Ok, make that over the ocean. And through three airports. To a hotel where Grandmother is also staying!
Yes, the time has arrived to begin packing for this year’s trek to spend Thanksgiving with the grandparents. Don’t you sometimes wish a packing fairy would just wave her magic wand and – poof – those bags are packed, nothing left behind? I sure do!
Well, I’m no fairy, but I’ve packed quite a few bags for my family of four. And packed my neighbor’s bags. And my friend’s bags. With a few tips and tricks, you too can pack that suitcase more efficiently, dump that extra weight for which the airline will charge you, maybe even have all your stuff fit into a carry-on! Now wouldn’t that be sweet.
Ten Tips to Putting Your SuitCase on a Diet:
Ok, ready to get started? Probably the most daunting of all packing tasks is coordinating everyone’s clothes. Ugh – should you bring five shorts and one pair of pants? Or four shorts and two pants? Tee-shirts or polo shirts? Blue? Or Red? It’s enough to drive a packer mad!
Don’t let these questions overwhelm you. Follow these ten tips and you will have an efficient travel wardrobe and cut down on baggage weight. That’s right. Put your suitcase on a diet.
Tip #1 – Create Outfits
Gather up all those clothes you think you need for your trip and lay them out. Next, start creating outfits for each day of the trip. Don’t forget socks and underwear. A clear image should emerge for what you have – or don’t have – for the trip. If you find an item that doesn’t match well with the rest of the clothes, put it aside.
Remember Tip #3, Create a Packing List from Top Tips To Prepare Now For Holiday Travel? Now’s the time to put that list to use. Cross check clothing items with your packing list to ensure you have the essential stuff.
Tip #2 – Color Coordinate
Color coordinating outfits can help cut down on your total clothing volume. Choose a color palette to maximize clothing match-ups. Stick with neutral bottoms and choose tops from one or two color schemes. For every bottom, match at least two tops with it.
Tip #3 – Versatility Goes The Distance
Versatility rules when traveling. Resist packing that uber-unique shirt that doesn’t match anything else or those stiletto heels you’ll only wear for an hour. Put unique or hard to match items off to the side until you are finished packing.
Tip #4 – Don’t Arrive All Wrinkled
Being stuffed into a suitcase can make for a disheveled mess. Stick to packing wrinkle free or wrinkle resistant clothes. With so many “wearer-friendly” tech fabrics on the market today, it shouldn’t be too hard to fill your suitcase with clothes that will quickly return to “wearability status” once pulled out of the suitcase. And tech fabrics tend to clean up easier, allowing you to pack less.
A parent’s dilemma and what often drives us to overpack – the premonition of your little one dumping his milkshake all over you! Stick to packing wash and wear clothes. This way, if you end up wearing breakfast instead of eating it, you can wash the mess out in the hotel sink. Again, tech fabrics are a great choice.
Tip #6 – Comfort is King
Think comfort comfort comfort! As cute as that mini-skirt might look at home, it might not be the best choice sitting on an airplane for several hours, nor for that excursion to the amusement park. The exception – if you are attending a wedding or other special event where you must bring specific clothes.
Tip #7 – Layers Rule the Ride
Think in layers. Instead of packing your heaviest and bulkiest clothes and shoes, save them to wear on the airplane. Temperatures can fluctuate, and if that plane is ice-cold, you will be glad you have that extra layer. Too hot? That extra layer quickly becomes a pillow, or perhaps a back-rest.
Tip #8 – Cut Out The Excess
Take a look at everything you have laid out. Review outfits. Set aside what you will wear on travel day. Then cut out 25% of what’s there!
What?? The reality is that most people pack more than what they actually need. Have you arrived home from vacation, unpacked your bags, and found several items that were never even worn during the trip? I know I have!
Stick to the basics, and plan to rewear items. By wisely choosing clothes following the above guidelines, you should be able to trim out several items. Most people only need 3 pants/shorts for a 7 day trip, one shirt for each day, and two pair of shoes.
Tip #9 – Shoes Make the Day, But Maybe Not the Suitcase
Speaking of shoes – dump that extra pair now! Two pairs of shoes per person should suffice, and make sure at least one pair is wearable for an all day adventure. Admittedly I almost always have three. Hey, a girl’s gotta have her shoes, right? If boots are a must, wear them, don’t pack them. And only one pair.
Ok, I’ll come clean here. I’ve even – gasp! – tossed something else out of my bag (don’t tell the kids ’cause it’s usually their stuff) to make room for that extra pair of shoes. 🙂
Tip #10 – GoToobs to the Rescue!
Now a tip for those pesky toiletries. Yes, travel size is ideal. Yes, sometimes you can skip bringing them altogether and buy them when you arrive. But what if your favorite shampoo doesn’t come in travel size, or is hard to find? Don’t bring those big bottles! Put your goo into GoToobs. All GoToobs meet airline carry-on requirements, are food safe and 100% BPA and PC free. GoToobs also won’t leak or pop open in-flight. A life-saver if you’ve ever had a liquid leak inside your bag. Love GoToobs! And you can find them in many sporting goods stores, Target too.
Poof! Magic Wand Waved!
Three cheers for you! You’ve done it. Clothes, shoes and toiletries have now been skinnyfied and ready to be packed. Next up – putting it all into that suitcase. But I’ll save that for another post. All this dieting is enough for today!
Do you overpack your suitcase? Or are you an uber-lightweight traveler? Do you have any packing tips to “skinny down” a suitcase that you’d like to share? Let us know in the Comments section below.