Part 2 : Packing Tips
Okay, so, you’ve read the reality checks and are in the right frame of mind to get packing. Now we can move onto a few tips about what to pack.
Packing Tip #1 : When you are packing, count your clothes according to how many days they can be worn. Shirts can be worn 2-3 times, Pants 2-6 times, Dresses 2-4 times, Sweaters 2-10 times. So if you are going on a week-long trip you need only 2 pairs of pants, 3 shirts, and 1 sweater.
Packing Tip #2 : Bring clothes that you love and that match each other. Your clothes don’t have to be all black tan or navy, but most of your bottoms and tops should be able to go with each other. If you pack only clothes that you love, you will feel fabulous every day and won’t mind having to wear the same things.
Packing Tip #3 : Limit yourself to 1 jacket, 2 sweaters, & 2 pairs of shoes. Make sure they all go with the clothes you pack.
Packing Tip #4 : Do not pack gym clothes or gym shoes (especially for non-U.S. travel). This gym obsession is silly, you are going to be walking all day and don’t want to waste a minute running on a treadmill. Do a few sit-ups and pushups and get out of the hotel. Since you are not packing tennis shoes, you will be able to fit an exercise band if you must.
Packing Tip #5 : (for women) Pack a couple colorful neck scarves or necklaces to mix it up and feel fancy. I also always pack a warmer scarf or wrap, even in the summer, and wear it on the plane and carry it with me during the day. As for earrings, I prefer to wear the same beautiful and sensible gold hoops the whole time.
Packing Tip #6 : (for women) Pack a couple of dresses. They look great, are easy to pack, and easy to accessorize. Women all over the world wear dresses and skirts, but they do not always wear shorts.
Packing Tip #7 : (for men) Pack a suit and several ties. No one will ever fault you for looking overdressed. Under-dressed however, very bad (more on this later). If you don’t have a suit that is comfortable you have been wasting your money. A great suit that both fits perfectly and is made of a high quality fabric IS comfortable and looks fantastic. The same goes for shoes.
Packing Tip #8 : All about shoes – The shoes you wear must be comfortable enough to walk long distances in. This means that unless I have a performance, I do not pack high heels (I’m a singer BTW). However, I do have low heels that I can walk in for ages that I will pack. The shoes you bring may not be tennis shoes (more on this later). If you don’t have comfortable shoes then you need to go shopping (try the Walking Company). I suggest walking in your shoes before you go. Walking often makes feet swell, so get shoes with some wiggle room and good arch support. I think it is preferable to wear darker leather shoes or sandals over a white shoe. White is hard to get right. Also available are euro-style shoes that have a streamlined look with a rubber sole that is comfortable like a tennis shoe.
Packing Tip #9 : Pack these things, you’ll be happy you did:
- A Nylon Bag or Three. I own 3 “les pliages” by LongChamps. I have one backpack, a small handbag and a mid-size handbag. All of them collapse down to be super small. I often bring all three and will use the mid-size bag as my personal item on travel day. These are available in most airports and in Europe are significantly cheaper than in the US. These are great to carry while walking around because they are almost weightless. One will pack in the other on shopping days. Also, many of these are gender neutral, so the man in your life won’t mind carrying it.
- Landry Detergent
- Plastic bags for shoes or dirty clothes
- Power Converter
- Vitamins. Buy the best. Bring green drink powder too. Even though I find the food most places I travel superior to eating out in the US, I don’t ever seem to get enough veggies. Being sick or low on energy while traveling is not fun. Vitamins help.
- Trail mix and/or snack bars (we make our own with almonds, raisins, dried cranberries, & dark chocolate chips)
- Your smart phone & headphones with a PDF copy of your passport, any music you’d like to listen to, e-travel books can be OK, e-translator AND if your phone is compatible tri or quad band and unlocked you could get a Sim card for it, or just text with your current plan.
Packing Tip #10 : Pack whatever it is that you love to use every day. I have short hair, and therefore don’t need a dryer or straightener, but if having great hair is your thing, then by all means, bring what you need to have great hair (travel size if possible). Check with hotel about hair dryer, many already have one mounted on the wall in the bathroom. I love my electric toothbrush and I also bring my enormous toothbrush charger. It sounds counter-intuitive to the pack light title of this post, but this is something that makes me happy everyday and packing light is meant to enhance travel without causing deprivation.
Packing Tip #11 : pack all of your clothes on hangers. Again, I know, this sounds counter-intuitive. But in the spirit of enhancing travel, packing clothes on hangers allows you to quickly unpack and view the clothes you have. There will be no digging in a suitcase to find things, getting dressed will be quick, your clothes won’t be wrinkled and you can use the hangers for drying when you wash your clothes. Get a light-weight suit cover, and all of the hangers and clothes zip in. Folded in thirds it fits perfectly in the carry-on suitcase.
Packing Tip #12 : to bring a computer or not to bring a computer? that is the question. My husband HAS to bring a computer; he’s an Aquarius and cannot be without this gadget (you know if you are this kind of person). When we travel together, I do not bring my computer, because I’m not that kind of person as I am content with 5 minutes of use per day. More and more countries are offering wireless WiFi (which BTW in many countries including England is pronounced WEE-fee). Appropriate to the pronunciation, many places only offer WEE-fee for a fee. That’s right, free internet is not yet the norm. For this trip I did bring my computer since I would be away for so long and would be doing some work. I suggest knowing ahead of time if your hotel has a business center, WiFi in the lobby, WiFi in the rooms, and if there is a fee. If you are new to packing light, you may not be able to fit your computer, and really, you likely won’t need it. My laptop goes IN the carry-on suitcase (not the personal item bag). Your much lighter smart phone or e-reader or tablet, if WiFi ready, can take the place of a laptop.
OK! So, that’s the end of my packing tips. I hope it has been helpful. If you think I’ve missed anything, or you have any specific questions, I’d be happy to answer them, and I will post the Q & A right here.
NEXT UP: Remember the “more on this later” that popped up a couple of times? Well, it’s time for me to get on my little smarty pants soap box and bla bla some more of my opinions. Read on if you dare – – – Pack Light part 3: Appropriate.