Tips to Avoid Over Packing for Your Trip

Photo by: Flickr
Photo by: Flickr

Even if you’re not a serial over packer, everyone has over packed for a trip during their traveling career.  Maybe you were taking a week-long business trip and thought you needed different day and evening wear for the entire length of your stay. Perhaps it was a vacation and you decided to pack for every possible weather variation, even though you were going to the Bahamas in the summer. No matter what the situation may be, there are steps you can take to make sure that you do not fall into one of the many over packing pitfalls.  So the next time you book your flights and your hotel, think about the following tips when you go to pull out the suitcase.

First of all, think about the old carpenter’s adage: measure twice, cut once.  One way to be sure that you have enough time to actual think about what you’re going to pack for your trip is to not do it at the last minute.  Pulling items out of drawers and closets and tossing them recklessly into your suitcase is the way to guarantee that you’re going to over pack.  So when you’re trip is approaching, find time a day or two before to get everything in order and plan out what you’re actually going to need.  Thinking twice and packing once will allow you the time you need to minimize what you decide to take on your trip.

Second, think about the outfits you’re going to wear on your trip.  By planning out what you’re going to wear, you get away from packing a nebulous pile of tops and an equally unmanaged group of bottoms that you hope will come together as paired-up combinations that you like once you get to your hotel.  Try using a two-to-one ratio to start; two tops for every bottom and the space in your suitcase just got a lot less tight.  As we tend to wear clothes for shorter periods of time when we’re away than when we’re at home, pants, jeans and skirts can certainly make a second appearance together with a fresh top.

Lastly, just say no.  Say no to packing something “just in case.”  If a formal event is not on your schedule, you most likely won’t suddenly be invited to one after you arrive at your destination.  Say no to bringing more than three pairs of shoes.  When you’re putting together your outfits, make sure you’re lining things up that will allow you to wear the same shoes multiple times during your stay.  And be sure to wear a pair during your travels that you’ll also use at your destination, even if they are sneakers for your morning walk.  Finally, say no to anything you’re not thrilled with; when you’re on vacation or on a business trip you want to look your best so don’t take anything that you’re going to stress over in front of the mirror for an hour because you won’t wear it anyway.

Whether it’s for work or for play, travel should be enjoyable.  Don’t make it less so by over packing and getting annoyed during the packing process, at the airport when they mention what the additional bag fee is going to be or at your hotel when you realize you’re not going to wear half of the things you absolutely had to bring.  One way or another, not over packing will improve your travel experience even if it’s because you can have a private laugh at your fellow travelers as they struggle with their bags and you glide on by with yours.