Having always travelled for my jobs I think I would win a gold olympic medal for packing (if there was one).
So, if you want to learn how to pack the minimum amount of stuff you need, look effortless at the airport and look great when you get to your destination read on…
1) Check the weather at your destination and get clear about the purpose of your trip
For the purpose of today let’s cover 2 examples: a work trip to a long-haul destination e.g., NY and a summer vacation. Although we are going to cover the same process both have a few differences that we will need to cover.
2) First decide on your colour palette and keep to no more than 3 colours that all work together easily
For my work trip i’m going to choose white, taupe and navy
For my summer holiday i’ve chosen blue, white and pink
3) Select your shoes
Shoes are bulky and therefore you want to really minimise the number you have to pack. If you really want to minimise your selection i’d recommend a neutral colour for these. The other advantage in looking at shoes first is that it will limit your outfit selection later on which is what you want
For my work trip i’m going to select 2 pairs. The first is a nude stiletto (or pump for you Americans!) and my second is a smart trainer. Both options can be dressed up or down depending on the outfit.
For my summer holiday i’m going to select 3 pairs. A pair of silver wedges for evening, a pair of silver sliders for day, and a pair of white sliders for the beach.
4) Select a comfortable travelling outfit(s)
I’d recommend trousers for travelling and your best option is upmarket loungewear. When you are thinking of your outfit you need to look for comfortable fabric that doesn’t restrict the waist, doesn’t crease easily as you may need to sleep in it and if possible is breathable so there will be no nasty smells if you are going somewhere hot and will be wearing the outfit for a long journey.
The added advantage of wearing loungewear is that this can also double up as a snuggly outfit if you have an evening watching telly in the hotel or if you need to run down to get a casual breakfast and want to throw something on.
For my work trip I’ve chosen a comfy wide leg knitted trouser in taupe, white t shirt and taupe cardigan matched with my trainers. I’m also going to wear an off-white trench coat over the top.
For my summer trip i’ve chosen a light blue linen mix trouser and white t shirt with my silver sliders. As i’m going somewhere hot i’m not bringing a coat of jacket but i’ll bring a lightweight cardigan just in case.
In addition to your travelling outfit, I always bring a pashmina with me as I often get cold travelling, but they also make great pillows or blankets if needed.
5) Next you are going to select your outfits
For this bit i’d recommend you get a paper and pen so that you can actually select what you will wear for each day. The idea is to have a bit of choice but to really limit things as much as you can so pick things that mix and match as much as possible. Generally, I find that you will need more tops than bottoms and tops need to be changed more often.
For my work trip i’m going to select 2 bottoms and 4 tops: 2 pairs of ecru trousers 1 wide leg, the other tapered, 1 off white blouse, 1 taupe blouse, 1 champagne coloured sequined t shirt and 1 ecru knitted vest top. I’m also going to bring a chequered blazer (in blue and ecru). All of these things mix and match easily and I know that if I do end up going out it is normally straight from work, so i’m not planning to go back to the hotel and change. I’ll wear the trainers with the wide leg trousers and the stilettos with the cigarette trousers.
The summer holiday needs 3 different sets of outfits; Outfits for the evening when i’m going to nice restaurant, outfits for the day when I visit a market or go sightseeing and finally beach / pool wear. Overtime i’ve realised that for summer holidays you only wear each outfits for a really short time each day so i’ll often wear an outfit twice or even 3 times. So this time i’ll bring…
Evening: 3 dresses (1 pink, 1 white, 1 blue all linen) all style well with the silver wedges
Day: 1 maxi skirt (white, blue and pink), 2 shorts (1 blue, 1 white) 2 linen shirts (1 chambrey, 1 white) and 2 white t shirts. All work well with the silver sliders
Beach: 2 short coveralls and a selection of bikinis. Both work with the white sliders
6) Don’t forget your pjs
I’ve added some nice cotton pjs to my list of essentials as firstly they make great lounge wear for chilling, but they are great at keeping you warm / cool if the hotel is too cold / hot at night.
7) Next, it’s time to accessorise
As you can probably see i’m all about packing as little as possible so when selecting my colour choice I also choose if i’m planning to bring silver or gold jewellery. For both of my trips i’ll take siliver this time with a selection of pieces for day and evening. All the items need to fit in a small travel jewellery case.
I also normally bring a hat with me. For a summer trip i’ll bring a straw hat and for a wintery trip i’ll bring a beret or smart beanie type of hat. I’ve found these are much easier to pack than an umbrella and also more useful as they have an advantage of keeping your hair less frizzy.
Finally for bags I will look at bringing 2 bags; a lager bag to use as hand luggage / beach bag and a cross body bag with removeable straps so that you can use it as a cross body during the day and a clutch in the evening.
My advice would be to pack all nude underwear as it is going to go with everything, and comfort is always my top priority.
9) Hair, skin and make up
For hair remember that the majority of hotels supply shampoo, shower gel and body cream so if you can manage for a day or two without your favourite brand then you could use those. If not, then i’d recommend buying some travel sizes or decant your products and remember that when you pack put your liquids into a plastic bag and pop them somewhere accessible if you are only planning to bring hand luggage. Most hotels also are stocked with hairdryers so only bring any appliances you need.
For makeup I try to keep things neutral. Other tips I have is to remember that lipstick can double up as blusher, use a bb cream instead of bringing a moisturiser and foundation and dyeing your eyebrows and eye lashes are good options for that summer holiday as I am yet to find a waterproof mascara that works. Use those perfume testers instead of bringing a glass bottle in your luggage.
As I travel so much, I have a fully stocked toiletries and makeup bag with just what I need so i don’t have to sift through all my products every time I pack.
10) Finally, don’t forget to include all the electrical items / adapters you need.
As with my makeup I have a fully stocked bag that is always ready to go that just gets added to my luggage
When it comes to packing my advice would be to put your shoes and accessories at the bottom of your bag and then lay your clothes on top. More recently I’ve started packing my velvet hangers as I can simply lift outfits right out of my luggage and normal hangers are much more useful than the weird hangers that they have in hotels. I actually haven’t ever used packaging cubes but do hear good things about them so I may invest in them at some time.
I hope you like the tips that i’ve provided here. Do let me know in the comments if you agree with these tips or if you have additional ones that you like to use.