For most fashion-inclined girls, packing for a holiday can be a real headache. On the one hand we’d all love to look like Carrie Bradshaw when she traveled to Paris in SATC but on the other hand, we live in a ‘real world’ where bags are limited to 20kgs, there are no valet boys to carry our bags and fabulous art show openings are not necessarily on the agenda. So – what’s a stylish-but-budget-conscious girl to do? How do you strike that perfect balance between looking chic whilst still being able to do tourist-y things?
Well, after many trips across the world and many packing mistakes made along the way, I’m happy to report that it’s possible. All it takes is a little planning!
Here are ten packing tips to help you remain polished whilst traveling the world:
1. Pack Light
I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again (because it’s true!): the quickest way to ruin a holiday is to over-pack your suitcase. I know it’s tempting to plan for any possibility when you’re packing (what if it rains? What if I decide to go hiking (even though you’ve never hiked before in your life) what if I meet Prince Harry and he decides to take me to Monte Carlo for the weekend?) BUT trust me, by the time you hop from planes to trains and buses you’ll hate all those clothes you packed ‘just in case’. Also, if you over pack then you’ll have no space left for souvenirs and local fashion finds!
Another thing I’d recommend is to invest in a light weight suitcase. I downsized to a medium-sized suitcase last year but instead of spending an extra 40 bucks on a light case I decided to go for a cheaper/heavier option. Big mistake! Every time I travel home now I think to myself: ‘I could have brought back a couple of local wines with that extra weight’. Booo!
2. Plan your outfits ahead
Remember that scene in ‘Clueless’ when Cher takes photos of all her outfit options? Well it’s time to recreate it! You don’t actually need to take pictures of yourself per se (although it’s always a fun exercise) but figuring out how you’re going to mix and match your outfits before you leave will definitely take a lot of stress out of your holiday.
3. Stick to a small color palette
A great way to ensure that your clothes will be easy to mix and match is to stick to a limited color palette. I’m a big fan of neutrals when I’m traveling (I blame my French roots) so I generally stick with black, navy or beige clothing which I then brighten up with accessories. If you like brighter clothes and prints then simply make sure that they are in a similar color palette. Avoid whites as they will be a pain to keep clean whilst traveling.
4. Downsize your Beauty bag
Between powders, foundations and multiple facial products, beauty bags can end up weighing a ton (ok, maybe not literally but you know what I mean). A good way to cut down on makeup products is to carry a small all-in-one palette with you or to opt for multitasking products (i.e. products that you can use on your face, eye lids and lips). You can see what I pack in my travel bag here.
I’m also about to buy one of those see-through bags filled with travel sized bottles so that I can just take small-sized beauty products with me in the future. They’re also great if you want to travel with a carry-on only!
5. Roll it up
This is something I’ve only started doing recently and boy does it make a difference! Rolled up clothes not only take half the space in your suitcase but they also prevent your clothes from becoming all wrinkly during your trip.
6. Pack NO MORE than three pairs of shoes
I know – WTF?
But truly, unless you’re planning to walk the red carpet during your trip, you do not need to pack more than three pairs of shoes. Instead, pack one pair of flats (for walking), one pair of sandals or wedges (to dress up and down) and one pair of black pumps for going out. And if you find you really can’t live without another pair then make it your mission to find a great pair of shoes on site. I personally couldn’t think of a better souvenir…
7. Think about layers
Even if you’re heading to a hot country make sure you pack a cardigan for cooler nights and strong air conditioning. Scarves (or sarongs, or shawls) are another great way to not only face cold conditions but jazz up a neutral outfit. If heading to a very cold country then make sure to bring thermals with you!
8. Only pack things you’ll actually wear
If you don’t wear it at home then you probably won’t wear it on holiday. Also think about versatility: does that great top work with the rest of your holiday clothes or will it be a one-hit-wonder?
9. Pack plastic bags
They may not be great for the environment but plastic bags can be life savers when it comes to traveling. You can use them for all sorts of things such as: separating wet or smelly shoes from the rest of your suitcase, creating a makeshift laundry bag, packing your liquid products to make sure they don’t spill in your bag etc.
10. Always pack a change of clothes in your carry on
I don’t want to jinx you or anything but suitcases do go missing from time to time. Thankfully airlines find them most of the times but it generally takes a couple of days which is why having a change of clothes in your carry-on is always a good idea. I also like to change half-way through my trip if I’m traveling for more than 12 hours. It feels so nice to put on clean clothes and underwear after a long flight!
Do you have any packing tips? How do you manage to travel in style whilst still packing light?