As someone who averages at least one flight a month, I’d consider myself a fairly seasoned traveler. The airport feels like a second home, and I’m this close to having enough frequent flyer miles for a free trip to Hawaii.
But perhaps most importantly, I’ve finally mastered the art of packing light.
Streamlining the contents of my luggage didn’t always come easy. I remember a flight home from college where my bag was eighteen pounds over the weight limit. The overweight luggage fee was $75.00–approximately $70.00 more than I had in my dwindling undergraduate checking account. Being that I had been dropped off by a friend and didn’t have a cellphone, I was forced to put on nearly twenty pounds of clothing in order to avoid having my treasured possessions thrown away.
After fifteen minutes of trial and error, I waddled in the general direction of airport security wearing three sweaters, two coats and my heaviest pair of boots. Each one of my pockets was stuffed to the gills with socks, underwear, and costume jewelry. While I’m proud to say I was able to shave the entire eighteen pounds off the weight of my bag, that extremely sweaty flight back to Seattle was a serious wake-up call. I needed to pack less stuff.
Eight years later, I’ve learned the ins and outs of traveling with minimal baggage. The photo below depicts what I’m bringing along for five days in the Windy City:
1. American Apparel Hoodie
This comfy sweatshirt has quickly become the uniform of my life. It keeps me plenty warm on the plane (anyone else get ridiculously cold when flying?) and makes me feel like a twenty-two-year-old hipster. I call that a win-win.
2. TOM’s Desert Booties
Remember these from my Fall Style post? They arrived in the mail a few days later, and I’m pretty much obsessed with them. Finally, a 3-inch wedge that is comfy! Casual enough to wear with jeans but girly enough for a dress! The best part? I’m pretty sure they are cankle-sprain-proof!
3. Zelda Skinny Jeans
These skinny’s best feature? They stretch. So…if I eat too much bacon at the conference I’m attending–which I’ve been known to do–they’ll still fit.
4. Graphic Tee
Disclaimer: This isn’t the actual tee I’ll be packing. The real one was in the wash when I took the photo. It’s black and says “Karma Dharma Zen” in white letters, and pretty much makes me look like an earthy, bohemian artist.
(An earthy, bohemian artist who buys her tees at Urban Outfitters…but an earthy, bohemian artist nonetheless.)
5. Green army pants
These pants are also stretchy, for maximum bacon consumption. Plus, they’re dark enough that when I spill ice cream all over myself (it will undoubtedly happen at least once) I can
wipe lick it off and the stain won’t be visible.
6. Sam Edelman Felicia ballet flats
In case I somehow find a way to sprain my cankle in the TOM’s, these are my backup plan. They were purchased to replace my Tory Burch torture flats and are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever had the privilege of wearing. As soon as Scott stops monitoring my credit card activity, I’m ordering a pair in every color.
Who needs to pack shampoo when you can just wear a hat?!
8. Leopard scarf
Mind-blowing fact: if you wear the same outfit twice, but switch up your shoes and add a scarf, no one will be the wiser. Also? You can use it on the plane to craft this incredibly practical scarf pillow. Genius.
9. Leather jacket
Even badasses get cold from time to time.
(Yes, I just referred to myself as a badass.)
10. Metro Mini dress
Perfect for a post-conference networking event or with tights on a chilly day. Added perk: it makes you feel like Tony the Tiger. (And it’s on sale this week.)
11. Slouchy sweater
Long, loose and soft. I’m pretty sure it will still fit should I ever find myself nine months pregnant. (Another excuse to take advantage of the free bacon.)
12. Mixed metal necklace
I’ve learned the hard way that packing a bevy of baubles only results in tangles and broken beads all up in your suitcase. Other than my beloved rhino charm, this is the only jewelry I’m bringing.
Socks and undergarments: Don’t worry — I won’t be traversing through Chicago commando-style.
Laptop, iPad and chargers: For conference shenanigans.
Workout outfit: In case I feel inspired to burn off all that bacon.
Toiletry bag: Just the essentials. I always use hotel shampoo, conditioner, blow dryer, etc. to save on space.
There you have it — my strategy for traveling light. The best part of all? I’ve got plenty of extra room to pack all the treasures I pick up while shopping my way through Michigan Avenue.
Magnificent Mile, here I come.
I’m staying an extra day after the conference to experience Chicago in all it’s glory. Local readers…any tips on sights I must see? Food I can’t miss? Hot yoga studios that are just begging for a sweaty girl from ‘Sota? I’m particularly looking for a good deep dish pizza joint.
Liked this? Then try these: