Sitting in an Espressobar Olé which just happens to be right at the centre of the bustling downtown Amsterdam, I am anxiously awaiting my cup of coffee as I type away. Why so anxious? Well, that’s because I am wearing a dress and I’m cold. Not just any dress but a spaghetti strap with a low back and thigh-high slit, on the right side.
Before I left my apartment in New York and jetted off to the Netherlands, I forgot to do one of the most important things to do before setting off to another country – check the weather!
As it was scorching hot in New York, for some reason I assumed it would be warm and sunny in Amsterdam. It most definitely was not! So here I am wondering what on earth I was thinking for not stopping to check if there would be some sunshine for the few days I am here. Before I fully dive into this article I’d start by saying, make sure to check the weather before setting out on a trip or even before leaving your house in general.
We all like the idea of travelling especially with the holidays around the corner. I mean who doesn’t like to go to sleep in Abuja and wake up the next day on a beach in Zanzibar? Feels like a dream doesn’t it? When we finally get the chance to make this dream a reality, there are some definite tips to ensure that you have a great time and be rest assured that you have all you need for your time away from home. Experience, they say is the best teacher and while I learned the hard way, I’m here to make sure you don’t!
There are tons of tips about packing for a trip that span from bringing an adaptor to charge appliances to wearing the heaviest and thickest sweaters and coats on you (so you don’t end up paying for overweight bags) when going on a winter trip. I believe that the way you pack can greatly influence your trip. It sets the tone of your vacation.
After you have checked out the weather before packing for your trip, remember to map out an itinerary in advance. Having a general or even a structured idea of what you will like to do on each day of your trip ensures that you are somewhat knowledgeable of where you are going and what you might find when you get there. It also helps you plan your outfits around the activities you have lined up. This way, each time you step out, you’re slaying like the bad a$$ Style Raven you are. Hello!
Some people tend to get more detailed than others. I’d say plan as much as you like. Remember that a trip can be both fun and educational. Once you have an idea of the weather and things to do in that city, perhaps you’ve decided to make reservations and even booked them, the next thing is to
pack organize your bags. Again, packing/organizing your clothes should be based on the places you plan to visit and the time of year or season. There are a few key items that I think are must-haves for any trip.
First, in keeping with international travel regulations, make sure all makeup and liquids are 3.4 fluid ounces or less. Also, be sure to wrap your toiletries up so they don’t accidentally spill on your outfits! I tend to pack every possible essential I may need. Seriously, I have a travel toothbrush with a mini toothpaste! I have a mini body wash and body lotion. Maybe you will stay in a hotel so these items may be provided but you never know, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. I will be staying at a hostel here in Amsterdam so none of these things will be provided.
I bring a scarf with me no matter where I go. A scarf can serve multiple purposes. In Rome, Italy it saved me from looking indecent and allowed me entry into the Sistine Chapel. In Tulum, Mexico I used it as a sarong on the beach and the next day as a picnic cloth to sit on. Here in Amsterdam, it’s wrapped around my neck! A scarf is light and barely takes up any space. Usually, I wrap it around me to keep warm on my flights.
Typically, I make sure I have at least one toe covered pair of shoes (sneakers or flats are best but the choice depends on your style), assuming it’s summertime. This I wear to the airport. I also pack at least one pair of trousers or wear it to the airport. As I am sitting here in the café, slowly warming up, I am thankful for these little things that I made sure to pack. This time, I dressed very business casual for my flight to The Netherlands. I wore a silk top with high-waisted jeans and a navy blazer. This navy blazer has saved me from having to buy a jacket as its raining and windy here. I try to look business casual at the airport because you never know who you may meet and you never know how your flight goes. If stranded, at least you are somewhat warm and presentable.
Another way to pack like a pro is to try on everything (especially any new items) and make sure you like it enough to carry it along. You have limited space so why waste it on something you aren’t even sure you’re going to wear? Also, I always pack at least one very dressy look and one uber casual look. I make sure to include pieces that can be mix-matched and worn again and I try to pack fabrics that do not need to be ironed. A quick tip here: rolling your outfits instead of folding helps prevent creases and the need for ironing. You’re welcome.
For some of my trips, I was a student around the time which meant I had low funds; so I made sure to take my nicest clothes because I did not want to be tempted to buy anything extra. This leads to my next point. If you are working on a budget, try not to buy things you really do not need while on vacation. Remember any new purchases will add to your already full bags which could translate to overweight charges. I know the urge is strong but do you really need another black leather purse just because it’s from Cotonou and the vendor is cute? Make sure to ask yourself these questions before making any sudden purchases.
Do you have the things that you want and need with you or are you feeling insecure while on the beach because you forgot your favourite swimsuit and are now stuck with this new one you had to buy at the closest vendor stand? Or are you sitting in an Amsterdam café trying to warm up because you are in a dress and a blazer and your only pair of trouser is still wet because you washed it after spilling coffee on it at the airport?
For your next trip, let these detailed and specific tips help you prepare in style. After all, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Let me know in the comment section any tips that you try to abide by when packing for a trip!
Photo credit: As captioned | Cover Image: Louis Vuitton and thestylizedblog.wordpress.com
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