Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Travel: You Don't Have to Sacrifice Clean Underwear

Let's Roll, literally

For six nights in Barcelona at the end of November 2011, we packed one roller bag, one duffle bag and an umbrella stroller.  Everything we needed for myself, my husband and my baby (who was 5 months at the time) fit into two bags.  This felt like carrying a lot; when we went to Italy for 10 days two years ago, also in November, we only took two duffle bags.

We like to pack light because we're not going to have more fun if we pack more stuff.  I've never been on a trip and thought that if I had just brought more stuff, I'd be having a better time.  Our fun comes from the experiences we have, not the number of wardrobe options at hand.  (Why we can't translate that to the amount of stuff we have and keep at home, I'm not sure, but we do a good job when we travel!)

We feel more mobile and more liberated, the less we pack.  The more we pack, the more we have to carry, keep track of and repack.  Also, since we live in New York and take lots of public transportation to get around, sometimes to and from the airports, we want to avoid getting jostled around in a stream of people.  The only way to minimize this is to minimize the stuff.

Do we change underwear every day?  Find out after the jump!

We're not packing experts.  I mean, we roll up socks to put in the crevices of the bag and stuff like that, but we don't vacuum pack anything or do anything out of the ordinary.  Here are some things we do each trip:

1.  Take one pair of shoes.  
I took a pair of black soft leather Oxfords.  On other trips, I've taken mid-heel boots like my Rachel Comey pen pal boots.  For this trip, Rob took a pair of brown leather laceups that you can dress up or down.  If we're going to a warm-weather destination, I won't think twice about adding flip flops.  If we are going somewhere we can and will run, we will pack running shoes and pack less elsewhere.  If we are going somewhere cold, we wear the big boots and maybe take a smaller pair of shoes if we need the options for dinners out or whatever.

2.  Make sure everything coordinates.
I won't take a shirt that will only match with one pair of pants.  All of my tops must coordinate with all of my bottoms.  That way, I don't have to think much about pairing things and I give myself as many combination options as possible.  This often means that I take lots of blacks and greys when we travel in the fall and winter because it's the easiest.  Rob and I even like to coordinate with each other, but we are nerds that way.

Can't go wrong with neutrals
Jean jackets go with everything.  And look how cute!

3.  Pick a theme and do it up with accessories and makeup.
I pack light, but I still like to dress cute and have fun.  Remember, packing light isn't about deprivation.  For the fun factor, I often pick a theme and sometimes it's a color.  It's been stripes before and it's been bright lips before.  For Barcelona, I chose pink as the theme.  Before our trip, I got a manicure for pink nails.  I also packed two pairs of pink earrings, a pink scarf, a pink lipstick, and a thin leather pink belt that I also used as a bracelet.  I could fit all that stuff in the palm of my hand, but it gave my wardrobe some pop and cohesiveness.  I may be the only one who even notices the theme, but it keeps things from getting boring.
Pink earrings
Pink nails
Pink scarf
 4.  Wear things multiple times.
For travel in the fall and winter, I always pack a black cashmere turtleneck.  I will wear it atleast twice.  I also pack leggings and plan to wear them twice.  Sometimes I'll wear the t-shirt Rob wore that day as my PJ's that night.  Sometimes I wear his stuff...I like his button downs.  But pack enough underwear for each day.

5.  Take the things that matter to you, but don't take more than you will use in other areas.
We love our travel slippers from Muji that fold up into a cute little bag.  They're not a necessity, but they make hotels more comfortable for me.  So, I'll make those fit.

6.  Buy stuff there.
We packed about 20 diapers, but planned on buying more in Spain.  That worked out for us.  Plus, it's fun to get international stuff, even for toothpaste, shampoo and diapers.  They're like souvenirs that won't collect dust.


  1. This post makes me want to pack up baby June and travel somewhere asap. Love the color theme idea!

  2. Love this! I am so good at packing super light for my constant work travel, but I can't seem to translate that into leisure travel. Good tips.

  3. Ok, I need to take some packing classes with you. Thiago can assure that. =/