Let’s Get Packing!

Hey Fashion Fledglings, are we ready to pack for that beach trip? I know I am! Are we committed to learning how to pack light and enjoy our trip without worrying about forgetting something? Yes! Let’s do it!

Here are some tips that have served me well on all kinds of trips, from six-week backpacking Euro-trips to weekend jaunts. Read them over, take a look at your luggage, and try packing a sample suitcase to see if you can fit everything in your bag, or if you need to rearrange or even (GASP) leave something at home.

  • Do your research. First things first, check the baggage requirements for the airline you’re flying on – they’re all different and have different fees, so see what you can get away with for free and try to manage that. You’re paying enough for the ticket already, why pay to add bags if you don’t have to? It’s been my experience that most airlines let you bring one small carry-on bag and one ‘personal item’ (laptop bag or purse that fits under your seat), and a lot of them also let you check one bag for free or relatively cheap. Again, look it up, know what you’re getting yourself into.
  • Fit your stuff to your luggage, not the other way around. Commit to however-many bags you want to bring, and don’t add more! Adding more stuff means adding more money, and we’re trying to avoid that, right? If you get to the point where your bag is full and you need more stuff, sit back and think about what you’ll really need and if you can downsize any.
  • You can re-wear some things. No really. If you’re a jeans or cargoes person, you don’t need one pair for each day – you know we all wear those for a few days before we wash them. Pants are bulky and hard to roll up (my preferred packing method), so think about bringing one or two pairs instead of a pair for every day to save space. Same with bras – do you wear a different bra everyday? I don’t. Pack a beige one, so it doesn’t show through thinner shirts, and maybe a sports bra too, and leave it at that. Bringing a sweater, coat, scarf, hat, or hoodie? One is enough. Pick a neutral color if you worry about those things going with your outfits, but just pack one.
  • Can you do laundry at your destination? If you’re hostelling, they usually have laundry facilities. Nicer hotels offer laundry and dry-cleaning. Staying with friends? It’s possible they own a washer/dryer, or know where the nearest laundromat is. If you’re taking a longer sojourn and packing a whole outfit for each day is busting your suitcase open, thinking about cutting your wardrobe in half and planning to do laundry halfway through the trip. Yeah, that’s not really a vacation-y activity, but we all have those days when we’re traveling that we just want to relax and not do much, or evenings when we’re out and can leave laundry running, then toss it in the dryer before bed. Wouldn’t having freshly-dried clothes on your trip feel nice?
  • Watch the goo! You know, your ten-step skin care line, your bucket of conditioner, your imported yak-milk hand lotion – that stuff’s heavy, bulky, and unless you’ve got travel sizes of all of it, you can’t carry it on a plane in the US. Are you traveling somewhere that might have a grocery or drug store? Contemplate buying some shampoo/conditioner/deodorant/toothpaste/body wash when you get there. Get the cheap stuff just so you’re clean on your trip (or use the hotel stuff), and go back to using your specialty things when you get home. I’m planning on sticking cling film under the lids of all my Korean skin care products, then packing them into gallon freezer bags and putting them in my checked luggage for Hawaii, rather than buying travel sizes of everything. If you do check any toiletries, remember two things: the airline DGAF about any of your luggage’s contents, so pad things well as your bags will end up dropped, upside-down, and thrown across the tarmac at some point; and the changing pressure of a plane flight can make your liquids explode, so open them carefully and over a sink after you land.
  • Pack your shoes judiciously. This is where it’s important to think about what you’re going to be doing – I always recommend taking one nicer outfit just in case you need it, but packing multiple pairs of shoes to match one or two outfits each is a little excessive. Try one pair of black dress shoes (they go with everything), one pair of comfortable shoes that you can do a lot of walking in (deck shoes, sneakers, Toms, whatever will keep you comfy while you’re out sightseeing), and a pair of flip-flops or flat sandals that you can take off easily to go through airport security. If you’re like me, your feet swell when you fly, so sandals are a good idea until that subsides. For Hawaii, we’re planning to go hiking, so in addition to those three pairs, I’ll have to pack hiking boots. But I’m also not packing a ton of bulky clothes, so I anticipate having enough room for those shoes in between my swimsuits and sundresses.
  • Remember that you’re wearing some of your ‘luggage.’ If you find that your hiking boots don’t fit, or your sweater or something – wear it on the flight. No packing required.
  • Don’t forget about your ‘personal item.’ You can definitely pack an extra small outfit, or hair styling tools, or a pair of sandals, in your purse. Use a tote bag for extra room, and put spillover stuff in there if you need to.
  • Leave room for souvenirs! If it’s a big trip, you might want to pack an extra, empty bag to put souvenirs or travel shopping in, or just leave extra room in anticipation of bringing stuff back. I think we’re doing the latter for the honeymoon, although I may pack a string backpack that the fiance can carry on with everyone’s pressies in it. We usually get people fridge magnets or keychains, so they won’t take up too terribly much room.

Clear as mud? Do you feel more confident about packing for your trip? Give it a trial run and see how it goes! Lay out your outfits, shoes, accessories, and toiletries, then lay out your bags and purse, and see if you can fold or roll everything into a fee-free luggage arrangement. If you find you can’t, don’t stress – that’s why you tried it early. Take some things out, rearrange, plan to do laundry or buy some things at your destination, and try it again. You got this! I have faith in you, Fledglings.

Next week, I’m gonna talk about my wedding, and what I’ve learned in the past year of planning said wedding. The fashion side of a wedding is a pretty big deal, and I’ve discovered some things that have definitely surprised me. See you next time!

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