The Re-Packing Project: What’s In My Bag Now

by Gigi Griffis

Yes, those shoes are totally impractical for travel. Yes, they’re also totally adorable. And, yes, I didn’t bring them with me.

When I returned to the states this fall, one of my main goals was to downsize my possessions (again), sell my car, and re-pack my bag for mutiple seasons and all types of adventures. Because my options are truly infinite. Perhaps I’ll fall in love with a place (or person) and settle in. Perhaps I’ll just keep going. Perhaps I’ll spend the year in chillier climes. Perhaps I’ll chase the sunshine.

So there lies the challenge ahead of me: carrying everything I, Luna, and the business need on my back wherever in the world we go. And, while I’m sure I’ll make some changes along the way—tweak things, add things, break things, destroy some more shoes—for now, with more than eight months of nomadic living under my belt, these are the things I carry with me:

Packing: beauty products

Personal care items: Bare Escentuals face powders, one eye shadow (gold), four brushes, mascara, shears, tweezers, nail clippers (not pictured), Chapstick, moisturizer.

To be honest, I totally cheated and threw in a second eye shadow (silver) and some more moisturizer and Chapstick (just ’cause I hate wasting them and already had them), but as soon as they are used up, we’ll be back down to what you see above.


Toiletries: shampoo (slightly less full than that), Alterna hair concrete, brush, bobby pins, hair ties, deodorant, sunscreen, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, razor (and a handful of blades), curling iron (not pictured), small bottle of laundry detergent (not pictured).

Ignore the Dr. Bronner’s Organic Baby Soap in the photo. I did bring it with me to Italy, but I’ve decided I’m not a fan, so it’s probably getting left behind. Luna and I will just have to make do with shampoo doubling as body wash.

Clothes in my bag

Clothes: two skirts (one from Amazon and one from Anatomie), jeans, one dress (not pictured), four tank tops (three pictured), three zip-up tops (two pictured), one long-sleeved shirt, one short-sleeved shirt, one tennis skirt, one warm sweatshirt, one pair of black pants, one sweater.

Accessories, etc.: red flats, black walking sneakers, boots, one hat, fingerless gloves, winter coat, spring coat, pajamas, small baggie of jewelry, one pashmina, two small scarves, undergarments, tights and socks (warm and usually knee-high), bathing suit, small backpack, hiking boots.

Business: laptop, portable monitor, 2 cameras (an SLR and a Lumix) and charging cords, camera case, extra memory card, pens, adaptors, portable hard drive, paper clips, USB drive, iPod and cord, screen cleaning cloth, small notebook, business cards.

NOTE: I am experimenting with not using my portable monitor and my fancy SLR camera. They’re super nice to have, but I could eliminate so much weight if I can do without them. So they may be taking a hike. Stay tuned.

Other: paperwork and passports, a novel, wallet, ziplock bags, one caribiner, small medicine kit, water bottle, poncho, alarm clock, reusable grocery bag.

Luna's packing list

Luna’s stuff: one dog sweater, one carrier, leash and Ezydog harness, one stuffed bunny (currently minus the stuffing), one tennis ball, bags of food and treats, two foldable dog bowls from Ezydog, and a small medical kit (Benadryl, heartworm meds). (See Luna’s more detailed packing list.)

FINAL NOTE: I also frequently carry a few food items or gifts with me from place to place. So, for example, as we’re getting ready to head to Paris for our next six weeks of adventures, I’ve added some pistachio spread, vinegar infused with truffles, local honey, and tea bags to my bag. They add some weight to the pack, but it’s so fun to show up to my Paris welcome party with some Italian treats, so I deal with the weight. And, this, my friends, is why I’m not an advocate of buying the absolute smallest pack you can. Sometimes it’s nice to have a little extra room.

What about you? Is there anything on my packing list you wouldn’t pack in a million years? Anything you can’t believe I didn’t bring?

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Brandi February 14, 2013 - 2:38 am

The things I carry when I travel that you don’t are a Kindle, phone, bandage tape, umbrella, reusable bag, and probably a few more things I can’t think of. :)

gigigriffis February 14, 2013 - 4:11 am

Ah, I’m so glad you brought that up. I forgot to include my reusable grocery bag in the list. I knew I’d forgotten something.

Rob February 14, 2013 - 2:26 pm

Travel packing is an art. I’ve mostly got it down so that I use everything I pack and don’t have anything extraneous, but sometimes .. not.

That whole seeing into the future to know what I’ll need is kind of tough :)

gigigriffis February 15, 2013 - 2:02 pm

Yeah. My packing list is constantly in flux. I’ll probably do another of these posts come springtime just to demonstrate said flux.

Rebeca February 14, 2013 - 3:01 pm

As for me I probably wouldnt pack any pajamas but, then again since I have had a child having something to sleep in is better that not.
As for what I would pack would be my Kindle as well along with cord for charging and my netbook and cord for charging it too.

gigigriffis February 15, 2013 - 2:04 pm

I think I’ve been picking this winter are too cold to forego the pajamas. :) Though I’ve discovered I can sleep in my workout clothes, so I might start doing that and toss the pjs.

Maria February 16, 2013 - 11:27 am

Luvin’ Luna’s bag! Wonder if there’s anything she’d add if you weren’t looking?

gigigriffis February 16, 2013 - 2:11 pm

Thanks! I love that bag too. I’m pretty sure she’d add more treats. :)

Footloose February 18, 2013 - 1:40 pm

I wear my hair short and spikey (Jamie Lee Curtis-ish). That eliminates, hairbrush, elastics, pins and curling iron. I towlel/air dry it in 5 minutes, add some gel and I’m done.

I probably wouldn’t choose hoddies with printing on them as it makes them definitely casual. I have a plain black one I travel with. At a quick glance it passes as a black cardigan. I likely wouldn’t take a dress either (unless it’s so versitile it can be a cocktail dress, sundress and beach coverup. Instead I have a black tank and skirt in similar fabric that appears to be a dress but can be used separately.

gigigriffis February 19, 2013 - 5:13 am

Excellent point on the dress: versatility is key. And you’re also right about the hoodies. For the most part, it’s nice to have things that are simple. But I don’t mind having one or two casual items in an overall nice wardrobe. :)

Footloose February 18, 2013 - 1:46 pm

My make up consists of eyeliner and mascara. Perhaps a lipstick. I don’t even own four makeup brushes.

I’ve never travelled with electronics geared to working so I have no idea if what you’re carrying is reasonable. We take a camera/charger and a laptop/cord/converter. The lap top is mostly just to dump photos onto every night and to make the daily entry in our travel journal. We also draft emails we intend to send, so that when we do pay for internet access we just have to copy and paste. We also resize the photos on the laptop for posting/emailing.

When I retire I plan to travel longer and at a more relaxed pace. I also plan to start carrying a sketch book and pencils and really pause and study my suroundings.

gigigriffis February 19, 2013 - 5:23 am

I love the idea of a sketch book. I just bought a little un-lined journal myself, which I can write or sketch in. Love it.

Ali February 20, 2013 - 9:09 am

My packing list is an ever-evolving thing. I dress casual, don’t think I currently own a skirt or dress that fits me, so it’s pretty much jeans and t-shirts in my bag. I do whatever I can to be carry-on only, which I know isn’t quite so easy for you since you have Luna. My upcoming goal is to only have my 40L backpack and a purse, with a small collapsible daypack that I can shove in the backpack. On my RTW trip I had the 40L and a 20L daypack, and it was fine, but the double backpack thing gets old quick.

gigigriffis February 20, 2013 - 9:18 am

You’re right that the two backpack thing gets old. I’m okay with it because I only actually move about once a month, but when I was actually backpacking (without the business or the dog), I definitely traveled a little lighter.

I always did choose a large-ish carry-on bag, though. I liked to have the option of stuffing it full of treats or souvenirs on my way home. :)

Montecristo Travels (Sonja) February 25, 2013 - 8:04 am

More colour … that is the only major difference. I have a lot of teal, turquoise and emerald greens. Less black and grey. They still go with each other and all work together. :) I just can’t live a life without loads of colour!

Montecristo would add a sweater to his pet list. He gets super cold really easily. That and his little rubber boots. When in Italy his paws got pitch black (they are pink padded) … the constant licking of that “oil” off his paws made his tummy really upset. We now know … he needs the protection.

Of course we sail … so for us the items are sailing geared. More water resistant, UV protective etc.

and … lastly … we only use organic products. Pretty much every item from deodorant, shampoo, conditioner etc. would be organic brands. We use organic coconut oil as a body lotion, face cream, healing agent, dried hair remedy etc.

Oh and … I cut my hair so it’s super short in the back … adios hair brush, elastics, hair pins etc.

Love these posts!

gigigriffis February 25, 2013 - 8:11 am

I agree. For the winter, I like the darker colors with just a pop of color in each outfit, but for the summer I’ll want less black.

That’s another thing I kind of love about having a really small wardrobe – I get to change it up all the time because I actually wear clothes out (since I’m wearing them so often and doing so much in them). And I think I’ve dropped a little more weight, so I will definitely be changing it up before summer.

Montecristo Travels (Sonja) February 25, 2013 - 8:05 am

PS – love sleeping Luna in the background! (re: photo)

gigigriffis February 25, 2013 - 8:08 am

Me too! :)

Lisa January 12, 2017 - 3:02 am

I am a frequent flyer and I do travel a lot. Usually, I need a high capacity backpack for clothes and accessories.
If it comes in pink and good design, it will be awesome. Do you have any good recommendation on this?
Thanks for your tips and please keep it up.

gigigriffis January 12, 2017 - 3:37 am

I don’t have a specific answer, as I’m not sure what high capacity means to you. But usually the highest you can find for women is 80 (maybe 90) liters. I’d take a look at all the 80-liter options and see what fits with your budget and meets your needs. Good luck!


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