Going somewhere? Learn how to efficiently pack a carry-on before your next jet set!
I’m flying to Spain tomorrow, and I’ve put myself up to the ultimate test — I’m only allowing myself to bring a carry-on sized suitcase, my camera bag and a backpack. This might sound kind of normal but, for me, this is really lightening the load. Especially for an overseas trip. As hard as I try, I always overpack, always. I think I’m cursed or something. I’m always that girl in the airport struggling because I have too much $h*t with me. I fear trying to order a coffee or snack. Why? Because reaching for my wallet while trying to keep my heavy bags stay up on my shoulders so that the shoes (which I had to take out of my suitcase because it was over 50 lbs) crammed in on top don’t fall out, therefore causing a scene and making my face flush red from embarrassment, is really hard to avoid. It happens every time. Every. Damn. Time.
So, how do I up my travel game? Practice makes perfect. I pulled some clothes from the studio, grabbed a carry-on sized bag, and made an official “pre-game.” Yes, I fake packed. Because, why not? It helped me visualize and plan out exactly what I was going to take with me, so that when it comes time to actually pack up (aka tonight), I’ll avoid sticking in those extra things that aren’t necessary.
If travel is on the horizon for you, too, and you need a little packing 101, here’s some things to consider:
1. The first thing to think about is weather. Is it sweater weather? Or are you headed to the beach? If it’s cold where you’re going, well, my apologies, because sweaters and coats immediately take up more room than bathing suits and shorty shorts. It’s okay though.., you’re just going to have to layer. The weather in Spain right now is slightly bi-polar — warm during the day, but chilly at night. Some pants and a light oversized jacket I can easily layer with should solve this problem.
2. TAKE ONLY WHAT IS NECESSARY. The thing that always makes for overpacking — “options,” I always thought having options and packing more was better than getting to a destination and regretting not having something. This thought process has only weighed me down (literally) in my lifetime of travels. If you don’t absolutely need it, DON’T BRING IT! Worst case scenario, you can always make a purchase along the way or when you get to wherever it is that you’re going.
3, Is your carry-on bag up to par? The shape, size and overall design of the bag can really make a difference. The average allowed carry-on dimensions are 9 inches wide, 14 inches long, and 22 inches high. I’ve been using a slightly dome-shaped carry-on for the past 3 years. It looks like a small duffle, but with wheels and a handle. It works, but I know there’s better options out there. Shop around and find one that best fits your needs. And make sure the wheels and handle actually work. You don’t want to be pulling a suitcase with a bunk wheel, or rather, pushing if the handle won’t slide all the way up.
After all things considered, it’s time to pack. Here’s what I’m bringing:
2 pairs of shoes –– I bring a pair of boots with me wherever I go. They’re comfortable to walk around in, and can dress up a look if need be. Then sneakers for everything else, because anything can be done in a pair of sneakers, amiright?
3 pairs of pants –– A black pair for night, a pair of jeans for the day (or night, because denim always works), and then a pair of soft, casual harem pants that can double as something to sleep in.
4 tops –– a white tank, 2 white tees and a blouse. I like to pack pieces made of cotton — they’re easy to wash, dry fast and don’t wrinkle as much as other fabrics.
2 pairs of shorts –– Denim cut-offs are a must. They can be paired with almost anything, and you can get multiple wears out of them before washing. I also like to bring a pair of soft lounge shorts. They’re great for sleeping, don’t take up a lot of room, and are good to have in case you want to work out or take a hike and need something extra comfortable.
1 dress — I like to bring a dress because it’s easy to outfit around, and can be worn for multiple instances. I’ll typically bring one that’s lightweight and flowy, something I can throw on with a pair of boots or over a swimsuit.
1 jacket –– Packing a not-too-heavy oversized jacket that’s oversized is good for cool weather… really, it’s just great to have a jacket along, in my opinion. (And it makes the best blanket or pillow for the airplane! ;) )
Then, of course, socks, undies, bras and one swimsuit get thrown in the front/inside zipper pockets along with my makeup bag & other toiletries.
To finish, I’ll throw my laptop, chargers, wallet and passport in my backpack, make sure my camera is charged up and all proper gear is in my camera bag, and then it’s adiós!!
+ Where are you traveling next? Do you have any packing tips? Let us know in the comments below!