Ten Tips for Packing Light


travel lightWith most of the airlines charging baggage fees now, it’s getting more and more expensive to travel. I’ll be flying in a few months and wanted some tips on traveling with only one carry-on suitcase. I found an article by Diana Pemberton Sikes career-intelligence.com. She has some GREAT tips for packing light! Here’s an excerpt from the article:

At the height of my clothing consumption days in my late teens, we were invited to the wedding of a family friend in Austin, Texas. It was a two day drive from our home in Colorado Springs, and my mother, in the interest of managing her limited trunk space, gave me an ultimatum: I could only take as many clothes as I needed for the trip. No more.

To make sure I did not over pack, as was my habit, Mother stood over me as I loaded my suitcase, militantly refusing to indulge my, “Let’s take everything and I’ll let you know what I feel like wearing when I get there” attitude. Every piece of clothing I packed had an assignment on my trip itinerary. I got everything in one small case, protesting as I packed.

Justifiably, it turned out.

At the rehearsal dinner on Friday night, we were issued a last-minute invitation to the bridesmaids’ luncheon, to be held the next morning at a posh country club. Having brought exactly the number of clothes I needed and no more, I was faced with the very scenario every self-indulgent teenage fashionista dreads: I had nothing to wear.


I couldn’t muster one extra outfit from my sparse travel wear, and given the lateness of the invitation (10 pm) and the time of the function (11 am the next morning), I didn’t even have time to shop. I ended up wearing the same dress I’d worn to the rehearsal dinner to the luncheon the next morning, sheer black stockings, strappy sandals, and all.

My mother never heard the end of it.

Thus, for any trip I took over the next few years, I packed practically everything I owned, even if it was for just a weekend trip. Business suits, jeans, cocktail attire – you name it, I was ready for it. That my bag always weighed a ton was of little consequence.

My, how times have changed.

There’s an old Aboriginal saying that goes, “The more you know, the less you need.”

I have found this to be true, particularly with clothing. You don’t need to have a lot to LOOK like you have a lot; you just need to know how to REALLY wear what you already own.

With that in mind, let’s apply this concept to packing for business trips, leisure trips, or any trip that takes you away from your closet for days on end.

Here’s what you need to do:

Check the Weather
Start by checking the weather in your destination city by visiting weather.com at: www.weather.com

Having shivered in San Francisco and melted in Mississippi, I’ve learned that it’s easier to pack for a climate different than your own than it is to shop for it once you get there. Always be prepared.

Make a List of Activities
Make a list of all the probable activities you’ll be doing on your trip, like visiting, eating out, going to church, playing golf, networking, meeting with clients, etc. This will give you a good idea of the types of clothes you’ll need to pack.

Decide on a Color Scheme
If you stick with a color scheme for your ensembles, you can mix and match them easily which means that you can produce numerous outfits from only a few pieces. Darks tend to show less dirt; neutrals can span a variety of climates.

Read the rest of Diana Pemberton Sikes here.


2 thoughts on “Ten Tips for Packing Light

  • February 19, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Loved this article. I used to be a serious pack rat and only got “cured” once we planned a trip to the UK.

    I knew there was NO WAY I’d be able to schlep tons of stuff around on the tube and had to travel light. The next year we went to Dublin, Ireland and I took about 10 kg total with me. It all fit into hand luggage πŸ™‚

    one tip I do have is this – if you have some old clothes that you’ve been thinking of decluttering, take them with you, wear them and then TOSS.

    it’s wonderfully freeing πŸ™‚

  • February 19, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Oh my gosh, Marcia – what a great idea! I have friends who buy items while traveling and give them away before returning, but I never thought of taking items and leaving them. You could even donate them to a thrift store wherever you’re going.

    Another idea when traveling with small children is to rent car seats, strollers, etc – even toys – when you get to your destination (or buy used from a resale store and resell them when you leave). Saves a lot of extra bulk!

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