Packing for Europe: 8 months abroad in the winter

I always struggle with packing. I struggle packing for a weekend, I didn’t even want to being to pack for eight months of Norwegian winter, plus what if we vacationed somewhere warm? And do I check one bag or two? So many questions.

At first, I was set on packing in one suitcase (hockey bag), and everything fit no problem. The only problem was the weight limit of 50lbs, when with everything, mine was 80lbs. One day before leaving, I bought an extra checked bag, and filled one suitcase with shoes and other items that weren’t clothes, and the hockey bag was only clothing. If anything, I’ve decided that I need to invest in good luggage. Hockey bags are light, which is nice, but not easy to carry. I didn’t know what I actually needed to pack, and what I needed to leave behind. It was hard to find a guide that didn’t just tell me to pack less. I’m all for packing light for a week, even a month long trip, but for eight months?! C’mon. The following will include what I packed, what I didn’t pack, and what I shouldn’t have packed.

What I packed

I didn’t delete one of the many packing lists I made. This is one I found on my laptop, I always write specific clothing articles that I own on my lists, so some of those things might not make sense. You’ll notice I’m all about the basics though, I love simple things that can go with everything.

packing list

The essentials

Some of my favourite items EVER, that I pack every time I travel are:

Lululemon Jet Pants– These are the most comfortable pants. They’re so cute and comfortable enough to feel like sweatpants, but they’re acceptable in public.

Lululemon Jet Pants – They only seem to sell these in grey right now. I love the plain black ones. I think the “On the Fly” pant is quite similar.

Toms wedges– These are my favourite shoes I think. I used to wear these when I served, and they’re comfy despite the heel, cute, and go with almost anything. I wore these everyday in Paris. That’s how comfortable they are- walking around in Paris comfortable. I bought the ones that were lined with fur and water resistant before I left for Norway because they were on sale, and actually cheaper than the normal ones. These are also my go-to shoe to wear to airports, because yes, I am that girl that travels in heels. Judge me.

Toms Desert Wedges

Grey Pea coat– I love a good pea coat. Considering most of my wardrobe is black, the grey one is a must because I feel like I’m branching out, but still neutral enough to go with everything.

Mine is from Guess, but is no longer on their website.

Chelsea boots Also one of my favourite pairs of shoes. These are dressy, but casual. They’re one of my go tos.

Guess Safari Chelsea Boots – These are no longer on the Guess website, but I found them on Amazon.

Nikes The Air Max Theas are one of the most comfortable shoes I’ve owned. I never work out in these because they’re awful for that, but they’re good to wear when you’re doing a lot of walking.

Just the solid black ones- there are so many on the Nike website.

Lululemon pullover- The neck of this is high so it’s warm, and there’s thumbholes. I love anything with thumbholes.

Lululemon pullover – Mine is no longer on the website, but it’s obviously black, but otherwise similar to this one.

Leather pants– I mean, they just look like leather. They’re not actually leather, but they look a lot nicer than the faded black jeans that I wear often.

I’ll never be able to find the ones I have, but they’re from Vero Moda, a brand that actually sells jeans that fit me.

The airplane outfit obviously isn’t packed, but it’s still included on my list. For colder weather travel, I wear black Lulu leggings (high times are one of my favs), a sweater or warm cardigan with a tank top underneath, usually a my leather jacket, the wedges, and I bring a massive blanket scarf in case I get cold, and either my Indiana Jones hat, or just a hat. In the summer, I still wear leggings, but only wear a tank top, and a warm-ish oversized cardigan because airplanes are always freezing.

Always pack an extra outfit in your carry on incase they either lose your checked luggage, or in case you spill something or other wardrobe malfunctions!!!

That basically sums up what I packed- keep in mind I was MOVING. I packed a lot, but needed a lot.

What I failed to pack

I should have packed more winter accessories. I had quite a few scarves I wish I brought, and toques that I should have packed. I didn’t bring mittens or gloves, which was really dumb, or an umbrella. I ended up buying an umbrella, mittens, and a new scarf. I should have brought my fur coat, because I think I would have actually worn it in Europe. I have never worn it in Vancouver because it doesn’t get cold enough. If you’re going somewhere cold, like Norway, it would be a great idea to load up on clothing that can be layered. I didn’t bring enough warmer sweaters that could go under nice coats, maybe because I don’t have many of those, but still. I was severely lacking in the layering department and cold most of the time I was outside.

fur coat

This would have been so useful.

What I shouldn’t have packed

I didn’t stick to that list completely and packed a quite a few extra tops and workout clothes that I never touched. I packed an absolutely stupid amount of underwear. It’s so small I don’t think I realized how much I brought, and also forgot I usually do laundry every three days. I packed too many pants. Do you see how many pairs of jeans are on that list? Do you know how many jeans I wore? I wore the black ones, the leather ones (They’re not on that list. Oops), and a denim pair a few times. I wore every pair of jeans, but I had to make a point of it, even though I usually just wanted to wear the black ones. “You packed these, you’re wearing them at least once,” is what was going through my head. I don’t think ANYONE needs the amount of jeans I brought with me, so keep that in mind. I ended up tossing a pair of brown boots before I left too. My bags weren’t overweight, but they just we bad quality and I didn’t want them anymore. That’s another thing- pack a few good quality things over a bunch of mediocre quality things.


all of our luggage coming home

Next time

If I’m moving abroad, I would probably pack two suitcases again. Just a vacation, I would try to stick to one carry on. Checking bags is just such a hassle, and I always get way too stressed out about my things going missing.

Next time, I will have nicer luggage.. Any suggestions for cute luggage that will last a long time, let me know!!!

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