Packing Like a Pro

Does anyone enjoy packing? Allow me to be the first one to say that I hate it.

The night before I moved to France, I was frantically throwing my favorite belongings into a suitcase and hoping it didn’t weight more than 50 pounds. My mom was in my room as I was near tears (with a clay face mask on), trying to fold and re-fold all of my clothes.

My heels wouldn’t fit.

My coats and blazers were too bulky.

My suitcase was 10 pounds overweight. Talk about a nightmare. Why did I put off packing? (I’m a horrible procrastinator, that’s why.)

And yet, a couple months ago I was taking trips with a tiny JanSport backpack for a week’s worth of adventures. What changed? I learned a couple tips and tricks on how to get by with less and be more efficient with my packing. If you want to know, keep reading.

Evaluate: Length of trip, destination, etc.

Okay, before trying to give any packing tips, I need to specify that these might not all work for you. The way you pack for a two week trip to Cuba is going to be drastically different from the way you pack for a year long journey across Asia. You need to look at all the factors of your trip before deciding how to pack:

Is it short-term or long-term?
Which seasons will you be experiencing?
Is it rainy where you’re going?
Is it a tourist excursion or a business trip?

Alllll these questions will determine exactly what you pack, therefore impacting how you need to pack. After living in Europe for a year, here are some things I’ve picked up from my travels.

Do you really need that?

I’m a notorious over-packer. Sure, I’m only going to be in Paris for the weekend, but like… I might need seven outfit options. What if I want to change every three hours? If you struggle with narrowing down your absolute favorite things for a trip, look at your Instagram feed. This sounds stupid, but it can help you plan your outfits for the trip. Figure out what types of pictures/outfits you’d like to wear while there, and pack according to that.

Save space with those weird vacuum bags.

Okay, a guilty pleasure of mine while packing is watching all my bulky clothes shrink into that tiny little bag as soon as I turn on the vacuum. It’s oddly satisfying. Most stores (Target, Walmart, even Publix I think…) sell these things, so go grab a couple ESPECIALLY if you are traveling during the winter. You will need a coat, so might as well pack it well. If you’re traveling during the summer, you might be able to get by without these.

Shoes. Don’t bring more than three pair.

It pains me to say this, but it needs to be said. I brought six pairs of shoes with me to France. I have worn two pairs consistently. Even as I type this, I am ashamed. I have even bought shoes here that I have not yet worn. Sigh. Good shoes are an absolute essential for any trip, but don’t overdo it.

Be flexible.

You will buy things. It is inevitable. Whether it is food or postcards or clothes for you and every member of your family, you will buy things. Leave a little room in your suitcase for your newfound goodies (or be prepared to throw out your old things with no hard feelings, of course.).

What are your best packing tips and tricks? What would you like to see next in my travel series? Comment below and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for all my latest posts!

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