Posted by: AmbleAlong | April 16, 2012

Insider Travel Tip: Easy Does It

When preparing for vacation travel, it is understandable that we want to pack our favorite clothes, best jewelry, and the exact right shoes for every outfit.  The reality is that even if we could pack everything we wanted to, the checked bag fees alone should thwart your plan to pack everything but the kitchen sink!

I have found it a great help to employ a few techniques to keep my wardrobe focused, basic, and worry free.

Pick three colors, then mix and match.  This may sound really silly, but just give it a try.  Similar to what they show in a magazine layout, select three tops (a blouse, a sweater, and a tank top) and three bottoms (a pair of pants, a pair of shorts, and a skirt) and then combine them every way possible to see if you can fulfill the clothing needs for any outing that you may have during your trip.  I have had great success with this approach for both personal and business travel.  For instance, black/white/tan or navy/red/off-white work great!

Limit to three pairs of shoes.  Though this seems a little extreme, you would be surprised at the weight an extra pair of shoes adds to your load.  For a beach vacation, three pairs seems rather easy – tennis shoes, flats, flip flops.  If you are taking in a lot of culture, say a night at the opera, then you will probably want to swap out the flip flops for some heels instead.

Pack clothes that travel well.  I am sure all of us have those items in our closet that we don’t wear often at home because they constantly need ironing.  I don’t know about you, but that item is definitely not making it into my suitcase.  None of us are on vacation to iron in our hotel room, so why not pack things that are wash and wear.  Wrinkles truly fall out of  a jersey dress when you hang it up.

This “packing simple” approach was not an easy concept for me to embrace.  I am more of a “But what if I need it?” type of person.  All of that changed abruptly when my one suitcase was lost forever en route to Italy.  I took a crash course in how light you can travel and still thrive…

Having been ushered into minimalist travel is one thing, but planning to pack lighter was another. I started by packing in advance for a trip, going so far as to zip up the bag and set the (heavy) suitcase aside.  At that point, everything under consideration was in there and I could mull it over for a few days before the trip.  Amazingly enough, every day after packing that bag I thought of something in there that did not need to vacation with me and so the process began in earnest…

Happy traveling!




  1. I like your list! It’s so hard to pack only 3 pairs of shoes but you are absolutely right! I need to bite the bullet and just do it!

  2. I have always believed in packing less for trips. I do not like lugging heavy suit cases. I now travel with a carry on and a back pack. If I am gone for a longer period of time, I schedule a laundry day some where in the middle. I try to bring clothes that you can hang dry and do not require ironing.

    Great post, I look forward to more of your tips!

  3. I’m still learning to pack light. I’m traveling for two months with a backpack. Last time I went back-packing, it was so heavy…gonna try and lighten it this time!

    • Hi Alex! I absolutely know what you mean and it is an uphill challenge to pack light. Even making little improvements helps! Knowing that you are backpacking it is a little easier to improvise – for instance you can always take one t-shirt out of your pack and wear one you do take along inside out if need be… Also you can skip on makeup items (except sunscreen) and can probably limit to just the one pair of good hiking boots that you will wear.

      The beauty of backpacking is the trip is all about the journey, experience, and memories. Please stop back and let me know how your trip goes!

  4. I’m currently attempting to pack for a year long stay in Tanzania and practicality is warring with nostalgia and what I’ll think I’ll miss. There’s also the consideration as to what I’ll be able to get out there (it’s rather rural), and early old age is seeing me try and prepare for every eventuality – I miss the days when all I packed was a toothbrush and fresh underwear!

  5. “We want to pack our favorite clothes, best jewelry, and the exact right shoes for every outfit.”

    So true! I’m such a girl when I’m packing! But lately I somehow manage to pack just the most necessary things! For my last trip (one week to Czech Rebublic and Austria) I had just one pair of cloths in my backpack! I still can’t believe this!

    • Hi Open World! One set of clothes in your pack for a week – very impressive!

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