Hit rewind to ten years ago, and this totally would have been “Confessions of an Over Packer.” In my pre-kid days, I was so obsessed with trying to look my best and packing clothes for every possible scenario on a trip (because you never know when a tsunami could hit or when you might bump into Lenny Kravitz on the J-train in NYC) that my luggage couldn’t be zipped, the seams were popping, and I was the laughing stock of the airport. Heck, for all I know, there could’ve been a trail of panties behind me that I didn’t know I lost!
These were the days of “Hotel hair dryers suck because they only have 1600 watts.” You just said that in your most obnoxious voice, didn’t you? It’s cool ‘cause I did too, and I packed my own hairdryer every single time. You know you agree ladies, even if you practiced some restraint unlike myself!
I also took full size versions of every hair product imaginable because we all know a bad hair day is a bad day in general, and ain’t nobody got time for that on a vacay! To top it off I would take no less than four pairs of shoes, in addition to the ones on my feet. I’m telling you, I was a high maintenance, hot-mess-express when it came to packing.
Fast forward to now, and I’m proud to say I
don’t give a am a convert. I’m still a Protestant but one checked bag is plenty for me! It actually zips completely without having two people pounce on it like a pair of Sumo wrestlers, and even weighs a good ten pounds less than the weight requirement for the plane. Talk about winning! Oh yeah!
If you’re ready to say “ciao” to your reputation as the indulgent over packer, try out these five tips to make your travel prep way easier.
Tip #1: Check the weather forecast for your stay.
So you’d think this would be a no-brainer, but it’s easy to make assumptions and pack based on the typical weather for your travel destination. Get a weather app and check the forecast many times the week before your trip because it can change daily.
There is nothing worse than freezing your arse off on a beach trip because a cold front came through, and you only brought bikinis and sundresses. Take clothes that can be layered to remove for warmer afternoons and pile on for chillier evenings. You know this already. Just do it!
Tip #2: Pick basic pieces in similar color schemes to mix and match.
The term “capsule wardrobe” is what you’re going for here. Take some quintessential clothing pieces like a couple of pairs of pants, a skirt, a few nice t-shirts, and a cardigan or jacket and mix and match the heck out of them to create different looks. You’d be amazed at how many outfits you can form from a few basic items.
I love to throw in a couple of scarves and jewelry to change the look as well. By staying in the same color scheme, you decrease the number of shoes and belts you have to take which will dramatically lighten your load. Shoes, by far, take up the most room so shoot for no more than two pairs, and you’ll thank me later. Black and white are my go to colors. They’re classic and chique and make traveling way simpler.
Tip #3: Get your roll on.
I’m telling you, rolling your outfits together when packing will make your life so much easier, especially when you travel with little ones. I lay the complete outfit on the bed in a stack, starting with the shirt, then the pants. Fold in sleeves and pant legs, then thinly roll the rest of the outfit together after smoothing the items out. It will decrease wrinkles.
The kids can simply reach in and grab a roll, and the full outfit is there ready for them. No more messy luggage or fighting with them over shirts and pants that don’t match. If they like to pick their own clothes each day, give them the option of two of the rolls to choose from and it’s a win-win. You can even go so far as adding a pair of underwear and socks to the roll, so everything they need for the day can be grabbed without any digging or searching.
That means a quicker ETA for your next walking tour or museum excursion. The rolls can be easily stacked and save on space in luggage too. Once you try it, you won’t go back! Check it out…
Tip #4: If you’re flying with kids, have each child pack a small personal bag with essentials for a day.
If you’ve ever been stuck with lost luggage or an overnight layover without any basics to get you through the next day, it is miserable! I learned the hard way years ago back when my carry on’s purpose was only to keep me entertained in route. It contained nothing more than magazines, books, an iPod (yes-I’m that old) and things to occupy the time. I told you I was obnoxious!
Try going on your Weddingmoon to St. Lucia and being stuck in Miami overnight without your luggage, which happened to contain my birth control and EVERY SINGLE essential item I needed to get me through the next one to two days without my suitcase. Let’s just say Pandemonium with a capital “P”! Not a path you want to follow! And I didn’t speak Spanish so there was whole lot of fictional sign language going on in Miami between cab drivers and myself. It was cray.
So be smart, and have each person prepared with a few basics to get them through a day of no luggage, just in case something goes wrong. Think one outfit change, something to sleep in, change of underwear and socks, toothbrush/toothpaste, along with any meds taken daily. You may need that hairbrush too if your hair looks like mine when wake up. Scary.
Don’t delete that book, tablet, or toy from your kids’ packing lists though! Life will be much easier if you can keep the children occupied on the plane. Just don’t let their personal bag be nothing more than a bag of tricks or the trick’s gonna be on you, if you know what I mean.
Tip #5: Buy luggage that stands out. In other words, no plain black suitcases.
Once on a trip with a friend, her black suitcase was mistakenly taken from baggage claim by another passenger who thought it was his. Because we all know that 95% of the suitcases on the carousel look exactly the same.
Let’s just say it’s not fun when you’re trying to get home but first the airport must figure out who snagged the bag from the carousel amongst a hundred plus people.
It’s like a game of Clue. Was it the mysterious teenage boy who pushed his way through the crowd or could it have been the cute Millenial gal who checked her watch 959 times and was in a hurry to get the heck out of Dodge? A couple hours later, all was good in the world. The baggage bandit returned with the long lost suitcase and my friend got her favorite outfits back.
So word to the wise, buy that metallic gold suitcase from T. J.’s or the rainbow striped monogrammed one you’ve been eying. You’ll be able to spot that sucker as soon as it hits the carousel, and no one will mistakingly grab your belongings unless they’re shady like that. Here’s a prime example of what I’m talking about. Pottery Barn Teen was smelling what I was cooking when they designed this one. It’s adorbs!
That’s enough for now. I hope you find these tips helpful in your packing endeavors to come! Happy travels and thanks for stopping in! xo, Christy