The Mr. and I will be flying to sunshiny Florida later tonight for the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon. I can’t wait! Wheee! Since I struggle with over packing I think today is the perfect day to share my tips on how I pack light for all of our adventures. Since the beginning of the year the Mr. and I have been traveling nearly every month. Sometimes we drive to our destination, but we usually fly. Flying means carryon bags that don’t weigh the size of a small elephant and packing with purpose. Also, the Mr. sometimes complains when my bag is too heavy and he has to carry it because I’m a whiner.
I’ve put together a short list of tips to help you pack light for your next trip. Whether you want to avoid checking a bag, avoid the crowds as we slowly fade into the holiday season or just don’t want the hassle I hope these will help you make your next trip more enjoyable. Take it from someone who knows the struggle. It’s hard to resist the urge to throw everything into your travel bag, but you’ll be glad you did.
- MUST TAKE ITEMS. Set out the mandatory clothing items that you must take on your trip. If you are going to a wedding or a race, set out the dress or outfit you will need to wear for that occasion. Mindfully think about what else you will be doing. Will you be shopping, site seeing, visiting family, hanging at the beach or hiking? This also includes shoes.
- HOW MANY OF WHAT. Determine how many outfits you will need based on your activities. I usually always run when we travel so I pack at least one running outfit in addition to the items I will wear during the day. Maybe you need a nicer outfit for a dinner reservation or an outfit to bike around town in.
- SAME ITEM – NEW LOOK. Choose items that can be worn differently. Can you wear the same pair of jeans/leggings twice? Could you wear a specific dress two different ways? Or wear an item a second time during a travel day? No one wants to look like they are wearing the same thing in all of their vacation photos, but there is no need to pack four pairs of pants for a four day trip. Jeans are great to wear at least twice depending on what you will be doing and the season.
- WEATHER. Think about the climate that you are traveling to and pack layers. Even in the summertime layers are a must. Something as simple as a scarf or cardigan can change the look of an outfit and transition a day look to something nicer for dinner without you having to pack an additional outfit. Tossing a flannel button up or chambray shirt over a top you’ve already worn makes it interesting and different. Light layers don’t take up much space in your suitcase compared to an entirely different outfit and give you more options on your trip.
- EXTRAS. Toiletries and makeup can be challenging to pare down, but they can take up so much space. Pack the items that are your go to choices or items that you will need for the reason for the trip. If you are going to the beach don’t forget sunscreen and if you are going to a wedding don’t forget hairspray or whatever it is you will need to doll up. Don’t pack a hairdryer if you can help it. Most hotels have them and chances are if you are staying with family/friends you can borrow someone else’s. I’ve also found that I can survive on hotel shampoo and soap for a couple days without any trouble.
Limiting the number of pairs of shoes I take can also be a struggle. I’ve found that for a weekend I really only need two pairs of shoes or three if I am racing or plan to run. Usually I will plan for a pair of sneakers for day activities like site seeing and flats for nighttime outings and dinners. Some places are exceptions, like Disneyworld. I will only pack my sneakers because we will be doing a lot of walking and the atmosphere is incredible casual. You’ll be lucky to see my in “real” pants and not compression wear/leggings on a Disney trip.
Rolling your clothes instead of folding them also helps you pack more items into less space. I really like this trick and have also found that it prevents my items from creasing so I don’t have to iron them when we arrive at our destination.
No matter the purpose or the destination, packing shouldn’t be an additional stress.
Do you usually check a bag if you fly or carry on?
Do you ever find yourself coming home from a trip and realizing you didn’t use half of what you packed?