Here are some of my tips:
- Make room. It's so much easier to pack when you have some room to see what you actually have. I cleared a section in my closet about a week ago, and have been adding and subtracting items from there. Yesterday, I commandeered the couch, and spread everything out to fold and actually pack into the suitcase.
|The room I made in my closet to pack|
- Start early. I'm usually a packing procrastinator, but for a trip this long, you want to make sure you have everything you need.
- Do your laundry first. Yeah, this sounds like a no-brainer, but I thought I was good to go, space wise, looking at my hanging rack space, and then I realized: I haven't done laundry in two weeks!
- Pack enough sleepwear, workout clothes, and undergarments to last at least a week. This may seem like an area you can skimp on to save room for "fun" clothes, but you really don't want to be spending a couple hours every few days in a new and exciting place doing laundry.
- Check the farmer's almanac for historical seasonal weather where you'll be, but bring a few "out of season" items, too. The summer I spent in NYC, it was rainy and really chilly for a good chunk of the summer, and guess who only brought two pairs of pants? Yeah, that would be me.
- Only pack clothes that can mix and match, including shoes. This isn't the time to pack that skirt that only goes with one top and one pair of shoes (that don't match anything else). That's taking up way too much valuable suitcase real estate!
- Buy toiletries, especially those of the drugstore variety, when you get there. For instance, if you know you'll go through a bottle of face wash, and a bottle of shampoo, save the space in the suitcase, buy it when you get there. If an item is pricey and it takes you forever to go through a bottle, pack it. One thing to note: if you happen to have allergies and won't be somewhere where products are familiar (like in a foreign country), you may want to pack your own toiletries, to avoid an allergic reaction.
- Pack a variety of shoes, and make sure they are shoes you can actually wear and walk in. If you can't, don't bring them. They'll sit there taunting you the whole trip while you wish you brought your trusty wedges.
- Bring accessories! I almost always forget this, but it's an easy way to change up the way that black dress looks after the 10th time you wear it for the trip! Just be sure to put them in your carry on if they have any sentimental or monetary value, just in case your luggage gets lost.
- I packed one carry on rolling bag, and had one large check bag. I'm also carrying on a small tote with my computer, etc. in it. In the rolling bag, be sure to pack any information about where you're staying, a change of clothes (keeping in mind what you're supposed to be doing the next day) any medication, and any camera equipment you may bring. In case your luggage gets lost, you'll have something to wear the next day, all of the important papers you need, and your camera, laptop, and other expensive equipment will be safe! Also, be sure to pack your phone charger, in case you get delayed and want to phone a friend!
- Things are going to get wrinkled, no matter how perfectly you fold. If you won't have access to an iron, a travel steamer can be a lifesaver!
- Consider where you're going, and what you'll be doing on the trip to guide what you pack. But make sure you bring at least one swimsuit and one fabulous dress- you never know who you'll meet or what opportunities may come up, and you'll want the option to dress up!
- When you're done packing, check your weight! Even if it all fits in the bag, you'll get slammed with a heft fee if your bag weighs more than fifty pounds.
Phew! So those are my basic tips, but here is what I actually packed for this trip (which, for me, will entail seeing a lot of friends, going to dinner with Brett, and hopefully hanging out at the beach a good deal):
- 5 pairs of jeans (one wide leg, two cropped, two skinny)
- 2 pairs of shorts
- 2 skirts
- 3 short sleeve tops
- 8 sleeveless tops
- 4 long sleeve tops
- 8 day dresses
- 1 romper
- 2 cardigans
- 1 jean jacket
- 5 belts
- 2 dressy dresses (which went in the hanging bag that Brett's bringing)
- 9 pairs of shoes (3 flat sandals, 1 pair of wedges, 1 pair of lower heeled sandal, 1 high heeled sandal, and 1 dressy, 2 ballet flats)
- 1 watch, 3 sets of earrings, and a necklace (I'll be picking up most of my jewelry in Phoenix)
- 2 swimsuits
And for beauty stuff:
- Regular makeup bag
- Flat iron
- Shampoo and conditioner (it takes me forever to go through a bottle, and it's pretty pricey, so I'm packing it)
- Blow dryer
- Mani/Pedi kit, with a few polishes
- The rest will be purchased there!
Yikes! It seems like a lot. Well, I guess it is a lot!
As far as the actual packing process went....
- I put my shoes in first, and nestled in little things like socks and belts among them:
|Shoes all nestled in, with socks and belts filling up any extra room|
- And then layered workout t-shirts on top of them (something just doesn't seem right about laying pretty dresses on top of shoes to me!
- After that, it was pretty simple: I neatly folded my dresses, pants, tops, and skirts, and stacked them on top of each other.
- On top, I put my shampoo, blow dryer, etc.
- In the carry on, a majority of the room was taken up by my cameras and medication i take, but I added some more clothes, too, kind of where I could fit them.
- My books, magazines, and laptop went into the tote bag, so I have easy access to them the whole flight!
In the spirit of full disclosure, I didn't pack running shoes, because I left a pair at my parents when I moved to Virginia, and I may pick up a few pieces of clothes that are currently being stored at their house, but I definitely think I could be fine for the summer with what I packed!
What's the longest trip you've taken? How do you think I did with my packing (I don't leave til morning, so tell me if I forgot something)?!