In her book, The Joy of Less, Francine Jay devotes a great few pages about the benefits of packing lightly on a trip. As I read this last year, I thought "I could never do that" (pack only a few items for a trip), but then I remembered several instances where I already had!
The first time I had to pack light; I mean really pack light, was a trip I took with my husband and then one year old twins which included a 4 1/2 hour flight. By the time I had gotten the boys' clothes, diapers, wipes, and numerous baby paraphenalia (times 2) packed I found I had very little room left for my husband or myself. That trip was 7 days and I packed my husband and I shoes, swimsuits, clothes, toiletries and all in one small garment bag. It was the lightest I had ever packed for a trip ever, and yet I found I was really wanting for nothing once there!
We only had a few minutes to throw what we wanted to pack into my husband's carryon and then hurry to our flight. While on that trip we did have to purchase a few necessities once we got there, I was reminded that most of the things we don't pack are not missed once we arrive at our destination and start our adventure.
Same thing for our family trips. When packing for 7 days for a family of 7, I limit outfits per person (same for shoes) and am usually able to pack the 7 of us in three bags for a 7 day trip!
Next week, I am heading out on a trip. I am headed to much cooler weather than I am used to here in the Southwest (will be high 50s). I am headed to Paris. So this trip, looking stylish is important. So is comfort as I plan to do at least one walking tour while I am there. There are 100 things I have considered packing, but I am planning on taking one small bag as I do not wish to be burdened by heavy or cumbersome suitcases while en route, and especially on the Metro. So, I spent some time on the JourneyWoman site and also on HipParis.com so that I could read other women's tips on good items to bring, what to leave home, and how to avoid looking like a tourist, which besides being more stylish, is also safer.
My packing list: under 25 items items for 6 days. That's it. That is everything. This includes clothing items, one small ziplock of toiletries, a language dictionary, a travel journal, a frommers pocket guide, my travel umbrella and my cell phone.
I am packing one main color scheme so that all mix & match. Pieces also layer well to accomodate fluctuation in temperature. Scarves will be my main accessory. I am sticking with black as all the sites, recommended a black scheme for Paris.
- one pair slacks
- one pair jeans
- one black turtleneck
- one dress
- one jacket
- one vest
- my trench coat
- 2 sweaters
- one pair tights
- black shoes (dress)
- red ballet flats (casual)
- 2 scarves
- socks, underthings, one pair of pajamas
- one small ziplock back toiletries
- makeup: face powder, mascara, lip stick
- small language dictionary
- travel journal
- pocket frommer's guide
- travel umbrella
- cell phone
- This list includes the pants and sweater I am wearing on the plane so items actually being packed will be less. Here are some great tips for packing lightly:
- Check the weather forecast before. Don't pack for what-ifs. pack for what is forecasted.
- Stick with a main color theme. Mix and match pieces are key.
- Stick with pieces that can layer easily or be worn in different ways
- I always pack one scarf. A scarf can make the same outfit look amazingly different
- limit shoes to no more than 2 pairs if trip is a week or less
- minimalize makeup for trips. Do you really need 4 lipsticks for a 7 day trip. No.
- If traveling alone, limit yourself to one bag. This is easier to keep your eye on and keeps you more mobile.
- If you know, for sure, you plan to do shopping on your trip, pack an empty bag within your suitcase to aid you in getting those items home. I will definitely be doing that this trip ;-)
These are not hard and fast rules, but they are helpful to keep you from packing too much. I find myself really bothered when something I packed does not get worn, as that means i lugged it around airports, cities/countries for nothing. Therefore, each piece must be paramount. Especially, If i am packing for us as a family, as space within the bags making the trip is at a premium.
Are you a light packer or a heavy packer? If you're weekend necessities and outfits can't fit inside a "weekender" style bag, you might be a heavy packer. Trade that in for freedom and simplicity at your next destination!
photo credits: please see my Pinterest boards: brighton park posts, and french luvs for photo credits.