In other words, how to pack a normal amount of clothing when going to a low maintenance location. I try to use these tips I’m about to share with you no matter where I’m going. If you’re like me, than it’s hard not to overpack because you are NOT an outfit repeater. (I would rather wear my blue aloha shirt over my long-sleeved, neon patterned romper and call it “street style” than be caught dead in the same getup as the day, week, month before.)
For me, my most recent trip to The Bahamas was a way to put to use each and every rule I had learned in my years of travel. Every time I have returned from a trip only to sigh at all of my unworn clothes was a lesson that would lead to my goal for this trip. I would try to whittle down my obscene amount of clothing to an almost understandable amount for the trip.
Without further ado, here are the Elizabeth Read fool proof tips to take your luggage from “Miss your bag is ten pounds over the weight limit, you’ll need to pay an extra fifty dollars” to “49.6 pounds. Nice job packing.”.
You’ll need to go through your closet and pull out everything you want to take. Just keep grabbing things you think would be fun. The sky is the limit! Once you have pulled them fold them on your bed in categories. Put all of your tank tops together, all of your gym shorts, your beach dresses and then take a step back. If you did this step right, then you should have something that looks like the Himalayas on your bed. There should also be several Appalachian-type trails on your floor–because any fashionista with a need to overpack knows your bed is NOT enough room.
So how does this have to do with packing light…er? Well, this brings us to phase two.
I need you to pull your best Elena Gilbert from The Vampire Diaries and turn your humanity off. I know, I know. Your clothes are like family, the last thing you want to do is tell them they’re not good enough to take on your trip. But this step is imperative!
Be honest with yourself: pit stains? Don’t take it! Love it, but not sure you’ll wear it? Don’t bring it! A really loud, funky, cool piece that can only be worn once? Trust me, don’t take it. Only take the pieces that make you happy and are comfortable and versatile.
My go to pieces for the Bahamas were tank tops I could dress up or down; an Aloha shirt that was a beach cover up, a fashionable shirt, or even comfy enough to be a pajama shirt; workout shorts that were not only for working out, but to throw on to run errands, sleep in, or wear to the beach as well; bathing suits (given); and, lastly, a chic beach cover up that could double as a dinner dress when paired with a nice pair of shoes. It’s all about creativity! You have to see the possibility in your garments. Give that sarong a chance to shine out at dinner by using it as your shawl. This is your clothing’s chance for her to show you her versatility. And you will definitely surprise yourself with the outfits you come up with.
Once you have taken a hard look at all of your clothing, you should be able to fit it all on your bed now. It should look like a normal pile of clothing and less like a natural wonder of the world. If it’s still looking like a mountain, leave your room for a bit, maybe go on a walk, make yourself a cup of tea, watch some TV, and then come back with a fresh mind. I find each time I circe back around I’m able to give up a few more garments.
Now’s the real hard part, you’ve probably given up a lot of great pieces, you’re probably very proud of yourself, but you need to be honest. Is it still all necessary? This is when I like to take out the big guns. You need to pick one to two of each item. So, you could pack four tank tops, but they all need a specific purpose: 1 quick-dry tank top, 1 pinny, 1 logo tank, 1 dressy tank. Go through each of your categories and pick the stand out one to represent them all on this trip. As for underwear, the more the merrier. bring it
all. You’ll never have enough.
Toilet trees. Just pack small sizes. Trust me. You don’t want to give away important pounds to the extra ounce of argon oil, that you’ll only remember to put on twice.
Make a mental regret list. This step will take place at the end of the vacation, while you’re unpacking. There are inevitably bound to be things you ended up not needing. For me, I brought three sundresses and wore one. I took every bathing suit I owned only to realize at the end two or three would have been plenty. And there will be things you thought you’d be fine without that you missed. I, for instance, spent a lot of time dreaming about my leave in conditioner, I thought argon oil would be fine. It just wasn’t the same. These will serve as helpful for the next time you take a trip. You’ll find out just what your necessities are and are not.
You’ll find yourself learning to survive on less and less as you travel and see how much easier it is to lug around less. You make sacrifices. You’ll learn what is truly important to you. And maybe one day you and I will learn how to travel with just a carry on and a personal item….maybe.