Your first trip to
Japan is coming up and you want to be dressed to impress and prepared for anything! Before you know it, you have filled up a large rolling suitcase and are halfway through filling a backpack as well. You wonder if you can ship the gifts for your host family to make more room.

If you find yourself in this situation, step away from the packing area and take a deep breath. Thank you. Now, read on.

It is much more likely that you will wish you had brought less, than that you will regret not bringing more.

Obviously, you need to bring something for your host family. And don't skip the soap, deodorant, and plenty of clean unmentionables. But for a two-week trip, you don't really need a different outfit for each day. I know we in the States tend to feel better about ourselves when we can avoid wearing the same thing twice to the same place, but there are plenty of countries across the world where people make do with one simple outfit for months at a time. You don't need to be that extreme. We would like you to be fresh and clean while you're here. Just remember that you'll be carrying your luggage a lot on your arrival and departure days.

Next, make a packing list. Put everything from the list on your bed so that you can see it. See if you can cull anything out. Then pack! Ideally, your luggage should all be carry-on size, i.e., a small rolling suitcase and a shoulder bag, or a backpack and a purse.

Good luck! I'll be posting more tips soon; drop a note in the combox if you have any specific questions or areas of interest!

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