I’ve been in Europe for the better part of three weeks now, and I’ll be going home Saturday. As you can imagine, I thought long and hard about everything I brought with me. I never want to take more luggage than I can comfortably manage on my own, up and down subway stairs.

This is a long post, so if you’re not interested in travel-nerdery, go ahead and skip it.


That’s what I showed up with. Since then, I’ve added a new backpack, about 5 conference totes, a kilo of stickers, 2 skeins of yarn, ~3 meters of fabric, one very hyper afternoon’s worth of candy, and various magnets, postcards, and flat souvenirs. I still haven’t had to expand the zipper on my suitcase.

Here we have my hanging toiletries. Yes, this really is everything I need. I like that I can hang it on a towel bar in almost any hotel bathroom.

Blue zippered kit with mesh pouches

The top compartment has all my makeup. I’ve gone to a largely pencil-based regime, because they are less fragile than cakes and less likely to be a spilly, messy, TSA-invoking pain than liquids. And yes, that is my toothpaste at the top. Toothpaste is a misery to scrub out of your bag after a containment failure.

Toothy tabs, pencil-based makeup.

The bottom pouch contains my hair oil, razor, hair goo, makeup remover, and deodorant. The pink tube has a mix of hair dye and conditioner. The little orange thing is laundry detergent sheets, which I didn’t end up using.

Toothbrush, gootube, deoderant, and a couple other oddments

For this trip, I ruthlessly pared down my electronics bag, because everything in that category is heavy. Here we have 3 3-meter USB cables (USB-C, Lightning, and Micro), a great travel adapter that snaps into itself that I got at DOES, a two-port USB charger from Anker, a powerbank from Jackery, and a swag “octopus” that I got at a conference somewhere.

Coiled USB cables, international adapter, other electronic impedementia

This is everything I took in my Tom Bihn shoulder bag, which I replaced halfway through the trip:

  • Workbook for practicing handwriting
  • iPad with stickers, Apple Pencil, and smart keyboard
  • Foot hammock. Laugh all you want, I can put my feet up on the plane.
  • Pens: Lamy Al-Star, Kaweco Sport Brass, Pilot highlighter, purple metallic for writing my handle on name badges
  • Facemask for all the terrible cough people on planes with me
  • Migraine meds, other fast-acting meds, two lipsticks, painkiller, snortable gelled saline (how to avoid post-flight nosebleed)
  • Very lovely Bose noise-cancelling headphones
  • Packet with my slide clicker and the adapters for my iPad for HDMI and VGA
  • Stickers. Naturally.
  • Locking hex-key pin backs so my pins will not fall off.
  • Sunglasses and two pairs of reading glasses
  • Wallet, passport, business cards
  • Glasses-cleaning cloths
  • Small Apple power adapter and plugs for the countries I’ll be in
  • Powerbanks and an octopus

The contents of my EDC/purse - wallet, passport, lipstick, batteries, reading glasses, etc

These are my clothes. I took 4 dresses and one skirt and 2 t-shirts and various other secondary clothing. Also an extra pair of shoes and I traveled in my boots. And a swimsuit! Yes, I did laundry.

A row of 4 packing cubes of different sizes

My clothes, hanging, unwrinkling, and airing.

You’d think that with a suitcase and a backpack, I would be good for bags, but no, appropriate bags are key to happy travel, because you only take the things that you need. for that day. The hologram bag is a lightweight backpack that has the magical quality of inspiring swishy men to stop me to compliment it. My hair is a +5 to black women starting conversations with me. The polka-dot bag I got in Amsterdam and expands out to the size of a moderate duffle and zips closed, so it can be luggage. Sometimes when I’m coming back from trips with, uh, some fabric, it comes in handy. I put the fabric in my suitcase and my dirty laundry in the emergency bag. #priorities

I think most DevRel people travel with three important categories of medication:

  • Don’t ask about my digestion
  • Don’t ask about my phlegm situation
  • Don’t ask about my hideous travel-induced headache

I also carry my preferred antacid, because there’s nothing like la vida canape to give you heartburn.

Since I was gone so long, I needed to take enough meds to refill my pill keeper.

I call this set the “Don’t Hate Me, Housekeeping” arrangement. It’s a microfiber towel and flannel pillowcase that preserve the hotel from the ravages of my pink hair.

My outerwear. The scarf is classy enough to wear as an accessory here in France, but doubles to make something pretty warm, since it’s actually wool. The umbrella is teeeny, but has been sufficient. The bag is a stuffable jacket that I have needed less here in the south of France. It doubles as my airplane pillow.

Knitted scarf, stuffable jacket, teeny-tiny umbrella

Not pictured: I bought an eBag Junior Slim Executive because I love my shoulder bag but it was not going well for my neck tension, so, reluctantly, it is time to switch to a backpacks, which is less convenient in crowds. Also not shown: The sticker bag, 100 “I met Heidi” postcards, and The Sticker Bag, because you’ve already seen it.

I traveled in yoga pants and an athleisure top, which is the moral equivalent of pajamas, for similar reasons.

And that’s it. I missed my Kindle (I think I lost it on a plane a couple trips ago). I didn’t bring much stuff for warm/sunny weather, but that’s been ok. Otherwise, there’s not much I didn’t use at least twice. I got pickpocketed in the Paris Metro, but I had very little in the accessible wallet, so it was mostly my corporate card and 35 Euros.

If you have any questions, feel free to ping me!