Okay, so how to NOT overpack for your weekend trip to the next city over (or any trip, really). Thanks to Andrea Tiffany for this idea!
It’s harder than it seems, because if you’re so focused on trying not to overpack, then you accidentally end up underpacking. Which, depending on how you look at it, can be worse. Since I’ve had much experience with both, I wanted to share a few of the things I keep in mind when packing for a trip of any duration!
BE SUPER REALISTIC
If you’re not a stickler to your skincare routine when you normally travel, you don’t need to bring all 35 products that you use.
If you don’t wear perfume normally, chances are you are not going to start on this trip.
It’s one thing to have started a habit (say, wearing perfume) and trying to keep up that habit overseas, but completely different when you think you’re going to start using/trying/wearing all these things that you normally don’t. You’re already going to be changing up your routine because of the travels and chances are you’re going to be pretty busy exploring, eating, trying other new things than that perfume you bought.
HOW LONG ARE YOU GOING TO BE GONE?
Let’s say your trip is three days. If you can go three days without switching up your bras, it’s one less thing to pack! Think about how long you can live without doing some of your rituals you normally do at home.
And I don’t mean “live” as in “how long can you live in survival mode”. I can go a very long time without certain things if I had to. But for comfort, it might be worth packing away if you can’t be without it for too long.
KNOW THE WEATHER & WHAT YOU’RE DOING
Even though knowing the weather of where you’re going should be obvious, I feel like it can be easily overlooked or forgotten. If it’s going to be an average of 60 F there’s no reason to be bringing a swimsuit. That little thought in the back of your head that says, “oh, but it’s good to have just in case…” is wrong. Stop it. On the very, very slim chance you’ll need a swimsuit you can always buy one over there. Similarly, if it’s going to be 80 F for the duration of your trip, jackets/hoodies/sweatshirts should be out of the question. I would bring a light jacket for the plane if you get cold easily, but that’s it.
On a related note: knowing what activities you’re doing (or might be doing) also helps you figure out not only what clothes to bring but also things to bring.
My trip around Europe was a LOT of walking. Aside from wanting another pair of reliable walking shoes, I also want comfy pants. I might pack looser jeans/leggings as opposed to skinny jeans, which get uncomfortable for me after a while. It’s all good and nice to pack a pair of skinny jeans but if they’re not comfortable you’ll end up leaving them in the suitcase for the better part of your time. So why bring them?
And although I’m used to going a week without washing my hair and living on dry shampoo at home, with all the walking I probably want to wash my hair at least every other day. Therefore it’s a bit of a waste to bring a huge can of dry shampoo since my hair takes longer than that to get greasy. I don’t mind mediocre amenities either, so for me there was no need to bring shampoo, conditioner or body lotion since they’re generally provided in the hotels.
Also, if you’re not a fashion blogger or someone who changes into “dinner clothes” you can probably pack an outfit a day. That’s not to say you can’t bring any pair of nice clothes, but half of your suitcase doesn’t need to be fancy. UNLESS you’re on a cruise—you might have a dress code for dinners and they might have formal nights, so bringing one pair of nice clothes is good. But again, remember you’ll have the chance to buy something locally if you need more.
BRING AN EXTRA… SOMETIMES
It pays to bring an extra pair of comfortable shoes. An extra pair of contacts.
It’s simply unnecessary to four jackets on a weekend getaway.
Don’t bring things on the basis that you might wear them, or you want to have options. There are plenty of ways to give yourself clothing options without packing your entire wardrobe. For every clothing item I pick, I make sure I can wear it at least a few different ways before packing it away.
And remember! You are going to be wearing clothes (presumably) on your flight. I had a designated airplane outfit where I was wearing my big boots and jacket so I didn’t have to squeeze them in my luggage. This makes it easier to bring “extras”; I still had another jacket packed in my actual bag.
REMEMBER THAT YOU CAN BUY THINGS OVER THERE
Yes, it totally stinks to buy something you know you already have at home, but it’s not worth it to bring too much from home (you’ll have to keep track of it too!) than to spend a few dollars to get it when you arrive. Besides, it gives you a chance to do a little shopping!
This pretty much covers what I think about when I’m packing so I don’t overpack and am actually happy with the items I’m taking. It really just depends on the trip and what kind of person you are (if you get hot easily, cold easily, etc.) to make it work. I hope you enjoyed this post (and my rambling)!
Do you have any tips for not overpacking? Any travel packing hacks?