I am lucky that I have been able to travel a lot for both business and pleasure. Over the years, and most specifically post KonMari, I have picked up some great tricks on how to pack and travel stress free. I also like to caution that I am not a minimalist, I don't travel with the goal of packing into the most miniature suitcase I can. That just isn't me, but you can definitely apply my tips and tricks to that scale if it's your goal. Just like creating a home that works for you, your travel packing is one that is unique to you. However my tips easily apply to both minimalist and maximalist packers alike.
There are two types of travel; business and holiday. When packing for both I find there are two steps that must happen before you even set the suitcase on the bed. First check the weather where you will be traveling and next make a list of your needs. For the list of needs I write out the number of days I will be away and also note the activities that I will be doing while away. For example if traveling for work I will need a certain number of work outfits and will also take into account how many evening events there will be that may require an outfit change. Will there be downtime when I can hit the gym? Is there a pool at the hotel? These questions you want to answer and realistically look at your work load for the trip before add gym clothes or a swimsuit to the list.
For holiday travel you need to think of what you will be doing each day you are away and make a list of what you will need for your planned schedule. Keeping to your list will ensure you aren't just tossing your entire wardrobe into a suitcase and not wearing half of what you've packed. Now take your list of days and activities and start listing outfits to wear for each. Each outfit you list should include the undergarments needed, accessories and shoes that would complete the look. It's at this point that you will see if you are in danger of overpacking. One way to avoid overpacking is to plan the outfits for your trip around one colour palette. This allows for the interchanging of shoes and accessories, keeping your load lighter. For example don't plan to pack the outfit that requires you to bring a pair of shoes that you will only wear with one look.
Now that you have planned and have your list ready it's time to pull it all out and stage it before folding and packing. I pull it all out and lay it on the bed by category. All beachwear together, day looks, dinner looks, gym clothes, undergarments, accessories and shoes. Seeing it all together at this point gives you a another chance to verify your list and make sure you aren't forgetting anything. Now for the packing and this is where the magic of packing cubes comes in. Packing cubes are life and space savers! I pack each cube by the categories I mentioned above. In one cube I will pack swim/beach wear. In another will go daytime looks. Etc.... This is the magic that makes "moving into" your hotel or vacation home a lot faster and smoother. Because you have your clothes folded nicely in the cubes you can unzip them, fold back the top and place them directly in the drawers. My dinner looks and dresses I tend to hang in the closet since these fabrics tend to be more delicate and hang better vs folded. Also men's suiting and dress shirts are best hung directly in the closet once you arrive to avoid crushing and wrinkles. I never hesitate to call housekeeping and have more hangers brought in as needed.
I'm a mover-in-er at a hotel. I unpack and move in immediately upon arrival. Just like I unpack and move back into my home when I return. Years of working on the road, I would find this routine would take a lot of the stress out of being away from home. Using the packing cubes makes this task easy when you travel itinerary involves moving from hotel to hotel. This year my travel has taken me to multiple cities on each trip, moving into and out of hotels can be tedious and clumsy. With a well planned and packed suitcase and the use of packing cubes it was always a breeze to take out only the packing cubes and pieces needed for that particular destination.
I always pack a laundry bag (a cloth one swiped from a fancy hotel), if not you can use the plastic one that is provided in your hotel. This I use to put in clothes that won't be re-worn during the trip, like undergarments and socks. Basically the entire packing cube that held my undergarments and socks will be emptied into the laundry bag by the end of the trip. Quick and easy to dump into the wash when you come home. I also bring a small refillable travel container of laundry soap with me. On long trips it is used to wash up some frequently used pieces in the bathtub and hang dry. On a short trip it comes in handy to clean a stain so it doesn't set in before you get home. Another sanity saving detail is to give your purse a clear out before heading on your trip. Do you need to bring everything in your purse on your trip? Probably not. Lighten the load and give your purse a good clean and purge before your voyage. Loving your luggage is also key to smooth packing and traveling. If your bag is too big, too small, too heavy, your trip will be painful. Do your planning for your trip and purchase, or better yet borrow, the best suitcase for your needs. It's taken a fair bit of trial and error, some purging, donating and selling to get out luggage assortment just right.
My final recommendation is to give yourself plenty of time at the airport. Not rushing and running allows you to enjoy traveling. Most major airports have amazing restaurants and shopping to take advantage of. It's a nice way to start your trip before even lifting off the ground. If all this planning and allowing for extra time seems like a luxury I can share with you the very first step is to declutter your entire space. Living in a home that is organized gives you the time and clarity you need to execute day to day tasks with less stress, allowing you to live the lifestyle you envision for yourself.
Need help achieving that lifestyle? I can help! Need help packing for a holiday? I can help train you on that process too!! Here's to a making all your travel dreams come true in the coming year.