It’s funny, for the minimalist that I am, how hard it was to learn how to pack a suitcase productively. I have spent far too much of my vacation playtime pawing through my over-packed bag searching for that perfect thing and causing chaos.
I have come home from vacations with most of my clothes untouched because all I wore was my swimsuit.
I have gone on vacations and realized that the only thing I really needed was still at home.
Part of this is bad habits and lack of planning – I am notorious for packing last minute. So this pack rat decided to become a pack mouse and see if vacationing got less messy and more fun. (And it has!!)
After 20+ years of vacationing as a pack-rat, here’s what I’ve learned:
Bring what you love. You absolutely need to bring clothes that make you feel amazing. They should also be comfy, of course, but I am a strong believer in wearing what makes you feel beautiful. Because we all have more fun when we feel beautiful. So don’t leave that sexy something at home – bring it along and wear it as much as you can!
Think about the bin. I hate trying to put my stuffed-too-full carry on into the overhead bin – so embarrassing! And then, sweaty from hefting my pack up over my head and from a dose of self-consciousness, I settle into my seat to start my trip, feeling awkward and clumsy and ridiculous. (I am truly WAY too familiar with this.) It is just plain easier to move through the world while dragging less weight. You will find yourself freer to enjoy every moment, including the travel time.
Try easy. Don’t bring linen – or anything that needs to be ironed - it’s vacation!!! Avoid light-colored clothes that show stains when you spill your margaritas. Don’t bring clothes that readily show sweat.
Multi-task. My most useful item on a recent trip to Croatia was a beautiful scarf. Black and cream, light weight, large enough to cover my whole body but also easy to scrunch up into a tiny ball, it could be (and was) used as: 1) an extra layer on my legs on the plane when I was chilly; 2) a sun tent on the beach; 3) a sassy swim cover for walking to the beach restaurant; 4) a shawl in the evening over a dress; and 5) a pillow for my daughter on the way home!
Plan it before you pack it. If you are putting something in your pack, make sure it works. Try making little outfits in a layout. Here is a sample below for a week-long summer trip with plans to dine, hike, bike, and beach. First, I put out a few favorites that I feel good in including pants, shorts and a dress with coordinates.
Then, just to be sure, I made outfits.
In this very small carry on, I have what I need to be: active, dressy, comfy, sunny, rainy, and cozy.
And now, just since Nuu-Muu is the ultimate travel dress, I’ll remind my readers what Nuu-Muus do and don’t do:
Dress up beautifully
Go the distance
Wash up in a sink
Last and last
I wish you all pleasant travels and loads of adventure! I hope these ideas inspire you to pack light, feel beautiful, and enjoy every moment. What are your packing tips and tricks?
P.S. Don’t forget your water bottle.