Turkey has a wide range of attractions from ultra urban time in Istanbul, to cave exploration in Cappadocia as well as amazing (and conservative) religious sites sprinkled throughout. Of course, bringing a carryon suitcase is the only option for us. Packing for a trip with a wide range of activities can be a challenge. Given we went to Turkey in the late fall (November – December 2020), we had to pack more layers than we otherwise would for spring and summer trips.
As we got closer to the departure date, we monitored the weather in each city we would stay in:
- Istanbul average: 59F high / 47F low
- Goreme (Cappadocia) average: 54F high / 32F low
- Izmir average: 66F high / 52F low
- Selcuk average: 64F high / 50F low
- Bodrum average: 69F high / 55F low
Since our trip to Mexico City where I thoroughly embarrassed myself by wearing shorts, we typically always err on the side of overly conservative when travelling. Given the amount of mosques we wanted to go into as well, we needed to be respectful and blend into our surrounds. This meant black on black on black wherever possible. The color that is always in style. We always plan for one fancy date night dinner, and thankfully women’s clothing is very wrinkle resistant and compact. My go-to for any nice meals is one long sleeve and at least knee length dress. The US is probably the least conservative country, so I am very intentional to have something down to my knees and ideally with sleeves so I don’t need to pack an additional cute jacket or wrap.
We were those people that wear sneakers with our cute-ish outfit, but it allowed us to mostly stay under the radar while still banking miles a day walking around the city without dying. One or both of us carries a backpack rather than purse or wallet for the same reason; it is much better on our backs and for safety than carrying around a purse or stuffing our pockets. We are able to bring a camera, water bottles, wifi, snacks, etc. without it getting too heavy on our shoulders. If we plan to be out most of the day and are eating out at a nice restaurant, I can stick my black ballet flats into the backpack for an additional 2oz of weight added and can slip them on right before walking into a restaurant.
Our “secret weapon” that we discovered later in our international travels is hotel laundromats. It sounds lame, I know, to do laundry on vacation, but oftentimes hotels will provide a washer / dryer free of charge or for a few quarters of local currency. The worst is carrying around a suitcase of smelly clothes the entire trip, when you could do a load at the mid-point of a trip. We don’t plan around this amenity per se, but we certainly look for it in hotels we plan or have already booked. Conveniently, Esbelli Evi had onsite laundry so we did our clothes twice in the 4 days we stayed there so we could leave with every piece of clothing clean. When it does work out within our accommodations, we usually pack half the amount of clothes we need. Packing half the clothes = reclaiming half the suitcase.
For the more rugged parts of the trip exploring natural caves and land formations, I would wear my long black leggings and then the next morning use them as workout pants. They got two uses with low effort and I didn’t have to pack independent workout and cute clothes, another big saver of suitcase space.
Below is our packing list for 3 weeks in Turkey:
|1 Carry On Suitcase||1 Travel outfit (Leggings, t shirt, light pullover, wool socks)||1 Pair Running shoes||Plane Snacks (Justin’s nut butters, trail mix, Epic bars)|
|1 Backpack||1 Conservative Dress with sleeves||2 Biker running shorts||Sunglasses|
|1 Plastic bag for dirty clothes||1 Bra||4 Full Length Leggings (black or dark colors)||Chapstick|
|1 Clutch Purse||2 Bandeaus||5 T Shirts||Save destinations in phone|
|8 Pairs of undies||5 Sports Bras||Sunscreen|
|8 Pairs of socks||Spi belt||Toiletries|
|1 Rain jacket||Phone Arm band||Glasses|
|1 Northface jacket / Heavy shell||Headband||iPhone/iPad chargers|
|1 Pair PJs||Hair ties||iPad with shows downloaded|
|1 Pair Black Ballet Flats||Sport Bikini Swimsuit||Umbrella|
|2 Jeans (black and blue)||Garmin with Charger||Comb|
|1 Pair Earrings||Swim Cap||Eye mask|
|2 Tops (long sleeve no wrinkle blouse)||Flip Flops||Ear plugs|
|1 Light Pullover Jacket||Earbuds / AirPods||Contacts|
|2 Scarves||Swim Goggles||Extra contacts|
|1 Pair Wool Gloves wool||3 Mini Hand Sanitizers|
|1 Warm Beanie||3 Masks|
|Camelbak Water bottle|
|Wooden knitting needles & yarn|
|Pocket Wifi with purchase of SIM card upon arrival at IST airport|
|Power Bank for electronics|
|Print outs of reservations|
|$750 USD cash for conversion|
Do you live by your carry on suitcase during long international travels?
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