The first time I took an overseas trip was a two week trip to Hungary, Austria and Italy. I had no idea how to pack and fell for in the travelers pitfall of packing for every “what if” scenario. I ended up taking a huge rolling suitcase that was about 4″ tall. I looked ridiculous fumbling over cobblestones while walking  around Váci Utca with my humungous closet on wheels.

Since then I’ve taken more overseas trips and have adopted the digital nomad’s mantra:

Thou shalt not roll!

Don’t use rolling luggage.

Lighter is better.

Only pack what you can carry.

Don’t check baggage.

Drop all non-essential items.

This week I’m heading to Leiden, Netherlands for WordCamp Europe and the annual WooTrip. My Eagle Creek travel pack was getting long in the tooth so I purchased a new North Face Surge II.  Below is a description of what I’m packing for an 8 day trip, but plan could easily be used for a longer trip.

Backpack: The North Face Surge II



The backpack fit very well on my body, and has high quality construction. It’s got a volume of only 1953 in³ (32 liters) so you’ve got to be very intentional about choosing what to pack.

The features I like about the pack:

  • Comfortable, durable shoulder straps
  • Waist straps
  • Easy access front zip pockets
  • Strong zippers
  • Easy access separate pocket for laptop/tech



I’m borrowing Amanda’s laptop Galadriel for the trip.  Nothing out of the ordinary here except I chose not to pack a separate extension cord and am going to use our old travel adapter which is bulky.  In the future I’d like to get one that is smaller and has more options like the one Siobhan owns. I hardly ever wear a watch since I have a clock on my phone, but on long flights I like having a timer running so I can know the flight duration at all times.

  • 13″ MackBook Pro Retina (Galadriel) and charger
  • iPhone 5 (used to take picture) and charger
  • iPad mini packed with movies for trip
  • Moleskine notebook
  • Joby Tripod
  • Bamboo Stylus
  • VGA adapter
  • HDMI cable
  • Apple Ear buds
  • Europe travel adapter
  • Timex digital watch

Personal Stuff


It’s supposed to be rainy this weekend in Leiden so I’m bringing a rain poncho that I got from Old Navy. I don’t normally travel with it, but I’m bringing it since there’s a strong change of needing it.  I went for small travel sizes of toiletries even though I know the prices are gouging.  The money belt is for storing my passport on my person day-to-day, and may not be necessary, but I’ve taken this money belt on all my international travels and almost lost it on an over night train in China.  It’s like a travel buddy 🙂

  • Rain Poncho
  • Toiletries bag
  • Nalgene water bottle
  • Eagle Creek Eye mask
  • Eagle Creek Money belt
  • Belt
  • Wallet
  • Passport



Shirts are pretty basic.  I’ll be doing at least one load of laundry while on the trip.

  • 2 button down short sleeve shirts
  • 4 t-shirts (one not pictured that I’ll be wearing while traveling)



Pants are a bulky item that I would want to reduce.  But since I’ll be at a WordCamp I’m bringing one pair of khakis (that I normally never wear).  Eventually I’d love to replace this stuff with lighter stuff that dries quickly.

  • One pair jeans
  • One pair khakis
  • One pair cargo shorts
  • One pair athletic shorts

6shoesShoes are the absolute most bulky item I’m bringing.  I’m packing one pair of dress shoes and wearing my other shoes while traveling.  I decided not to pack flip flops and it is yet to be seen if I regret that.

That’s it!

I’ll post an update on how this turned out and if there is anything that I missed on the trip, or would have packed differently.  Let me know if you have any packing light tips!


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