The Packing Challenge

I did it!

I finally packed light for a trip and I will do it again.

I had planned to test my compact packing skills on my upcoming trip to San Francisco but decided to give it a shot on my mini trip to Vancouver instead.

Typically on a short trip I would pack a small suitcase and a purse, but on this trip I managed to leave my house with the backpack I usually carry on my commute to work and a purse. Everything I needed fit comfortably in these two bags and I was surprised to find myself happy and not wanting for anything during my trip.

It was a great relief not to have to struggle to balance my bags on public transit or wonder how I would go to the bathroom on the ferry and keep track of all of my things. I discovered that travelling with a small bag or carry on only really does simplify life and you don’t have to be a minimalist to pull it off.

A few tips for those attempting to pack light:

  1. Downsize your toiletries: We really don’t use as much of our toiletries as we think we do. For a few days away I found that my 3 oz travel tubes were about 3 times too big. Even when using a generous amount of product I still came home with about 2.5 oz of unused product. For my next trip I will look for even smaller containers I can travel with to save space.
  2. Limit your shoes and accessories: Do you really need 2-3 sets of earrings for a few days away? How about your shoes? I found I only needed two pair of shoes for a weekend away, one set of comfortable and versatile business casual leather sneakers and a pair of flip flops for the hotel room and pool.
  3. Don’t be afraid to repeat outfits: You are on vacation, you probably won’t see the same people each day and even if you do no one is going to judge you for having the same t shirt on for two days or only wearing one pair of shoes. Take advantage of this time to focus on things outside of your appearance and just have fun creating new memories.
  4. Have a transit outfit: Having an outfit you wear on the plane/train/ferry ride to your destination and home not only saves you space but frees up time before you go. I used to spend so much energy thinking about what I wanted to wear when I arrived and left. How would I feel that day? What would the weather be like? Now I realize it doesn’t much matter. You are probably going to change when you arrive and you will shower pretty soon after you come home. Having one outfit for transit saves you time and space.
  5. Take away the pressure: The biggest secret to remember when packing light is to cut yourself some slack. Yes you might forget something or you might feel exasperated trying to decide what to take and what to leave behind but in the end none of it really matters. You can survive on very little and as long as you have remembered key items such as your credit card and passport you are good to go. You can always pick up essentials items you forgot along the way and any outfits you forgot you will probably realize you can live without in the end.

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