What a person packs in their suitcase when they travel says a lot about their personality. Of course, there are those people that really over pack—I mean like 3 times as many things as they need kind of pack. Throughout my own travels, I learned what best to put in my luggage mainly through trial and error. Believe it or not, what you deem necessary on a long or short voyage in many ways keeps you feeling like you’re at home wherever you are. It’s almost as if what you pack becomes an extension of yourself. Below is a list of 6 items that I’ve deemed necessary for travel, not only because of their usefulness, but also because they have in one way or another helped learned important parts about my own personality and character. Perhaps they will give you an idea of the types of things you’ll deem a ‘necessity’ when you plan your next trip.
This may seem like a something overly simple, but trust me when I say, you’ll probably have to try a few different kinds of carry-ons to really find the right one that keeps you calm and collected when you are traveling. What do I mean exactly? One of the things that I learned the hard way was that having just ‘some bag’ to travel caused me unnecessary stress. The items sometimes didn’t fit properly; the bag would be overweight or I wasn’t sure there would be any extra space. It just kept me from traveling smoothly and stress-free. Beginning with the proper piece of luggage will also allow you to fit all your other quirky necessaries as well.
No matter what it is that I am traveling for—work or play—I always like to be prepared for as many scenarios as I can. That being said, I learned along the way that even thought people would advise again bringing some of the frivolous things that aren’t the bare necessities, I missed them while I was away, wishing that I had brought my favorite pair of high heels or the funky bracelet that goes with everything. It’s not so much a superficial thing I learned, as it is having the possibility to feel like a million bucks wherever I am. For me, that’s my favorite footwear and accessories. For you, it could be something completely different, like an interchangeable blazer or jacket. Whatever it is, make space for it. You’ll be glad you brought it.
Especially for the ladies, a hairdryer is something I sorely missed when I left it out of my luggage. In a lot of ways, it was the same feeling of not being able to completely looked prepared for a business meetings or social activity out on the town. True, most hotels these days have complimentary ones, but one of the things I’ve learned about myself, is that I’d rather not take the chance, especially if I’m going to be giving a presentation in front of a large group of people. Depending on the length of my time away, I take my full size hair dryer if I can, or I’ve invested in a very handy travel size one that fits almost anywhere.
Call me dramatic, a dreamer or an artist—I don’t care. In reality, I’d be happy with any of those terms. During my travels, I’ve found that these moments are the best times for self-discovery and reflection. To make sure that I have those avenues of exploration open while I’m on the road, I never leave home without my journal or my sketchbook. The sketchbook varies in size depending on what I have space for, but I try to keep one with me at all times. You never know when inspiration might strike. That also doesn’t mean that you need to be some world renowned artist either. I find sketches, no matter how rudimentary, to be a way to revisit not only a place, but where you were yourself in that moment. If I had to say what my most important items were in my suitcase, it would be my journal and my sketchbook.
I’ve also learned that bring my favorite pair of shoes also generally requires me to be resourceful with the other items I pack in my bag. What exactly do I mean? Well, generally when I am picking my wardrobe for a long or short trip, I think about the different ways I can use my wardrobe. That means packing versatile pieces, like camis and cardigans, that you can mix and max, as well as change up with a scarf or accessory. You’ll not only have space, but you’ll also keep that million-bucks feeling each day you’re away.
Overall, perhaps the most important thing that I’ve learned from packing, unpacking and repacking is that in the endless really is more. Over-packing causes extremely unnecessary stress levels, as well as the fatigue of lugging your heavy bag through airports, public transport and hotel stairs (many places in the world still don’t have elevators). So, I learned that it was necessary to learn what little extra quirks I needed with me, and what was superfluous. You can be both stylish and travel light, without feeling like you’ve left everything at home. You just get creative, and really that’s half the fun.