My NUMBER ONE rule when it comes to packing for a trip is “if it can’t fit in the duffle, it can’t come.” Whether I am going on a weekend trip with the girls or a two-week long vacation out the country I always make sure my luggage never exceeds the size of a duffle bag. If I can pack even smaller than a duffle, I do. The main reason I like to pack lightly is to save time. I usually take quick trips where I head to the airport after work or early mornings. It saves so much time at the airport when you don’t have to check or pick up a bag at your destination. We all know the lines can get long at the airport. Not to mention the fact that you save so much money by not having to check your bag. Some airlines offer free checked bags for international flights (not Spirit), but it still saves you time when you get to skip running to the baggage claim at your destination! Especially if you have a connecting flight and need to re-check your luggage. That can be so inconvenient if you’re flying internationally and have to go through customs and baggage claim all before a connecting flight. I like to be cost effective and maximize my time when traveling. The purpose for me traveling is not to waste money unnecessarily. Plus, I’ve never been on a trip where I needed more clothes than the ones in my duffle bag. If anything, I still overpack. There was only one time in the last five years of traveling that I decided to check my bag and of course my luggage never made it to my destination and almost everyone on my flight complained about their luggage either being missing or being drenched from the rain. That moment confirmed exactly what I already knew, NEVER CHECK YOUR BAG UNLESS IT’S ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.
You’re probably wondering how I do it, so here’s the break down:
1. PROTECTIVE STYLES. I always make sure to get a protective style before going on a trip. Braids, dreads, twists, etc. When I have a protective style already done it minimizes the amount of hair products I have to bring with me on my trip. I still bring travel size products but nothing compared to how much I would have to bring if I didn’t have my hair done prior to the trip. Bringing big products will make you have to check your bag because of the limit on liquids for carry-ons. The limit is 3.4 oz which is about the size of your favorite edge control or a travel shampoo and conditioner! For my curly girls, try a twist out or braid out your curls will still flourish but it will require less maintenance than a wash n go.
2. TRAVEL SIZE PRODUCTS. I always pack a bar of soap/ bottle of travel sized soap (amounts vary based on the amount of destinations). I also pack travel sized lotions, shampoos, and conditioners, sometimes even a first aid kit. Also, I make sure to put all my toiletries in one bag at the top of my luggage to make it easier when I’m going through security. I pack all travel sized items so I can just throw them away at my destination when I leave. You can find all these items in your local Dollar Tree, Target or Walmart. You can also find pills for sleeping, motion sickness, and altitude sickness if you’re traveling by boat or going somewhere with high altitudes. It always seems like it’s harder to pack my bag when I’m leaving a destination than when I’m going. So by throwing away my travel sized products I clear up room just incase I want to get some souvenirs.
3. PLAN YOUR OUTFITS. I always pick my outfits before packing, shoes included. I always try to make sure I pick a few shoes that can go with multiple outfits! This saves you time on your trip as well since you don’t have to worry about picking out your outfits while you’re there!
4. WEAR YOUR BULKIEST ITEMS ON THE PLANE. I always wear the jacket and the sneakers I will be bringing on my trip on the plane. The plane is always cold so you’re really doing yourself a favor with that one. And the sneakers are usually the bulkiest shoes that’ll I’ll be bringing on my trip, so rather than weighing my bag down I just travel with them on. Yes, I always bring sneakers with me on my trips. You never know what type of situations you’ll run into.
5. SHOES GO AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG. I always pack my shoes at the bottom of the bag to maximize my space.
6. ROLL YOUR CLOTHES. Instead of folding my clothes I roll them tightly so they can fit in and between my shoes. Yes, I put my clothes in my shoes if they can fit. You have to maximize your space! Rolling your clothes helps with wrinkles too!
7. CHANGE OF CLOTHES AT THE TOP OF THE BAG. I always prefer direct flights but if I have a stop before my main destination I always pack that outfit and shoes at the top of the bag so I don’t mess up the rest of my luggage before I get to my actual destination.
For those who always find themselves overpacking for trips for no good reason, I hope you find these tips useful! Trust me, oversized bags can cause more stress on a trip than it’s worth. I don’t know about you but I personally don’t like the stress of waiting to check a bag especially if I’m running late for a flight. It always seems like the lines move slower when you’re in a rush. I hate having to throw my bag under the plane last minute because it’s too big, your luggage always gets handled with less care and they always seem to conveniently charge more at the gate. And, who likes getting honked at when you’re getting picked up at your destination because you’re holding up traffic with your luggage? Try my tips, I’m sure you’ll find traveling less stressful and less time-consuming.