Real life one bag travel: a travel blogger packing list

Hi Frugalistas!  I’m feeling the pressure.  Heading to TBEX Athens with hundreds of other travel bloggers is a bit intimidating.  Not because I’m shy – I’m not, and there will be plenty of friends there.  Not because I’ve never been to a conference before – I’ve been to plenty in my professional life.  No, it’s the question of what to wear.  A lot of my blogger friends know I’m a dedicated one bag traveller.  A lot of them read and comment on my posts.  There will be evening functions, as well as out and about walking activities.  So I need a wardrobe that not only lives up to my reputation as the Chief Frugalista, but that will give me maximum flexibility.

Read on, to see my strategy, and what will be in my bag:


dark blue cardigan, purple cardigan and blue cashmere and silk cardigan

Cardigans in three different weights, and colours

The weather in Athens is still quite warm (although it is predicted to cool down significantly during my stay).  I’m therefore leaving the cashmere cardigans and jumpers at home in favour of some lighter options.  One is particularly light and 3/4 sleeved, so really acts as a Tshirt, and can be used for layering under the others if necessary.  Note the toning colours in the picture.

Blue and white striped Blue Illusion Tshirt

This Tshirt will go under all three of my cardigans if need be

Two long sleeved Tshirts (black and white) and a short sleeved stripey Tshirt complete my tops.


This silver skirt functions as a neutral that goes with all my tops

This silver skirt functions as a neutral that goes with all my tops

I’m going with neutrals for my bottoms for maximum combinations.  A silver straight skirt can be treated as a neutral, and dresses up and down really well for day into evening activities.  I don’t have to spend my precious time running back to the hotel to change all the time to go out at night.  One pair of plain classic black pants will be joined by two skinny leg pants – one pair in navy and one in black velvet.

A dress

I’m taking an old black dress to wear on this trip.  I’ll leave it behind when I leave.  Casual enough to wear in the daytime, I can easily add a little jacket to take it into a smart evening look.

Black beaded Max Mara dress

This dress is easily dressed up with my little black jacket


I’m taking my reliable dark blue trench.  I don’t know that I’ll necessarily need it in the daytime, however, I will need it at night, and there is rain forecast.  I can pack it in my case for travelling if I don’t need it.

cropped black jacket on a hanger

This little black jacket is perfect as it packs down to nothing and doesn’t wrinkly

I’ve also chosen my little black cropped jacket for easy layering and also for wearing in the evening.  It will automatically dress up any other outfit.


My shoe choices are conservative.  A pair of black patent ankle boots, and a pair of ultra-soft black ballet flats.

black patent leather Beautifeel ankle boots

Black patent boots that go with all my pants


I have two silk scarves that will match all of my cardigans.  This will allow me to easily change up my look and keep warm in chills.  I know from experience that conference venues can be quite chilly.  With a short hairstyle, I need a scarf.

For my jewellery I’m keeping things fairly minimalist.  Just my usual pearl drop earrings and wedding band for every day.  Then a single chunky black and white necklace to dress up an outfit for the evening.

I’m confident enough in the weather this time round to know I don’t need the thermal top I normally carry at this time of the year.  If need be I’ll use my cardigans for layering.

I’m hoping to take plenty of photos on this trip.  This should enable me to do a follow up post to show you how my packing list worked in practice as I make my way round Athens and TBEX.


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16 Comments on “Real life one bag travel: a travel blogger packing list”

  1. asthaguptaa 19/10/2014 at 8:52 pm #

    Have a great time there! all the best 🙂

  2. Geek Goddess 20/10/2014 at 2:36 am #

    Very good. I’m dying to get your advice on a three week trip I will be taking next March. Three days in a big city, a week on a ship with stops at places to hike and two formal nights, and then three days on a land tour that includes a train through the mountains and a day on a big lake. I’ll be spending time with the same group of friends, and won’t have access to laundry. I’ll have four different hotels/cabins during the trip.

    • frugalfirstclasstravel 20/10/2014 at 6:32 am #

      Hhhhmmmm……tricky. Can I write you a post once I’m back and had time to think about it? I am doing the cruise ship day as part of the conference so it will give me some experience on a cruise ship and have a chance to talk to people (I’ve never been on a cruise).

      Is it in Europe, Naomi?

      • Geek Goddess 20/10/2014 at 6:50 am #

        Four days in Melbourne. Seven days on a cruise in the South Pacific, including two days in New Caledonia. Back to Melbourne, then flight to Christchurch. In NZ, a day on the Tranz Alpine train to Greymouth; a day at the Franz Josef Glacier and surrounding area (stayin in the Franz Josef Hotel); two nights in Queenstown at a resort on Lake Wakatipu; then a short cruise of Milford Sound. I fly back from Queenstown/Auckland/San Fransico/Houston.

        I know cruises well , my group of friends have figured out it is a relatively cheap way with 2-3 dozen people. You need something for the day excursion, which might be a local town, or a beach, or a trip to a hiking location. These often call for a bit of sweating, so there is a need to change before the night activities. Nights are general sort of business-casual, except the two formal nights. I take a black skirt and a couple sparkly shirts for those. The ships have laundry facilities, although a big pricey, I can get my pajamas and undies washed for about $10-$15. Other clothes are double what a local cleaners would charge.

        I think I’m going to have to check a suitcase and carry my backpack for my gear. I’m good on two pair of shoes, but I’m struggling with everything else. Three t-shirts won’t cut it for 19 days. (At least I’m traveling business class on the flights!)

      • frugalfirstclasstravel 20/10/2014 at 7:07 am #

        Ha, my home turf. Not so hard then!

        I’d be thinking about light chiffon or silk style blouses as well as some Tshirts. Easily rinced out in a hand basin and dry quickly on a hanger in the shower without need for an iron. You will need some warmer layering for Melbourne and Christchurch as it can either be 30C+ or 16C from one day to the next. There are plenty of laundromats in Melbourne depending on where you are staying if you want to do a proper wash.

        Not getting to Sydney?

      • Geek Goddess 20/10/2014 at 7:20 am #

        No Sydney, not this time. Of course, I’ll be in Melbourne on the first part of the trip, so won’t have anything to wash. I have several of those no-iron blouses that look freshly pressed right out of the dryer, so I always take those.

      • frugalfirstclasstravel 20/10/2014 at 7:38 am #

        Sounds to me like you’re actually pretty well sorted!

  3. Geek Goddess 20/10/2014 at 6:53 am #

    I should add – a couple of my friends take cargo pants with zip off legs and get by on those for a long time. I just like to look a bit nicer/less touristy than that, although I have no need to dress-to-impress my friends, who know me well, or total strangers that I will never see again. I like to be tailored but casual, so I can walk into a church or pick my way through Roman ruins, either way.

  4. Getting Close to (@GettingCloseto) 20/10/2014 at 11:06 pm #

    Let’s meet up in Athens!! I will check if you’re wearing the outfits ;P I want to wear sandals but it’s supposed to rain on Thursday!!!

    • frugalfirstclasstravel 21/10/2014 at 1:03 pm #

      Yes, with the weather about to cool off, it’s made choosing a bit more difficult. I’ll be wearing them because that’s what’s in my bag!

  5. Sarah M 21/10/2014 at 5:46 am #

    Do you think it’s going to be that formal, or that cold? I’m rather planning to get through the week on a sea of denim

    • frugalfirstclasstravel 21/10/2014 at 1:05 pm #

      I feel the cold terribly and conference venues can be very chilly. I also never travel with jeans – they are too bulky and too heavy. My blue and black velvet pants are actually very casual

  6. Cindy Heazlit 22/10/2014 at 4:04 am #

    Do have lots of fun! I’d love to hear about your experience at TBEX. I’ve never been to one.

  7. Katie 04/11/2014 at 3:17 am #

    I thought your wardrobe was so chic in Athens! Have you done a post on your amazing suitcase yet?

    • frugalfirstclasstravel 04/11/2014 at 7:36 pm #

      I have! I’ll post the link on the frugalfirstclasstravel Facebook page, or you can search for it on the blog (it’s a mid 2013 piece from memory). Thanks for the kind words

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