After an experience with getting my luggage stolen in college I do not check a bag unless I absolutely have to. We have done 1 week plus trips were we didn’t check our bags and packed smartly and only what we needed. I don’t claim to be exceptional at much but I am good at packing a suitcase.
I can pack in about 20 minutes and I arrange everything to fit in the suitcase perfectly and use every inch of space to my advantage. Here are my methods to packing smarter:
- Pick the right bag, think about the length of your average trip and the types of clothes you pack. Do you need a rolling suitcase? Would a duffle style bag work? If you have items you need to hang I recommend a rolling suitcase that has a true garment section where you hang most of your items and place them in the hanger clip.
- Think about the number of days you are going to be gone and how many outfits you will really need. Do NOT over pack. If you are heading out for 4 days you really only need to pack 2 pairs of pants. You already have one on and you should be able to re-wear a pair later in the trip.
- Layer. If you are going somewhere that will require a jacket think about a sweater or a fleece that you can wear on the plane and will not take up a huge amount of space in your bag.
- Wear comfortable shoes! You can still be stylish and be comfortable. Wear a pair of flat boots that you can walk in yet are dressy enough to go to dinner in. Pack a pair of tennis shoes if you are going to workout or find a pair that will be adequate for working out but are nice enough to wear around town. Bring 1 pair of dressy shoes or heels that will work with every outfit.
- Pick 1 color scheme, I choose brown or black before a trip and pick items that will go with the shoes I packed.
- Pack 1 dressy outfit that can be modified for multiple evenings. You can add a scarf, change the jewelry and wear boots instead of the heels. You will probably not be seeing the same people you saw at dinner the evening before!
- Choose jewelry that will go with all of your outfits, or even better find a chain that you can change out the pendants. I have a great necklace from Lia Sophia that is gold on one side and silver on the other and I buy different pendants to go on it. This saves a lot of room and tangled necklaces.
- Keep a toiletries bag packed with all your favorite 3 ounces or less items. I have reusable zip top clear bag that I always leave packed that has refillable bottles of my favorite shampoo, conditioner, facewash, hair products, perfume samples and lotion. When leaving for a trip I just need to grab the bag and put it in my suitcase. I know everything I need to get ready will be in that bag! The only travel sized items I actually purchase are toothpaste, that would be a bit hard to refill.
- If you are going on a longer trip think about buying a backpack. They make ladies backpacks and you would be surprised at how much you can get in one!. I have an Eagle Creek backpack that has a zip off day pack. I typically pack the day pack for things I will need easy access too like my laptop, Kindle, snacks, and Ipod and use the backpack for everything else.
- Buy compressions sacks for a longer trip. Check your local outdoor or camping store and buy 2-3 compression sacks for each person. Pick 1 for pants, 1 for shirts and find something to store your underthings in. As you travel and have dirty clothes pick one of the compression sacks to place your soiled items in so they do not come in contact with your clean items.
Packing smartly will help save you money, reduce the stress of a lost bag and give you a sense of security that everything you need is right in the compartment about you.