This article was originally published on Beyond the Hutch.
Getting ready for a trip – whether it’s a weekend getaway, multi-city tour, or business conference – can be a process. But with a little bit of strategic planning, you’ll be ready to jet in no time.
Be An Editor
Make like Cher Horowitz and plan out your outfits for each day of your trip. Stick to neutrals, or stick to one color palette (I’m a fan of black and tans for city trips, and will venture out to blue and white for summer destinations). This will keep you from throwing things in last minute “just in case” you didn’t pack enough.
Once you everything planned, take a step back and get ready to pull out half of the items from your packing pile. Look at what can be swapped in and out (you probably don’t need 4 pairs of jeans), and focus on items that you can wear more than once (for me, that rules out white pants as I’m incapable of wearing them without getting them dirty). Move anything that you “might” wear back to your closet… And repeat.
Shoes tend to take up the most space, and are usually the items that take our bags over that pesky 50-lb limit. So unless you’re headed to Paris for Fashion Week, try to remember that you will more than likely wear the same pair of shoes during the day most days of your trip (sandals for beach vacations, sneakers or boots for a city, plus a pair of running shoes if you’re planning to work out while you’re there – good for you!). For nighttime, restrict yourself to two pairs max that you can wear with different outfits. Same goes for bags – a neutral crossbody or beach bag for day, and one or two clutches for night should cover you for any occasion.
Side tip: use those clutches to keep your jewelry organized in your suitcase.
Start by laying your shoes at the bottom of your suitcase (top compartment works too, if you’re using a hard-case that zips shut). Then don’t just pack around them – pack in them. Stuff tanktops or socks inside to maximize space (and prevent your shoes from losing their shape). Side tip: try to wear your bulkiest or heaviest pair on the plane.
My husband endured a bit of teasing from me the first time he whipped out his packing cubes. But now, I can’t live without them. They are the best for keeping smaller items (intimates/socks/swimsuits) organized and compact, and I swear they allow you to fit way more in, especially in tiny carry-ons. Combine packing cubes with the rolling (or “burrito”) method instead of folding, and you’ll have even more space.
Last but not least, unpack when you arrive. Even if it’s just a weekend! Not only will it keep your clothes from wrinkling, but you’ll also be able to see everything you brought when you go to style those mix and match outfits. Not to mention, it will keep your hotel room from looking like a hurricane blew through it and make it easier to pack everything back up again.