Thursday, July 28, 2011

Roofresh How-To {Pack Light for a Trip}

With my new job I have been doing a lot of traveling. Fortunately, it's both business and pleasure, however, knowing how to pack for both is harder than you'd think! I got a rude awakening when I went to a four-day conference last weekend in Kansas City. My normal instinct is to over-pack, pack everything I probably won't need and then try and cram in a little bit more; and I thought my husband was just being sensitive when he rolled his eyes after picking up my suite case. 

Since we're not all business packers, and not all of us have the luxury of going on an extended vay-cay, I decided to come up with a guide to meet somewhere in the middle...

This really does seem obvious, but it's easier to mess up than you think. The best way to utilize this advise is by asking yourself "is this an essential?" then follow up by "would I absolutely be in a rut if it wasn't with me?" If you start packing by throwing in all of your WANTS you're going to run out of space for all of your NEEDS very quickly.

Things that I consider essentials:
  • Underwear (I always pack a few more pairs than I need, better safe than sorry)
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush
  • Socks/shoes
  • A good pair of jeans
  • Pajamas (despite how some people feel, I consider this an essential)
  • Hairspray/Products used on a daily basis
  • Prescription medications
Don't do something silly like not pack enough clothes. If you're going to a conference, or are going to be in a professional setting, count your days, then plan your outfits. Make sure that you present yourself in the way you intended to, not a sloppy mess because you couldn't count to four and make sure that you had matching outfits for every day. 

If you're going to be in a casual setting, don't nitpick over it, just make sure that you have enough basics for every day, and fill in the gaps later. Pack a variety, but don't kill yourself trying to cram your whole closet into your itty-bitty suitcase.

Example of how to count right for business:

Saturday: What I'm wearing and PJ's
Sunday: Slacks and fitted Tee (same PJ's)
Monday: Dress (take a guess, I'm recycling the Pajamas)
Tuesday: Skirt and collared shirt (time to go home, sleep naked!)
-Pack a pair of jeans that don't tend to get baggy in the bum region and recycle those for recreational times. Include two extra shirts for the days that you wore a dress and for a backup and you want to change. Choose ONE pair of shoes that go with all of your business attire (okay maybe two if your second pair is really cute!)

The same principles apply for packing for a good 'ole fashioned vacation, but you may want to include a backup ensamble, swim suit depending on location and one fancy outfit in case you have a change in plans.

Are you staying at a hotel? Check out some of their freebies! Go on their website or call the consierge and ask what items are complimentary in the room. Now, I know this sounds cheap, but when you don't have to pack shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste (yes, the last hotel I stayed in had complimentary toothpaste), a hairdryer and soap, it saves you a lot of room!

In addition to freebies, check the weather. I always pack like a tropical storm is going to hit one day and a blizzard the next...don't do this. Take a little extra time to check the reports and take advantage of your circumstances! If it's supposed to be 80 degrees all week, wear your flip flops and pack one pair of fancy shoes and one pair of tennies. Stop packing your parka when you don't need it, instead take a light sweater with you in the car or on the plain that you can take off and store someplace small if needed. THIS WILL SAVE YOU SO MUCH SPACE.

I had to include this one. Keep your energy up for lugging around that bag. Put an emergency granola bar in your purse and a piece of fruit that doesn't bruise easily (tip: you can also put your fruit in a paper towel and then a sandwich bag to help with toting it around). It's important to stay hydrated which means water, and water only. Just be careful of security check points, you may want to bring a bottle that you don't care about so that you can toss it and just buy another one on the other side.

DON'T BRING THE KITCHEN SINK. Chances are, if you pack a whole picnic lunch, half of it will be spoiled or unappealing by the time you go to eat it.

Now I'm not talking about your seat (eventhough that may be very cost-effective advise) I'm talking about your BAG! I know that it can be tempting to throw in the towel and trade your cute rolly bag in for a bigger one with more room, but RESIST! Hopefully by this point with the luggage-trimming tips above, you'll still have room to throw in some accessories and statement pieces to liven up your outfits, but trust me if, bringing a bigger bag because you run out of room is not the answer.

If you absolutely can't live without your favorite new scarf, either wear it during travel, stuff it in a purse or back pack, or make a trade for something in your bag that you decide is not a necessary item. After lugging my GIGANTIC bag through the Kansis City airport, I was really wishing I hadn't packed the five extra shirts that I didn't wear and the three extra shorts/bottoms that went to waste. This was especially horrible because I have the hubbiatrophy (hu-bee-at-ro-fi): a condition comon in women ages 23-30 years-of-age who have become accustom to their husbands carrying all of their luggage, thereful, undoubtably loosing the muscle capacity to carry their own bags.

*If you think it feels kind of heavy leaving your house, it will feel five-times as heavy on the way home.

So was there any good advise in this? Do you feel a little smarter or are you the trial-by-fire type? It's okay if you are, I'm am!

Keep it real,

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Anonymous Suburban Sweetheart said...  

I hope you won't feel I'm copying you, but I'm about to do a "how to pack" post, too, at the request of a few folks on Twitter. Most of our suggestions aren't the same (though you're are really helpful!). Maybe I'll link to yours for EXTRA ideas! Together, we can help the world pack.

Blogger Amy --- Just A Titch said...  

SUCH great tips! I love being able to throw everything into a carry-on when I travel---it's lovely. It's my first time here, love your blog!

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