I absolutely LOVE packing my bags for a trip. Why? Because I'm going on a trip!! However, I hear that's not the case for everyone, and I am often asked by clients what they should take on their particular journey, and how do they make sure they don't overpack. Myself, I try to avoid getting my suitcase too close to the limit. Why? Once, I traveled overseas with an underweight bag; yet on return, when I weighed in at the overseas terminal I was over, although I hadn't added ANY souvenirs or new purchases. Lesson - all scales might not be perfectly calibrated. True story.
So how can I help you? Here are some guidelines to consider, but remember that your particular journey will bring variables you'll have to plug into the puzzle, such as the duration of your vacation - 5 days vs. three weeks; will you be in more than one climate type/change of season; is there a special occasion like a wedding; will you be in a country with special wardrobe considerations. Here we go...
Pick a palette and stick with it. No, everything doesn't have to be black, but if that's what you pick, you can spruce up your monochromatic outfits with lightweight colorful touches, like scarves (worn on head, as belts, around your neck). By 'pick a palette' I mean keep your garments in the same color family so that they work together in multiple outfits/situations. Pinterest is good place to get ideas if you're lost.
Accessorize - this is the easiest way to make your wardrobe go further. Also, easier for gals than guys. Ladies, lightweight hats, scarves, shawls, belts; guys...ties? Sportcoats? Gents, at this point I'm open to you making suggestions, so email me! I don't say that very often, so go for it and help your fellow guy-people out.
The Rule of Halves - This one's handy; if you need to do it step by step, do it. If you have advanced packing skills you won't need to stack 'em as described: make a stack of daytime outfits and a stack of evening outfits, one outfit of each type per day you'll travel. Then divide each stack in half. You'll take a half-stack of the day, and a half-stack of the evening outfits. Make stacks of workout clothes, beachwear, cover-ups, etc., - one outfit for every two days. Divide each stack in half and pack. No one will remember what you wore two or three days prior, so don't worry about it. If you've stuck to coordinating colors, mixing and matching will be easier. Use sachets or fabric spray to freshen, or launder as necessary - the costs are less than overweight baggage!
Layers - when cool weather calls for layers, make sure the layering garments you choose can do double duty as non-layers, i.e., are suitable to wear when not covered by other clothing when you (or the weather) warms up. Then wear the top layers more than once.
Shoes - choose wisely! Shoes are typically heavy space-wasters, so go with as lightweight a shoe as possible, and aim for no more than two pairs if possible; okay three if you have to. The shoes you choose definitely have to be multi-purpose: if you'll need boots, how about a pair that goes with slacks and dresses equally well, ladies; and ballet flats are very versatile. Guys, instead of sneakers AND dress shoes, investing in a pair black casual leather-look shoes will help lighten your luggage load. Above all, choose comfort over fashion. I know that's tough but uncomfy shoes might mean you won't be walking at all the next day if the only pair your brought turns out to be the cause of your blisters. Also, don't let your vacation be the first time you wear any shoe or sandal. I've regretted that one myself!
Space saving - a) Roll instead of fold your clothing (I find this hint to be 'iffy' depending on the garment, but I'm including it because you might like it). b) If you can live without your fave brands of toiletries, go with the ones provided onboard or at your hotel. If you need a larger size, stop at a drugstore and buy it there. If you travel frequently, save time by keeping a bag of already measured liquids ready to go. And,
c) buying single use products saves space. Not always the most environmentally responsible choice, but many products such as sunscreen, insect repellent hand cleanser come as wipes and cloths, not bottles. Simply toss when done.
Lessons learned - when you get home, take note of what you did and didn't use. These can provide clues for the next vacation's packing adventures. And then write yourself a reminder not to overpack next time!
'til next week...