Some people can do a perfect mermaid braid. Others make a killer pasta bolognese. Everyone has something they’re great at, and my thing…is packing. I’ve done packing pieces in the past before big trips, and since I am heading to Prague (along with Ali!) today, I’m sharing my no-fail tips for packing effectively and stylishly before a big trip, no matter your destination.
Some of the biggest space wasters in suitcases and carry ons are full size beauty products, chunky clothes and unnecessary items. Cut down on those and you’ll save so much room! Some of my favorite mini sized products include:
- Flexible flats: Shoes are a girl’s best friend most of the time, but your worst enemy in a suitcase because they’re heavy and chunky. I love these comfy flats from Very Lovely Soles because they can slide in all kids of nooks and crannies
- Tiny electronics: Chargers, converters and the like are annoying to carry on, but always essential. I love these headphones and phone battery back-up from Modcloth because they’re sleek, cute and easy to find in my packed carry on
- Beauty samples and travel sizes: Any time I order from Sephora or make a Nordstrom makeup purchase, I usually end up getting a tiny tube of mascara or pot of lotion. They’re easy to forget about or throw away, but hang on to these for your travel
- Mini hair care: Never bring a full sized straightener or blow dryer. Call ahead to your hotel or Airbnb, as most places now at least provide a blow dryer, then grab a tiny straightener from Bed Head. These babies are seriously mini (only 1/2 inch) but pack a serious punch up to 400 degrees to have your hair looking bomb.
STICK TO THE CLASSICS
Traveling is not the time to break in a new pair of shoes or try out an outfit you’ve never worn. You’ll end up running to the nearest drug store for band-aids or re-wearing your old standbys again and again. Instead, stick with styles and items you know you love and can wear multiple times.
In addition to my flats du jour, I always make sure to bring layering pieces like scarves and light cardigans. Planes and trains get cold, plus these items don’t take up much room when you lay them flat.
Make sure you pack yourself some leggings (or wear them on the plane) but other than my stretchy pants, I have become a Henry and Belle girl through and through. This jean brand makes my heart sing because it’s locally form Chicago, woman owned, and they have finally created a pair of skinny jeans that fits over my butt without fitting weird everywhere else. This light wash made me feel like a Kardashian in all the best ways.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
No one looks like their worst self than when you get off a long flight, especially if it’s a red eye or overnight. And while nothing is going to make you celeb-level pretty right off a plane, I try to at least take care of my face and skin when traveling.
Key West Aloe makes a hydrating spray literally called “Too Cool” that you can spray right onto your face before, during and after a flight. If fights signs of aging, helps dull redness and won’t smudge any makeup you already have on. It’s a no lose product.
Aside from dry skin, I also am known to get a little rosy now and again (especially after a glass of wine or two). But to avoid looking like I just ran ten miles while I’m waiting in baggage claim, I recommend La Roche-Posay’s Rosaliac CC Cream, which helps neutralize my redness without being too hard on my skin.
Pick bags that will stand out in baggage claim or on other transportation terminals. You don’t want to be that awkward person grabbing someone else’s standard black bag. I’m packing this bright carry on for my trip because (a) it’s cute (b) it has great storage space and (c) there’s no way I’ll ever lose it.
I also am someone who constantly sets down my phone and camera places and then has a panic attack when I can’t find it. I finally got a bright phone case to mitigate the problem and also love this fun instant camera for trips as well. I still bring my DSLR, but sometimes you just want to take silly pictures with your friends! The blue stripe makes it excellent for flatlays (as you can see in this piece) and also means I always know which camera is mine when I put it down on the bar top or dinner table.
STICK TO YOUR FAVORITES
This goes back to my rule about packing classic clothes, but extends beyond the closet.
Have a favorite pair of socks you like to sleep in? Bring em. Need to read Glamour every month? Pack you latest issue. Can’t live without your morning Starbucks? Grab one of their individual portion packs and caffeinate in peace.
The goal of a great travel experience is for you to feel as at home in your new city as you do at your actual home. That way you can focus on exploring, shopping, eating and having fun without worrying that you didn’t pack enough underwear, or will get a blister in your new heels. So, follow these tips, and then go forth and travel!