I’ll be leaving this week for Las Vegas, Nevada and it’s not as though I travel all the time but I have created my own packing style that I find works really well for me and it makes the whole experience much more enjoyable. I like to avoid checking my bag, I always prefer to carry-on my suitcase because it is small enough to fit in the overhead compartment and packing more efficiently makes it easier for me to carry my own luggage.
Firstly, I always make a list. I’d imagine that the majority of people make lists when they are preparing to pack and I would never be able to do it without one. I will usually start thinking about what I’m going to bring a few weeks in advance, this way I give myself time to really think it over then I can honestly and logically remove the unnecessary things. Traveling is brutal and you do not want to make your burden heavier by lugging around things you more than likely won’t use.
Secondly, when I’m making my list I write down a schedule. That way I can see the number of days I will be gone and the activities that have already been planned giving me an idea of what attire may or may not be appropriate. Scheduling out your wardrobe will also help you from over-packing because you know exactly what you will need to complete each ensemble.
Thirdly, I always pack enough clothing to accommodate one more day; just in case I miss a flight or get stranded due to bad weather it’s better to be prepared.
Fourthly, I like to pack things with versatility. For example- my swimsuit cover-up can also be worn as a dress, a skirt and I can even wear it as a tunic to be paired with leggings. Packing items like this means you will get more options from your wardrobe leaving more space in your suitcase. Also, I pack within one color scheme allowing me to mix and match different pieces; especially if I am going on a long trip because if you don’t pack smart, things will not fit in your carry on and then you will be forced to check a bag, which will cost you more money.
Lastly, invest in a nice suitcase. It is so important to own a suitcase that can take a stand against air travel. If you do check a bag then you need to expect that your luggage will come back a bit worn. Baggage handlers are not genteel creatures they have a lot of luggage to get on the plane and there is no delicacy involved. So just spend the money on a suitcase that is up to the task. Even if you are planning on carrying on your bag, which might not always happen. Fellow travelers can be really rude and try to bend the rules to accommodate their own wants and needs. People will stuff their luggage over your seat leaving you nowhere to put yours, therefore the flight attendants will place your luggage with the rest of the checked bags so again, you need a suitcase that won’t be ripped to shreds (I’ve seen it happen).
For a four-day trip my list usually looks something like this:
4 Tops, 2 Bottoms
-Tops and Bottoms should be adjusted to suit the needs of the climate you will be visiting.
1 Dress, 1 LBD (little black dress)
-Depending where you will be going and what you will be doing you should try to pack dresses that can be dressed up or down.
1 Jacket or Sweater
-Again depending on the weather where you’re visiting you can either bring a light jacket or a heavier jacket or maybe all you will need is a sweater.
1 Swimsuit, 1 Swimsuit Cover-Up
-You may not always need to pack a swimsuit either, but for Vegas I will need one.
Pajamas, 2 Pairs of socks
-You may need more depending where you’re going.
5 Pairs of Undies, 2 Bras
-I always pack a black bra and a nude bra, it’s all I ever need but sometimes you’ll need to adjust for neckline, which is why it’s nice to have versatile underwear as well such as bras that have interchangeble straps. Just use your best judgment when packing your clothes choosing pieces that don’t require special undergarments.
1 Pair of Flip Flops, 1 Pair of Dress Shoes, 1 Pair of Sneakers
-Again, shoe selection will vary depending on your destination.
1 Evening Purse, 1 Hat, 1 Scarf, Jewelry, 2 Pairs of Sunglasses
-I tend to pack way more jewelry than I need but I will usually wear very plain clothing and dress up my outfits with jewelry, therefore I like to have options and jewelry takes up very little space. I always pack two pairs of sunglasses in case one pair gets lost or broken.
With all of the TSA regulations it can make packing your toiletries a bit frustrating especially if you don’t travel frequently enough to have the rules memorized. Some people say they don’t travel with toiletries; instead they buy them when they reach their destination. I personally don’t do that because it can get expensive, if you have particular products you like you may not be able to find them everywhere and who wants to spend time on their vacation at Walgreen’s shopping for shampoo?
Each passenger is allowed one clear quart-sized plastic bag that must zip shut. You will be required to take this bag out at security. All liquids must be inside the bag and the bottles must be 3 ounces or smaller. That is all the liquid you’re allowed. If you have large full-sized bottles they will be taken from you. Don’t argue with security about it, you just slow down the long line of people trying to get places and it will probably end up costing you more than it’s worth.
My traveling toiletries list looks like this:
Shampoo, Conditioner, Razor, Contacts/Case, Contact Solution, Glasses/Case, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Facial Cleanser, Moisturizer, Leave-in-conditioner, Brush, Curling Wand, Hairspray, Hair Accessories, Deodorant,Perfume, Ibuprofen, Band-Aids
-Before I leave I always check to see if the hotel has a hair dryer, because most of them do. If that’s the case I don’t pack one.
Makeup-Foundation, Powder, Bronzer, Blush, Highlight, Eye shadow, Mascara, Eyelashes, 2 Lipsticks, Lip Balm, Tools
-Normally I bring more makeup than I will end up using but for this trip I know I am not going to be wearing makeup very often because it will be too hot and we will be spending a lot of time at the pool.
Travel Light- Do not bring things you won’t need just because you’re afraid you will need it. If you pack enough variety you will be able to make due with what you have.
Travel Comfortably- Do not show up at the airport wearing heels. Wear comfortable shoes that slip on and off easily because you will have to remove your shoes in order to go through security. Personally I wear slip-on sneakers because then I will be wearing socks and I can avoid walking through security with bare feet (ew.) When I travel I dress in layers that are cozy. It may be 108 degrees outside but when you’re up in the air those planes can get a bit chilly. I have a big oversized scarf that works great as a blanket while traveling.
Research- Check with your specific airline to see what their luggage regulations are, because not all airlines will charge for checked bags and not all airplanes have space for carry-on luggage so they end up checking your bags anyway. Also visit www.tsa.gov to check TSA regulations so you know exactly what to do when you get to the security checkpoint. It will make the process faster and easier for you and your fellow travelers. Don’t make yourself look like the idiot who doesn’t know what they are doing.
Luggage-If you decide not to check your bag, just remember that every passenger is allowed two bags. You can put a suitcase in the overhead compartment and you are also allowed one small personal sized bag (purses, backpacks, briefcases, etc.) to put under the seat in front of you. I usually put my liquids in my smaller bag along with my wallet, iPad, phone and anything else you might want during your flight so you have easy access to it.
Travel can be extremely enjoyable and hassle free if you just prepare yourself ahead of time, don’t wait until the last minute because that is when it will cause you stress. Do your research and be prepared. I hope this list is informative and helpful and I really hope you all have safe travels and are out there thriving.