I think I can safety say I have managed to crack the art of packing savvily using a small cabin baggage. (No, not the Chanel in the photo!) This stemmed from that one time my bag got lost (or as I would learn afterwards, just never left the airport on my way to Vienna). That 3-day experience with a woman’s purse as my sole luggage taught me much about how I can never leave these things to chance. It is not rocket science: minis, staple clothes and well-planned, versatile shoes make my life super easy. Of course it’s all in the mind: I would be lying if I told you I never forgot
- MacBook cable
- Clean socks
But it was never anything I couldn’t replace, adapt or buy from scratch. So – it is a beaten track topic but here we are again with question from readers about how to pack and have all you need with you. As you may remember I’ve written on this already but here’s a quick reminder of some less-than-obvious points to craft the perfect luggage for work or pleasure trips.
- Make sure you have one, two, three of each: I know, if you like squeezing the tube out for that last drop of cream and hate having doubles, this may be a struggle. Yet, having various sizes and items of pretty much everything does help when you have too many things on your mind. Now that I divide myself between Europe and California, having doubles of shampoo, creams, toothpaste and even shoes really is making my life super easy!
- Shop at the airport for last minute things like toothpaste. And makeup remover. Or migraine tablets! Cannot leave without them, I have blisters of pills scattered all over my bags and luggages. Better safe than sorry.
- Always pack the same things (kind of): I have road tested outfit that I always recycle and know they can be suitable for the purposes of my trip. I mostly dress in black so it’s an easy feat, but it can get complicated when you need to pack two types of clothings for two locations in the same trip so plan well!
- Make lists: as above, plan everything so you’ll be saving time later. Plus making a list helps to visually think and photograph a snapshot of your needs. It works for me by crystallising concept black on white.
- Create outfits that work: I know what works with what – lengths, cuts, fabric contrast… so I don’t have to think about it too long nor risk carrying a chunky knit all the way to Iceland to then realise it doesn’t suit the style of the skirt I’ve picked for the trip. Tried and tested outfits save time – some people I know take photos of combos and keep them in their camera roll to easily choose in a swipe.
- Choose shoes that go well with anything: an easy one if you see point above, but still, shoes are real space occupiers. I like changing shoes and also carry an extra pair in case I get massive blisters (it does happen) and cannot get multiple wears out of the same model. Plus I love shoes, so whatcha gonna do.
- Pack a canvas tote to carry extra stuff: when I was traveling to Bali a couple of years ago silly me didn’t check the intercontinental allowance for a cabin bag. So my perfectly packed 12-kg trolley was checked in because limit was 9kg. I had a tote bag into which I could pour all the important stuff I didn’t want to send into the haul (headphones, jumper, makeup, mac, phones, purse, expensive shoes or bag…) and that was a life saver that is not part of my suitcase all the time.
- Always check airline allowances: see above!
- Travel comfy (and wear the bulkiest things): unless I’m going in and back on the same day, I normally like to travel in my lululemon gym tights and trainers. Which is practical and space savvy – sneakers are very bulky and chunky and would easily use up half of the bag.
- Don’t leave anything for when you land: money, wipes, toothbrush… you don’t want to end up stranded somewhere without the stuff you know you need. Remember Vienna! I had to sleep in my makeup. Read that again. Sleep. In. My. Makeup.
- If you like improvising, check if the destination allows for it: for a short period of time before I came to my senses I used to leave it all to chance. Forgot a comb? I’ll buy it there! Forgot socks? I’ll find them there. And if it was things I could leave without, fine. After ad-libbing on an adapter and going mad to find one in the place where I was staying I decided it was not worth my sanity. Lesson learnt.