Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Let's Talk About: Packing

Some people know how to travel in style. I'm not one of them. They pack the absolute essentials into chic little luggage and go their merry way looking like Audrey Hepburn, arriving at their destination half a world away as graceful and fresh-faced as they left. Me? I get stressed. I make lists. I panic. The husband retrieves our humongous suitcases from the basement. They are blue and marked with so many cat scratches there's no chance anyone else would mistake them for his at the baggage claim.

Then it's time to fill them up. Which I do, trying to fit too much of my earthly belongings in there for a three day trip or the entire content of my closets if going away for a couple of weeks. And the shoes. Oh, the shoes! How many pairs do I need? Should I take both the gold and the silver strappy sandals? And what goes with the raspberry colored Missoni dress? Did I pack that dress? Why did I pack this dress? I bet Audrey never packed the wrong dress.

Audrey has also never had to display her essentials in a plastic ziplock bag. Having your eye drops, La Mer and mouthwash ready for inspection in that baggy can never feel stylish. I keep these items at the absolute minimum, checking in everything I don't absolutely need for the flight. I also separate non-regulated makeup items like powders and pencils into a makeup bag (that matches my travel tote). It makes me feel a bit better not to pull them out of the ziplock when the time comes to put on my face before landing.

So, let's talk about it: Do you travel light? How many pairs of shoes do you pack for a week or two away? What's in your plastic baggy? When it comes to perfume, do you pack full bottles or decants and samples? If you have any great travel tips and secrets, please share them.

Photos: myvintagevogue.com


  1. After having to travel through Europe en route to the US after a year of living abroad, I had to pack an obscene amount of clothing. I have discovered that there is only one sensible way to do this, which is by rolling the clothes. You start with the heaviest clothes on the bottom, and get progressively lighter as you go up. Laundry is also rolled in a plastic bag. Another tip is to invest in the 4 wheel wheelie bags. My Botega Veneta luggage goes unused in lieu of crappy American Tourister bags that roll like a dream and allow you to be independent despite the relative weight of your luggage. I recommend them highly.

  2. Thank you for posting this. I am a mess 24/7 and I have to think about what to pack for my NY trip this weekend. I'll only be in town for 4 days but why do I feel like I need to pack for 7? Also, shoes kill me - that's what takes up most of the space in my luggage. Ugh it never fails. However, if I pack enough underwear, my contacts, glasses, cosmetics, moisturizers I actually don't feel as bad if anything it gives me an excuse to buy a suitable dinner dress that I just happened to forgot to put in my suitcase. Ugh this will be a challenge for me!

  3. I'm a chronic over-packer too, but I'm getting better at paring things down. it helps that I usually go to visit my Mum, and I have a stash of things at her house for emergencies (including a number of perfumes, of course).

    But the baggy conundrum is a poser, isn't it? I pack sample and GWP sizes of the essentials - cleanser, moisturiser, eye serum, hair products and the essential Regaine. As for perfumes, I go with decants, samples and minis. That way I can take several options to cater for my dithering and indecisiveness. :)

  4. In the last year I've been on my planes than I have in the previous five years due to moving across the country for school. Add in things like weekend getaways or the possible but hopefully will never happen family medical emergencies, I prepack my liquid beauties.

    There's literally a small section on a closet shelf devoted to regulation-sized products in the correct plastic bags for a decent skincare routine and hair care. Which comes in handy as for the last couple flights, I was literally running into the airport just after my clothes were on so during the layover time (there's always one for the cross-country flight), I am able to freshen up so my family, friends, or boyfriend when they see me arrive through the arrival gates don't see me looking like hell and back.

  5. I try to be a very light packer since I don't like to check baggage. I usually take three pairs of shoes: a dress pair, an everyday pair, and a pair of sneakers; unless I know I'll be getting dressed up often or doing a lot of walking. I keep all of my liquid toiletries in a clear TSA approved bag that's a little nicer than a zip-lock, and I pack everything else into a zippered makeup planner. When it comes to traveling with perfume I usually take samples, but if I don't have them I like to soak a couple of cotton pads with perfume and then store them in their own baggy for the trip. This way I don't have to worry about things leaking. Since I usually travel to the same places, it's been helpful for me to keep track of what I took on a trip and didn't use, or wished I'd had, so that I can pack a little more efficiently next time.

  6. I used to have to travel extensively for work and pared down to the absolute minimum - there's a reason why black jersey and white cotton shirts were invented! Shoes, which used to be High Drama, are now chosen for the occasion - biz, one pair of black Manolos - goes with everything. One pair of good neutral flats, ditto. One pair of flipflops - no bare feet on the floor, thank you Mr Howard Hughes.

    If I simply MUST take more than a lightweight bag I pack the nonessentials in a small box and UPS Ground them to my hotel. Relatively inexpensive and beats schleppint that crap through the airport - same with coming back - if I've been in San Francisco and have loaded up on foodstuffs I have them pack it and I send it via UPS (the hotel send is way less expensive than the place-of-origin send, plus you can combine all the stuff in one box.

    Pleasure travel isn't much different, though I might take a color outfit or two. And walking shoes (whatever's appropriate).


    Car trip allows a bit more latitude, though I still don't want to have to paw through a bazillion blouses..

  7. I keep a cosmetics/toiletries bag packed for the gym with hair stuff, trial sizes of moisturizers and skin stuff, earplugs, wide-toothed comb, bathing cap, etc. I use it when I travel. All I have to do is pop it into my carry-on. The compartments in the bag are all see-through plastic, so it makes it through security ok. One less hassle in the modern hell of air travel.

    Another tip I can think of is this -- you can't have too many cotton T-shirts. A long one can be a sleepshirt and also a bathing suit coverup.

    Pick one color. Mine's usually black. Don't take anything that only "goes" with one other thing. Double-duty, at a minimum!

    I can't stand to travel "heavy." I once traveled around Europe for several months with a backpack and a bare minimum of everything. I burned the clothes when I got home, but at least I wasn't encumbered!

  8. Olfacta,
    You are my new hero...

  9. here's a question- what items are regulated and what aren't?

    I've gotten better over the years but I still pack way too much.


I love comments and appreciate the time you take to connect with me, but please do not insert links to your blog or store. Those will be deleted. The comment feature is not intended to provide an advertising venue for your blog or your commercial site.

Related Posts Widget