Whether you are heading up north for a snow-filled weekend with friends or embarking on a family-forced Carnival cruise (home to the world’s best chocolate lava cake) to the Caribbean, packing is never easy.
While most people advise to travel light and responsibly, I tend to stick with the always be prepared for the unexpected as long as it is under 50lbs rule. Typically I come home with a pint-sized load of laundry since like most of you I am sure, I wear the exact same thing every single day (with the exception of underwear obviously).
So here you have my tips on how to pack without being overloaded and perfectly prepared.
- HAVE A GOOD SUITCASE. There is a reason suitcases are so expensive – the good ones are light-weight, organized and have lots of room. I got a Tumi last year for Christmas and it has saved my life when it comes to travelling. You don’t have to go big or go home but you are an adult and borrowing your Mom’s 25 lb-empty suitcase won’t work anymore. Check out TJ Maxx or go to an outlet and buy yourself a grownup suitcase.
- YOUR CARRY-ON IS NOT AN EXTRA SUITCASE. Unless you are off on an overnight business trip and all you have is your carry-on keep it light. There is absolutely nothing worse than checking out the airport food court with a stuffed duffle. If you don’t need it on you and it isn’t your valuable jewelry and makeup (note: these two things should ALWAYS travel on you) it goes in your suitcase.
- YOU DON’T WEAR 3 OUTFITS A DAY AT-HOME AND YOU WON’T ON VACATION. This is just a fact.
- DON’T PACK EVERY PAIR OF JEANS YOU OWN. You don’t need them all even though you can’t live without your high-waisted skinny jeans, mid-waisted skinny jeans, distressed skinny jeans, cropped skinny jeans, black skinny jeans, etc. etc. But let’s be real – you don’t. Pack no less than and no more than 3 pairs of jeans (your go-to skinnies, boyfriend, high-waisted fancies) and wear your 4th most comfy and least-likely-to-be-overly-stretched-out pair during your travels.
- KNOW WHAT THE HAIR TOOLS SITUATION IS. If your bestie is bringing a blow dryer (you should NEVER rely on a shitty hotel room dryer to perfect your tresses) bring a flat iron. This is the shit that adds extra lbs
- BE AWARE OF THE WEATHER CONDITIONS. If you are traveling to a chilly place, look at the forecast and be sure you bring a limited number of coats and jackets that are appropriate for the temps. Stick to 1 evening jacket and your go-to warm coat. If you are traveling to the tropics then all you really need is a light evening jacket and compact-able rain jacket just in case!
- TRAVEL SIZE PRODUCTS. Just because you are on vacay, that does not mean your hair and skin should not get the same treatment when you are home. Make sure you bring the products you use but get them in travel sizes. Sephora is great for these as they sell mini-sizes of your fave products from Fresh Beauty to Bumble & Bumble.
- THAT JEAN RULE? UNFORTUNATELY APPLIES TO YOUR SHOES TOO. This is the part that always gets me flustered. I have the desire to want 2 shoe options for every look – this isn’t going to work though so you have to be extra mind-full here. Match your shoes to your outfits before you start packing and try to bring your neutrals that will go with several looks so you keep your shoe-load minimal. Sneaks can take up a lot of room too so wear them as you travel.
- HANDBAGS TOO. The minimal shoe rule applies here as well. You should only ever need 3 handbags max – opt for a tote or day handbag (what you should have out as you travel) and 1-2 clutches/ evening bags. I love to bring a canvas tote as a beach bag because it folds up very small and can double as a light carry-on. When packing jewelry be sure you have a nifty small travel case that is small enough to fit in your carry-on. Jewelry should ALWAYS be on you and you should only pack what fits in your travel case. As far as hats go, wear it as you travel so it does not get flattened and damaged!
- PACK AND THEN REPACK. I always first pack 75 outfits the first time around. This is a given. But I gotta check myself. Once you have packed, take everything out and do it again. You will find yourself really questioning whether you need 12 white tees for 5 days.