6 Secrets For Traveling Light
Packing for a summer trip is like eating potato chips—the key is to control your portions. With a few expert secrets, you can figure out what you need (swimsuit!), what you don’t (sorry, fifth pair of heels), and pack it all into one suitcase, neatly. Want proof? Read on.
1. Follow the one-week packing plan
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed if you’re frantically stuffing your suitcase the night before a trip, says professional organizer Donna Smallin Kuper, author of Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness. “You have too many decisions to make quickly, so you forget items, or include things you really don’t need.” Instead, pack bit by bit a week before you leave.
Day one: Make a list of things to bring and buy.
Day two: Corral clothes, shoes, and accessories into one designated area.
Day three: Shop for essential travel-size toiletries and a clear security bag . Save space by buying some items at your destination, like sunscreen and bug spray.
Day four: Do a “test pack.” If you can’t fit everything into one bag, pare down.
Day five: Do the “real pack.”
Day six: Make sure you didn’t forget anything on your list.
Day seven: Add last-minute items you couldn’t pack earlier, like your curling iron and makeup.
2. Think about your activities
Will you hike, swim, or go dancing? How often? How casual or formal are your events? What about the weather? Once you answer these questions, plan to bring the bare minimum required for each activity. For example, you don’t need three microfiber towels, a foam roller, and cordless headphones to jog on the beach.
3. Organize your outfits
Choose clothing in a neutral palate you can mix, match, and layer. Think: one pair of navy blue leggings that goes with a floral, plaid, and plain white T-shirt. “If it doesn’t coordinate with at least two other pieces, unless it’s an evening gown for a formal event, don’t bring it,” Smallin Kuper says. No laundry facilities? Lightweight, wick action fabric packs tightly and dries in a jiffy after a quick rinse in the sink.
4. Scale down on shoes
The biggest waste of luggage space is too many shoes. “Choose versatile styles, like flats or sandals, that pair with dressy and casual outfits,” says Smallin Kuper. And when it comes to sneakers, “don’t pack them; wear them on the plane.” Squeeze flip-flops into outer zip-up pockets on your suitcase. One or two pairs should be enough.
5. Choose versatile luggage
Pick luggage with lots of compartments and hideaways to stash your goodies, like a combination carry-on and backpack. Also, bring items that easily shrink in size, like a packable down throw, instead of a bulky blanket for a chilly airplane ride. Use dry cleaning bags to keep dressy clothes from wrinkling, Smallin Kuper adds. The plastic helps prevent creases and doesn’t add bulk.
6. Maximize space
How you pack is just as important as what you pack, says Smallin Kuper. Stuff small items, like bangles and earrings, into shoes; roll clothes, rather than folding; wear your bulkiest pieces instead of packing them. Invest in a few handy travel accessories, such as packing cubes that compress clothes, or travel bags that keep everything organized and visible. The only thing left to pack is your excitement. Bring as much as possible.