I'm notorious for overpacking. I love to have several outfit options, just in case. When I traveled to NYC for BeautyCon last October I was forced to live out of a carryon for the weekend. This past weekend, I traveled to New Jersey for a wedding and also had to cram my life into a carryon for this occasion, as well. After both of these events, I ended up learning a few tips and tricks on how to live out of a small luggage for a weekend trip. So, the next time you need to stuff your necessities into a 10x16 inch fabric coated plastic rectangle, refer to this post for some packing guidelines.
PLAN AHEAD: KNOW THE WEATHER, CHECK YOUR EVENTS
Before any trip, it's critical that you know what the weather is going to be. If you don't check beforehand, you might find yourself packing sweaters and cardigans and leather jackets, but arrive at your destination and the weather is so warm that you end up not utilizing any of the outerwear you brought with you; vise-versa for cold weather. My favorite app to use for checking the weather is "The Weather Channel." You can look at the 10-day ahead forecast in addition to the hourly weather. No longer will you have to be unprepared!
As for events, it's good to know exactly what you're doing. Some may call this the itinerary; the itinerary goes hand-in-hand with the weather. If you know you're going to be outside for a lot of your trip, maybe heels aren't your best betIf you know you're going to be attending a soiree or two, maybe those stilettos would be appropriate. But regardless, going into a trip blindsided by what you may or may not be doing will only lead to over-packing.
For my trip to New Jersey, the weather was a bit warm and humid. But, since I knew I was going to be inside most of the time, I decided to pack outfits (for the night before and night after) with the same pair of black skinny jeans and two lightweight blouses. For the wedding itself, I decided to wear a black satin slip dress because the material is easy to pack and it's the perfect amount of formal without making me become overheated in the sun and warmth.
Along with the pieces that I wore the night before and at the wedding, I knew that I was going to want to hit the gym at least once. Therefore, I decided to pack some running tights and a tank top with a built-in sports bra (less to pack this way) for the time I was going to be spending in the gym. Worse-comes-to-worse, if I ended up not deciding to workout a second day, I could've always just re-worn the one outfit that I brought with. Normally, I wouldn't recommend wearing the same sweaty clothes as you did the night before, seeing as though it can cause body-breakouts. But, sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. Am I right, ladies?
DON'T SECOND-GUESS YOURSELF: PACK WHAT YOU'RE COMFORTABLE IN, NOT WHAT YOU MIGHT BE COMFORTABLE IN
It's normal to want to pack several options for a trip, because given the weather and other circumstances, you may not be "feeling" the outfit you originally planned on wearing. But, when you're living out of a carry-on for the weekend, options just won't work. Before making outfit decisions and packing all of your clothes, it's essential that you try on all of your outfits to make sure that you're comfortable wearing them. If you're not 100% satisfied with the way you feel at home, chances are you won't feel satisfied or confident at you destination.
Personally, I'm always wishy-washy with shoes. What if I want to wear heels even though I can hardly walk in them? What if I want to wear flats with ribbon because #soblogger, #sostylish. But then reality hits and I realize that I'm probably going to want to wear sandals because I definitely don't want to struggle in the heels.
For my trip to New Jersey, I decided to pack my favorite block heel, strappy sandals with me. Since they looked super chic with my more casual outfits, but looked equally as dressy for the wedding with my satin slip dress, I ended up saving a lot of space without having to second guess my outfit ensembles. In addition to the sandals, I'm also packed with me my running shoes. Since I ended up working out, these were ideal.
Especially with shoes, which take up a lot of luggage room, it's important to be able to wear a pair for more than one occasion, versus one event exclusively. This way you'll save room and cut down on the "options" factor. But remember, make sure you try them on first to ensure your comfort.
KNOW HOW TO PACK: THE DO'S AND DON'TS OF PACKING WITHIN A SMALL SPACE
Everyone always says that rolling your clothes is the way to maximizing luggage space. "They're" not lying. I always roll my clothes when packing. Not only does it allow for more space, but, it also helps prevent your clothes from wrinkling.
For jewelry, I always put my pieces in small jewelry bags. You can find these anywhere, but most of the time they come with the pieces you purchase. I love using these bags for my jewelry because it not only protects the pieces, but it also prevents them from getting lost and tangled within my carry-on bag.
For shoes, I put them in duster bags or any other fabric bag. I always save my shopping bags from Free People because they are great quality and work amazing when wanting to protect your shoes or clothing. For packing luggage especially, these bags really help to maximize space and make sure that the shoes aren't floating around with the soles making your clothing dirty.
Lastly, for makeup, I always pack the least amount I can. I think ahead of the makeup look I want to wear and pack accordingly. I put all of my makeup, including brushes, into one bag to save space and it also helps when I'm unpacking I know where everything is.
The last step is putting everything you've prepared (above) into the luggage. You may think this will be hard, but SURPRISE, it isn't! I always pack my shoes first because they take up more room. Then, I put my clothing bundles in, followed by my jewelry and makeup. As you can see, I have packed about 4 outfits and two pairs of shoes and still have a TON of room leftover in this tiny duffle bag.
The key to packing is knowing that EVERYTHING should have a place. By using canvas, jewelry and makeup bags, you're ensuring organization while maximizing the amount of space in your carry-on.
ADDITIONAL TIPS & TRICKS...
- If you're carrying on a piece of luggage, you're also allowed to bring on a "personal" item. If you end up needing more room, a backpack is a great personal item to bring with you. You can fit at least a pair of shoes and a few more pieces of clothing in there, along with a smaller purse and a magazine or two.
- Since you're not allowed to bring large amounts of liquids on the plane, don't! 99% of the time, the hotel provides most of the liquids you need for hygienic purposes. And if not, most locations have a Walgreens, Walmart or Target within walking distance if you need to pick up a few things once you arrive at your destination.