Pack Like a Pro

May 23, 2012 in On style

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer – and summer getaways!  During the next few months, opportunities abound for short trips that can provide a welcome break from the city or just your usual routine.  So take advantage of these occasions and be prepared to ‘get out of Dodge’ at a moment’s notice.  The trick is to know what to pack and be able to do it as effortlessly as possible.

Most people straddle two sides of the fence – either they pack too little and don’t feel they have what they need, or pack enough for several days longer than they’ve stayed. The goal is that sweet spot where you have everything you need and use; and wear most everything you brought.  How does one do this?   Read on, my compadres.

Less is more.  For a three day trip, think two bottoms, three tops, and a sweater or jacket.  Add in a dress that can be dressed up (no pun intended) or down.  A maxi is a great choice.  It can easily work pool or beach side with a big hat, sunglasses, and flip flops.  Or, for drinks and dinner, you can add embellished wedges and an armful of bangles.

Mix, match, and multiply.  Pack everything around a color theme.  For a 3 day trip, pick 1 neutral and add no more than 2 complimentary colors that work back to your neutral and each other.  Also, make sure that either all the tops or all the bottoms are in solid colors, so you’re not matching a tropical print top with a floral pant.  Pack more tops than bottoms, as day into night can be as easy as a change of your top.

Take a page from the men.  Guys don’t care if they wear the same thing more than once in a weekend – and neither should we.  There’s no reason that you can’t wear the same pair of jeans or shorts more than once on a weekend trip.  Contrary to popular belief, no one will be the wiser!

It’s the little things that count.  Accessories may not take up a lot of room, but a couple of pieces of statement jewelry can completely change the look of an outfit.  An evening clutch is also a smart addition and easily fits inside your daytime tote.  Hard as it may sound, try to limit yourself to only 2 shoes – a heel and a flat.  Add sneakers to the mix only if you r-e-a-l-l-y thinkyou’ll exercise.  (The same hold true for gym clothes.)

Size matters.  For the toiletries you simply can’t live without, use small, leak-proof travel containers. (By the way, just because a container is small, does not mean it is leak-proof.)  Although they are commonly sold in 2 and 3-oz sizes, a 1-oz plastic bottle will hold up to a 2-3 day supply of almost anything.  To avoid spills, only fill bottles ¾ of the way and pack in Ziploc baggies.  (They may not be fancy but boy are they practical!)  And, try to pack multitasking products.  For example, Vaseline works as lip balm, eye makeup remover, and even shines patent leather shoes!

It’s in the bag.  Let’s face it…most of us will fill a big to capacity, so choose a bag that’s no bigger than “carry-on” size.  A smaller bag ensures that you won’t needlessly over-pack.  Added bonus: the less clothing you bring, the less laundry you have to do when you got home.  Don’t forget to wear your heaviest items in transit to lighten your load and economize on space.

Be prepared.  Remember to check the weather and call ahead to the hotel to see what items they have in their rooms (robes, toiletries, umbrellas, hair dryers, etc.) that will reduce your packing needs. Weather forecasts can change, so always take sunscreen, sunglasses, and a bathing suit.
While you’ll want to bring a camera to capture the weekend, why not leave the laptop at home?  Instead bring a book that you’ve been meaning to read.  After all, these summer weekends are precious and few so go ahead and enjoy your downtime!  You deserve it.  Happy travels, weekend warrior!