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Oops! I did it again. No, not made another Britney Spears reference in what is allegedly a travel blog — I’d literally never apologize for that — nope, what I did again was overpack for a trip despite being a seasoned world wanderer who has certainly seen her way around a suitcase.
And you know what that means. It’s time for the latest edition of Inside My Bag!
This one focuses on my current two weeks in the United Kingdom, which were preceded by a week in Newfoundland, Canada — a destination that has a conveniently similar climate to England and Wales. I have to confess that I packed for this trip in complete chaos, and it shows. (Packing sunscreen for the United Kingdom? I’ll just pause while you finish laughing.) Frankly, this is a fantastic reminder that I should write these posts while I’m in the process of packing, as doing so helps me be really thoughtful about what I’m putting in my bag — mostly so I can avoid the shame of confessing to you all that I packed twelve bikinis to go to the Arctic Circle.
I went back and forth over which bags to bring on this trip and ended up checking with my mom’s big foldable suitcase and carrying on my Eagle Creek Afar Backpack. I haven’t taken a backpack as my carry on in ages and I forgot how heavy all my electronics are on my back — eek! Not sure I’ll be doing that again. My personal item on the plane was an oversized shoulder bag I
stole permanently borrowed from my sister. Isn’t shopping in the family closet fun?
Anyway, I really wanted to pack light for this trip, I did. After all, with several flights on the docket I’ll end up spending a small fortune on baggage fees, not to mention energy spent schlepping around during a pretty busy trip. But I think we can all agree that it was worth it in order to bring six pairs of shoes. (Ha ha! Joke is on you if you thought that was sarcasm because I literally did #HelpMe). Here’s a closer look.
Clothes and Swimwear
I don’t have much for the non-tropical environment. Because my small collection of “warmer” clothes are mainly black and gray, I packed a colorful punch with bright accessories instead. I packed way too much workout gear (ambitious, at least?) and far too many tops, considering how often I’ve been in dresses.
For reasons I am baffled by, I only used two packing cubes and thus my bag has been a certified hot mess every time I open it. For my next trip, my suitcase is going to look like a game of Tetris.
So here’s the list:
• 4 dresses, 1 jumpsuit (so far, have worn them all!)
• 2 skirts, 2 leggings, 1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of sweats
• 2 sweaters, 2 cardigans, 1 jacket, 1 raincoat, 1 Scottevest
• 9 tops (3 long sleeve, 6 short — definitely could have brought less of these…)
• 2 sets of workout gear (useless so far, ha ha?)
• 1 packing cube of socks and underwear
• 1 bathing suit (for the beach in Brighton and the spa in Bath)
Shoes and Accessories
As usual, shoes were the main culprit in my overpacking addiction. Yet believe it or not I’ve still been moaning about my dearth of footwear — I actually could have used a pair of flip flops or sandals too for when we were at the beach in Brighton. Yet I did bring:
• Riding boots (I bought these specifically for the trip — the weather has been a bit nicer than expected and I probably could have gotten on without them, but they’ll be good to have for the fall ahead.)
• Heeled ankle boots (Great for going out in St. John’s, Brighton and London.)
• 3 pairs of flats (Lol seriously. All falling apart to the point that I might toss them at the end of this trip. Ideally I would have scrapped them all and just packed my Tieks, but they’ve been looking super rough so I sent them for cleaning and didn’t get them back in time.)
• 1 pair of trainers (Worn twice so far… ugh.)
And a few other accessories:
• 3 pairs colorful tights (Perfect for a pop of color and for the transition weather with my skirts and dresses.)
• 1 wristlet
• 1 box of jewelry and 1 belt
• 2 pairs of sunglasses
• 2 scarves
The “other” category of bits and bobs that were either absolutely essential for this particular destination and time of year, or simply new and notable:
• An umbrella. A must for the UK! I have a little purse-size one from H&M that was perfect for this trip.
• Vitamin D supplements. Seriously, it rains a lot here!
• Leave-in conditioner. I’m so glad I packed this — both the Bed & Breakfast and the Airbnb we’ve stayed in have provided shampoo only. I’m not sure if this is common in the UK, but my long hair needs some extra loving!
• A tote bag. The UK is miles ahead of the US in reducing single plastic bag use and almost every shop I go to asks me if I actually need a bag at all. Plus, grocery shops charge 5 pence per bag — so it pays to bring your own!) Might I suggest a Welcome to Wanderland tote?
• Plant-based bamboo toothbrush. You can find a full and at this point pretty majorly outdated list of my toiletries here — an update is long overdue — but one new thing I experimented with this trip was a bamboo toothbrush thanks to this post from a former Alex in Wanderland Featured Blogger. I’m trying to move to more sustainable products in my toiletry bag, and I’ll share a review in the near future!
• . With three separate mini-road trips on the docket for this trip, I knew I’d need something to keep my ever-increasing motion sickness at bay. I was super excited to see this new natural ginger product from the leaders in motion sickness relief, which contains the exact clinically-tested ginger dose required for preventing or treating symptoms like nausea and vomiting (which is frowned upon in a rental car, believe it or not). With this in my bag, I could face England’s small cars and windy roads — and staring down at my phone or a map to navigate while riding shotgun — fearlessly.
I had one of the biggest facepalms of my packing career on this trip — out of three working cameras I packed for this trip, I left the charger for one (my Canon PowerShot G7X) at home, and realized I have a faulty memory card in the other (my GoPro). I could technically just buy a second micro SD for the GoPro, but I’d rather wait until I’m home and try to reformat it with my card reader — because oh yes, I forgot that too! Here’s the working lot I did end up with:
• MacBook Pro + charger + headphones
• Time Machine Backup Hard Drive
• Kindle + two books (Have not picked up once — working my way through a pile of old magazines I’ve been saving instead!)
• iPhone 5 + charging cord and cube + battery bank
• The UK map on my Sygic app (For offline navigation during road trips)
• UK Adapter (You don’t want to wait until arrival to buy these — they’ll be marked up like crazy in airports.)
What’s on your UK packing list? Find more In My Bag posts here!
This post was brought to you by Dramamine® Non-Drowsy Naturals.
Please note I’m an affiliate of many of the products in this post and will earn a small percentage of your purchase if you buy them through these links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Alex in Wanderland! Additionally, some of these products were provided to me by the manufacturers. Feel free to contact me with any questions.