(article from Megan’s Travel column: Weekly Wanders on Life2PointOh)

As a twenty-something girl traveling, it’s tempting to want a suitcase like the one Mary Poppins has, where an entire wardrobe can easily fit inside. I remember visiting New York City my senior year of college and literally packing four outfits per day. Do you know how many outfits I ended up wearing that weekend? Three.

Even though I wasn’t planning on actually changing my clothes multiple times throughout the day, I still wanted options. After our first full-day walking around New York, we started realizing that few women actually dressed like Carrie from Sex & the City. Plus, lugging a massive suitcase up my cousin’s third floor walk up was not a pretty picture.

Similarly, when traveling it’s better to just pack what you really need and leave the extra room in your suitcase for emergency items. Back during my semester studying abroad in London, my flatmates and I decided on Italy for our spring break destination. Our first stop was Venice. Luckily I had only packed a small suitcase but my friend had packed as if she was spending the next month in Italy. To make matters worse, we didn’t figure out that there was such a thing as a water taxi, so we went up and down many canals in search of our hostel, suitcases banging the ground behind us.

So here is my packing philosophy:

Minimal Clothes and Major Accessories: Bring the bare essentials. What I like to do is pack clothes that I can easily dress up or down. Neutral colors are the best because they go with pretty much anything. Accessories take up much less space in your luggage and since I’m a sucker for anything trendy or vintage, I’d rather pack a few scarves, hats and necklaces than stuff ten more shirts in my suitcase. You’d be surprised how much an accessory can change your entire look. Plus, laundry exists everywhere.

Smartphone: To be honest, I barely use my phone when I travel but I do take full advantage of Wi-Fi. Despite paying for an international phone plan during my trips to South America, Egypt and even Europe, I hardly ever got a signal and it was a complete waste of money. There’s also a sense of freedom you get from not being able to talk or text. It forces you to live the present moment more fully. Wi-Fi is essential however. If you are lost, having a map that doesn’t scream tourist is always a plus. Smartphones also take high-resolution photos; perfect for tweeting or retouching.

Natural Glow – Less is More: It’s hard to resist the urge to pack all your make-up when traveling, but the odds that you are actually going to stick to your daily regiment is unlikely. Sure, you want to look your best, but the rest of the world actually prefers a more natural complexion. Nobody in Europe tans and few people cake on the make-up. I’ve also noticed that when I travel, I’m genuinely happier and that reflects in my appearance. If you have a positive mind-set and laid-back attitude, you’ll be surprised how much better you look without even trying. Tinted moisturizer, a little mascara or eyeliner and lip balm is all a girl needs.

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