I didn’t start out as a light packer, but I am an ardent convert and my mission in life is to convince my loved ones to try it, too. My family didn’t have much extra money for traveling when we were growing up, and the first significant plane ride in my life was the flight I took at 23 to my new home and job in South Korea. However, 2 years of continuous travel in Asia and all the trips since have convinced me that less luggage to stress over makes any trip much more enjoyable.
Solo travel is an incredible experience, but traveling with the person you like best is amazing too, for different reasons. Together, you get to experience something for the first time. It can spark new conversations, new favorite foods and places, and give you memories to think over for a lifetime to come.
My husband and I got married this summer and planned our honeymoon every bit as carefully as our wedding day. I knew I would want to travel light, but as it was a once in a lifetime trip, I did not want to go completely bare-bones as I have on other journeys. Also, I wanted the opportunity to take along some special honeymoon-only items.
As a point of reference, this is what I packed for 10 days of summer travel to an urban destination in a moderate, rainy climate. My husband and I traveled to Quebec City, Canada, for 10 days in August 2014 and saw temperatures from 60 ̊F in the mornings and evenings to 85 ̊F in the middle of the afternoon (about 16 ̊C to 30 ̊C according to Google conversions). We had periods of rain for 6 of the days, but only 3 were significantly rainy.
The following is my packing list for a romantic trip, or honeymoon in my case.
1 medium duffel bag, 1 small backpack (as personal item)
One nice dress for fancy dinners or drinks
One wrinkle-free white button-up (this is a go-to for travel days because it is incredibly comfortable but looks dressy, even after 14 hours of planes, busses, and cars!)
One pair jeggings (only jeggings could look like legitimate pants but feel like pajamas)
One pair shorts
One t-shirt with a cute cut, in a solid color (I took one by Gap made of wrinkle-resistant jersey fabric)
One dressy tank top (mine was black, again in wrinkle-resistant jersey fabric)
Two casual sundresses (can be dressed up or down)
One light sweater or cardigan
Two spandex camisoles as undershirts (I am paranoid about flashing skin under my tops so I wear a camisole every day)
Underwear (usually I will take 4 pairs or so for a trip of this length and wash them out, but being our honeymoon I got new undies and had a new pair for every day!)
2 pairs nylon liner socks for ballet flats (washed out in hotel sink)
One workout outfit: Yoga Pants, Workout Jersey, Zip-Up Jacket (works as gym gear, casual outfit, and pajamas)
One Bathing suit
One pair tights to be worn under shorts or dresses
One pair sturdy ballet flats for walking (mine are by Dr. Scholl’s and are very kind to tired feet!)
One pair “dressy” flip flops (mine had some metallic gold accents so even though they cost about the same they looked slightly nicer than the dollar-store pair I wear at home)
One pair heels for nice dinners or drinks
Silk scarf (this is also part of my flight-day outfit so that I look put-together even though I am operating on no sleep)
Larger cotton scarf (as it is larger it has thousands of uses!)
Jewelry: 2 necklaces, 2 bracelets, 2 pairs earrings, 1 hair bow (all cheap, nothing irreplaceable)
Convertible purse (changes from cross-body to shoulder bag to clutch—mine is by Relic and was a Christmas gift)
1 pair sunglasses
Travel shampoo, conditioner, and bar of soap
Gel and hairspray in 3oz containers (I have incredibly curly hair and I use both products daily)
Travel toothbrush and toothpaste
Travel face scrub
Body Lotion in 3oz bottle
Sunscreen stick (mine is slightly larger than a Chapstick tube—purchased from Target)
Solid Perfume (mine is from Pacifica)
Makeup: BB cream in your tone (with SPF—doubles as facial moisturizer), black mascara, black eyeliner, pink shimmer eye shadow (it looks great on everyone!)
>> Check out our low-key traveler’s beauty kit.
First Aid Kit:
1 tube Neosporin
A few Pepto Bismol chewable tablets or Tums
1 blister pack Immodium
A few travel packs of Tylenol
2-3 bags Smooth Move tea in case of constipation (without saying too much–it really works)
2-3 bags Echinacea tea (in case you feel you are coming down with something)
1 blister pack over-the-counter allergy medication
Birth Control (unless you are trying to conceive!)
A couple of tampons and pantyliners just in case.
Copies of Flight and Hotel Confirmations, ID and Passports
E-reader and Charger
Phone and Charger
Camera and backup SD card
Rain Gear: backpack umbrella, water resistant jacket, etc
Special Honeymoon Items:
Nightgown (normally I use my workout outfit as pajamas but for this trip I purchased a new nightgown–I also used it as a swimsuit cover-up when going back and forth to the hotel pool)
Massage oil in 3oz bottle (I put a scrap of plastic wrap over the mouth of the bottle before screwing on the top)
Travel candle (the kind that comes in a tin)
Silk rose petals (we’ve had some for years in our box of Valentine’s Day decorations, so I just brought along a handful)
>> If you found this useful, you might enjoy our tropical destination wedding packing list.
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About the Author: Abby is a twentysomething from the Midwestern U.S. who lives for day hikes, modern art museums, reading magical realism, and traveling the world. She blogs about her marriage, sustainable lifestyles, and travel at The City Rental. You can also find her ongoing poetry study The Rituals Project on Facebook and Twitter.
* All images provided by Abby Woody.