About two weekends ago we visited California. To start off, it was a very short 3 day trip which I am not used to. I am used to 5 days + for usual vacations; especially in such a beautiful place like California. In addition to short trips, another uncomfortable thing for me is “light packing”. On this trip it only made sense to pack light. If you have ever seen or helped me pack, then you know how difficult it is for me to limit things when I pack. I am a huge fan of “just in case”. I should pack these sneakers “just in case” I decide I want to wear them out the box for the first time. Or, I should bring a tank top “just in case” it’s warm. And my all-time favorite; I should bring heels, “just in case” I go out. Which let me tell you there has not been one time I have said that and the statement has held true. I have learned to just face it. I am an over-packer.
I feel like when I go places I would hate to purposely not bring something and then be without it in the end. I mean if someone would like to invent a device where I could easily bring my entire closet on each trip that would be amazing. No, I would actually give some money to help fund this device. The beauty in over-packing is you never feel like you left anything behind, you’re constantly ready for any adventure and you won’t need to spend money in the long run for forgetting something at home. I mean, those are two very great reasons I personally think. But after getting scolded a couple times by my travel buddy for the heavy suitcase, I decided that it’s time I learned the art of this thing called “light packing”. Here’s how I began:
- Look at the weather forecast before you go. This simple step can help you immensely. Those shorts you packed? Ha! Its 75 degrees and windy in California, no shorts for you! See already one item less. By taking the time out to check the weather you can prevent bringing too much of one item or not enough of the other. The worse is to get some place have all shorts and need jeans because it’s too cold. And yes I’m speaking from experience on that.
- Pack early. And by early I mean at least a week and a half in advance. Now you guys know me, not the greatest planner here, but hey I’m trying. Have you ever picked up an item in the front of a store and by the time you get to the back of the store you didn’t want it anymore? Well it’s kind of like that for packing. I’ve noticed that the further in advance I pack the less my suitcase weighs in the end. Packing early gives you time to ponder over each of your outfits. And I’m pretty sure you’ll realize you actually don’t need that ball gown for a beach trip. That leads me to my next point.
- Plan out outfits, not clothing items. What I mean here is put together outfits; and not in the 3 shirts/ 3 pants kind of sense. I mean pack your blue jeans with the pink top and the brown lacy sandals. And hey if you want to be an over-achiever include your jewelry choices too! This system prevents the usual, “Oh crap! I left…”, from happening. Like I forgot my strapless bra one time… yea. What’s worse is I didn’t have time to run to the store, so I had to try to create one. Let me just tell ya’ll it wasn’t all that fun.
- Bring one universal pair of sneakers and one universal pair of heels. So yes, you have to leave behind those second pair of blue heels just because your one shirt is more baby blue instead of royal blue. I would have to say this is my hardest challenge of packing light. I love to have multiple shoe options and if I have the extra space with following all the other options above, oh trust me the royal blue heels AND the baby blue ones are in attendance to the function. But shoes take up the most space in suitcases. They are big and bulky and quite frankly unless they are flats they just do not lay smoothly regardless of which way you turn them. So try to limit them. I’m not saying you can’t bring along your new favorite pair of heels that you have been dying to try. I’m just saying if you bring the favorites make sure they fit at least two outfit combos and not just one.
- Limit the “extras”. This point goes with bringing the universal shoes one above. No need to pack your whole life, though trust me I did try. In addition to bringing your universal shoes, bring your universal personal items. Not 3 different bottles of perfume. Not your 12 make up shades. And definitely not your two different loofahs; I’m sure your skin will be okay if you miss exfoliating it for one week. The multiple personal items add up. The only time I’d say it’s a must to bring multiple personal items is if you have a ball or somewhere really fancy to go to. For those events it always okay to bring your whole life- I mean the show has to go on.
This Monday I motivate you to try these tips. Join the packing light trend! Your suitcase and the airport personnel will thank you. It will definitely be difficult at first, especially if you’re a clothes hoarder like me. But in the end it’ll be a much easier and will result in a stress free trip.
How do you keep packing down to a minimum? With the many trips I have coming up I’m sure I’ll need all the extra help. Follow along on BTG Instagram to see all the Cuba pictures!