I once traveled for ten days in four countries with a day pack. That was a long time ago. However, I do try to take only a carry-on size roller bag and a backpack whenever possible. My favorite suitcase conforms to European carry-on size restrictions, but has a zipper expansion feature that means I can bring home more than I take. I leave today for a 24-day trip that includes 12 days in Iran bookended by three days in Istanbul and a week in Rome. This itinerary presented a packing challenge.
In general, I start from the bottom up. My footwear choices (with comfort the key factor followed by style) dictate the pants choices which lead to the shirts and sweaters and then the scarves (which I NEVER leave home without). To itemize: three pairs of shoes (one pair is always sneakers); two pairs of blue jeans, one pair of black jeans, one pair of dress black pants; three sweaters, three t-shirts (two long-sleeved), three silk blouses and three button-down shirts; my favorite Moncler raincoat and an assortment of beautiful scarves to pull everything together. I am ready to roll!