*Now that I”m back from my trip scroll to the bottom to see the things I’m really glad I brought and what I wish I would have done differently
You guys, excited doesn’t even begin to cover how I feel right now. I haven’t traveled, like really traveled since I got home from Bolivia in 2012. Now for any of you that follow me in Instagram you know that this whole trip to London came to be because I found a hard to resist deal on a flight.
Austin to London Heathrow direct on British Airways for $474.01? Ya that’s hard to pass up.
What I haven’t mentioned though is the awesome cheap fare I got is what’s known as “Basic Economy.” The means I don’t get to the advantage of typical perks you get on international flights like picking or seat or checking a bag without paying an extra fee, and what kind of budget trip would this be if I went round paying all the fee’s?(Food however, is still included. Hooray!).
So I’m going to be doing this whole adventure with only a carry-on and personal item. Is it ideal? No. Trying to stuff cold weather clothes for 8 days into a carry on bag isn’t ideal but my friends I have done it!
So why bags am I taking? Behold!
Personal item= Black cross body bag by Baggallini that I got on clearance at TJ Maxx. This is a new bag I got for the trip but I plan on using it for any travel I have to come so I’m looking at it as an investment. My criteria was that the bag be big enough to fit my iPad in through the opening, be in a neutral color, and be suitable to use as an everyday purse while traveling. A suprisingly difficult combo to find but I did it!
Carry On= Allpa 35 Travel Pack by Cotopaxi. I bought this pack when it was first released through Kickstarter two years ago. Since then the brand has grown and the price increased. I honestly don’t know if I could afford the pack for what it costs now ($200) but I bought it in my pre- debt free journey days and I’m so happy I did! I’ve only used is for one weekend trip so far so this will be the longest (and farthest) trip I’ve used it on, but it’s exactly the kind of trip I bought it for so I’m pretty excited! It has a lot of room inside and several compartments to keep things organized. *side note: I know there are several brands out there like eBags and Eagle Creek that have similar travel packs for cheaper prices so if you’re in the market for a new pack but can’t shell out $200 I recommend you do a search!)
So now that I’ve covered the bags I’m taking how about I show you what I’m packing in them? Let’s start with my personal item…
Semi Clockwise from L-R:
Compression Socks: Last time I spent all day on a plane I ended up having painful, swollen feet for a week. No thank you. I have to much to see and do in London and to many places to walk, so I bought some compression socks to hopefully keep my circulation going!
Wallet: I’m going to be leaving my trusty Bella Taylor cash system wallet at home in favor of this more streamlined wallet.
Small Notebook: My plan is to take notes of the places I go, cool things I see, as well as money I spend everyday so I have an accurate tally when I get home.
Travel Pillow: I love a good memory foam travel pillow as much as the next person but mine was just to big to take on this trip so I picked up this inflatable neck pillow from TJ Maxx. It’s got a fuzzy sleeve on it it so I’m hoping it makes it a little more comfortable…
Plane Snacks: Like I said they feed us on the flight but I get hungry when I’m fly so might as well have some emergency snacks lol
Everything Bag: This has all the little things that can get lost in a purse in it. I’ll give you. closer peek at what’s inside in a minute.
Passport Case: This is actually a pencil case by Yoobie that I got on back to school clearance and Walmart but it’s awesome! It holds everything I need.
Collapsable Water Bottle
Pens, Pencil, Dual tipped highlighter
Custom Envelope for Reciepts
Notecards with directions to hostel and other important information I thought it wold be good to have. And yes, they’re laminated, you know just in case they get wet lol.
Dual Port Fast Charger (USB & USB C)
Portable Battery Pack -I’ve tested it and can get at least 3 full charges on my phone before I have to charge the pack which should be more than enough for a day walking around London and taking pictures.
Phone & iPad cords
Headphones with USB C adapter
Wet Ones– I definitely don’t want to get sick this trip so I’m going to pull a germaphobe move and wipe down my tray table etc on the plane.
Glass cleaning cloth
USB Thumb drive
*I’m probably also going to throw an extra hair tie or two in there because a girl can always use more hair ties.
And then in my carry on…
Semi Clockwise from L-R:
Packing cube with my clothes inside (scroll down to see what’s inside)
Travel Towel– The Hostel I’m staying in rents towels for £3. I still have my travel towel from the World Race 8 years ago. One less fee to pay!
Makeup removing wipes
Toiletry Case (scroll down to see what’s inside)
Camera– I debated whether I wanted to bring this or not. My go to awesome camera is a DSLR but it’s huge. Then if I brought it I’d want to bring lenses too and it would all get out of hand. My phone takes awesome pictures so it’s going to be my go-to, but this little guy will be taken out of retirement to be my backup.
Food– So I purposefully chose a hostel with a common kitchen area. Food could easily be my biggest expense (next to the flight) on this trip so I decided I would attempt to do at least one meal a day at the hostel. I plan to hit up a store once I get to London but these I can all bring from home without spending extra. It includes Easy Mac, Oatmeal, Hot Chocolate, granola bars, Honey packets, Emergen-C, & PB packets I got at ALDI.
Toms– I waterproofed both pairs of shoes I’m taking otherwise these would be terrible and wet in the rain. They’re comfy and light to pack so I hope these do me well!
Flip Flops for the hostel shower
Hair Straightener (it’s dual voltage)
Inside my packing cube and Toiletry Bag:
1 Nice Shirt
5 long sleeve shirts/sweaters
Black Cotton leggings
Athletic Shorts – For sleeping in because I hear the hostel can get hot. If it’s cold I’ll wear the leggings instead.
Contacts– Enough for every day I’m gone. I’m so paranoid something will happen to my glasses but I don’t want to take two pairs with me so this is my answer.
Deoderant– I got this tiny Native sample from PinchMe and it’s awesome!
Tiger Balm– For my neck in case my headaches start acting up
Shampoo and Conditioner (I’m taking the sample pack too because the two containers aren’t full)
*I may switch a couple items of clothes out still. I’m keeping an eye on the weather then I’ll make my final choice.
And finally, what I’ll be wearing on the plane. It’s supposed to be 95 degrees in Austin when I leave so I’ll be pretty miserable with all this stuff, but’s its going to be in the 50’s in London so it will be OK. They’re all my bulkiest things so I’m doing what I’ve gotta do…
Jeans (with belt)
Coat– I’m debating between taking my Northface Denali ( was a gift from a friend years ago) or my REI down Jacket (got on clearance when I lived in AK). It’s another thing where I’ll probably make the final decision before I leave.
Shoes– I got these Blowish shoes at Ross for $14.99. I’d been on the hunt for a pair of stylish water proof shoes for a couple months. I found several I liked but all where way out of my price range. That’s when it dawned on me that I could waterproof basically any shoe on it’s own. Most of the shoes I own are either so breathable they’re not good to waterproof OR not comfortable enough to spend all day walking it, hence the new pair. I’ve been wearing these around to break them in for the last couple weeks and so far they’re awesome.
Not pictured that I’m bringing with me: cell phone, small credit card size phone tripod, Fitbit, eye mask (for sleeping on the plane…and maybe the hostel), lock for my hostel locker, copy of important documents (ie. passport), copies of all my confirmation letters (for flight, hostel, etc.)
So there you have it. Everything I’m bringing with my on my super budget adventure to London next week! Stay tuned to hear more about my frugal adventures and for tips from across the pond!
***POST TRIP UPDATE***
Ok everyone so now that I”m back from London I have a few updates to the list. Some things thatI brought were very very right and others, well, I regret terribly, so I thought I would share it all with you.
(And note, if I don’t mention something from above just assume I’m glad I brought it but it wasn’t especially exceptions)
Ok we’ll start with the good…
–Passport “Pencil Case” by Yoobie: Oh my gosh this thing was amazing. It kept me super organized. I always knew where to go for a pen, kept my receipts here, my passport, and any paperwork or brochures I got during my days exploring.
–Black Waterproof Jacket: It wasn’t pictured above because I ended up picking it up at Marshall’s just a few days before I left but it was fantastic. It had a light faux fur lining and a waterproof shell and I ended up wearing it every day. It also allowed me to leave my specific rain jacket at home (and it replaced my black fleece) so that I had one jacket in place of two.
–Hat, gloves, and scarf: I didn’t wear them all the time but there were some points where it was really chilly and I was happy to have them all.
– Portable battery pack: This was so great to have. This kept me mobile without having to look for a place to charge my phone. I’d typical have to recharge my phone at least once mid day since I was using it so much for pictures so it was definitely a life saver.
Now The Bad…
–Footwear. Oh my gosh I have so many regrets. Before leaving everything I read said that people in London were fashionable and you’d stick out like a sore thumb if you were to colorful etc. and if you were unstylish footwear. The truth is Londoners walk a lot and everyone is wearing good shoes. Even women in dresses wear tennis shoes as they go from points A to B because they recognize the value of their feet. Now to be honest I thought my shoes were good. I broke them in before I left and they gave me no problems but to be fair I wasn’t walking 30,000 steps a day in them either. After 1 day of walking around in my Blowfish shoes I had shin splints and a massive blister on the ball of of the left foot. I then spent the rest of the week in misery with every step and a profound limp. Now when it comes to the Toms my feet had gotten so swollen from the trauma inflicted that I couldn’t fit the toms on while wearing socks and it was to cold to go without socks. If I could do it again I would bring the two most comfortable pairs of shoes I own regardless of how stylish.
–Second coat: This wasn’t specifically bad, I just didn’t need it. I ended up bringing my lightweight REI down jacket which was easy to pack but I was always to fearful of rain to wear it. If I did it again I might bring a lightweight fleece instead.
–T-shirts: Also not specifically bad, I just didn’t need them. It was to cool outside to wear short sleeves, even under my jacket, and I rarely took off my jacket when I was out and about to.
–Packable backpack: Not bad just didn’t need it. My Baggelini crossbody was more than good enough to use everyday. I did wear the backpack the one day I planned to ride a bike and it actually hurt my back/shoulders more than the crossbody.
–Packable water bottle: Ugh, the thing leaked horribly. I ended up throwing it out day two and just reusing a water bottle I got from the store instead and it was sooooo much better.