I used to be a notorious “over packer”. As I was packing I was giving myself many options for outfits and make up and accessories. Last year when I was getting ready for my trip to Italy, I knew this had to change because I would be carrying my suitcase from train stations to hotels myself and well, to save my fiancé from listening to me complain about a heavy suitcase, I decided that I was going to pack lightly. Packing lightly does not necessarily have to mean you just bring one of everything and continuously have to wash your clothes. It just means you are smart when you pack and do not give yourself 2-3 options for every day like I used to do. I would say I was very successful on the Italy trip when it came to packing and have used the same strategy since then and it’s always worked out well for me. So here are my tips on how to not overpack for a trip:
- Check the weather of the destination. Religiously – I used to pack a million options for “just in case” it got cold or too hot, etc. Now, I just check the weather of where I am going and make sure to pay attention to the highs and the lows so that I know whether or not I need to pack a sweatshirt or jacket and whether layers will be a good idea. My family goes to Miami every year and I used to never pack any sweaters or jeans which was always a bad idea since we always went in December and yes while it can get up in the mid 80s during the day, it can also dip in the low 60s at night and for someone that gets cold very easily, rocking a sundress at 60 degrees isn’t going to work. While this isn’t necessarily a tip for overpacking, it’s a good tip for what to pack on a trip. Also, don’t just check the weather once and forget about it. Check it daily because it changes so often to make sure you are prepared.
- Try on all the outfits before you pack them. Sometimes I think of an outfit in my head and think it’s going to look amazing put together and am greatly disappointed when I actually put it on and realize that it looks atrocious. To avoid this, try on every single outfit before packing it. Also, it gives you the chance to plan outfits for every day which definitely helps while you’re on the trip and also helps you avoid bringing extra outfits. If you have the outfit packed and ready to go, you will just wake up the day on your trip and wear that outfit and don’t go through the whole “well what if I wear this with this” dilemma because you don’t have another choice.
- Don’t bring too many options. You only need one pair of jeans on a trip. Pick your favorite pair and that’s what you’re bringing. I also recommend wearing the jeans on the flight to the destination as jeans are heavy and add extra weight to your luggage. Plus, planes get cold and having some extra insulation never hurts. I never get when people fly in shorts or dresses because it is always so frigid on airplanes. I’m usually rocking a sweatshirt, jeans, socks and am still shivering and covering myself with a blanket. You also only need one jacket (whether it’s a denim jacket, a zip up, a cardigan, etc) so bring one that looks good with multiple outfits. I like to bring either a gray or black cardigan with me because you can literally throw them over anything.
- Bring pieces that can be worn with several outfits. For example, a black or a white tee are always going to be in my suitcase because I can wear them with shorts, jeans, any color pants, skirts, you name it. The $6 ones from Forever 21 (find them here) are my favorite because they’re $5, 100% cotton, super soft and are durable. I usually wash them on the trip (literally wash it in the sink, hang it up and it’s dry the next morning) and re-wear them. My black cardigan like I mentioned earlier can also always be found in my suitcase. My mom always brings a denim jacket with her since that’s her go-to piece that she wears over multiple outfits so that’s another idea. I also always have a black and white striped tee because 1) I am obsessed with stripes 2) it also goes with any type of bottom and 3) stripes are always in and everyone loves stripes, right?
- Make up and Accessories. I used to bring a massive make up bag with me so that I would have many options for how to do my make up on trips. Looking back and shaking my head at myself, I do not know why this much variety was needed. Now, I just have one make up bag that is split into two different sides that I fill with make up on one side and tools on the other. I bring one eye-shadow palette with me (my new go to is the Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette as it has many different color options), one mascara (and my Diorshow primer), one eyeliner (I seriously used to bring different colors. Now I just stick to black), one bronzer, the Jaclyn Hill Champagne Pop palette (since that has blush and highlighter), one foundation ( I bring the L’oreal Lumi Cushion with me since that can’t spill and is more compact than a foundation bottle), one concealer, one primer and one moisturizer. Now that may seem like a lot but that is literally nothing compared to what I used to bring. The other side has a foundation brush, beauty blender, other brushes, an eyelash curler and cotton pads. For accessories, I tend to not bring too much jewelry because I am yet to figure out a way to transport jewelry without it getting tangled and I forget to wear it most of the time anyway, so not worth my time. If I do bring jewelry I usually bring special statement pieces that are supposed to go with a particular outfit ( for example, if we plan on going somewhere nice at some point and I’m going to be dressing up, I’ll bring jewelry for that) but other than that I do not worry too much about accessories. I do always have a cross body bag with me since I’ve found that’s the most convenient thing to wear when exploring new places and walking around a lot.
I always try to buy at least one piece of clothing in every new place I visit so I always want to leave room in my suitcase for that. Plus, you can always wear your new piece on your trip which is even more exciting. I do try to buy at local shops and boutiques that are only in that particular city so that it makes the piece even more special. I do recommend starting that because those pieces will always hold special memories for you.
I hope this was helpful for those who travel frequently. Please let me know if you have any suggestions for even more efficient packing – I’d love to hear them!