundry or dig out my summer clothes, I just chuck it all on the chair in my closet.
  2. Next I lay everything out and eliminate about half of the things I put in that pile, with the discriminating thought, “not necessary”.
  3. After a large portion of the items are removed, I put on each of the bottoms (skirts, shorts, pants) I want to take, and try them on with every top in question. Every top or bottom that is “one outfit” or only goes with one thing, gets eliminated. Here are some photo examples of what I mean:


Shown: I have 6 tops (t-shirts, tanks, racerbacks), 2 skirts, 2 pair of shorts, which all can be worn intermittently. I also have a dress and one floor length floral pantsuit, for temple visits, nice dinners, and evenings out. The hat and sandals go with every outfit, and each pairing can be dressed up or down. Off to the side I have 1 pair of yoga pants, one pair of yoga shorts, a pair of track shorts, 3 work out tops, 3 swimming suits, 6 pairs of socks, and a pair of underwear for each day.

  • Eliminate any tops that require a certain type of layering or bra to make it work.
  • Eliminate any tops that cannot be casually worn for trekking in the day, and dressed up at night.
  • Eliminate anything that cannot roll down into a small size. Taking up space for one item is deemed unnecessary.

4. Jewelry: Two necklaces, two pair of earrings. One set is normally worn and not packed. Both sets should go with everything! Any more than that is too lavish for island life!

5. Shoes: 1 pair of Black on Black Authentic Vans; comfortable enough to walk long distances, light weight, don’t stain easily, can be used for light hiking and trails, and are great for airport days. 1 pair of sandals; easy to dress up or down. 1 pair of flip flops for the beach.

6. Toiletry tricks: When flying with a carry on, all of your liquids and gels must fit in one quart size, ziplock bag. I never include my deodorant stick in this “liquids” bag and the TSA never seem to mind. I always pack a bar soap which cuts down on my liquids as well.


Nearly one month after starting this article, I am back from Bali and wanted to let you know how I did!


The photo at the top of the page was everything I had with me for the 3 weeks I was away. Strapped to the side is a travel comforter which ended up being incredibly useful in the airports for napping and totally breathable in the varying sleeping temperatures. My empty liter canteen which I was glad to have… saved me from buying plastic water bottles and contributing to waste.

The yellow lace sundress (pictured above) wasn’t worn ONCE ughhhhh. It ended up being too dressy for the area (Canggu) where we spent most of our time, and a bit too “cute” for some of the evenings out. The floral pant suit was perfect though, I ended up wearing that on two separate evenings out, it was light and airy and the perfect amount of girly.

The olive stretch pencil skirt was a tough one, which also did not get worn much, if you could really say at all… I did not account for the incredible amount of humidity/heat and the fact that you could see that I was sweating, due to the color and material 😂. Lesson learned though! Black or white are definitely better choices!

I also ended up tossing the light grey T out of my packing at the last second, I am glad I did, I would have had no use for it… and it possibly would have also been a sweat give away!

I ended up having all of my clothes laundered half way through the trip at a local place which cost me 40,000IDR, or just less than $3USD. They did a good job, and helped me feel like I was maintaining freshness throughout the entire trip! All in all, I think I was perfectly prepared and never felt like I was wearing the same thing constantly.

I hope you get a tip or trick for your next adventure, and feel free to comment the things that you have learned when packing for trips as well!

Happy packing travelers!



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