Today I’m back with Part 2 of “Packing sucks!” Okay, that’s not what that actual title is but it’s true right? Picking up right where we left off...
Buy a smaller bag
It’s an unwritten rule of packing: you’re going to fill the bag you have. Start off smaller, pack less. Starting with a smaller bag forces you to cut back from the get go.
Downsize what you’re bringing
Just about everywhere you go will have what you need so it’s okay if you forget something or hold off on bringing an item. With regards to clothing, lay out everything you plan to take on the floor. Take a good hard look at all those wonderful clothing pieces you’ve invested your hard earned money in. Now cut the whole thing in half. That’s all you should take. Yes, seriously.
Don’t allow yourself “what if” pieces.
I know it’s tempting to take that dress you bought on a whim just in case you end up needing it. But trust me on this one, you are not going to wear it. Put it back. Okay, fine, but only one “what if” piece. You’ll come back and tell me I’m right.
Get items that do double duty
Worried about a varying climate? A 3-in-1 jacket is great for this. You can use only the pieces you need at any given time.
While I’m a traditionalist and like having a physical book in my hand, when traveling I succumb to the new age and download books onto my tablet. I’ll also download games (I refuse to travel without Sudoku ready to go), magazines, and any guide maps I want to use on my trip.
Be color aware
Bring neutral pieces and stick to a shade that’ll go with everything. I’m a black item girl so I leave all my brown clothing items at home. It’s easier to bring fun accessories than more clothes. I allow myself one small Ipsy bag of accessories. Anything else stays at home.
Comfort > everything
Skip bringing heels if you can. After walking all day, do you really want to throw on a pair of heels? Think of your future self the next morning.
Speaking of shoes, it’s not only important to bring comfortable shoes, but shoes your feet can swell in whether it be from changing altitudes in an airplane or just swelling from daily walking.
Stop, drop, and roll
Roll all of your clothes. They'll get less wrinkled and take up much less space. If you place them vertically, you not only get the two aforementioned benefits but you can see exactly what you have at any moments notice.
Stay Warm in Winter
The dead of winter is perhaps the toughest time to pack for. You want to conserve space but...sweaters!. So. Much. Bulk. The key is smaller layering pieces. On my 17 day trip to Eastern Europe in January, I packed lots of tank tops, boot socks (those cute socks that go over your first pair of socks and leggings), flannels, leggings, and two big “over” sweaters. On the coldest days, I threw on two pairs of leggings. I wore flannel just about every day and threw on an “over” sweater for extra warmth. I was able to wear each flannel twice and each “over” sweater multiple times. I also packed a down vest (I got mine from here) which collapses into a small convenient bag.
Wear your bulkiest pieces on the plane. You may look like a human marshmallow strolling through Terminal A but it’s better to have it on you than taking up space in your bag. Plus, planes can get cold so you have a little something extra to keep you warm.
I’d love to give a hug and a high five to the inventor of the blanket scarf. Seriously, folks, get yourself one of these. I bought a grey scarf from TJMaxx (similar one here) for $15 and wore it everyday. It went with everything! It’s also great if you get cold on a bus or in a restaurant. It’s basically a socially acceptable adult blankie. Yes, please!
Organize with small bags
I use my small Ipsy bags that I receive in the mail to organize everything but clear Ziploc bags will work too! Keep your charging cords, medicine, and makeup all together and pull out only what you need. Less mess, less stress.
Do not fill your bag to the very brim; you will need room to add souvenirs. Also, something magical happens to dirty items: they take up more space. Account for this and anything else you want to bring home. It’s better than trying to squeeze potentially fragile items into an already full bag.
Keeping dirty items separate from the clean items can be tricky when you’re working with a small bag. I like to bring a handful of plastic shopping bags with me when I travel. They don’t take up space and can keep your items organized. Many people will tell you to bring a garbage bag for your dirty clothes. I personally find those get too bulky and get in the way. Smaller bags keeps thing tidy.
Purchase a small 3oz spray bottle and fill it with a body spray or Febreeze. You can use this to freshen up your clothes.
I also like to put a few dryer sheets in my bag. It keeps my clothes smelling fresh, even when they’re trapped in a single suitcase for a while.
Got a tip you want to share? Let me know!