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December 1, 2016

1 month in a backpack

I'm off on my summer trip in a week, so it's time for me to wax lyrical about my packing again. I'm headed to Cuba (via a day in Mexico City), Playa del Carmen and Cancun in Mexico, Antigua in Guatemala, and then up to NYC, because I just love to torture myself with temperature extremes.


Image sources at Polyvore. Note these aren't the exact items I have.

When I need to consider packing for several seasons on one trip, I generally plan for the most contrasting weather/situations I'll be in, and then mix and match in between. This time it's the warmth and humidity in Cuba vs. really cold and possibly snowy in NYC. Packing has been a lot easier than last time, as I won't have to dress as conservatively in hot weather, and I don't have to pack smart clothes for hospital.

Outerwear
These worked for the last trip, so I'm packing the same. My friend is actually bringing my wool coat over from Sydney when I meet her in Cancun, which is really helpful. I know it would be more practical to get a down jacket that packs small to wear under my parka, but what can I say? I'm vain.

Bottoms
Skinny jeans for cooler weather, rayon drape pants for hot weather. I considered denim shorts, but I find them kind of uncomfortable and they're heavy for what they are.

Tops
Two t-shirts to wear for warm/mild weather, and one long sleeve top for NYC. I'm taking a risk here, but I'm banking on the fact that I'll be wearing my merino thermal underneath and I won't have to wash it.

Dress
A dress! The main lesson I learned from last time was that I needed better clothes for hot weather, and my smock dress is my best outfit for it. It's pretty short but neither Cuba nor Cancun call for more modest dressing, so I don't think I'll offend anyone.

Shoes
The #1 enemy of light packing. I deliberated over taking any number out of four pairs: Chelsea boots, sneakers, sandals, and Doc Martens. I'm only going to take the Chelsea boots, which I'm a bit nervous about. I ruled out the sneakers because they didn't really give me that many benefits over the boots, as I'm not doing anything too active and also because they're not as waterproof. I did want to take the sandals for the beach in Mexico, but I figured flip-flops (which I always pack, if only for shared showers) would do the same job. Docs I really strongly considered taking for NYC, but they're not worth the weight/inconvenience at airport security to just wear for a quarter of the trip (I learned the hard way to not wear them in hot weather). While my Chelsea boots hold up to wet weather well, I'm a little concerned about how cold my feet are going to get. My plan right now is to wing it, and if the cold becomes unbearable, buy a pair of wool socks in New York. Fingers crossed I come back with my feet still attached!

Accessories
Scarf, gloves, and hat which I'll need for New York. Even though they'd be easy to buy once I get to there, I dislike the idea of buying more winter accessories that I never even have to use in Sydney. Sunnies and watch self-explanatory.

This is probably the most brutal I've ever had to be with packing, because I want the first part of my trip (before I get my coat) to be carry-on only, and airlines flying out of Australia are pretty strict on carry-on weight (7kg). I'm actually going to be wearing the cardigan, one of the t-shirts, jeans and the boots on the plane, so it's not a lot of clothing to pack (although my bag always ends up filling up with random bits and pieces). Trying to get my liquid toiletries into a sandwich bag was even harder, I'll probably do a whole other post on that.

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