There are several websites out there that will give you packing suggestions for going overseas. I found these particularly helpful: here and there. This post is going to be a combination of these two articles, along with other tips and suggestions I have picked up over the last few trips.
First off, be sure that your suitcase(s) meet your airline’s requirements for size. They are very strict about this so do not try and slip a slightly larger-than-allowed suitcase past them. They will not let you bring it.
In your carry-on bring an extra change of clothes, just in case your suitcase ends up getting lost or you spill soda all over your shirt on the airplane. Also bring a book or notebook for the plane and lay-over flights. IPods and Laptops are good for killing time too, until they die, so be sure to use them sparingly. Although, things like electronics or valuables you want to put in your carry-on as they could get stolen or lost from your checked bag, but hide them at the bottom of your bag or in inside pockets so it will be more difficult for pick-pockets to reach them without you noticing.
Do NOT carry all your money in your carry-on or suitcase. You want to have some extra cash hidden away just in case you lose one of your bags during the flight.
In your suitcase I would suggest an extra dufflebag that you can flatten or roll up to minimize used up space. You can use this for storage while overseas, an overnight bag, and as an extra checked bag when you come home for all your collected knick-knacks.
Roll all your clothes to minimize their space, and then place them in large ziplock-like bags and squeeze all the air out. This will make things like shirts, underwear, shorts, etc. shrink even more and create more space. Also put small things inside your shoes as it will also save room. If you do put any valuables in your checked bag, try and hide them somewhere. Some suitcases have hidden zippers where you can put money or jewelry, or try hiding some necklaces or a watch inside some socks. The chances of things being stolen are not high, but better to be safe than sorry.
As far as how many clothes to bring, I would suggest about 2 weeks worth of shirts, underwear, and socks, and about seven to ten changes of pants. the more your clothes can mix-and-match the more outfits you have without having to bring more pieces of clothing. And try to limit your shoe count. I would take a pair of tennis shoes, cheap flip-flops for the shower, and one pair of nicer shoes like a black flat (for ladies) or a nice sandal (weather permitting). High heels look nice but take up a lot of valuable space, you are better off with a smaller more adaptable shoe. (Also be sure to check what the weather will be like when overseas. Here is an example site for Oxford with the average monthly temperature.)
Lastly, be sure that you fit the airline’s weight requirement find the weight of your suitcase by: Standing on the scale and weighting yourself, Weighing yourself with the suitcase, and then subtracting your weight with the suitcase from your original weight. If it weighs to much, start over. Take everything out and try to minimize what you are taking by getting rid of things you do not really need, or things you can buy once you arrive overseas. If you go to the airline with it being too heavy they will make you open it up and take stuff out in front of everyone at the airport. It’s a bit embarrassing, believe me.
Also, if your suitcase is almost to the maximum weight, be aware that does not leave room for any extra things you might bring back. So, in that case, consider bringing back a second checked back that you will just have to pay extra for on your return, or leaving most of the things you brought with you overseas.
Check my older post “Necessities” for some other crucial things to bring along.
I hope this helped you become more suitcase savvy! May your trip be full of adventures!
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” -Henry Miller