I just read the Huffington Post “10 Cures for the Chronic Overpacker”, which got me thinking about my own packing skills. Some of our tips overlapped so I decided to share my tips for easy and efficient travel packing. Ladies, here are my thoughts, suggestions and packing tips for keeping things simple on your next trip.
1. Sometimes Small is Better
I try to use a carry-on as often as possible. In my years of traveling, I have come to the realization that I do not like to waste time, that could also just be a result of having lived in New York for so long. For every trip I plan, I try to base my packing on the smallest bag I own–carry-on or small wheelie suitcase. Make sure that whatever type of bag you decide to carry fits in the overhead compartment. One of the worst sights is seeing a woman, or anyone for that matter, struggling to lift and manipulate their carry-on into the overhead compartment.
2. Make Your Clothes Work for You
I would almost bet that most women want to look their best when traveling. I’ll admit it, I’m guilty of this too. Even from my early travel days, I hated looking like a tourist. I would, and still do what I can to maintain some element of chic and blending in when I travel. This has sometimes gotten me in trouble. I’ve packed way more than I was ever going to use because it was cute and fashionable and I would probably wear it. Instead I would often end up lugging around clothes that went untouched. What I have found to be a better solution is to plan my days and then see what items can act on double time. For example, if you bring a black pair of pants, can you wear them 2, 3 or maybe even more times during your trip? I also plan on wearing the same outfit on the flight to my destination as well as on the return flight. It is possible to still look stylish and keep your cool in Spain, London or wherever you jet off to next.
3. Pack More Tops vs Bottoms
Tagging on to point #2, tops can be the focal point of your outfits. Mixing up your tops every day is much more interesting than switching up your pants, besides, no one really looks at your pants anyway. Packing more tops means that your carry-on should be much lighter, if you also follow tip #2.
4. Limit Shoe Selection
Ok ladies, I get it. Most women love a good pair of shoes, or 10 pairs of shoes. I also know that having the wrong shoes, and by wrong shoes, I mean uncomfortable, can really ruin a trip. Shoes are important and not every pair of shoes is going to match every outfit. My suggestion to all the women travelers out there is to streamline…as best as you can. Be strategic in your selection. 3 pairs is probably the most you should pack. Casual/Walking shoes (fashionable ones do exist), running shoes if you plan to exercise and a pair of shoes you can wear for night’s out (you never know where a girl’s night in Barcelona can lead). Another tip I follow, is that I usually try to wear the bulkiest pair of shoes on the flight as well as on the return flights so that they don’t take up so much space in my carry-on bag.
5. Extra Entertainment
I’ll be honest…I get bored easily. I tend to pack my bag with notebooks for jotting down ideas, books, magazines, phone, etc….just in case I get bored I like to know that I have a thing or two to keep me entertained. This happens to me on a daily basis but even more so when I travel. The problem is that more often than not, all my extra entertainment ends up just being extra baggage. I rarely whip out all those magazines or books. My suggestion, really think about how much time you have on your trip and be realistic about whether or not you actually use the notebooks, books, laptop, Ipad, Iphone, etc.
6. If You Don’t Love It, Leave It
If you don’t really wear a particular item at home, it is probably because it doesn’t fit properly, you don’t really love it or maybe you thought it was interesting when you bought it but in reality have no idea where or when you will ever where it. Most likely, these items won’t get more love from you in Paris or Barcelona or the Hamptons either. Next time, leave it at home, or better yet, consider giving it away.
7. Do a Walk-through
One trick I use to make sure I am packing all I need, is to do a walk-through. Basically I do a mental walk-through, starting with my head and working my way down my body until I reach my feet. As I work down I ask myself if I packed the shampoo and conditioner, brush, eye cream, face cream, toothbrush, toothpaste, and so on and so forth until I get to shoes and socks. It really is an effective way for making sure I am not leaving anything behind.
8. Start Early
Last minute packing is never your friend. It is the culprit in thoughtless packing, forgetting essentials and disorganization. I know when I wait until the night before I end up making poor choices. I am exhausted and stressed and the thought of packing seems even more overwhelming. Basically, I feel bad. It’s always best to start packing early on so that you can think more clearly and have the time to buy any times you may be missing. You can always shop while you’re traveling but it’s much more fun to shop for a unique, one of a kind item than for that plain white tee you already own five of.
I hope these packing tips help…..happy packing!!!