Backpacking, summering, or any long-term travel is very different travel experience than a week trip—one everyone should try to take. Packing for a month or longer might make you feel like you need an entire closet to go with you, but the less you have the easier it is to travel. Plus, you have fewer things to lose. Before you pick your baggage, consider your itinerary and location.
1. It's all in the baggage
Don't pick a hard case bag. They're harder to fit into carry on spaces and not expandable. A bag with external compartments gives you extra space. Take advantage of your personal item. You could take a carry on and a backpack, a backpack and a large tote, or a carry on and put your purse in a large tote. There's a number ways you can carry multiple bags without exceeding the carry on plus personal item rule.
2. Less is more
If you think about what you wear day to day, it's usually a variation of the same outfit. Therefore you really don't need that much clothes to travel. The easiest way to pick you're clothes, is pull out everything you want to bring. Put together outfits. You don't have to pick only black , white and grey—just pick colors that mix and match well together. You need at least one dressy ensemble and the rest can be interchangeable casual separates. Ten to 15 pieces, a light jacket if needed, a few accessories and two weeks of undergarments should last at least a month. Be conscious of any weather changes that may occur during your trip. If you're headed to the beach for a month, you'll need more swimsuits more than anything. Unless you really want to spend time ironing, don't bring linen or other fabric prone to wrinkling.
Three is really the magic number. You need a dressy option, walking option and casual option. Basically some combination of heels, flats, sandals, sneakers, booties or loafers—whichever fits your style and trip. Keep in mind your shoes need to be neutral, durable and comfortable. They have to last you entire trip. Walking through cobbled streets of the Champs-Elysees district with blisters seriously dampens the mood, so don't bring your brand new leather shoes. Wear the bulkiest shoes on the plane or however you plan to travel.
4. Pare down the electronics
Is it business or pleasure? Do you plan on working on your trip? Electronics can take up a lot of space, so not bringing a camera, laptop, tablet, phone and all of their accessories, can save space. If you're on a fun trip, just take your phone. Most phones have great cameras and e-book readers.
How much makeup do you really need? Does your hotel provide shampoo, conditioner and lotion? Use travel size cases or products to pack as much as possible in a quart-sized bag. Then replenish as you go through your vacation.