Packing for a trip can be daunting for some, and exciting for others. I fall into the latter category. I love to pack! The challenge of pulling together exactly the right attire for the type of trip I’m going on is a challenge I’m always ready to accept. Slade is more of a last-minute, throw-everything-into-a-bag kind of packer. This usually leads to one or two missing items per trip (last trip, it was his swim trunks). We’re working to fix that.
Over the years, I’ve come up with some packing steps and tips that make me more efficient and thorough.
- Start by looking up the weather wherever you’ll be traveling. Knowing the type of weather to expect will help you eliminate some packing bulk.
- Consider the kinds of activities you’ll be doing. Will you be hiking a lot? Going out for fancy dinners? Hitting the beach? Knowing what you’ll be doing is key to good outfit planning.
- Make a list. I love lists, so this is my favorite part. Make sure your list includes:
- Essentials (passport, wallet, etc)
Not a list person? We’ve got you covered. Download our packing list here.
We’ll come back to these three guidelines throughout the packing process.
STEP #1: "THE ATTACK"
First things first: Pull out every single piece of clothing in your closet that you think you might want to wear on the trip and put it in a pile.
Yup, you heard me -- everything. This is my #1 packing secret. If in doubt, include it. All done? Good. Now the real fun can begin. First, leave your pile and do something else for a little while. Then, come back to your pile with a fresh set of eyes.
STEP #2: "THE EASY PURGE"
Next, ask yourself the guideline questions for each item you pulled out:
- Is it weather-appropriate?
- Is it activity-appropriate?
- Is it on my list?
If the answer is NO to any of the three questions, put the item back in your closet.
STEP #3: "THE HARDER PURGE"
Come on, we can narrow each item down even further:
- Does it go well with a certain top/bottom? Write down the unique outfit.
- Can it be worn with at least two outfits? Write down the possible combinations.
- Is it easy to wash?
- Does it need to be ironed?
Once again, if the answer is NO, put the item away.
STEP #4: "THE HARDEST PURGE"
Lastly, we assess the clothing we have left. How many outfits do you really need to bring? A good rule of thumb:
SPRING/SUMMER: 3-4 unique outfits a week for up to 3 weeks
FALL/WINTER: 2-3 unique outfits a week for up to 3 weeks
So how many unique outfits do you have? Count them and rank them in order of which you love most.
Now it’s time to remove excess. Traveling is for making new memories, not sitting in your hotel room trying to figure out an outfit in the morning.
Remember that the rest of your outfits will be made up of the combinations you came up with, and you want to maximize these combinations as much as possible. Keep any unique outfits whose items make up the most combinations, and eliminate any items (and thus, unique outfits) that only make up two combinations.
STEP #5: "BUT WHAT IF?"
You’ll want to have one (just one) extra outfit in case anything goes wrong.
I recommend making that outfit a transitional outfit, so if you’re traveling in winter, make it a bit lighter in case the temperature warms up, and if you’re traveling in the summer, pack a heavier outfit just in case temperatures cool unexpectedly.
That's all you need to know! Good luck packing, and let us know in the comments what sort of packing tips you swear by.