Good evening, friends!
Sadly, my time in Seattle has come to an end. *Sigh.* Making the trek back to the East Coast went considerably smoother than the trip out there; it was great to have a relatively painless travel experience today. Minus some technical difficulties (I actually wrote this on the plane and had planned to post it several hours ago when I was in Chicago), I made it back unscathed.
In case you missed it, here are my major highlights:
Pretty tasty salad, in case you were wondering!
Anyway . . . I’m home now, but since I’ve had travel on the brain all week, I thought I’d share a few packing tips!
First off, I should tell you that I hate to pack. It stresses me out (shocking, I know).
But my packing stress lies not with the worry of forgetting something. Oh no. My concern is that I won’t have enough stuff. Or I won’t like anything I have to wear. Or I’ll need a different colored tank/belt/sweater than the one I brought. So this packing post is devoted to paring it down and consolidating it all!
I know you’ll be surprised to see this up first:
Yep! It’s a list!
I like to make a calendar of sorts that allows me to plan out what I might want to wear each day, as well as other miscellaneous odds and ends that I need to throw in, like comfy clothes for lounging or workout clothes.
Next, I try to commit to one pair of shoes for the trip. This is a serious challenge, and it doesn’t always work, but experience tells me that I probably won’t wear that really cute pair of heels or ankle boots that I thought I just had to squeeze in. So I choose one pair for everyday where and coordinate my packing around those.
Then, I lay everything out.
I also have a cocktail. It helps take the edge off.
With everything laid out, I can see exactly what I have, what I might be missing (hello, socks!), and what goes with what. I like to try to make some pieces do double duty!
I also try everything on. This takes a little longer, but it helps me to make sure I have outfits that are really going to work, rather than ideas in my head that may or may not work once I get them on. Do you know what I mean???
Once I’ve committed to the pieces I want to pack, I roll!
If you don’t roll your clothes when you pack, please convert yourself now. It saves SO.MUCH.ROOM! And then you can pack more—or buy more stuff when you get there!
Also, utilize the “dead space” in your bag.
Sneak some socks inside of your shoes—this is valuable packing real estate! I also put things like belts and sports bras inside of shoes. They fit and it frees up enough space for another top!
As far as jewelry goes, I try to choose one versatile silver necklace that will go with everything and one gold of the same nature. For earrings, I do a few gold and a few silver, just because I’m all about the option, but a good rule that I sometimes follow is one dangly, longer pair in each metal, and one or two shorter pairs (think daytime) of each as well.
When it comes to cords and electronics, a makeup bag works perfectly to corral all that mess!
I love this one because it has the little handle on top, and I can stash it in my carry on bag easily. My chargers, cords, iPod, camera, headphones, mouse, etc. all fit inside (semi)neatly, and it’s easy to inventory what I have and what I may have forgotten! Not that I ever forget anything . . .
Especially when I have longer flights, I make sure to stock up on travel-friendly snacks beforehand. These days, you never know if you’re going to get anything to eat on the plane, and if they do have “food available for purchase,” it probably costs close to my right arm! I love to hit up what I call the “bar section” of Trader Joe’s for this kind of stuff!
My go-to flying snacks are Clif and Clif Z Bars, plus Trader Joe’s fruit leather. I know some people aren’t into bars like I am, but Clif Bars are seriously one of my favorite things! They are chewy with little bits of nuts and fruit in them and some even have a little drizzle of icing. YUM! I also like that they have around 10 grams of protein each so they can act as a small meal in a pinch. They’re also relatively low in sodium so they don’t contribute to icky airplane swelling!
Clif Z Bars are supposed to be for kids, but with flavors like Honey Graham and Chocolate Brownie, there’s no chance you’re keeping me away! And the Chocolate Brownie flavor tastes just like a brownie. Swoon!
I also love that the Clif Bars are made from organic ingredients and no high fructose corn syrup. It’s nice to put something good into your body while you’re traveling, ya know?
Besides being delicious, the fruit leathers have no added sugar, so you’re getting in some fruit for the day, too! I like to pack these so I’m not tempted to go to town on a $6 bag of gummy bears from the airport bookstore!
A few other tips . . .
- Don’t bring it if you don’t need it.
- Duh, right? In all seriousness, though, if there’s a hairdryer at your hotel, don’t waste space on packing your own. Think in the same vain for other toiletry items like shampoo, toothpaste, and razors. Most hotels have them for free if you just ask, so there’s no need to pack (and carry on) unnecessarily. My cousin has a hairdryer, straightener, shampoo, etc., so I didn’t bother bringing any of that along. Think think think!
- Hit up the travel section at the drugstore.
- Again, maybe a no-brainer, but rather than scramble around trying to find acceptable travel sizes of all of your favorites, buy the little plastic bottles and transfer your usuals into them. Then, there’s no worry of breaking out from using a different face lotion or face wash. Or, if you think ahead, you can save little mini jars whenever you get the free sample at the makeup counter. Just refill them when you travel, and you’ll always have your favorites on hand!
- You can put other stuff in with your liquids.
- When you go through security, all of your liquids have to be in a quart sized bag—but it doesn’t have to be only liquids. My suitcase actually has a clear zippered case that came with it for expressly this purpose, but I also put my combs, razor, pony boppers, and bobby pins into the same bag. There’s room for them there, and the security folks don’t seem to mind!
- Check your flight status BEFORE you leave for the airport!
- As I mentioned earlier, I had a rough travel experience on the way out to Seattle due to bad weather. This seems to be pretty much par for the course for me when it comes to traveling. My flight is invariably cancelled or delayed or something, so I’ve learned to check my flight status just before I head to the airport. That way, I’m not stuck waiting there any longer than necessary.
- If you have a connecting flight, carry on if you can!
- There is nothing worse than having a lost bag. When I’m flying direct, checking a bag isn’t quite as daunting, but if there are connections to be made, I want my bag in my possession! At the very least, I make sure to have my toothbrush, makeup, medications, and any other essentials in my carry on so in the event that my bag is, ahem, misplaced, I can still deal!
Alright, since I clearly need all the help I can get, it’s time to spill!
What’s your best travel tip???