There is a luggage obesity epidemic, and I was no exception. My suitcase typically teetered on the 50 lb. weight limit, especially on the return flight after some shopping. I can’t say I haven’t been “that girl” by the airport suitcase weigh station trying to take things out of my checked bag and stuff them into my carry-on, as not to pay a ridiculous fee for overage.
This is unacceptable.
As a blogger, self-identified fashion monster, and serial overpacker, it’s my job to find solutions for you (by you, I mean us) to look like superstars, while also not hating life for having to carry around half our body weight in luggage.
Let’s get to the list!
- Decide what you will need. Think of your destination – including the climate and activities. Will you be doing a lot of walking? Is it city, beach, nature? Are you planning on dressy dinners, or just casual eateries? Write down your general itinerary, and then make a physical list of each type of item you’ll need for the occasions.
- Choose a travel wardrobe color scheme. As many people know, I dress in neutrals almost all the time, so this is more simple for me as almost everything I own automatically matches. However, if you’re a color-wearer, choose neutrals as your base, and for the rest of your items, pick 1 or 2 max coordinating colors. Or, alternatively, you can make this easy and #OnlyWearDresses.
- Plan specific outfits, instead of bringing random items. This is not the time to pack options on options “just in case.” Try everything on before you go so you can see how it looks. Instead of mixing up your outfits by bringing more items, do so by using your creativity to style, mix, and match the same few pieces to create unique and varying looks. (Another example of why I like neutrals – few people will notice the same black top worn twice, but a bright one will stand out.) Then, eliminate and downsize even more: take away a few of each type of item. Also remember, you almost always can do laundry at your destination.
- Leave room for shopping. How many times have you gotten to your destination and just bought more clothes, not even wearing half of what you brought? Try to plan your purchases. If you know you will buy a dress (you know, totally random clothing item), then pack less dresses.
- Accessorize intelligently. You need one handbag, one pair of comfortable walking shoes, one pair of sunglasses (and ones you wouldn’t be devastated to lose), one jacket, and one pair of heels/dress shoes. Limit your jewelry; I highly recommend wearing the same pair of studs the entire time. Lastly, bring flip flops only if you will be at the beach or pool. Flip flops do not belong anywhere else, ever. EVER!
- Less makeup is more. Unless you have a special event, you probably won’t need many products. Since arriving in France, I’ve barely worn any (for my standards, anyway). The max I’ve worn has been tinted moisturizer, concealer, a little bronzer, mascara, highlighter, brows, and lips. For going out, if you must, bring setting powder, ONE eyeshadow palette, and eyeliner. This should fit in one small bag.
- Bring travel or sample sizes of toiletries, or just buy the products at your destination. To save money, instead of buying mini bottles of everything, buy a travel set of empty 3 oz containers, and fill them yourself with what you already have. This is also a great time to go to Sephora and ask for product samples – they are free (and so are perfume samples – they can fill a tester of any one you want. Little known fact!).It might be nice to purchase some beauty products from the country you’re visiting, versus packing them. It will add to your experience, and you may just discover a new brand you love (just make sure to stock up before going home)!
- Pick a single hairstyle and stick to it. Most anywhere you stay will have a blow dryer, so no need to pack your own (but, if this is super important, call ahead to ask). Also, no need to bring 3 different curling wands and a flat iron – just choose one (preferably flat iron, no hairspray required, and you can create curls if you really want to).
Hopefully this is a good start to our new life of packing light. Bring much, much less than you think you need, do lots of organizing, a little planning, and most importantly – have fun!