Last year, when I went back to Taiwan, I watched a bunch of YouTube videos about packing. Pretty much every video I watched mentioned packing cubes. Unfortunately, it was too late for me to buy them for my last trip. After I came back last January, I quickly ordered a set from Amazon, so I will be fully ready for the next time. Luckily, I had a chance to go back to Taiwan again this year! And this time, I would be staying for longer. So I finally got a chance to try out all the tips that I learned from the videos.
I'm not a minimalist by any means; in fact, I still think I'm sort of an over packer, so this post is not about how to pack light. Before I start to pack, I would print out a checklist. I just find one online that is most related to what I would bring. I would modify it a bit, such a cross out things that I don't need and write down the ones that I have to bring, but that are not on the list. The first items that I start with are clothes. Clothes are usually the ones that I over packed. Because I went through a declutter project in the beginning of 2017, my clothes only have two categories: for work and not for work. It was pretty easy for me to pick out what I want to bring on the trip. I picked out seven tops (four long-sleeve shirts and three sweaters) and three pairs of bottoms (jeans and pants) and a maxi skirt for some varieties. I also brought two T-shirts and a pair shorts as my pajama and for layering. Maybe what I brought didn't sound much considering I would be in Taiwan for a month, but I really wish that I could pack a little fewer clothes with me.
Another big category that I always bring with me is toiletry. This was a little tricker for me this time because of my Invisalign treatment. Other than the usual teeth and skin care, I also have to bring my trays and cleaner for them. Last things that I would pack for my luggage are my makeup and underwear. These are the easiest categories for me to pack, that's why I always leave it to the last. For a trip this long, even though I know I would be doing laundry, I still make sure that I have more than enough underwear and socks just in case. Although I would be spending most of my time in one city with my relatives, I would also go to another city to visit my friends and stay there for a couple of days. I also pack a collapsible tote with me, so I could do some mini travels without bringing everything.
I pack my carry-on stuff pretty last minute because I still need most things every day (i.e. my wallet). For me, the most important items to bring here are my passport/itinerary and my liquid bag. It took me about 22 to even a day to travel, so I have to bring deodorant, dry shampoo, mouthwash (with my Invisalign, I also bring toothbrush and toothpaste this time), hand sanitizer, and micellar water (for my face!). Of course, facial lotion and chapstick are also very important since the plane is so dry. I would also bring an extra outfit (T-shirt and light-weight pants) and underwear/socks just in case I need to change into fresh clothes. And lastly, I would pack my electronics, such as phone, tablet, camera, headphones, and chargers.
Although I was unable to pack light, both my luggage and carry-on bag were super organized by putting everything in different packing cubes and pouches. Every time when I finish packing something, I would check it off my checklist. Before I leave the house, I would refer back to the list and make sure I have everything.