If there’s one thing I despise, it’s lugging around a lot of extra weight that I really don’t need to. Especially when you’re wandering across Europe, hopping on trains, hopping off buses, hyperventilating when you walk down possibly the longest set of stairs ever just to reach the tube. I legitimately pulled a muscle in my shoulder one time because I tried to carry my life in a suitcase for a two week trip. I didn’t even wear everything I had brought! It really gets you thinking about what’s important in life…when it comes to packing!
So, I have established a super strict one bag rule when it comes to traveling, whether it is for a weekend, week, or 3 months. It keeps me sane and my body thanks me greatly for it. The last thing I want to do is go weight lifting just to be able to carry my suitcase around on a trip. So not worth it. People freak out when they hear I take one bag. Why? The possibility of not having everything you could possibly need for every worst case scenario or even normal scenario is too much for some people to fathom. I don’t need to take an entire drugstore with me in case my nose gets stuffy. There’s this wonderful thing called a pharmacy – they are everywhere. Yes, even Europe. I don’t need a million pairs of pants that are every different color or a suitcase of makeup. K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid).
My upcoming trips to LA and NYC are giving me an excellent opportunity to keep reinforcing this idea. I am taking one backpack because it is easy to carry around and I will not, for the life of me, overstuff it because my spine will collapse if I do. I am also paranoid about checking my bag anywhere I go. Too many of my friends have lost their luggage due to careless luggage carriers and I am not about to add to that statistic (this is just a personal fear, it certainly does not mean you are guaranteed to lose your checked luggage, I would just rather be safe than sorry). Also if you have packed enough stuff to force you to check your bag, then you probably have too much. Unless you have a massive ballgown wedding dress, to which I pat you on the back because I have been there done that. Although on some airlines you can take wedding dresses on as another carry-on. I managed to use this to my advantage on a flight from London to Richmond simply because I was a solo traveler. I had 3 bags and the agent was very kind to overlook this.
How do you keep packing simple? Easy. Whatever you have set out for yourself, divide it in half. There’s no way you need all that stuff. You don’t need an outfit picked out for everyday on your 1 month trip, trust me. There is such a thing as laundry – use it. My methods are a little extreme, so I don’t expect others to follow suit. Typically I pack a pair of jeans, leggings and one skirt. This is a big enough variety for me to play around with. For my winter trip, my wardrobe is going to consist of some heavy duty leggings to wear under another pair of pants because I get cold faster than you can believe. A massive cozy sweater is a necessity as well as a sweatshirt and jacket (wind and rain resistant). Add in two more sweaters and I’m good to go with clothes. The people I am going to encounter aren’t going to know I haven’t washed my pants for a week unless I tell them, but that doesn’t exactly make for hearty conversation. If this girl could travel with only the clothes on her back, then I think I can survive with a sweater or two and so can you.
Girls make traveling a little more stressful than it needs to be. I like to look pretty as much as the next girl, but I don’t bring a bag of cosmetics with me. Pack your staple items – foundation, mascara, lipstick, eyeliner. The natural look is so in when you travel. Make a statement with bold eyeliner or pretty lip color. You should also remember you only have a quart size ziploc bag you can carry on with you and pretty much all makeup falls under that liquid requirement (yes, even lipstick). Remembering your deodorant is more important anyway.
You would be surprised to find how much more efficient and enjoyable your trip is when you aren’t constantly toting your giant suitcase around with you. I am so grateful for the kind stranger in London who carried mine down the rest of the stairs at the tube station. It also embarrassed the heck out of me. I shouldn’t need help to carry my own luggage!! So one bag is what I will pack, and one bag is what I will return with (unlike last time. Souvenirs gets me every time!).
Check in for future posts providing you lists of essential packing items and photo board ideas to inspire your packing and get you even more excited for your trip!