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Saturday, July 25, 2020

How To Pack Light For Your Next Getaway

With everything happening in the world right now, people are hoping to still get away, but one has to be safe when they do. Taking a weekend getaway or a short road trip can be fun, safe, affordable, and give you a bit of your sanity back. If you're traveling with family, cut down on things you need to take by packing light (which I do even when traveling alone, because I don't want to keep track of too much and I don't want to carry a heavy bag). 
When you fly to your destination, one of the easiest ways to save – time and money – is by traveling carry-on only. Road trips give you more flexibility, but you still have a finite amount of space. Use that extra space for your cooler and your kids or dog, if you have them. You don’t need much for a few days, which means you can pack quickly. I always have a packing list to help me keep the number of items down and also to make sure I don’t forget any of the essentials. I know when I get to my destination I can probably buy whatever I missed packing, since a weekend getaway isn’t going to take me that far from home, but right now, cutting down your contact with people is essential, so make sure you bring it all with you, including your Coronavirus safety kit. Here’s how to build your packing list:

Instead of even travel-size shampoo/conditioner, these samples can work for a weekend getaway
Normally, I take this 3oz hand cream, but these two sample packs are more than enough for 3 days
Save those samples
I know I’m not the only one that has a bag full of samples and trial-size health and beauty items. Every purchase I make from Sephora or other department store makeup counters comes with mini sizes of beauty products. I also sign up for many freebies online. When I travel, I go through and see what I can use and then pack it in my 3-1-1 or toiletry bag. I’m never going to use a full-size thing on a two-week trip, much less just a few days, so there’s no point bringing a whole container of anything, be it toothpaste, moisturizer or shampoo.

Pare down your beauty routine
Even with all your travel-size items, it's still smart to take less. If you have an extensive morning routine at home, see what you can just get away with. I don’t load up on the makeup normally, so I figure there’s no point in taking a bunch of unnecessary items that I’ll probably not use. I know when I wake up I’m going to do the bare minimum so I can hurry up and get on with my day. Four or five products are all I need: moisturizer, foundation, powder, blush or highlighter and mascara. (optional). See what things you can do without. If you are an eye makeup kinda girl, look for makeup palettes that have everything you need in a neat little package, so you don’t have to pack everything separately. My new favorite is the honey palette from Urban Decay.

Decant, decant, decant
Sometimes you can't find samples of your fave products, but you don't need to waste space by bringing even a large travel-size container. In this case, I say decant. Eric has a fantastic shave cream from Kiehl's, but it takes very little for each use, so I put some in a travel pot and kept the actual container at home. This makes it doubly perfect for traveling.

Pack multipurpose items
I love it when things do more than one thing. Cheek tint that is also a lip stain. Tinted moisturizer with SPF instead of sunscreen, moisturizer and foundation. A maxi skirt that can also be worn as a dress. A tablet for games, books, email and internet. All these things are perfect companions for your carry-on bag, because they take up less space.

Two people's clothing for a week in Vegas that all fit into a weekender bag.

Mix and match
As always, when you coordinate all your clothing, it’s super easy to pack in a carry-on. Two bottoms and three tops can mix and match to make SIX outfits. That’s way more than you’ll need for a long weekend. Don’t forget that what you wear in transit can also be rotated in as needed. And shoes! You should take two pair – max. Make sure they are both comfortable enough to walk in all day. I had a coworker who told me that she had 16 pairs of shoes she wanted to take with her to Mexico on a four day trip. Sixteen! I don’t even think that many shoes would fit in my carry-on and if they did, there would be no room for anything else, except maybe socks and underwear. Her trip was for a wedding, so aside from what she needed for the ceremony, she could have survived with a sun dress, a pair of shorts, her bathing suit and some flip flops. Learning to pack efficiently is important and can save you a ton.

That’s it. Think about what you truly need with you for three or four days and be realistic. Don’t play the “what if” game. Luckily, right now there aren't that many things that you can do spontaneously that you haven't planned for, like going to a club or a fancy dinner.  Sometimes it seems like it might be harder to pack for a short trip than a long one, but with some practice, it can be super simple. Just think, if you don’t bring something that you thought you could live without, by the time you miss it, you’ll probably already be back home.

Yup, that's my actual packing list!

On a normal trip, we take two bottoms, three tops, a pair of sandals/flip flops and a pair of walking shoes (my sandals are walking shoes, so sometimes I take a pair of ballet flats) each and our packable jackets. I throw in a travel dress to wear when I'm feeling lazy. All that and our toiletries fit into our rolling carry-on. 

Don't forget your electronics and their charging cables, plus a travel power strip for your hotel room (if you're staying in one), because they almost never have enough outlets. Then download a good road trip play list and a selection of podcasts and/or audio books and you're good to go!

What are some of your favorite ways to travel light?

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