Thursday, November 1, 2012

Style on the Road: Planning and Packing

I've traveled more often than I stayed at home in September and October, and I have to admit I'm not very good at trying to balance my normal life with flying all over the country. Two friends' weddings, one trip to see family, three work trips and it feels so good to be home!


While on the road I try to travel light and in style, and I've gotten a few questions about it, so I thought I'd share some of my packing tips and tricks.

photo.JPG photo.JPG

On the plane
Some guidelines for what to wear when you're flying.
  • Classy, in case of a first class upgrade (!)
  • Comfortable, because all of my flights are cross-country and warm, because planes are cold
  • Versatile, so I can rewear it, because I pack with only a carry on - even for a ten day trip
  • Wrinkle-free, so I can look presentable if I have to meet anyone after 9 hours of travel
[One thing I should note is that I'm a grad school recruiter, so the dress code when I'm on the road can be pretty laid back. I never wear heels on a flight, or a suit.]

My favorite ensemble is:
Travel wear

Travel wear by lattelove featuring slim fit pants
*denotes affiliate link

In my suitcase
  1. Shoes. By far the hardest thing to pack is shoes - they're less easy to remix and take up so much space! On my last trip I was gone for ten days and my trip included a wedding, a visit to my family, and work - in places where temps ranged from 40-75. I would have preferred to have about seven pairs with, but I forced myself to bring only four: dressy sandals, black pumps, flat boots and brogues. Always wear boots on the plane, because they're a beast to pack.
  2. Clothes that Mix and Match. This seems obvious, but is always harder in practice. The only way to guarantee what I'm bringing will work in several outfits is for me to layout all those outfits on my bed before packing. Every item needs to be worn at least twice - cardigan, blazer and pants should be remixable 3 times on a long trip. The only exception for me was the dress I wore to the wedding.
  3. Accessories. The only way I will pack or wear accessories is if I plan them as carefully as I plan my outfits.One of the most frustrating parts of travel for me is when I don't have my arsenal of belts, scarves, necklaces, earrings and barrettes or headbands to choose from each day. I take two belts - a utility and an accent belt, and put my jewelry in a cloth roll I bought on Etsy. I usually wear a scarf on the plane.
  4. Folding. I'm a fan of the rolling method, but I don't roll everything. Pants and dresses always get rolled and placed on the bottom, but tops do not. I usually bundle pack tops (see #2 here) where I stack all my tops together and fold them around another item.
  5. Packing: Some pro packers like the idea of putting clothing in a large clear ziploc bag so you can compress the air out of as much of your clothes as possible, and compartmentalize. I like this idea for delicate tops and shoes, but I don't pack anything else in plastic bags. I pack rolled items at the bottom with shoes, tops towards the bottom of the suitcase and toiletries go at the top of the suitcase near the zipper for easy access when going through security.
  6. Toiletries. Pack light on makeup. I take the smallest toiletries bag I own and typically bring one foundation-type product, mascara, eyeliner, two eye shadows, one blush and three brushes. Other than the foundation it fits in a snack-size ziploc bag. When I'm staying in a hotel or visiting my family I never pack a hair dryer, or shampoo/conditioner/body wash.
  7. Outerwear. Most of the time I'm traveling from a temperate climate (San Diego) to a colder climate, and have to pack a coat that I don't want to wear during travel. I travel with the coat thrown over my arm or my tote bag and then after loading in my carry on suitcase, I find a place where I can lay it flat over other items in the overhead bin. (*you should always to try to this after the plane has been boarded, because there may not be room, or you may have your stuff squished when someone tries to squeeze their luggage in too small a space.)
  8. Extras. Don't forget the little things! I always use a packing list, even though I know exactly what I'm packing so I don't forget things like: socks, the appropriate underwear, bandaids, feminine products, umbrella, glasses, medications.

Any questions? I feel like there are million resources out there with packing advice (here is one of my favorite collections: ), but I hope this was helpful!


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