I’ve recently come a bit of a frequent traveler, with the holidays just a few months ago to my trips to Charlotte recently I have become quite the conscious traveler. All my life I was notorious for packing way too many clothes for a trip. Of course, I’m a fashion lover at heart so I needed dressy outfits and practical everyday outfits. I’d ask myself “what if it rains?” “what if I go somewhere and I get cold?” I was always preparing for so many scenarios and as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized all that planning really isn’t necessary. For a five day trip with fancy symphony trips and even cold weather, I can comfortably pack a small carryon. If you had asked me even a year ago to do the same I would have laughed in your face and said it couldn’t be done. But there are a few essentials I can’t live without as well as ways I pack and mindsets I keep to make sure I’m packing efficiently.
Things I truly can’t live without and pack immediately when I book my flight are:
- Face mask: A hydrating facemask for the flight, I am particularly fond of the Summer Friday’s Jet Lag mask, it’s creamy and hydrating doesn’t have a crazy color doesn’t require you to wash it off at the end of your flight.
- TopTote hat clip: if you’re someone who loves to wear hats on vacation like myself this thing will be your best friend. Clip it on to your carry on and the extra strong magnets will hold your hat for you.
- Small jewelry case: I love accessories but packing boxes for necklaces or bags for earrings can take up a lot of room instead I use a small satin jewelry case that rolls to keep all my necklaces separate, tangle free and my suitcase space saved.
- Oversized Blanket Scarf: I always get cold on flights, I’ll wear sweatshirts and pants even if I’m flying to a warmer destination and I’ll still be chilly on the flight so I always pack or rather wear an oversized blanket scarf just to wrap around myself when I inevitably get cold.
- Packing Cubes: organizing outfits and your clothes is a breeze with packing cubes they take up so much less space and since I got mine from the same company who created my suitcase they fit like a dream.
- Sample sized skincare: I signed up for Birchbox a few years ago and it has been a lifesaver when traveling because it’s curated to me and what I use I am always getting mini mascaras facewashes and moisturizers, these are perfect to throw in your suitcase for a 5-day trip or so. They take up way less room and another bonus is you get to try new products! I have even found a couple of products I’ve repurchased because I loved the sample on a trip so much.
So along with my holy grail essentials, there are a few secrets I have for making sure I get the most out of the space in my suitcase.
Tip 1: As I mentioned as one of my essentials packing cubes are a serious must to keep your things organized and to take up less space. I pack all my intimates in one, roll shirts in another and organize and sort out my makeup and skincare in another. It helps to keep myself organized and is also a great way to keep your suitcase neat while you’re on your trip.
Tip 2: Always keep a list. I create a list of the essentials and then also write down our itinerary so I can get a feel for what kinds of events I need to pack for. My lovely friend Courtney also gave me a really cool pad that lists out the travel essentials for all kinds of trips which I found super helpful.
Tip 3: Pack versatile pieces when you can. I think winter travel this tip is especially important. I pack a lot of neutrals in the colder months that way I can wear a pair of jeans more than once and all my tops match any bottoms I have packed. Pack a neutral cardigan and it can be worn over any outfit.
Tip 4: Don’t over pack shoes… if you’ve seen my closets you know I’m a girl who loves shoes. And I probably have the hardest time narrowing down shoe options. But to save space this tip is pretty important. So like versatile pieces of clothing you also need to think versatile with your shoe options. If an outfit requires a specific shoe (and it’s not an evening shoe for a special event) maybe rethink the outfit to pair with one of the shoes already in rotation. I know while you’re packing that outfit sounds really nice but I also find that when I pack a bunch of shoe options I always gravitate back to the comfortable shoes anyway. I think a good rule of thumb is no more than three pairs of shoes.
Tip 5: Pack minis, Sephora and Ulta samples are your friend. I have been a subscriber of Birchbox for a couple years now and they have seriously saved my life and saved me the room in my suitcase on so many trips. Not only are these a great way to keep you liquid limit low but it’s also a really fun way to try new products. I’m especially fond of throwing in the skincare samples and find the lipsticks and mascara trials also a great way to pack makeup responsibly.