I used to be the little girl who packed nearly her entire wardrobe for a week long getaway. I found comfort in that I'd never be out of something to wear; in fact, I'd have tons of options depending on my mood. While that image might be endearing to my fellow fashionistas, the look on my step-dad's face was nothing short of incredulous. To him, the thought of even checking-in bags at the airport was completely unnecessary — even laughable. At that point, I knew that it was time to make some changes to become a lighter traveler. Now that I'm an adult, I have eliminated my high-maintenance tendencies and have mastered the art of minimalistic travel. This travel approach I've adopted is easy to mimic, which is why I've created a list of the do's and don'ts of packing like a pro.
1. Check the extended forecast so you can effectively assess what you will and will not need.
2. Ask yourself essential questions: Will I be attending a formal dinner? Will I be exercising or engaging in physical activity that would require a specific attire? Answering these questions will encourage you to pack appropriately and prioritize items.
3. Make a checklist. By writing down the bare necessities, you can avoid over-packing or missing basic items. However, do be reasonable - if you are traveling for 5 days, you do not need 10 tops.
4. Limit footwear. This is the easiest trap to fall into, especially for women. Realistically, depending on the length of your trip, you will only need a couple pairs. Tip: 1 pair of comfortable shoes for sightseeing and/or exercising, 1 pair of neutral sandals, and 1 pair of heels for a formal dinner. Before this suggestion incites a cringe, ask yourself: do I really need a different pair of shoes for every outfit? Realistically, no.
5. Embrace double-duty items. When packing, versatility is key. By this, it's extremely important to choose items that can be dressed up or down and worn in several different ways. That way, you can improvise when necessary. Example: a light, airy dress that renders a casual vibe when paired with sandals OR can be dressed up with a cardigan and heels for a nice dinner.
6. Roll your clothing. Not only will rolling your clothes (rather than simply folding) save a ton of room, it'll also prevent wrinkles and creases.
7. Minimize Hair & Makeup Products. Not only will you be minimizing the amount, but you should also be transporting them in smaller, travel-friendly containers. You can buy them at your local convenient store, or here. Personally, I like to keep my makeup bag in my purse when I board a plane. You really don't need a dozen eye shadow palettes or multiple mascaras. Instead, stick to what you'd normally use on your daily routine and limit it there.
8. Adopt Kate Middleton's outfit repeat policy. There was a lot of talk (and praise) over Kate Middleton's tendency to outfit repeat while traveling. She poses as the perfect example to disprove that to look gorgeous, you have to be high maintenance. Unless you are sweating in a humid climate or engaging in physical activity, chances are there are items that can be worn more than once.
1. Stuff your suitcase to the brim. For me, one of the most fun parts of traveling is finding unique souvenirs to take home. Trying to haul those treasures home will be headache inducing if you don't allot a little wiggle room in your luggage case.
2. Skimp too much. Although I encourage embracing a minimalistic attitude, be realistic. You don't want to find yourself on the last stretch of the trip without a clean pair of underwear. To avoid this, you will need to pay extra attention to your well thought out checklist.
3. Use luggage sans wheels. Although the luggage pictured above is simply adorable, you will nearly pull your back out trying to lug that around.
4. Forget to tag your luggage. Just because you know how to identify your luggage by its exterior doesn't mean it's safe to skip the name tags. In case your luggage is lost or misplaced, you're going to want your name and contact information available to the recipient.
5. Check-in bags. You've gone through all this trouble to guarantee light traveling, now is time to reap the benefits! No more waiting for the baggage claim now that you can successfully travel with just a carry on.
What are some of your tricks? Safe travels everyone!