I don’t know about you but whenever I travel somewhere, I seem to think I need to dress differently than I do in the rest of my life. I picture the fashionista in New York or executive business woman in London of which I am clearly neither, then compare my usual daily attire and realize I’m a bit scruffy and need to up my outfit game if I’m going to feel half way decent about myself. Instead of rushing out to buy sequined floaty kaftans, or a designer trouser suit and briefcase which I’d never actually wear in real life, I take a deep breath and step into my own closet and see what I have to work with.
I try to plan outfits that will make me feel good in the environments I’m in, as a beach getaway to California is a little different than a weekend full of shows and parties in Vegas. I consider the weather forecast which plays a huge part in layers, outerwear and footwear and can keep my packing more stream lined if I know the places and events I’ll be attending. I do my fair share of wandering and spontaneous stuff too, so it still needs to be adaptable for day or night. I’ve traveled enough to know the things I wear mostly and the things that rarely make it out of my suitcase so I have cut down on overpacking. I have a regular kit for toiletries and makeup which I can restock and tweak as I go and my “go to” city walking shoes and coat that seem to make every trip.
Organization is the key
I have found pouches and packing cubes to be really helpful. The first set I bought were so life changing for my packing that I started gifting them to people as I thought everyone needs this travel hack and now I have replaced them with cute girly ones, so even better. This method has made it so I can fit everything I need into a “carry on” bag which usually leaves my second bag with room for shopping.
Here’s the method:
- Lay out daytime outfits- can any pieces overlap for night? choose things that won’t show dirt or crease really bad.
- Lay out evening outfits- can any pieces overlap for day? adding accessories and a clutch can jazz up a fairly simple outfit.
- Gather accessories – belt, jewelry, hat, scarf, clutch etc these turn the simple things into a stylish look.
- Count out underwear and socks with an extra of each. make sure they work under your chosen clothes. Do you need nude or strapless? and I always throw in a warm pair of socks for the hotel room floor.
- Sleepwear- some trips you just don’t need any (wink)
- Gather toiletries and see if anything you use can be downsized to save space. I refill travel size bottles and keep to my same routine as at home.
- Make up & brushes – Keep it simple. Your usual daytime routine plus an extra option for evening with some lashes or a brighter lipstick and your not filling your whole suitcase up.
- Electronics, chargers, wall plugs and hair tools.
Once each of your pouches are filled, you can play a little tetris and arrange them in the suitcase.
If I need a winter coat or heavy sweater/hoodie, I carry it onto the plane and I usually take a holdall as my “personal item” or second carry on, with my purse, handbag or wallet inside it. Other than that, I keep the holdall pretty empty so I can shop.
On my last trip back from London, I took my, almost empty, holdall and completely filled it at the airport with Duty Free Items. To clarify, I bought over 5 Kilos of Cadbury’s chocolate!
One thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is, sometimes the best opportunities come at very short notice and you just have to be ready to roll at a moments notice. Having a method or system to pack figured out, cuts the stress down immeasurably and you’re much more likely to say yes to those opportunities.