You need to check the baggage allowance your airline gives you. The airline will tell you how many bags you can take and the maximum weight of each bag without incurring overweight fees.
When packing, it is important to keep in mind that you need a lot less than you think. In your day to day life, you don’t use everything that you want to pack. Even if you do, it most likely is a small percentage. If you’re spending a large amount of time overseas, you still want to pack for two-three weeks abroad. Remember that you will be doing laundry, so you can wear the same items over and over again.
If you’re going to a place with one season, packing should be easy. You don’t need to have a variety of clothes. However, be mindful. If you are going to a hot climate, please consider the culture that you’re entering. Don’t pack your mini skirts and tank tops to wear around town if your destination has a conservative culture.
For hotter climates, again be mindful of the country’s culture. If a country values conservatism, it may be wise to pack clothes that have fabric cotton blends because they will keep you cool during the hot weather. Choose clothes that cover your shoulders and fall below your knees. It may be good to invest in a few maxi skirts and capris because they go below your knees. Scarfs are an easy way to cover your shoulders and chest.
If you’re traveling in countries with multiple seasons, it may be good to consider the following:
Fall-Winter– 2-3 solid sweaters that you can continue to wear during the winter. Also, bring a few long-sleeved shirts, a couple of button-ups, and a multi-purpose jacket to wear when it’s chilly. Remember, fall and winter clothes tend to be heavier. So it may be worthwhile to use compression bags to get these items to fit in your suitcase. Don’t take all of your winter gear. This will get you a good start. If need be, you can always buy a couple of items in the country.
As far as pants go, I would take around 6-7 pairs. This will last you the majority of time in the country. Take a few light pairs for warmer weather, and heavier pants for colder weather. Also, don’t forget to throw in one or two pairs of “dressy pants” for special occasions.
When packing, consider neutral colors that will go with a variety of outfits (but hey, if you can make hot pink work for different outfits, go with what makes you comfortable). These colors include black, grey, brown, and white (keep in mind, white does get dirty quickly).
Pajamas/Loungewear– Even though you are traveling, there are going to be moments that you want to feel comfortable, like you’re at home. Be sure to pack 2-3 sets of pajamas and some “comfort clothes” that you can wear around your house, hotel, dorm, or apartment. Think about if you want to have slippers as well.
Workout gear– If working out is your thing, I suggest 2-3 work out outfits that are easy to wash. Don’t forget your tennis shoes!
Socks and Underwear– If you are overseas for an extended period of time, pack two-weeks worth of underwear and socks. I recommend that you store your underwear and socks in a pouch. If this is too much, prepare to pack a week’s worth. But you will be doing laundry more frequently.
Shoes– Don’t overdue the shoes. Shoes can be heavy and take up a lot of space. Since you’re abroad, you most likely will be doing a lot of walking. Pack comfortable walking shoes that can also be worn as night shoes. Pack some tennis shoes to work out; boots if you’re going to a cold place (you can probably buy this abroad), and flats. Try to get shoes that can go with a variety of outfits.
For heavy winter items such as boots and a coat, be sure to wear this on the plane. You can always take it off when you get onboard. This will save you a lot of space.
*Compression bags- if you do decide to use these (or packing cubes), just be mindful of weight. Even though they provide space and organization in your luggage, they still can get heavy.
Check out the Transportation Security Administration‘s website about their rules on carrying, prescription medications on the plane.
Also, some countries will not allow certain medications that are acceptable in the United States. To find out how to handle your medications, go to the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affair’s website. Go to the “Country Information” page of the country you’re interested in. Click the health section tab to read more about that country’s rules regarding medication.
You may want to start this process early, just in case you have to make alternative arrangements regarding your prescription medication.