I knew a few months before I left for Prague that I would be coming for 2 weeks. What I didn’t decide until minutes before I left for the airport was what exactly I should bring, and what should be left behind. I’m usually pretty great at packing for a trip anywhere, but this was my first time off the North American Continent. I had no idea what to bring, and even though I had asked, not much guidance as to what was appropriate to wear for the weather and activities. As usual, when I’m tasked with making decisions using little or no information, I overthought it. Even though I brought very few things, I still brought too much.
What I Brought
I was at least able to see the weather forecast ahead of time – one of the reasons I adore the World Wide Web – so I was spot-on with the type of clothing, for the most part. I was going to be in Czechia for 2 weeks, staying in a friend’s apartment, with access to laundry. Even if I had been staying in a hotel or hostel, there would still have been laundry facilities available all over the city, so there was no need to pack 2 weeks worth of outfits.
I’m a fan of minimalist packing as a general rule when I go anywhere, and this was no exception. I do that because I prefer to only carry-on every flight, when it doesn’t cost me a body part to do so. As luck would have it, Air Canada allows one free checked bag, though British Airways doesn’t ($100 USD/bag). Carry-on it would be.
For this trip, I packed (in my carry-on)
- Panties, comfortable, cute but not fancy or binding – 7
- Socks, Fila athletic with mild compression, no show length – 7
- Socks, compression 12-15mmHg, for long-haul flights – 2
- Bras – 2, one nude and one black
- Sports Bras, for yoga – 2
- Yoga Pants – 1
- Yoga Top – 2
- Yoga Socks – 1
- Tank Tops – 4
- Tee shirts – 1
- Long-Sleeved Tees – 1
- Hoodies, cute, thin, layerable – 2
- Columbia fleece jacket – 1
- Scarf – 1
- Fleece Gloves – 1 pair
- Jeans – 3, one super loose and comfy pair for airline travel
- Leggings – 1
- Pajamas (Leggings & Tank Top) – 1
- Button-Down Blouse – 1
- Fancy Blouses – 2
- Toiletries: shampoo, conditioner, contact lens solution, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, toothpicks with bristle end (in lieu of floss), hair oil, hair putty, hand lotion, hand sanitizer, chapstick
- Makeup Kit: the minimalist version is a Maybelline Multi-Colored bronzer (to use as eyeshadow and bronzer), 1 blush brush, 1 eyeshadow brush, gel eyeliner with brush, two-sided pencil liner, eyebrow pencil, lash curler, mascara, Garnier Skin Active BB Cream, face moisturizer, mascara
- Feminine hygiene products – enough for a few days, in case I can’t get to an store right away
- Bandaids – for random cuts and possible blisters from shoes or backpacks
- Contact lense eye drops
- Extra pair of contact lenses
- Tennis Shoes
- Riding Boots with gel inserts
In my backpack that is suitable for stuffing under the seat in front of me, I packed:
- 3 pens
- Reading Material
- 6 x 9-inch notebook
- 2 travel chargers and USB cords, including a rapid charger
- Portable charging pack
- Bluetooth Keyboard
- Galaxy Tab A, 10-inch
- Lav Mic
- Travel documents and itinerary
And in my purse, I packed:
- Copies of travel docs and itinerary
- Copies of immunization records
- Cash to exchange when I arrive
- Cards with no fees for international use
- Noteletts mini notebook
What I Could Have Left Home
- Most of my toiletries. Most hotels and hostels will have shampoos, soaps, razors, lotions, toothbrushes, and toothpaste available to patrons. I didn’t really need to bring any of that, because I could have gotten it here.
- I could have done without 7 pairs each of panties and socks, and probably gotten by with 4, considering laundry was available.
- Fancy shirts. It would have provided me with another opportunity to explore the non-tourist areas and talk to the locals about where they get their fancy clothes. I could then blend in better with the locals, and have clothes at home that came from the other side of the world – a thing I love, especially when they’re my funky style and didn’t cost an arm and a leg.
- Compression socks. I could have left 1 pair at home. I’m not sure they were helpful on the 6.5 hour flight, but I definitely recommend them if you’re not going to be able to get up and walk around the plane, especially if the flight is longer than a few hours.
- Tennis Shoes. According to their label, they’re great for cross training. I’m calling BS. There’s no arch support after a while, and my toes are shoved into the points of the shoes. My feet are blistered and feel gross.
What I Should Have Packed
- My 5-Toe Athletic Shoes. Most people think they look silly, and laugh when I wear them in public. The general consensus in the states is that they are “douchebag” shoes. Beyond the fact that I don’t actually give a hoot what people think of my clothing choices in general, these shoes are comfortable, and perfect for walking long distances. My toes get shoved into the points of my tennis shoes while I walk, unless I’m in my Zums, and I wouldn’t have blisters between my toes, I suspect.
- Contact lens case. I just forgot to toss it in my bag, and I did buy one for about a dollar, but I could’ve taken my contacts out earlier if I had just packed my case.
- A belt. I should have packed a dang belt.
- A larger notebook. It is really hard to write extensively in a tiny notebook.
Suffice to say that I did a pretty good job packing for my first trip to Prague. As we speak, I’m digging into prague customs, and writing all the things I wish someone would have told me I needed to do upon arrival.
Yesterday, we walked across the Charles Bridge. I’ll be writing about my explorations, too, so stay tuned!
It may be useful to note that I intentionally don’t pack much in my backpack for travel days, so that I can get away with stuffing my purse into my backpack, so I have the allowable number of bags for carry-on only flights.
I also have RFID shield envelopes around my passport and credit cards. I recommend getting some, if you don’t already have an RFID-blocking wallet. There are active pickpockets, especially in heavily trafficked tourist areas, and they don’t have to reach into your pockets anymore. Oh, and keep your zippers zipped.
Don’t be afraid to sit. You’re gonna need it, as you will see in the upcoming stories.
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