Sissy’s Tips For Packing Like A Pro
There are plenty of good reasons to pack light. Whether it be the daunting thought of a fifth floor walk-up you booked on AirBnB, fear of lost luggage, or the stress of having too many options, lightening your load is always a great idea. But much easier said than done, right? Right. I once brought two huge suitcases for a ten-month and 23-bed trek across three countries. Another time, I promised myself one tote bag, no makeup, no perfume, no jewelry and only one pair of shoes for a long weekend in Palm Springs.
Both times, I was miserable. I’m fresh off an eight-day, six-town summer road trip and this past year, flew to NYC for a week in late fall. Two totally different challenges. So, I thought I would share some helpful tips for efficient packing and reduced-stress travels. First, consider three things: weather, activity, events. The real things—not the maybes, not the what ifs.
Start with the shoes. Aim for two pairs, three if you plan to workout. Pack one pair that goes with everything, is weather appropriate, okay for walking a bit, casual enough for being a tourist, but can be dressed up if needed. Pack a second pair for walking longer distances and/or challenging terrain. If your workout trainers happen to be fashionable to fit the bill, lucky you. If not, pack those too. If you don’t workout or if you won’t go into a suicidal depression if you skip a session on vacation, leave them at home. (Wait! This is how the overpacking starts but IF you have room or IF you are a germaphobe, bring shower slides. They’re lightweight and can also work at the pool or with PJs.)
Now for the clothes. Look at the weather forecast for the days you’ll be in your destination and consider which things you’ll be doing each day. Start with the shoes and plan away. Aim for unfussy things that can be worn more than once and coordinate with one another. Lay it all out and remove anything that can’t be mixed and matched, except for any attire you need for a special occasion or event you’ll be attending.
Bags to pack in your bags? Bring a hip pack for days when it is better to be hands-free, such as going through airports with luggage, moving through crowds, rushing onto trains and subways. Also bring a cute little handbag for days when you wanna look cute. And a tall canvas shopper bag will be handy for the times you may need to shred layers or add layers throughout the day. I keep one folded up in my cute little handbag just in case.
You’ll need PJs to sleep in. Bring a nice set for sleeping/lounging—ones in which you feel presentable enough to have coffee with your hosts or in a motel lobby.
Next, undies. Thongs take up so little room. Pack more than enough.
Extras: One swim costume if you plan to swim. A hat to protect from the sun is a good idea. Something crushable will obviously travel best. If you must take jewelry, pack the pieces that stress you out the least.
Be real with yourself about toiletries. Try to pack only your essentials. Complicated and redundant skincare systems can be skipped a week. Beauty products can be heavy, messy and more than 3 oz can’t be packed in a carry-on. But if you know you’ll be hunting down a Sephora on day one of vacation for that precious clay mask you left behind, just pack it for the peace of mind. Sometimes to save space in my bag, I just buy things like SPF and a jar of coconut oil once I arrive in a place and pay it forward when I leave.
This should all fit into a rolling suitcase in carry-on size so you can skip baggage claim and get right down to business – or pleasure – once you arrive at your destination. - Sissy
Now that you're ready to pack like a pro, we highly recommend investing in some effortless and airy pieces to lighten the load.
Photos (from top): Courtesy of Everett Collection; photo by Eddie Chacon.