Three days until the Olympic Games! That also means I’ve got three days to figure out what I’m packing. I would bet money that most people find packing their least favorite thing about traveling. It’s definitely one of the most important parts of planning a trip though. There’s an art to not overpacking or under-packing.
Finding that sweet spot has been a process of trial and error for me. It seems that with every trip, I pack less and less. I’ve realized that I always end up wearing that same favorite shirt or pair of shorts. Packing less also means I’m more mobile. I don’t end up feeling like I’m dragging my house with me on my vacation.
- Pack clothes and shoes you’ve worn before. If you’ve never worn it at home, what makes you think you’re going to wear it on vacation?
- Traveling for two weeks or more? Pack what you need to get through one week and then find a local laundromat.
- Planning a multi-leg trip? I highly recommend using a travel backpack over a rolling suitcase. Backpacks make getting on and off trains and buses much easier. Plus you get to dodge all the rolling backpacks and cut through foot traffic faster. I learned the hard way trying to get up and down train station platform steps with a suitcase.
- To avoid overpacking, lay everything out and make outfits before you pack it away. Choosing neutral colors allows you to mix and match with a limited number of tops and bottoms. Check out this packing checklist written by travel writer Rick Steves. He also has a list tailored to women.
- Just because the airlines allow you to check a 50-pound bag doesn’t mean you should. You can get by with a lot less and your back will thank you for it.
BONUS TIP: Been wanting a new wardrobe? Consider packing clothes that you wouldn’t mind donating to a shelter or shop when you’re done wearing them. Your bag will be so light on your way home.