Thursday, July 19, 2012

Traveling Light

It's finally Thursday!

I'm off to Texas tonight after work with Ryan and can't possibly sit through another work day I'm so excited! We're going to visit his family in San Antonio, and I'll be meeting his dad, step-mom, brother, sisters, and two highschool friends for the first time! While I was getting ready for the trip, I had the idea for this post: packing tips!

For some strange reason, I love to pack. It's a game for me to see how much stuff I can fit in my suitcase and still be under that 50 lb. airline checked bag limit (I think Anna at My Semi-Charmed Life might have some experience with this)! It helps that I have the most amazing lightweight suitcase. I discovered it when reading this article from Real Simple several years ago:

I'm going to die when it rips or breaks because Eddie Bauer doesn't make it anymore. 

I also have this little guy from Eddie Bauer (which they also don't make anymore) for my carry-on suitcase:

The packing dynamics are pretty hysterical in my family. My mom packs her entire closet, unsure of what she's going to need so she just packs it all instead of narrowing it down (we all have to hold our breath when they put it up on the scale in airports; it typically registers around 49.5 lbs). My dad carries enough camera equipment to photograph America, and who really needs clothes anyway, right Dad? My sister throws in tops and bottoms and inevitably gets to our destination saying, "None of my clothes match. Can I borrow something of yours?" And I'm the packing pro (if I must say so myself). I manage to pack just enough without sacrificing style. On our 10-day trip to Italy, I managed to pack my suitcase full and it only weighed 38 pounds. Win.

I recently read these Packing Tips from the Pros featured in Real Simple and found myself nodding along with several of the suggestions. I'm here to share a few of my favorite with you, and if you love to travel like I do, these will definitely come in handy!

1. Stick to a color scheme. I usually pick one neutral (black, brown, or navy) and go from there. Choose one pair (or two) of shoes that will go with all your outfits. For this trip, I'm taking my favorite gold sandals so they'll match everything. I went with a navy/white/coral theme and I'm taking my favorite blue Kate Spade purse and made sure my outfits went with it as well, since it's my "accent" piece.

I typically choose a scarf as my go-to piece in cooler months, but patterned flats or a statement necklace works great too!

2. Be a lightweight. Wear the heaviest clothes you're packing on your day of travel. I'm always freezing in airports and on planes, so I usually am fine wearing jeans and a sweater when I travel. I'm wearing this three quarter-length-sleeve dress tonight so I'm warm enough on the plane but not sweating when we finally get to Texas. I also packed an old airplane blanket in my suitcase to wrap around my legs. 

3. Roll your clothes. I don't always follow this rule, but it certainly works when my bag is over-stuffed. It's the only way I managed to get all those clothes in my suitcase when we went to Italy. I was able to just fold my clothes for this weekend and put it on one side in order to fill up the other side with my toiletries, makeup bag, running shoes, and hairdryer (being a girl is so complicated sometimes).

4. Lay out all your clothes. I always put my clothes (by outfit) in piles on my bed before I put it all in my suitcase, adding belts and the proper undergarments as I go. That way I know I have a top and bottom that matches and I don't end up with more than I need or items that don't coordinate.

5. Embrace the accents. This one is easy. If you're traveling to a big city where the dress code is black, black, and more black, make sure you have a few accents for a pop of color. 

Most people choose to do this through jewelry, but I tend to keep it simple. I wear minimal jewelry every day, and usually just pack a few bright, fun earrings to match my outfits. For Texas, I'm just wearing my diamond stud earrings and these two David Yurman bracelets. Plus, too much jewelry will set off the metal detector in the airport!

As this post is already rather long, I'll have to tackle my toiletries in another post (they're my favorite part). 

And here's the finished product:

This organized suitcase makes my OCD happy.

Now, your turn! Tell me your favorite packing tips and secrets! 

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