As I’m writing this I’m giggling inside because if you ask my boyfriend I am not a light packer. Ask anyone who’s seen me with a suitcase over the past few trips and they’ll wholeheartedly agree that I found a way to make the most of a carryon rolling suitcase and a tote.
I spent a lot of my childhood traveling – mostly for soccer, but as a family we loved to vacation whenever our schedules would allow. My mom used to let me pack my own suitcase a lot of the times and as an expert herself taught me the ropes. With careful folding and strategic placement she showed me how to make the most of whatever I was bringing with me.
Fast forward and that’s still the case today. My version of packing light is just making sure that I don’t have to check. I hate checking bags and love nothing more than to hop off of the plane and be on my way to my destination. I also have plenty of horror stories of dealing with checked bags to try and avoid anything that could start or end my travel in a disaster. So that said, it’s usually 2 bags for me and everything I need has to fit!
Here are some of my tips for how to pack ‘light’:
1. Find a suitcase that fits in an overhead bin
This sounds simple, but not so much these days. They keep changing the standard regulations of what fits and depending on the plane that you’re flying you might have to lay it sideways instead of wheels first. I’ve had my current suitcase for a long time but you can’t go wrong with Tumi or anything that denotes it’s a carry on.
2. Opt for a version with a zippered side for your nicer clothes
I’ve found that using your zippered side to contain all of your nicely folded clothes can make all of the difference. For wrinkle prone pieces layer plastic from your dry cleaning or tissue paper in between each piece or in the blouse or dress as you fold it. It’ll help keep the wrinkles away until you can unpack. By layering all of my dresses, shirts and pants on this side and then securing them with the zipper I’m able to put shoes, my toiletrie bags, hair dryer and anything else that has a strange shape on the other side. It’s kind of a puzzle but you can usually make it work!
3. Fill your large tote with your odds and ends
I almost always have one of my GiGi New York totes with me for any flight that I take because they’re easy to grab things like magazines, water bottles and chargers out of. If you need something a little bigger you can always opt for a small weekender that can still sit on top of your suitcase. I usually reserve my makeup bag, jewelry and anything other odds and ends that don’t lay flat or have a rectangular shape for my tote.
4. Only pack shoes that you can wear with more than one outfit
I know what you’re thinking… do I have to? The answer is yes! Unless you already have a massage planned immediately upon arrival I’d recommend 2 nicer pairs of shoes, a pair of sandals if you can for needing to walk around and then a pair of sneakers. 4 pairs is usually the max that you can really fit with other things.
I’ve had plenty of trips (especially this year so far) to try my hand at packing light. What are your tips?