Up, up and away… or, How to pack like a pro
A few weeks ago, one of my clients called me with an urgent assignment. This urgent assignment just so happened to be taking place in Bologna, Italy. I initially had little hope that things would actually work out, given the geographical distance between me and my client’s office. But, apparently it was meant to be, as I am currently posting from Italy!
Not only am I very happy to be here for work, but this experience gave me the perfect opportunity to talk about travel capsules!
If you know anything about me, you know that I travel quite a bit. Tossing everything into a suitcase comes quite naturally to me by now, so I thought I would take advantage of this opportunity to do a short series on capsule travel!
I think the concept of capsuling goes hand in hand with travel. We’re essentially shopping our own wardrobes, for the most part. It only makes sense that we try to make the most of what we already have (and we might add a few bits here and there along the way, as well!).
In this particular case, I had several packing challenges:
Because I would be working on-site at a client’s office. I wasn’t sure of the dress code, so I had to be prepared for several eventualities.
I’m also here for almost six weeks. That’s quite a few outfits! 🙂
My first plan of attack was to go through my wardrobe and see what I already had that could be used in a variety of work outfits.
2 pairs of blue jeans
1 pair black slacks
1 pair black jeans
1 pair gray casual pants
2 workout outfits
3 pairs of shoes
So, I admit… this looks like a lot. And it is. This is the majority of my wardrobe!
My plan was to make sure that I could go as long as possible without doing laundry, because I’m staying in a hotel apartment without a washer. So, if you have the ability to wash your clothes, pack less!
If you can’t wash as often as you’d like, then this is certainly enough to get you through two weeks.
After I established what I was packing, I had to face one of my nemeses…my inner over-packer.
One of my pet peeves is being caught unprepared for things. I like to be able to handle whatever surprises come my way. I am proud to report that with this list, I felt like I was in good shape.
This accomplishment attained, my next challenge was actually fitting everything into my large suitcase (uh oh).
I went out and bought something that I had been wanting to try for quite some time— these suitcase organizers. While they were an overall success, I would not buy them again. This particular set is of surprisingly low quality, but they did get the job done.
Here is a breakdown of a functional packing strategy:
- Brainstorm: what are you doing? Where are you going? What is the weather like? Do some research. Ask friends! Don’t know anyone who’s gone to your destination? Then Internet forums are your best bet.
- Plan, plan plan: this applies mostly to your clothing and accessories. Bring your most versatile pieces. Every piece should be able to work in at least three outfits. If you’re employing a capsule lifestyle, then you’ll already have this in the bag 🙂 If not, challenge yourself to think ahead. Don’t just toss your favorite items into the suitcase, because on a long trip you risk wasting precious space.
- Execute: You can try out some luggage organizers like I used, but they’re certainly not a must-have. Just be sure to be wise with how you arrange your items. I find the best technique for clothing is either rolling (fold into a smallish rectangle and then roll up) or the Mari Kondo method. I’m not terribly familiar with her philosophy, but her folding method is AMAZING.
In terms of things like undergarments, since they’re small, they are best kept in the zip pockets in the side of your suitcases. Protect your shoes (and your clothes from them) in plastic bags or shoe bags/cases. Ensure your toiletries are well sealed and in a waterproof case. No one likes a soggy surprise!
- Be flexible: You never need as much as you think you do. And if you need something that bad, consider making do without it or buying it at your destination.
More to come from chilly Bologna!