Packing · Uncategorized

Excessive Items to Forget at Home

It’s Travel Tip Tuesday! Here’s one originally published on 1 September 2015.

We meet again. To accompany my what NOT to pack post, I thought I’d expand on the “excessive clothing” mention. I understand that no one wants to wear smelly clothes, but Febreeze comes in a travel size, and one of those takes up much less space than those extra clothes!

So, here are my suggestions for clothes and accessories that can be re-thought and re-placed into your closet from your suitcase. All these suggestions are dependent upon your destination and duration of stay, of course, so use your best judgement. These are just some good rules of thumb that I try to follow.

1. Multiple pairs of pants

You can wear the same pair of jeans all week. You can even wear the same pair of khakis all week, though khakis are more likely to show stains. You can also wear the same black pants (yoga pants are acceptable, if they’re the right yoga pants) all week if you want! Pick two of those–whether long, capri, or shorts length–wear one pair to travel in and pack the other pair. On our trip to the Galapagos and Quito, Ecuador, I wore my black yoga pants on the plane, wore my shorts everywhere else, and wore the black yoga pants on our last day in Quito (because it was chillier there) and on the plane home.

One to wear and one to pack!

2. Multiple pairs of shoes

Please, as a bunion surgery survivor, do not take high heels on vacation. Give your feet a vacation, too! Your shoes need to be comfortable because, inevitably, you’ll be doing more walking than you think in most places you’ll go, especially if you don’t have access to a car. I always wear my running shoes to travel in, then either sandals, boots, or water shoes, depending on the destination! If you’re staying in a hostel or a low-end hotel, bring some shower shoes (flip flops are best), but otherwise, pick two that will be the most comfortable and the most versatile.

Pick two–wear one, pack the other!

Tip: Socks and underwear can be rolled up and packed inside boots or running shoes to save space!

3. More than one purse

Pick a good travel purse and stick with it! Mine has bright colors and fun patterns, but it’s super secure–the zipper to get in is always against my back, not facing the world to make it easy for pickpockets to get in. If I didn’t have this one, I’d choose a neutral color bag that can close completely; one that’s big enough that you can fit a water bottle, scarf or light jacket, phone, wallet, guidebook, and/or maps inside; and one that’s small enough that you don’t put too much in–no one wants to hurt their back or hips on vacation with an overly heavy purse!

The one on the left is my everywhere-travel bag. The purple one on the right is my other option–zips completely closed, has an adjustable shoulder strap or a handle option.

4. Jewelry

I have lost several pairs of earrings over the years while traveling, even being as organized as I usually am! Many travel blogs I’ve seen recommend bringing statement jewelry with you that can help change up your outfits, but definitely don’t overdo it. Personally, I’ve found that turquoise goes with just about everything, and so do pearls! I usually pick one pair of earrings that go with all or most of my outfits, wear them when I travel, and keep them in a designated (small) jewelry bag or in a pocket in my purse so I don’t lose them when they’re not in my ears.

Don’t pack your entire jewelry drawer!

Definitely leave your diamonds and fine jewelry at home unless you’ve planned a special night out or a business dinner to go to. Use your judgement, and remember that necklaces get tangled, fine items signal that you may have money or other expensive items to steal, and if you don’t wear it all the time (like a wedding ring), it might get lost!

But as a solution for tangled necklaces, string it through a straw if you can:

5. More than one set of PJs

You can totally wear the same pajamas all week! Or even longer, if needed, especially if you are a before bedtime shower person.

6. Workout clothes for every day you’re gone

Depending on how sweaty you get and how often you workout, you probably won’t need more than one set of workout clothes for a week or so. Particularly if you’re super efficient and use the moisture wicking kind. You can wash them with regular soap in the shower or sink, let them dry, and you’ll be fresh as a daisy next time you workout! Seriously, it won’t hurt anything to wear slightly smelly workout clothes–you’re just working out in them! Also, you’ll be doing a lot of walking throughout the day, and you can definitely count those miles and miles of walking as cardio for the day!

Ladies: choose a top with a built-in sports bra, and you don’t have to pack one!

7. More than one coat 

Sure, all your jackets and coats are cute–you bought them, didn’t you? But really, bringing the most practical one is your best bet. I have a purple down jacket that squishes to almost nothing. It fits anywhere, even into a purse! If you’re going to Alaska, Canada, or perhaps a Scandinavian country in the winter time, your heaviest coat is the one you need to take. However, if your travels are taking you to the US Northwest any time of year, a light jacket (usually, your cutest jacket) is maybe a better option. But no matter where you go, one jacket or coat will be quite enough.

I have way too many coats, but I just pick one when I travel!

Useful Tips:

When packing for any amount of time, any destination, any time of year, any reason, please remember: you will never see these people again! No one you see on your travels will know you’re re-wearing your clothes. And if you take clothes that mix and match, no one will even be able to tell in your pictures either!

Lastly, a recommendation on something to take… clothes to toss! I usually take workout clothes to leave behind (the stinkiest of my clothes), underwear and socks that have seen their last days, and even tops and pants or skirts that are ready for their last hurrah! It’s also a great way to make extra room in your suitcase for souvenirs from your memorable, life-changing trip!

Do you have any other tips or tricks for packing light that you can share?

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