Vacation days are a premium, so don't let yourself get stressed by packing. We are here to help! Personally, I love options when traveling but I also know the delicious feeling of not having to check my luggage. Thus I have learned to be judicious with my selections. One thing I have learned over the years is that need outfits for multiple purposes and potentially multiple destinations. That requires planning ahead...
For me, I need to know the itinerary (or the basic idea of what we are doing each day). Then I can start laying out options. Laying out all items ahead of time allows you to see the big picture of your selections so you can see where you can cut pieces. This step also helps me in not adding those extra pairs of shoes that I just don't need! Laying out all the pieces also allows me to streamline things like makeup, and accessories. I try to choose items that are versatile and can be used for more than one event if necessary.
I know I just told you to streamline, but now I am telling you to add more items? What I mean here is add a scarf and a little bit of extra jewelry to make your outfit pop. You will feel better about your selections if you finish off your look. It is a little price to pay for boosting you confidence a little after your journey. Those finishing touches also helps you look less like a tourist and helps you blend into crowd.
Use Every Last Inch.
Take advantage of in suitcase organizers and in between the bars. Doing this extra step will save you a ton of space right off that bat. I am routinely asked if you should layer your clothes or roll your clothes into your suitcase when helping my clients pack. My answer is it depends: (1) on the fabric of your clothes and (2) on the type of bag you have. I am personally a big believer of carry on suitcases that have all sorts of compartments. It keeps me organized when I travel and my clothes arrive wrinkle free. If you do end up needing to go the folding route, my trick is to fold it into the bag so you utilize all the allowable space.
Keep your like-pieces together, you don't want them to get separation anxiety! I prefer to use the suitcases compartments rather than using packing cubes or large baggies that suck the air out of the clothing. Here, I gathered the dresses together and used valuable hanger space my hanging other items on the hangers that go with the outfit selections (e.g. scarf and denim skirt). If you keep your wardrobe separated it makes what you are looking for that much easier to find so I am not digging around my suitcase. Keep dry cleaned pieces in their bags because it reduces friction and wrinkles.
Finish the Puzzle.
I like to think of the main compartment as a puzzle. The shoes, denim, hat, clutch, camera, etc: it all needs to fit in with extra room for your toiletries. Sometimes I layer my shoes on top, other times I wedge them on the size and pack around them. There is no firm and fast rule here, it truly is a big puzzle. Hint: inside the shoes are additional storage spaces and I have been known to pack an entire week of underwear and socks in a single shoe!
Don’t worry about bringing your hair dryer with you – most hotels have those now. I also recommend packing a curling iron over a flat iron to give you more options with your hair. If you are traveling with your spouse or significant other, share toiletries like shaving cream so you each save a little bit of space. Always bring extra bags (all sizes). Below are some of my favorite traveling toiletries:
Living Proof PHD: This works great on most hair types and works if the climate is dry or humid
Living Proof Flex Hairspray: Use a little if you need a little hold and spray twice for a firmer hold. Great part is that your hair still moves and isn't a helmet head.
NARSissist: My go-to travel palette - it has permanent residence in my travel toiletry bag.
Marc Jacobs Lip Crayons: So this is my newest little makeup obsession ;) It's a little pricy but well worth it if you travel a lot and love your lip colors. Not only do they have every color you could ever want or need, they glide on and stay put! I pick out my lip and eye colors when I am packing my clothing and these little guys have made my life just that much easier!
Mini Containers: These fabulous little mini containers from The Container Store are perfect for face creams, foundations, medication, etc. Trust me - this will forever change your life on packing. You will have so much more room in your toiletry bag.
First Aid Kit: I know, this is a little nerdy and you know what, I DON'T CARE! My little travel first aid kit has been so handy for the occasional boo boos that come with traveling. In fact, when I travel, I keep it in my purse along with some hand sanitizer and Vitamin C.
Written out, I know this seems like a lot but once you do this a time or two you will be packing in no time! Let’s say goodbye to the days of overpacking, straining our backs by hoisting our 70lb luggage, and the numerous looks of dismay from others knowing that I am one of “those” women.