If you’re anything like me, the number one reason you hate packing is because you always want to pack everything and anything. I need options!
I also hate to think about over-packing. Stress packing is like stress eating — you’re left with an awkward bulge full of regrets afterward. The whole process is extremely overwhelming, but there are ways you can pack the things you want without overdoing it.
Bring the Right Size Suitcase
How are you traveling? How long will you be gone? If you’re flying, checked baggage fees pile up and put a damper on your getaway. Make sure you know the difference between hard and soft shell luggage.
Hard shell luggage is more durable and more waterproof than soft shell luggage. With four wheels, it’s easier to maneuver. Plus, the unique colors make this kind easier to find.
Soft bags fit more easily into the overhead compartment or in the back of the car for a road trip. Soft bags are expandable. This is great if you’re going to be buying souvenirs. Soft bags have multiple storage compartments, straps to wear as a backpack and two wheels for easy gliding.
Don’t discount the old duffle bag. With savvy packing maneuvers, it can be a snug solution in a pinch. You’ll need to consider your budget and your needs during the trip.
Bring Clothes You Can Layer
You can wear jeans more than once and live to talk about it another day. Jeggings are space savers here, too. Two pairs of solid black jeggings are easily interchanged for multiple settings, while a comfy pullover sweater or other light sweater is great for surprise chills.
Add a white and a black tank top, two cute blouses and any bras you need. You can also sleep in the tank tops! Choose neutral colors with a few bold colors to easily interchange. Demo the outfits before your trip, and challenge yourself to see how many looks you can get with the fewest items: Eight pieces can make 14 outfits!
Bring One “Just in Case” Semi-Formal Outfit
Bring the little black dress and ballerina flats. Short sweetheart cut or tube dresses roll up neatly and look fantastic at most occasions. A solid color skirt mixes and matches with your other layered tops, too, if there are more surprises.
Choose Classic Accessories That Go With Most Outfits
Small pearl earrings, two rings and a favorite necklace are simple jewelry items that will go a long way. Bring a scarf: They’re great for the weather, your hairdo, a pop of color or to make a dress in a snap!
Limit makeup to the bare essentials, with something to make your eyes or lips pop, and store it in a convenient bag.
Resealable Bags Are Your Ally
Bag up toiletries and other items for convenience and stain-proofing. When packing, place these heavier bulk items at the bottom of your suitcase to help waterproof your luggage!
Choose Simplicity and Multi-Use
Choose the ballerina flats for semi-formal wear over stilettos. Do you really need a hair dryer, flat iron and curling iron?
While you’re at it, bring a small sewing kit and safety pins. You really never know when you’ll get that ill-timed rip.
Designate a Small Bag for Your Must-Have Arrival Journey Items.
This includes your cell phone, Kindle or book, chargers, eyeliner, mini toothpaste, earplugs and other choice items. You’ll place this mini survival kit in an easy access storage compartment.
Treat Luggage Like a Rubik’s Cube
Efficient packing is not that difficult. Look at your suitcase as an easy access drawer. What, ideally, do you want to pull out first? This is important to consider, especially if you don’t actually unpack for the whole trip.
Place shoes on the bottom of the suitcase or line the sides, soles away from the clothes. Focus on filling holes practically and for convenience. Stuff your shoes. Items in plastic bags can go on the bottom for waterproofing. Sandwich your fragile items between clothes and softer items. Add fabric sheets to keep everything fresh.
When you’re done, top it off with a small jacket for more cushion or a raincoat for more waterproofing. Do what makes sense for you.
Practical Packing Doesn’t Mean You Lose Anything
With these tips, I learned to say goodbye to over-packing. Though, choosing between souvenirs to take home is still a challenge to overcome.
Practical packing is about the trip itself, what you really need and getting the most out of it, while reducing your dependence on what you bring from home.