What’s In Her Bag: International Conference + Honeymoon Edition

At various points along your PhD journey it can seem like life ceases to exist beyond your pile of papers, monitors full of code, or wall of caffeine. Sometimes it may be hard to find the time to venture outside your office, let alone your town, state, province, country, etc. In this and many other regards, the academic life is not without its stresses and pitfalls, but the opportunities to travel for conferences and research are some of the best parts. The bi-annual International Statistical Ecology Conference (ISEC) has been on my radar for some time, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity  to extend a trip to St. Andrews, Scotland into a full fledged honeymoon around the Scottish highlands. According to my twitter profile, I’m often a traveler, and I think I’ve developed a few good packing practices I would love to share with all of you.

Me and Darling Husband

Nearly five years after my last European adventure, I’m once again packing my trusty 60L pack and jetting off, only this time with my darling husband accompanying. When packing for this trip there were several considerations at the forefront of my thought process. I knew how I packed for my 3 month long European trip 5 years ago thanks to this previous STS post. While I ended up packing a few of the same items (!!), this trip has a different focus and thus different packing needs. First, I needed conference clothes as well as clothes for hiking and exploring and I wanted to look super cute as often as possible because I am a proud fancy scientist.

Luckily, since I am so used to packing for research/camping related trips, I am not disappointed by the lack of space for super cute clothes. ~ Meridith circa 2013. My, my how I’ve changed.

Next, I wanted to pack a few things to help reduce my carbon footprint while traveling (even though flights are a big one! Two quick links about carbon offsets: why and Rachel’s recommendation for where to buy). Finally, while we aren’t truly backpacking, I did need to consider weight. Admittedly my packed ended up way heavier than I anticipated, and as I’m writing this post I’m noticing some areas where I could maybe, sort of, perhaps packed less. A thought I will not admit to my husband. Ever. My pack is perfect.

What’s in my Gregory bag?


Writing this post while packing so you get cozy B&B photos. This is all the clothes!


  • 2 bras (nude/white strapless)
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • several pairs of undies
  • 1 pair of pants
  • 1 green skirt
  • 1 pair of shorts (compared to the 4 pairs last trip!)
  • 1 pair of yoga pants
  • 1 pair of gray leggings
  • 1 yellow jean jacket
  • 1 yellow cardigan
  • 1 windbreaker
  • 1 rainjacket
  • 3 tanktops
  • 3 t-shirts
  • 3 dresses
  • 6 blouses
  • 2 handkerchiefs


And honestly, I could’ve just brought the Chaco’s. Love them. 



  • Chacos
  • AllBird walking shoes
  • Wolverine boots


  • Converter
  • Computer
  • Thumbdrive
  • Headphones (purchased in airport en route to Scotland bc I regretted not getting over the ear bluetooth ones before)
  • All the charging cords


  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste in glass jar
  • Shampoo bar
  • Diva cup
  • Razor
  • Make up (way more than the three items last time!)
  • Hair containment items 
  • Curling iron + straightener
  • Hair brush, two combs
  • Sunscreen
  • Contacts and solution
  • Glasses and case

Sustainability Items

  • Reusable utensils 
  • Cloth napkin
  • Takeaway tin (I got this one on Amazon but I’m sure you could find one used/local!)
  • Reusable bags/wrappers
  • Nalgene + metal water bottle
  • Plastic name tag holder from previous conference (that I didn’t actually need to use bc ISEC was a very low waste conference!)

As well planned out as I tried to be during the busy week leading to our departure, there are still some items I didn’t bring that I wish I had. An odd, possibly niche, item my husband and I wish we’d packed are biking shorts! While we didn’t have set plans to rent bikes when we were packing, it was a possibility that quickly became a reality during our stay near Inverness. We rented bikes for the week, and after two 20 miles days, our bums were really regretting not packing some extra padded protection. Delightfully enough, we met some lovely neighbors who offered up their tandem bike and some much needed bike tights, which allowed us to go on to bike an additional 60 miles over two days.

From our FOURTY FOUR mile day. North Kessock to Cromarty and back. Smiles curtesy of bike shorts

 My packing philosophy seem to evolve a little each time I pack for my next adventure. I did set aside the clothes I anticipated packing a week or so before we left. This allowed me some time to thin the selection down, and I found it to be useful…but that doesn’t mean I avoided grabbing a few extra items to throw in while packing. In hindsight, I wasn’t very focused on non-hanging items and ended up forgetting a super cute pair of leggings (layers!), which resulting in the purchase of another pair of less cute but still wildly useful leggings in New York. Having a husband who is a proponent of packing light, yet prepared, is also helpful! 

If you are departing for conference travels soon, we’d love to hear about what’s in your bag! Or maybe you’ve got the ideal packing scheme for some other venture?  If you want to see what Rachel keeps in her field bag you can check out this post. Do you fancy writing up a guest post for this series? We encourage you to reach out to us! We’ll help with the writing, editing, social media-ing, etc. Keep an eye on our social media this week (via Twitter/IG) as we’ll be adding some extra tips about packing/conferences/travel in addition to any fun facts I may come up with during my last week of adventure in Scotland!


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