The following is a guest packing tips post by Katie Goldstein. We at Her Packing List understand that not everyone can go from overpacker to minimalist over night, so Katie’s packing tips for drastically cutting back can be a huge help!
Hi, my name is Katie and I used to be an over-packer. It’s true. The horror! The shame. Then for my honeymoon I planned a trip to Southeast Asia for three weeks and I had no choice but to shape up before I shipped out! I couldn’t go over the 50-pound limit without incurring huge charges for each of my flights, but I was also going to a place that did not offer up the usual amenities, so I had to be sure I had what I needed. This is when, at the age of 30 years-old, I learned how to pack like a superstar! My friend taught me the trick, it’s called the “Outfit-a-Day” Method. (Fine, maybe a little more than one per day since I usually have a few costume changes).
The secret is, you pack only exactly what you need. What a revelation, right? You pick out the exact outfits, piece by piece, before you go. The shoes, the shirt, the pants, the socks, the underwear. No more packing your favorite shirts and shoes with no forethought. Choosing each outfit of course takes a longer time but I think it’s worth it! Trust me, it’s been road-tested, time and time again by a clothes horse! This is the way to go! I’ve gone from “over the limit, ma’am” to carry on! And you can too! Here’s how:
Check the weather and pack for the appropriate climate you’re going to be entering. You wouldn’t believe how many times I have just assumed somewhere would be warm when it ends up being freezing.
Pick your exact outfit for each day. That means, if you are going to the pool and dinner every night, you pack one swimsuit for that day, one pool outfit, and then your dress for that night. If you know you’re doing a hiking tour one day, pick your outfit and stick to it.
Outfit Advice: Pick items that you can a) wear again and b) that go well with lots of items. Think staples like skinny jeans, jean shorts, black blazers, cardigans, hoodies. Items that you can mix and match will go a long way in the war against over-packing! Also, remember that if you’re taking pictures, you don’t want a pair of brightly colored, patterned pants that will standout as a repeat, so like I said, stick to basic items and neutral colors. Choosing items that transition from day to night is also a fabulous idea. My Rebecca Minkoff bag is a great example! The strap can be adjusted to achieve the messenger bag look or a traditional purse.
Roll your clothing instead of folding it. This allows you to fit so much more into your suitcase, while at the same time not leaving huge creases in your wardrobe. To roll, simply lay your clothing out flat and roll tightly from bottom to top.
Delicates Advice: If you’re taking an item that wrinkles easily, I recommend rolling a piece of tissue paper inside of the garment. This works for some crazy reason!
Stuff every inch of open space that you have. If you have big shoes, stick your socks inside. When you’re packing, every little bit helps. And this also helps to keep your shoes keep their shape. Socks workin’ overtime!
Toiletries time. In addition to being a travel writer, I’m also a beauty blogger, so I understand the importance of having your beauty essentials. However, there is no reason to take a full-size bottle of shampoo. Either buy travel-size products, steal ‘em from hotels or buy empty travel-size bottles and fill them up with your favorite products. My sister actually packs full bottles of everything!
If you’re traveling with a companion, I suggest splitting your suitcases. What I mean is pack half of your stuff in one suitcase and half in your companion’s. While this is a bit of a pain, if you’re going somewhere exotic and they lose one of your bags, at least you will still have some of your belongings until they locate your missing bag.
About the Author: Katie Goldstein is a lawyer by day and a writer by night. She is the founder of TravelingPanties, a luxury travel blog, and Smartypanties, a luxury lifestyle blog. She loves capturing her journey through her writing and photography. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Fodor’s Travel, WE TV, and Fox News. Follow her adventures on Twitter and Facebook.