October 21, 2022
How to – packing – 8 wise tips
I remember packing used to be a nightmare for me. I could never decide what to take, it always seemed to be necessary to bring “those shoes that will go with that dress”. Throughout the trip, I struggled with a large, heavy suitcase, and in the end it turned out that most of the clothes were not worn anyway.
I remember standing in line at airport security in London with an overloaded bag, struggling with the lock, trying to find my boarding pass. In front of me was a girl dressed in white jeans and a dark green, simple sweater. She took her ticket out of a small purse in two seconds, showed it to the staff, then slipped it into an elegant travel case and tossed it back into the bag.
Fortunately, after cleaning up my closet, packing became a lot easier. I go somewhere at least a few times a month and each time I am grateful that I have convinced myself of the minimalist approach – it pays off more when traveling than anywhere else. Among experienced travelers, the principle of “half the clothes, twice the money” is known for a long time. I pack on autopilot and it doesn’t take more than 20 minutes. So I am sharing a few of my ways today and as always waiting for yours.
The smallest suitcase possible
Choosing a suitcase, bag or backpack is the first and most important step. There is one rule – the smaller the luggage, the better. Consider what suitcase you will need and then use a size smaller. With limited space you will think about each additional sweater three times. And your muscles and spine will thank you for this choice during the trip. In 90% of cases, I travel with the smallest suitcase, the one that qualifies as carry-on. It is worth making sure that our suitcase or backpack itself does not weigh too much – light, decent models of good companies can often be found cheaper at TJ Maxx. Smaller luggage is not an excuse to stuff as much as possible The fact that you chose a small suitcase or a backpack does not mean you have to pack them to the maximum. Overpacked luggage gets destroyed faster, the contents crease terribly, and every need to open a suitcase, for example at the airport, generates a lot of stress. A few days trip is not a trip to the end of the world I don’t take anything on a trip that I don’t use on a daily basis. No extra supplies of toiletries, no umbrellas or other items “just in case”. If I really need something, I can easily buy it on the spot. I have been following this rule for a while and I can count the situations in which I actually had to buy something on one hand. Of course things will be a little different, if your destination will be a multi-week trekking in the jungle, but this is a completely different type of travel.
List of constant items
It pays off to prepare a list of things that you take with you everywhere: chargers, headphones, lens fluids, regularly taken medications, flip-flops, documents, etc. I have such a list in my head, because I travel a lot, but it may be more effective to write it down on a piece of paper or save as a file. There are also a lot of applications for this, such as Packing List, Travel List and Packing Pro.
I pack exactly the same clothes that I wear every day. Traveling for me is an opportunity to experience, taste, and take slow walks. And again – as long as you are not going on a multi-week trip to the rainforest, there is no point in treating the trip as some extraordinary circumstances.
I pack clothes that I can combine in many ways. Usually I only have one item of a each type – one pair of long pants, one pair sandal, etc. The exceptions are shirts and t-shirts, which get dirty fastest. But I also try not to take too many of them, I prefer to wash them if necessary or use the hotel laundry, than to carry a weekly supply. I always take comfortable shoes and emergency flip-flops – most of the time I wear them around the hotel, but they’ll also do fine if my other shoes will hurt my feet. For a few-day summer trip, I usually pack:
- 2 shirts
- 1-2 t-shirts
- denim shorts
- a skirt and a dress or two dresses
- black tubes
- gray sweater
- a light jacket – suede or raincoat depending on the occasion
- flat sandals
- a hat that I put on, not in my suitcase
In addition, a watch and a scarf or two and I can create a lot of different outfits, from everyday to more elegant ones.
Cosmetics – the less the better
They are often responsible for the size and weight of our luggage. Fortunately, it is also an area where we can save the most painlessly. There are plenty of options. If the trip is short, it is worth taking miniature versions of cosmetics or pouring cosmetics into mini-bottles. I usually take full-size bottles that I have already used up to a large extent. I also limit the number of products I take. When it comes to makeup, I take pretty much the same things that I normally use, which are:
- a small set of 3 eyeshadows – beige, brown, dark browncrayon
- eyebrow gel
- lip balm
To sum up
It’s worth combining and looking for smaller / lighter equivalents of the things you want to take.
- The Kindle is smaller than any book and you don’t have to worry about it ending too soon.
- A cotton shopping bag takes up almost no space in your luggage, and can be used as a handbag
- A thin cashmere sweater warms more than a thick acrylic sweater or sweatshirt, and takes up ten times less space.
- Rolled up clothes take up less space than folded clothes.
- Many cosmetics can be used in more than one way.