September 9, 2018

Tips To Travel Light (And Have A Great Vacation)

Recently, while traveling through Greece and Paris, I surprised my friends with the number of different outfits that I pulled out of my magical-carry on. They said I was like Mary Poppins.

I didn't always travel light. On my first vacation, I took a full-sized suitcase and two carry-on bags on a week visit to Mexico. I only used half the things I packed. On my next trip, to India, my luggage was would have been overweight on the return flight. After trashing a bunch of things to avoid a $100 overweight charge, I made it my mission to travel lighter.

On my recent travels to Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Japan, I traveled with just a carry on and a backpack. Not checking luggage makes things much easier. There is no need to wait in lines to check and pick up my luggage. Everything is a breeze!

Traveling lighter does not mean that you have to compromise on style or comfort. Here are some tips I use to travel light and easy

1. Plan Your Wardrobe Before You Go 
Having a general outfit plan eliminates the need to take a huge wardrobe. Take a few minutes before you start packing to research the places you are visiting. If you're visiting somewhere hot, you don't need your dark wash jeans. If you are spending most of the time in cities or at the beach, you probably don't need your hiking gear or more than one sporty outfit.

And don't forget, you won't need a fancy outfit on the days that you are traveling, you will be too busy getting to the airport. Packing something light and comfortable for those days!
While I wear minimal things on commute days, I always take statement dresses for photos at "unforgettable" places.

2. Check the Weather 
Checking the weather before you pack can save you headaches when (otherwise) unexpected conditions arise. If the temperature is higher than usual, exchange that second hoodie for tank tops. If the weather is colder than expected, switch a pair of shorts to pants.
I like to go nice and light for summer vacations. It was awesome that my friend matched me that day- made a great photo!

3. Bring Items That You Can Mix and Match 
Bring items that you can re-wear to make a new outfit. Some of my “easily matched” clothing items include: denim shorts/boyfriend jeans, a white t-shirt, a blouse, and a black pencil skirt. Blouses always look good, and what doesn't go with denim shorts?!
Denim can be so versatile. One week my denim shorts served as beach wear, the next I visited the Eiffel Tower with them.

4. Be Smart About Beauty Supplies 
You can avoid the hassle of getting travel sized creams and lotions (or losing your full-size bottles at security) by saving any product samples you receive. The dollar store sells empty travel containers that you can fill with your lotions. Ideally, you should pack just enough for the trip. This lets you recycle the containers before you come home, making space in your bag for more souvenirs!

Here are some other beauty supply tricks I’ve learned while traveling:

- Traveling is not the time and place to try new makeup colors and brands! Stick to what you know looks good on you. If you want to bring new stuff, try them out at home and make sure they work with your outfits.
- If you have a more compact eyeshadow palette/blush, bring those.
- Cleansing wipes are your friend- and so easily disposable!
- Blotting tissues are also your friend, especially in humid destinations.
- Take your own sunscreen. Finding your preferred brand in other countries can be difficult and looking like a leather couch is no joke.
I like to keep my make up natural when I go on vacation. Natural look and neutral colors will never be out of style. 

5. If The Hotel Has It, Don't Bring It! 
Respectable hotels provide towels, blow dryers, and an iron as part of their housekeeping service. In most cases, if you cannot find what you need in your room the front desk staff will be happy to lend you what you need.

The same is true of soaps and shampoos, and many hotels pride themselves on having high-quality products. Why take up space in your bag when you can use the hotel brand for free? I know your beach towel is super cute, but space is prime real estate... So is it cute enough that it's worth lugging around for the entire trip just so strangers on the beach can see your cute towel? (If the answer is yes, then bring the towel.)
I usually iron my outfits before packing them just in case getting a hold of an iron is difficult.

6. Minimize Your "Extra Stuff" 
Make sure your accessories go with multiple outfits before bringing them. I usually bring 1 day-to-day necklace and 1 statement necklace.

I find that I only really need 3-4 pairs of shoes per trip. When I travel, I usually bring:

- A pair of sneakers for those times you spend walking around (and if you are anything like me you will walk a lot). A pair of fabric sneakers (Converse, Toms, Keds) are ideal because they fit easily in a carry-on bag and dry quickly. Fabric sneakers serve the extra role of protecting your feet when visiting a destination where the streets are not well maintained or clean.

- A pair of cute sandals to go with those summer dresses in spring/summer travel, or a pair of black booties/boots to go with jeans and blazers in fall/winter travel.

- A pair of flip-flops for going to the pool, beach, or to slip on around the resort.

- I don't usually travel with heels, except when I went to Paris. Streets outside of North America and Europe are less than ideal for heels, and they will probably be damaged if you wear them out.
I wear my Converse everywhere when I travel. I wore them above as light hiking shoes and also with sun dresses here.

7. Use a Backpack as Your "Personal Item" on the Plane 
A cute tote or those side strap duffle bags might look nice, but they are a pain to carry for a long time. Backpacks are much easier when you’re running between flights, walking a long distance, or navigating a busy intersection. You can even put a small purse in it for when you want a small and stylish bag to hold your things.
 When I'm walking all day, I use a backpack to carry all my things including my camera (which gets heavy!) so I don't miss capturing moments like this!

8. Comfortable Joggers/Sweatpants Serve Multiple Purposes 
You can wear them on the plane, the bus, to grocery stores, and to bed. Pretty much everywhere. My airport uniform has always been a white t-shirt, joggers, a cardigan/hoodie and my Converse sneakers. It may not look stylish, but being comfortable on long flights is worth more to me than strangers complimenting my outfit.
These stripe pants worked as comfortable commute pants, and for photos with multiple tops.

9. If Losing It Would Make You Sad, Leave It at HOME! 
Definitely bring stuff that you like! But leave your expensive items at home. Things are bound to go missing or get damaged when you travel. Unless the Saudi Prince who I've been talking to on Hotmail make me his seventh wife, its likely that I will not take my Chanel purse traveling.
These photos are an exception since I purchased my YSL in Paris lol