I was lucky enough to live in Leeds, England for six months during my junior year of college. During those six months, I tried to fit as much traveling as possible into my schedule. I traveled to a total of seven countries, including England; one thing that I learned very quickly was that how I packed had a huge impact on how I not only enjoyed my time, but also how stressed I felt.
Keep Everything Segmented
I do not thrive on messes. The whole "living out of a suitcase" situation is not ideal for me. Even when I tried to fold things in an organized way, I'd end up having a mess on my hands pretty quickly with all of my items in a heap. I'd have to shift through everything each day to find what I'd want. I then decided to try out keeping things segmented off with much smaller bags inside of my suitcase. I keep items segmented by use. For example, one tote bag is deemed as my electronic charger bag. It has everything I need for all of my electronics, thus making these products easy to find and easy to put back. I do the same thing for clothes but try to make sure that clothes are segment based off of use. Athletic clothes are in one bag, while dressy items are in another. Finally, all dirty items are rolled and stored into a separate bag as well. Packing cubes are also designed to help you do this. I've found that between one set of packing cubes and my totes bags, I can keep everything organized and avoid the scattered suitcase mess.
Throw in Something Local
Let's face it; you're going to look like a tourist. You're going to have a camera, you're going to look different, and that's okay. As long as you're safe about it, as you'll be more of a target for pick pocketers, I say be comfortable being the tourist that you clearly are. I know that I personally have had some amazing interactions with people when I've worn something from home - usually my WI hat or one of my many WI t-shirts. I've met so many other WI travelers who have come up and asked me, gesturing to my clothing item, if I'm from WI. It always seems to draw in just the right people and makes the day a bit more interesting and a bit more friendly - something I will always appreciate while traveling.
Roll Clothing Items
It is true what they say - you will be able to fit much more in your suitcase if you roll your clothes. Sometimes, this can cause some clothing items to get wrinkly so I usually only roll the clothing items that don't need to be wrinkle free. These include my workout items and my hiking gear.
Make Two Lists
If you usually forget something, I suggest making two lists. The first should be of everything you need to pack. The second should be a list of everything you've put in your suitcase. So far, this system has worked way better than me just double checking my original list.
A few items to add to your list:
If you're going to be in a different country, be sure to pack a converter/adapter for the outlets. Otherwise, you may not be able to use your electronics and could even damage them. Another good thing to pack: snacks. Any time you're traveling, you're going to be pressed for time and anything that's offered in an airport or train station is going to be pricey. I typically pack protein bars and maybe a few apples.
I'm excited to put these into good use for my trip to Europe next week. Hope you all have a fabulous Monday!