I travel a whole lot, and people are always asking me what they should pack for a weekend trip, a week long trip and a two month trip. I must admit that although I know the "rules" in order to make life easier while in transit, I still am guilty sometimes of not following my own advice and end up over packing. I blame it on the few times I have thrown caution to the wind and packed "just what I needed," and ended up not having enough! I have a few general rules that I follow though, so hopefully this helps a little bit:
- Always have a checklist. You can say that you won't forget anything, but trust me, somewhere in the packing frenzy, you will miss something and won't even realize it until you get to where you are going to and look for it in your bag. A check list will allow you to cross things off as you go along, and then re-check again after.
- Next, grab everything you want to bring on your trip. Don't edit yet. Just lay everything on your bed and ask yourself when you pick up each item: "Will I really use this? If so, when exactly, " "What activities will I be doing that will require me to wear this," "Yes, it's cute, but can I wear it more than once?"Remember that when traveling, you need to be the condensed version of your fashion self. No matter how much you want to be able to decide what you want to wear everyday, it does not make sense to pack every single thing you MIGHT wear. Instead, remove the clothes that you know don't make sense for the trip to make your pile a little smaller. Now pat yourself on the back for editing.
- Generally, I pack enough outfits for 7-10 days for a trip that is a month or more, half the bottoms I need for a week long trip (3) but as many tops as days I will be gone, and two outfits for an overnight/weekend trip, just so I have an option.
- Now shoes. Hmmm. So hard. Usually, if I have shoes that are light and take up very little space such as ballet flats, I bring a few pair in neutral colors and maybe one with a print. It's the easiest way to spruce up an outfit. I bring one pari of heels that I can wear several times, only if I know I might have a reason to wear them and one pari of running shoes, if I plan to walk a lot and do some sight-seeing.
- Accessories are a must, and like shoes, can instantly change an outfit. You can bring a bunch of white tees and jeans and can completely transform your outfit daily just by adding a scarf, a pair of earrings or a statement necklace. I like to bring versatile items that I would wear on a regular day, because why would you bring anything you would not normally wear on your travels and expect to wear them then?
- Unless you have toiletries that you absolutely must use, you should save weight allowance and buy when you get to your destination. Shampoos, conditioners and over the counter moisturizers are generally inexpensive anywhere you go.
- Pack any other toiletries and even electronics (chargers etc) in ZipLock bags. They are easy to see that way and will be more organized in your luggage, plus you can see everything that you have.
- Lastly, I like hard cases (lightweight ones!) when I travel. Some suitcases are so heavy already even when empty, and we usually only have 20 kg allowance, so every bit helps!