how to pack light

The ONLY Packing Tricks You EVER Need To Know

[trip style = any]

Last week I met up with some travel industry friends who are on the go so much they put the jet in setter. The topic of "how we pack" for trips came up. I told them I almost always galavant with a carry-on—whether it's three days in Santa Barbara or three weeks in Stockholm

"Wait, how do you do it?", they asked. "What about your tech and toiletries?" I told them that for me, packing light comes down to one major factor: A highly edited suitcase {which includes decisions such as small toiletries and efficient camera and computer gear}.

With this, here are my rules for achieving an ultra-edited suitcase. And guess what? Even with my choosy packing, there are still outfits I don't even wear...

packing an edited suitcase

5 Rules for Packing an Edited Suitcase  
1/ Check the weather
The forecast will largely influence your travel wardrobe picks. Get a sense of the weather a few days in advance, and re-check a day before leaving since conditions can change.

2/ Review your itinerary {or major vacation to-dos} and pair outfits with each event
Last week I was in NYC. Since I had a pretty good idea of the activities I'd do each day, I chose an outfit to "suit" each Manhattan must-do, which helped guide the garments I placed in my bag.

3/ Shoes are your biggest opportunity
One of the basics of a well-packed bag is limiting large {or copious amounts} of shoes. Shoes take up too much real estate, so only bring footwear that will work with a few of your chosen garments.

4/ Select a go-to airport outfit
A go-to airport getup takes the guesswork out of getting out the door. On this topic, I tend to wear my biggest shoes and/or jacket on the plane, so these items don't add too much bulk to my bag. FYI: If you ask nicely, most flight attendants can hang up your coat for you. 

5/ The hack of all packing hacks: A portable washing bag
If your trip is longer than five days—about the amount of clothes you can fit into a carry-on—start to mix, match and repeat outfits. As things get dirty use this quick portable washing machine technique {hint hint: it's with a freezer-size Ziploc bag}.

[photos by @tripstyler] 

10 Days > 2 Cities > 1 Carry-On


[trip style = urban + sun]

Last week I jetset to LA, Palm Desert and Palm Springs with Mr. and Baby Styler to escape the West Coast rain and give Baby Styler his first taste of travel {see sitting poolside in a mini speedo}! 

{It was Baby Styler's first flight! We purposely chose a short ride as his first flying experience so we could test his reaction to the skies. I was very nervous how he'd react to take-off and landing; thankfully he was a dreamy traveler.}

Not wanting to give up my obsession with traveling light now that there's there's a baby in tow, all three of us brought carry-ons for our 10-day, multi-city, multi-trip-style trip. While there we experienced every weather pattern {save for snow} from torrential downpours in LA to hot days in the desert to cold spells at night. My small-batch packing got me through all of it, and not once did I feel like I needed to run to the store to pick up something I'd missed.

One jacket, two scarves and a blazer kept me warm during cool Cali nights. I wore my warmer tops, jeans and booties in downtown LA. And in Palm Springs I packed jean cut-offs, tanks, flowy pants and pool cover-ups that double as tops. All in all, I felt I had almost too many options!

Moral of the story: Packing light is easily doable for 10 days, multiple climates and various trip styles. If you bring an edited wardrobe and wear the big stuff on the plane, you'll zip through the airport, unpack and pack up faster and spend less time figuring out what to wear. 

What I packed
- 1 jacket {wear on the plane}
- 1 kimono-blazer
- 1 long and lightweight kimono {wear with jeans, shorts and to the pool}
- 1 sweater {wear on the plane}
4 tank tops {1 cropped, 1 jersey, 2 fancy}
- 4 tops {2 flowy blouses, 1 chambray, 1 Tulum Embroidered Top*}
- 2 necklaces
- 2 scarves*
- 1 dress
- 3 pairs of pants {2 jeans, 1 flowy}
- 2 bathing suits
- 2 pairs of shoes {sandals, booties (+ one pair of washable slippers)}
- 1 purse
- 1 clutch
- 1 pool bag
*items that can be purchased in the Trip Styler Store. Reminder, 20% off everything thru December 24th, use Promo code: TSholiday2014


Trip Styler Packing Tips
- wear big stuff on the plane {I wore my jacket, scarf, sweater, chambray, jeans, booties} 
- bring clothes in a complimentary color palette that can be paired together
- big scarves are a great alternative to bulky sweaters 
- limit your shoes, and wear the biggest pair on the plane
- bring a fold-flat tote as a pool bag, or to stuff things into when you're moving hotels or need an extra bag 

{photos by @tripstyler}

Packing 103

packing 103, why + how I travel with carry-ons[trip style = any]

Aside from talking trip styles, one of my favorite topics is packing: tricks, tips, carry-ons, new suitcases, etc.. Recently my friends asked me how I managed in Australia for just under 3 weeks of travel with one carry-on and a purse. My brief thoughts and strategies below.

Every trip I've taken since starting Trip Styler in late 2009 has been with a carry-on, whether the trip style is weekending, urban, beach, sun, spa, adventure, ski, or a combo of styles, it's always, always carry-on. The only exception I'd make is a ski trip abroad, which involves a ton of winter gear---unless you were to rent it there.

Why Two months before I started Trip Styler, I took a trip to Europe and Africa. That was the final straw. I brought a carry-on and big backpack. Big mistake on all fronts: a) I wasn't backpacking b) I brought too much. Combing through two bags to find clothes every time I moved from one city to the next was a nightmare. And given we're all time-strapped, why would anyone want to wait an extra 20 mins for their luggage to arrive on a carousel, or worse, have it misplaced {used to happen a lot to my husband} or lost by the airline?

How to Pack Light

  • You have to want to pack light.
  • Get a carry-on that's on the top-end {but just "under"} of carry-on size requirements for most airlines, or the airline you fly most frequently.
  • Wear your bulkiest shoes on the plane, it's shoes that are packing light's biggest deterrent.
  • Do you need 20 tops and 7 bottoms? I brought a fairly small carry-on {20 x 13 x 8} and this purse/tote with me last week to NYC, and managed to bring my toiletries, computer, 3 scarves, jewelry, a clutch, 2 shoes {heels and flats}, 2 bottoms, a leather jacket, blazer, a sweater and 10 tops.
  • Bring more tops than bottoms.
  • Accessories like scarves, wraps and jewelry are your friend. Men, this goes for you too with scarves. They can dress an outfit down or up, and keep you warm.
  • Layer-up on the plane a) to protect against air temperature changes, and b) to diminish what needs to go into your suitcase.
  • Roll almost everything.
  • Go with a colour scheme.
  • Ladies, leggings are your friend: they are light, small, easily washable and can be dressed up or down in an instant.
  • If you're flying an airline known for being strict with carry-on size allowances, bring a non-structured, malleable bag {like this Ben Sherman or Kenneth Cole for men, and this Longchamp Expandable Le Pliage for ladies} that can be pushed and shoved into the baggage measurement cube to fit to size. I use this strategy each time I fly a discount airline!

Luggage "Like" I've talked before about the world's lightest suitcase, the Sub-O-G {now called IT-O-2} before, but I'm seriously considering purchasing the 21" upright carry-on only weighing 5 pounds with dimensions that fit within most airlines' carry-on size restrictions. Though I wouldn't suggest it {or a bigger version} for checked luggage, it is great for traveling extra light.

Challenge If you're an over-packer {like I was until I started getting serious about packing light}, tell us about it! What inspired you to pack light? Will you go back to schlepping baggage on an off the baggage carousel?

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[photo features the IT-O-2 ultra light carry-on suitcase and a Clare Vivier La Tropezienne purse, discussed above]