If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might be aware that I love to travel.
Though I can’t afford to do it as much as I like (either money or time wise), I’d rather spend my money on travel than just about anything (except maybe fabric).
So… you’d think I’d be great at packing.
But honestly, I’ve always kind of sucked at it. Not that I pack the wrong things, but I just take forever to decide what to bring. I prefer to pack light, which means I spend a lot of time fretting about whether I’m packing the right things, and whether I’m bringing enough with me. I put something in my suitcase. I take it out again. I put it back. Repeat ad nauseum.
But lately, I’m getting much better. Last week, we took a trip to Los Angeles, and after a little prep while drinking my coffee, I packed for a week in about 15 minutes flat. Me!
These are the three things that have saved me from the indecision hell of packing.
1. Pack mix and match neutrals
My preferred neutrals for travel are black and white. I like a mix of solids with classic prints, like stripes, dots, and checks. It all works together, so you can mix and match and not feel like you’re wearing the same thing over and over.
An added bonus is that black and white works just about everywhere in the world, in any season. Hong Kong in winter? A little black dress and white cardigan work perfectly. Sweden in spring? A striped sailor tee and black pants and you fit right in (or I would have, had I been 3 inches taller and fair-haired).
2. Plan some outfits.
This has been my saving grace with decision making. I plan out a few outfits before I pack, using polyvore.
You can find items similar to what you have and put them together, creating an instant packing list. I am an extremely visual thinker, so visualizing things makes decision making 100 times easier for me. Plus it’s fun. And, you can reuse them the next time you pack! Less decision making all around.
Here’s what I planned for the week-long trip to Los Angeles and Palm Springs.
Outfit 1: Panama hat, high waisted shorts, sleeveless gingham top (made by me), clogs, and wayfarers
Outfit 2: my trusty boatneck sailor stripe dress, panama hat, and clogs
Outfit 3: my white pique Lily dress, black and white vintage Vera scarf, panama hat, and clogs
Outfit 4: high-wiasted shorts, chambray shirt, and clogs
And all you really need for Palm Springs:
(You can also view these sets on polyvore if you want to see links to the items, though many of them are just things that are similar to stuff I own.)
3. Don’t forget the loungewear.
There’s always a certain amount of lounging involved when I travel, especially if its a busy trip. I’ve learned to make room for some comfortable, cute loungewear for drinking coffee in a hotel room, or resting after a long day of walking.
(The book How The French Invented Love was a gift, and I’m really enjoying it so far!)
4. You don’t need much.
Finally, if I’m still fretting, I just remember that as long as you have your phone, ID, and a credit card, you’re fine. You can always buy what you need when you get there (as I have done many times). And if you can’t, you probably don’t need it.
5. Contain your stuff
I hate just throwing everything in a big bag. I use these packing cubes to help organize my stuff, rolling my clothes to keep them compact. I just feel better and more organized when my bag is tidy.
Those are my hard-won packing lessons. Do you guys have any other good tips?