Packing In A Backpack: Four Days In Copenhagen, Denmark


With our goal of living abroad accomplished, we are onto our next: seeing as much of the world as possible. We have been on a few trips to Europe from the US before our move which were longer stays with larger bags but now that we are here taking shorter trips and discount airlines, we are taking advantage of our packing light in just backpacks.

Every trip we go on we learned more and more about what to take and what not to. Honestly, Rico is way better at this than I am. It’s easier for guys, right!? Well, I used to think that way but now I know both guys and girls struggle to realize just what I have come realize myself—that I tended to get caught up in thinking I need to make a fashion statement. It is kind of silly when you think about it especially when you are going to cooler places where a jacket will be covering your clothes 90% of the time. I also realized Rico is just really good at understanding what's important in life—whether its what to pack for a trip or in our everyday. So I'm channeling him as I go through the dreaded task. Its all about comfort.

Soon, we will be boarding our flight to Copenhagen for a long weekend away. After reflecting on recent trip to Paris and what I packed there, I think I did a pretty good job, but I know I can still do better. I am challenging myself this time around to pack even lighter and with even more purpose. So as I go about packing my bag, I thought I would take you through the process with me by showing what clothes are going with me while giving tips and tricks along the way! I'm moving forward and constantly making adjustments so that I can eventually claim the title of a light packer. Okay, here it goes!


clothing I’ve packed for this trip:

1 jacket
2 sweaters
2 t-shirts
1 long sleeve
1 tank top
1 shirt
1 pair of leggings
1 pair of yoga pants
2 pairs of boots


Tips & tricks for packing light:

  1. Pack intentionally: One of the biggest mistakes I used to make was making separate outfits for each day. You load so much into your bag by doing this. Instead, chose items that you can layer or wear more than once. Lay out your items and start pairing them in different ways. You’ll be surprised how many outfits you can create.
  2. Find a packing schedule that works best for you: I hear it over and over again, you haven’t packed yet!? I tend to save my packing to the day before or morning of. Which I admit can be stressful but if I pack too far in advance, I tend to over pack—every day throwing just one more item in. I do however, make a list during the week leading up to make sure I don’t miss essentials in the chaos. If packing ahead helps ease its stress and allows you to be more thoughtful through the process, then do that. It's whatever works best for your habits and situation.
  3. Stick to a color palette: Whether you are going for the neutral look or bright vibrant colors, stick to just one pallet. I tend to learn towards earthy colors. This will help make your items more purposeful and interchangeable. One day you can wear a t-shirt with a cardigan, the next day the same t-shirt can be used as a layer under a pullover sweater. It's as simple as that.
  4. Wear bulkier items on the airplane: I always wear my most bulky item on the plane both there and back. This is typically a heavy sweater and boots (so as pictured above, I'll be wearing my aztec sweater, jacket, and my brown boots).  This gives you so much more space to play with when packing the rest of your items up.
  5. You don’t have to fill your luggage: Whatever luggage item of choice you are taking—a backpack, large roll on, duffle bag—remember to leave some room. More likely than not, you’re going to want to buy some things while you are on your trip to take home as a keepsake so be sure you can do so. It’s easy to think “Oh, I can fit that! Look!” Know when to stop and not just continue to throw things in “because you have space” because you wont have space for everything on the way home.
  6. Remember, you can always do laundry: We tend to forget that you can do laundry just about anywhere. Check in with hosts or hotels to see if they have a service or can direct you to a laundromat. This was so helpful when we went to Italy a few years back. I happened to fall into the Mediterranean in my clothes (a really heart-wrenching story for another time), luckily our host was kind and had me in clean clothes by the next day.
  7. Chose shoes wisely: It depends upon the climate we are heading to but I typically only pack 1 to 3 pairs. For this trip in particular, I am packing 2 pairs of boots since the weather in Copenhagen this time of year can be cool and we are seeing some rain in the forecast. One pair that can stand up to the rain, and one that’s a little more comfortable. Think about what you will be doing on your trip and coordinate accordingly. Don’t think about what shoes you like with what outfits. Find ones that are comfortable to spend a day walking and that will go with everything.
  8. Think weather: As I said with the shoes, base your packing off of the climate you are traveling to. For cooler locations, back lots of layers. For warm seasons, pack items with ventilation and to projection from the sun. There’s nothing worse than being held back from exploring because you didn’t pack the right clothes.


Backpack: Everlane // Jacket: ASOS // Aztec sweater: Urban Outfitters // Brown sweater: Eddie Bauer // Grey t-shirt: AllSaints, // Charcoal t-shirt: Old Navy // Green long sleeve shirt: Gap // Tank top: Gap // Denim shirt: Loft // Leggings: Khols // Yoga pants: Athleta // Nepal boots: TOMS // Brown combat boots: Madden Girl from DSW