Fun

How to Power-Pack

Read this, then go on a trip so you can practice.

You know when you’re going on a trip, and you’re soooooo excited, and you sit down and make list after detailed list of every item you’re going to have to pack? And you mentally arrange your suitcase, and you think of all the potential weather systems, and all the places for which you’re going to need something to wear? (Please say yes.) And then you head off to wherever you’re going and realize: “This is the heaviest suitcase ever.” And you have to fight with people for overhead space on the plane, or wait forever for your bag at baggage claim, worrying whether the airline lost it, and then you have to drag it around with you, heave it in and out of taxis, and finally dig through it to find the first thing you need, which is always at the bottom, disrupting all of your careful folding until there are clothes, shoes, cords, and makeup strewn about the room. And for what? You didn’t even use half the stuff you packed!

Overpacking. I’ve been there. I found a list back from before I learned to travel light. Check it out:

Look at all that shit I wanted to pack! Pair upon pair of shoes, new outfits every day, going-out clothes, more than one bra! BAH. You don’t need all that crap. I am going to teach you how to power-pack. One week (ish). One bag. That. Is. All.

Four years ago, I went from working at an office temp job that I hated in Minneapolis to becoming a Serious Business Traveler when I applied for a job on Craigslist that sounded fake. The job was based in Seattle, and I applied to be something called a “program manager.” What did a program manager do? A program manager spent Sunday morning through Friday night traveling around the country setting up education seminars in big hotels. It meant traveling to a different North American city every day for nine months of the year. And lots of not-so-major cities. (How you doin’, Fishkill, New York? Miss me yet?)

And you know what I learned? As much as you may like a lot of your stuff, you don’t want to haul it around with you everywhere. Do not bring your home with you, you’re not a turtle! Being a one-bag girl is great. You breeze smugly through lines at the airport. Once at the airport, you’re free to browse magazines, go to the bathroom, grab some Auntie Anne’s, whatever, without having to negotiate your suitcase every time you move. You never check your bag, so you never pay extra (unless you fly Spirit, who charge for overhead space, and seriously, NEVER FLY SPIRIT). You never have to wait for baggage claim, and your bag never gets lost.

So, splendid! Let’s pack a bag for a week! Here’s my bag (with Timothy Maxwell Thumperton for scale):

It fits, no problem, in the overhead storage bin on a plane, looks fancy and vintage, is really sturdy, matches all my shit, and is a breeze to carry around with one hand, leaving my other hand free to hold caffeine at all times. (Samsonite made millions of this exact bag in the ’60s and ’70s, if you like vintage travel gear.) Your bag might have wheels. If not, choose a LIGHT bag that you can easily carry on your back, on your shoulder, or in your hands.

1. First things first: toiletries. You know, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body-scrubbing pouf, face soap, face moisturizer, body lotion, razor, shaving gel, deodorant, hair products, hair brush, hair ties, contact solution, Q-tips—WHOA WHOA WHOA. If you’re only going somewhere for about a week, you only want the essentials! If you’re staying in a hotel, just use the hotel shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and the bar of soap. And guess what? Most hotels have an AMAZING amount of free crap at the front desk. They don’t want you to know this, but often, they not only have little toothpaste tubes, but they also have razors and toothbrushes and combs and shaving cream and every phone charger possible for every possible phone.

If you don’t want to use the hotel’s chemical-y bath products, a good all-purpose organic solution is a tiny bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap, which you can use to shave, wash your hair, wash your body, and wash your clothes in one fell swoop. Somehow—probably because it is magic—it can even be used as mouthwash.

For everything else, decide what’s really essential and either (a) get a travel-size version or (b) pour your big containers at home into little bottles. Put all your little toiletries into a gallon- or quart-size Ziploc baggie (see-through and leak-proof).

And if you really forgot something important that the front desk isn’t hoarding? Well, where are you going? If you forgot something and you’re going to stay with your aunt in Columbus, Ohio, it’s not serious. If you’re going to the Australian outback, well, see, you probably should’ve been making those lists!

2. Next, makeup. If you wear makeup, you don’t need to bring your whole makeup bag. Just grab a Ziploc and put the stuff you actually wear in it. Maybe you don’t need your peacock green glitter eye shadow, or the burgundy mascara, or the violet Lip Tar for, say, a week in Philadelphia or Cancun. It could be that you randomly go out somewhere where you suddenly want special makeup. But that is why Wet ’n Wild was invented. My regular, everyday makeup bag looks like this:

My travel makeup bag looks like this:

L-R: concealer, red lipstick, black eyeliner, mascara, powder, blush stick

3. Clothes! This is where the serious planning happens. Here’s an ideal one-bag list. Obviously, there are some contingencies, particularly if you are going from one extreme climate to another. But I think these rules can be adjusted accordingly. Keep in mind: monochromatic items are your buddy! Nearly everything I travel with is black, white, or red. What colors do you wear all the time? Pack around two or three easily-paired colors and watch how your outfits come together.

  • One pair of all-purpose jeans. No one ever, ever, ever notices when you wear jeans over and over (and over) again. Pick the pair that goes with everything and wear them when you leave the house.
  • One pair of black tights or leggings (optional). This is for variety, if you wear them, because they don’t take up much space, and leggings can double as workout pants if they’re opaque enough. They can also be good for unexpectedly chilly weather.
  • Three pairs of socks. I’ll mention washing in a minute.
  • Three pairs of underwear. (Ditto.)
  • One dressy skirt or simple dress (optional). Try to choose materials that don’t wrinkle easily, like jersey or heavier cottons.
  • Three shirts: one dressier one to go with a nice skirt or the jeans, and two shirts for every day.
  • One warm thing to wear when you’re leaving the house, like a fuzzy cardigan or hoodie or coat, depending on the climate. Obviously, the colder the destination, the more these essential items matter. Swap long underwear for leggings. Throw in a pair of gloves and a hat. Wear a really warm coat. Layering is great for every day, but a good down coat will keep you warm no matter what you’re wearing underneath, and it’s comfy for sleeping on during the plane ride.
  • One bra, in a flesh tone or black. You’re wearing it.
  • Whatever you sleep in. Note: a big night shirt can double as a beach cover-up.
  • One pair of flip-flops. Even if you’re not going to the beach, they can be good if you find your circumstances less than hospitable, or for walking around the hotel, etc.
  • One swimsuit. There’s always a chance of IMPROMPTU SWIMMING! Hotels have pools, and there’s nothing worse than a pool that you can’t go in, because you don’t have a suit.
  • One pair of good shoes that go with everything and that you can walk in. These are part of your outfit as you leave the house. Comfortable boots or flats are the most versatile. Sneakers are essential if you plan to do a lot of outdoor activity or exercise, in which case maybe you can throw in a pair of flats or sandals as an extra shoe for dressier occasions.
  • Book/something to do/read on the plane.
  • Your signature jewelry/accessories. For me, glamour begins and ends with enormous gold hoop earrings.
  • Laptop/laptop charger (optional). It seems these are becoming more of a necessity these days, but ask yourself: what do you really, really, really need it for? Can you live without it for a week? Have you ever, um, tried? If it’s email and Facebook, just bring your phone. Usually hotels have a business center if you’re in a bind, and there’s probably an internet cafe close by. But seriously, try taking a VACATION FROM TECHNOLOGY. It’s kind of amazing. If it is essential for work and so forth, I recommend lighter laptops that you can try fitting in your bag. (Never, ever check a bag with expensive electronics. Things get stolen or broken this way.)

Now, as for packing itself, there’s all these schools of thought about how to put stuff in your bag. I’m a roller, not a folder, meaning I lay my clothes out flat, fold them in half once, then roll them up into tight little rolls that look like this. Rolling gives you a bit more room in the bag. Here’s the inside of mine, with everything you just saw in it:

Hell, there’s even room for stowaways.

So: you’ve packed light! You’re at your destination! But three days have gone by, and suddenly you’re out of socks and underwear and you feel filthy. Well, using the hotel soap or Dr. Bronner’s, I suggest putting the socks on your hands, work up a good lather, and scrub them together. Same with the underwear. Rinse well in the sink, then let them hang dry on a balcony or towel rack or heater, etc. I will actually get into the shower in my jeans and a shirt to give them a good scrub, too, but this might be more wet clothes than you bargained for.

The funny thing about packing light is: you won’t miss all that stuff. I promise. You’ll be having so much fun on your trip that you won’t notice the absence of that fourth bikini, or the flip-flops that match the fourth bikini. It kind of makes you wonder: do we really need so much stuff in our regular lives? Is our crap weighing us down? Are we living wrong? All right, all right, I know. It’s just a suitcase. Now be on your way. ♦

90 Comments

  • Bug May 18th, 2012 7:10 PM

    This is a beautiful, beautiful article. BEAUTIFUL!!!

    I need to learn how to properly minimalist-pack before I study abroad. I brought way way way too much stuff to college and it was a huge pain to get back :/

    http://h-y-p-h-e-n.blogspot.com/

  • ravenflamingo May 18th, 2012 7:15 PM

    I will definitely be using this!

    http://agirlnamedraven.tumblr.com

  • KinuKinu May 18th, 2012 7:20 PM

    This is brilliant……when I pack,I bring the whole house.My pillows and every comb I own(cuz they are all different widths between the little thingies)….all my pencils and I can’t decide which book I wanna read on the trip so I bring 4 or 5 or 6.This is definitely gonna help.I remember when I told my mom that all my belongings were gonna be able to fit in a backpack.Everybody laughed.
    This was great,I LOVE it♥

  • Torrie May 18th, 2012 7:25 PM

    I almost died when I saw this because I was about to put off reading Rookie in order to go pack everything on my huge list for this trip I am leaving on tomorrow. Ha! Thank youuuu!

    • dani wills May 18th, 2012 11:35 PM

      me too! i was about to borrow a huuuuuuuge suitcase from my mom and thinking maybe a bigger one would be better thanks rookie!

  • Cerise May 18th, 2012 7:33 PM

    This is wonderful. I used to be so good at packing, and then something happened and I somehow forgot that I don’t need all my junk when I’m away from home. Thank you! :D

  • marit May 18th, 2012 7:35 PM

    THIS IS FANTASTIC/fantastically useful! seriously i am taking this out when i pack for the summer.

    also: impromptu swimming is my fave. :)

    marit

  • starsinyourheart May 18th, 2012 7:35 PM

    the ways in which this is perfect
    i so NEEDED THIS
    i’ve been traveling since i was born with fam and alone since i was 15, ive just turned 18 and i STILL freaky-pack.

    oh… i forgot a toothbrush and washcloth yet i brought three pairs of shoes and a book i will never read. good one girl!!

    love this :)

  • missblack May 18th, 2012 7:39 PM

    Auuuughghg this is the best!!! I always overpack – this is just what I needed!!! Totally printing it out.

    Little&Trivial

  • Roo May 18th, 2012 7:43 PM

    God, this article is SO USEFUL!

    I read another one kind of like it on the minimalists’ website (http://www.theminimalists.com/in-case/), and it pointed out that pretty much anything you don’t bring with you can be replaced if needed for less than $20, in less than 20 minutes from wherever you’re staying. That reassurance usually helps me to let go of items.

    On a side-note, does anyone else outside the Rookie time-zone find it really hard to stay up waiting for the posts? I’m so addicted that I have to, but I’m totally exhausted now!

    http://iamvivaciousdammit.blogspot.com/

    • Ben May 18th, 2012 8:29 PM

      I just read it the next day if I’m too tired. It’s still there you know! :)

    • marimba_girl May 18th, 2012 8:32 PM

      I live in the Rookie time-zone as you out it and sometimes, I only stay up late for the post at 11 (which I read in my bed on my ipod).

    • mayaautumn May 19th, 2012 1:51 AM

      i know right! i live in england so to read the second post I’d have to stay up til 12.
      um, no thankyou! i just read it the next day:)

      http://cottonmixblog.blogspot.com

      • NotReallyChristian May 19th, 2012 8:15 AM

        I live in England and to read the second post I have to stay up till 1am … how does this work?! But then I’m at uni and my day goes “wake up at 12, have lunch at 4pm, go to bed at 3am” so … no problem!

    • ai-ai May 19th, 2012 9:56 AM

      For me After School Special is more like Sweet Dreams… and Dinner Time is You Are Not Going To Get Enough Sleep To Stay Awake At School.

  • Raebbies May 18th, 2012 7:44 PM

    THANK GOD FOR YOU. I am a pack rat and lately I’ve been trying to cut down on what I bring to trips. It’s been working so far.

  • chasen May 18th, 2012 7:44 PM

    Great advice. I’m in the process of packing for a backpacking trip in Europe and embracing the “pack VERY light” mission for the first time. It’s very freeing!

  • emellie May 18th, 2012 8:12 PM

    Thank you! Thank you!

    This is so useful, i’m such a heavy packer – often packing ends in my sister sitting on the lid while I ease it shut.

    Next time i’m packing i’ll be keeping this in mind. :-)

  • Cherries May 18th, 2012 8:15 PM

    This is excellent! Though i can’t live with just one bra! And I love your sleepwear and swimming cozzie =D

  • May 18th, 2012 8:19 PM

    That bunny is literally one of the cutest things I have ever seen!! <3

  • Katherine May 18th, 2012 8:23 PM

    Krista, you need to write more articles like this! It ties with your Life Skills 101 article for my favorite practical-life-lesson Rookie piece ever.

  • Ben May 18th, 2012 8:24 PM

    Wow! I really needed this! I’m going to my third outdoor school next monday and this will be really helpful! Thanks!

  • Kathryn May 18th, 2012 8:37 PM

    I love this!! I really want to get one of those bags and that soap, and Timothy is lovely!

  • marimba_girl May 18th, 2012 8:39 PM

    This could not of come at a better time! I am getting ready for a trip to Washington, D.C. for a conference and they gave us a list about the required outfits for each day. I’m really trying to embrace the whole “business casual” and the “business” looks, but I usually just end up packing even more stuff in case my “business casual” look isn’t dressy enough.

    WTF is business casual? I have a longer pencil skirt that I was going to wear with a blouse and wedges but how is that different from “business wear”? And how can I do it without looking like Nancy Pelosi?

    nothotfemmebot.wordpress.com

  • Ginny May 18th, 2012 8:41 PM

    AH. Thank you for this… I am prone to packing a suitcase for one night.

  • Devan May 18th, 2012 9:05 PM

    Now I just need a place to go!!!

  • Sonja May 18th, 2012 9:19 PM

    I love this piece, Krista! It’s perfect and so very timely and necessary (we have alot of the same stuff). And Timothy Maxwell Thumperton! Is he a rex?

    • Krista May 19th, 2012 11:23 AM

      The ladies at the Humane Society told me he’s a dwarf Harlequin bunny. They looked at me very seriously and were like “He likely won’t grow any bigger” as if that were a BAD thing! Ahhh tiny 2-pound pets!

      • Katherine May 20th, 2012 12:17 AM

        He totally deserves his own tag on here! I love that little bunny so much.

      • unefillecommetoi May 20th, 2012 11:01 PM

        what do you do with your bunny when you travel?

  • Bing May 18th, 2012 10:12 PM

    “If it’s email and Facebook, just bring your phone.”

    Great article, but this line was kind of classist.

    • Anaheed May 18th, 2012 11:42 PM

      You’re right — we should have caught that. Thank you, for real.

  • Nikilodeon May 18th, 2012 10:12 PM

    HAHAHA it is hilarious how relevant this is to my life right now! I have a flight to spain tomorrow and I’ve been panicking all day because i have no idea what to pack and how. Well, now I do! Thanks for the tips!

  • ladyjenna May 18th, 2012 10:21 PM

    Mary Roach…Stiff!!!! Great read for plane. Yay science.

  • Aria May 18th, 2012 10:32 PM

    Hahaha! Perfect, because I’m traveling tomorrow and still have to pack!
    Thanks!

    http://www.thelittletreehouse3.blogspot.com

  • teenager May 18th, 2012 10:42 PM

    oooooooooo I will be needing this in a few weeks! merci beaucoup

    http://interstellarsuburbia.wordpress.com/

  • kendallkh May 18th, 2012 10:52 PM

    Thank you *so much* for writing this! I always feel like I’m packing too much and never know exactly what I should be taking and what I can leave out, but I feel so relieved now that I have this handy guide. Definitely bookmarking this for the next time I travel (and every time after that).

  • clarebell May 19th, 2012 12:04 AM

    Oh, Mr. Timothy Maxwell Thumperton! You are adorable!

  • Emilie May 19th, 2012 12:36 AM

    OH MY GOD THAT RABBIT IS BEAUTIFUL. I have a pet rabbit and his name is Theodore and he headbutts my feet when he wants a head rub <3

  • Susann May 19th, 2012 1:04 AM

    This is really helpful for my upcoming trips!

    http://fashioninpepperland.blogspot.com

  • mayaautumn May 19th, 2012 1:46 AM

    hblg@nugl£&asddf?”fgv!

    pathetic^^ BUT, i freaking love this article

    http://cottonmixblog.blogspot.com

  • Adrienne May 19th, 2012 2:43 AM

    This is so so amazingly helpful! Definitely bookmarking this page for later. :)

    http://theaverageasiangirl.blogspot.com

  • AYAtheOUSH May 19th, 2012 2:52 AM

    i am travelling tonight. wow rookie. you. are. so. awesome.

  • stepha May 19th, 2012 4:01 AM

    im going to japan for a week and i almost packed my entire bedroom, thanks for the tips guys :D

  • izzybee May 19th, 2012 4:46 AM

    this will be handy for my trip to London in the summer! x

  • Astoria May 19th, 2012 4:55 AM

    this is great! thank you!

  • ivoire May 19th, 2012 5:33 AM

    Oh my goooood, your bunny!

  • jesssie May 19th, 2012 6:59 AM

    My stepmum says to halve your list, then lay everything left out and halve it again. It’s brutal, but now I pack so light and always have room to bring people back gifts! You can always buy necessary forgotten things cheaply and easily, even in the Australian outback (roadhouses stock a surprisingly diverse range of goods)!

  • NotReallyChristian May 19th, 2012 8:13 AM

    This is super-great but sometimes – just sometimes – you need a big bag. I went to Japan recently to stay with a friend and I needed a giant suitcase to a) take all the gifts I was bringing for her / her friends / her family (this is what you do in Japan – she’s been visiting us for years and she always brings a ton of gifts; this was my first chance to give some to her!) and b) bring back gifts for my family and friends! Yes the bag was a pain and I had to check it in, but I was soso glad I had room to bring home tons of green tea kitkats for my friends :)

  • MinaM8 May 19th, 2012 8:44 AM

    This is wonderful, especially since I’m the kind of girl who brought a 2kg bag full of COSMETICS AND TOILETRIES on a 6-day trip. Yeah, I know, not too smart. So this is the perfect list!

    CAN I JUST STOP FOR A SECOND AND SAY HOW MUCH I LOVE YOUR BUNNY. <3

  • moonflower May 19th, 2012 8:48 AM

    I ALWAYS do this! May I ask where your swimsuit is from? I need it.

    http://ultravioletpixiedust.blogspot.com

    • Krista May 19th, 2012 11:17 AM

      Ohhhmigod it’s the greatest swimsuit I’ve ever had:) It’s from modcloth, specifically here: http://www.modcloth.com/shop/onepiece-swimwear

      and really, I have no words for how wonderful it feels to finally feel comfortable at the beach! I’ve had it for three years, and THIS SUIT DOESN’T RIDE UP or come untied and it looks great on pretty much everyone!!!

      • missmadness May 20th, 2012 12:34 PM

        Seconded! I have the black two piece and it is the best. Doesn’t slip or shift while body surfing and still looks good when you’re just chillin’ beachside.

  • eliselbv May 19th, 2012 9:08 AM

    Please just tell me where did you bought your t-shirt with the little beaver

    • Krista May 19th, 2012 11:20 AM

      Ahhh I got it at a thrift store in the children’s pajama section- aka my favorite part of the store.

      What was once a sleepshirt for a 10-year-old is now a tight, comfortable, flame-resistant (!!) long t-shirt with an odd cartoon on it!

  • eliselbv May 19th, 2012 9:13 AM

    Ps: I started packing light when one day I opened my suitcase and my shampoo + my shower gel has spread in the WHOLE suitcase and I had to wash every single thing in it.
    The only positive thing was that my shampoo contained glitter and even after washing them twice, my clothes where all shinny.

    http://www.iloveyourjokes.blogspot.com

  • juliette May 19th, 2012 10:08 AM

    Oh my god. That opening paragraph. Is my life. I’m like Rachel Zoe, I need ‘options’.

    But this was really helpful, thanks Krista! I pack a huge suitcase for 2 nights interstate…
    I don’t know if I’ll be bringing a bag quite as small as yours on my next trip (.. cannot be bothered washing clothes) but I will certainly think a lot harder about what I’m actually putting in there.

  • Derangedwithlipstick May 19th, 2012 10:41 AM

    This article has caused me to become irrationally obsessed with Samsonite carry on bags. After scouring etsy and ebay all morning trying to find one that will ship to the UK I have been defeated and am reduced to fantasizing about taking one on the trip I’m taking soon. This is very upsetting.

    • Jes July 2nd, 2012 10:33 PM

      samesies! I spent a good half an hour looking at the etsy samsonite carry ons and am now convinced that if I had a samsonite carry on I would instantly transform into a sleek jet-setting diva. yep.

  • HarrietIsAPirate May 19th, 2012 11:25 AM

    This is an incredibly useful article which I shall be bookmarking for future reference, thank you.

    Also, Timothy Maxwell Thumperton is kinda making me wish I didn’t have two cats and a dog so I could get a rabbit!

  • SweetThangVintage May 19th, 2012 11:37 AM

    This is amazing! I’m taking a lot of summer trips for speed skating this year so I’ve gotta cut out a lot of clothing to have room for skates. haha

    I love reading packing articles. XD

  • bedazzledbandannas May 19th, 2012 12:16 PM

    oh my god this is brilliant, especially with summer coming up! I always end up packing a giant check-in suitcase and don’t use half the stuff… D: maybe this will help me change my ways!

  • radio1radio May 19th, 2012 12:22 PM

    Just in time for Sasquatch packing!!!!

  • WitchesRave May 19th, 2012 1:51 PM

    I have a french military bag that i begged by ex-army uncle for and it’s PERFECT for traveling with, perfect size, colour and it’s light and no one fucks with you cos they think your a soldier, woop woop!

    witches-rave.tumblr.com

  • tinklebot5000 May 19th, 2012 4:34 PM

    LOVEEEEEEEEE

  • GlitterKitty May 19th, 2012 6:59 PM

    I soooo needed this. I’m a serial over-packer. But I really do use it all!! Well, most of it. It’s mostly because I couldn’t be bothered to wash stuff. Oh well.

    And Timothy Maxwell Thumperton is the cutest little bunny ever!!

  • Mariana May 19th, 2012 10:44 PM

    I think its the most useful article I’ve ever read. I’ll defently practice it this summer.

  • Mags May 19th, 2012 10:55 PM

    PERFECTION.

  • rebeccar May 20th, 2012 8:39 AM

    That bag, I’m in love! Any other links to help find a similar one, Krista? Help a brother out? (Thanks in advance!)

  • JoanaNielsen May 20th, 2012 9:42 AM

    I don’t quite recommend taking just “three pairs of underwear”. When weather is not fine, clothes can take days to dry. We can assume the hotel you’re going to is warm enough and underwear is not heavy, therefore easy to dry, but still it’s risky. Everytime I travel, I take as many pieces of underwear as I can. You never know when bad accidents are going to happen.

  • timelady May 20th, 2012 11:19 AM

    This is great for a week, but what about an entire summer? I’m going back home to L.A. in a week, and have no idea what to pack. I’ll be there for three months. Any suggestions?

    • purrr May 25th, 2012 8:34 PM

      three months means you will need what you need for two weeks. pack for two weeks. basically just multiply this article by four :)

      act-your-rage.tumblr.com

  • Abby May 20th, 2012 12:04 PM

    AHHHH OMG THANK YOU. I’m such an over-packer it’s ridiculous. My friends all make fun of me because I’m always the one with the biggest suitcase… I think it’s because of my mom, who was said practically everyday throughout my childhood, “Pack extra clothes in case something happens!” Which usually entailed my falling into a river at girl scout camp (which never happened) or my getting into a car accident (which never happened) or my peeing my pants for some reason (which most certainly has never happened). Maybe this will help me… ha.

  • missmadness May 20th, 2012 12:40 PM

    I would also throw in the benefits of a “medicine” bag if you’re going somewhere for a long period of time or a foreign country. Pepto pills, Advil, Benadryl, Zyrtec etc. My friend had one and it literally saved my life when my eye swelled shut on a trip to Costa Rica. You can buy little bottles that fit easily in a little plastic bag, totally worth it in my opinion.

  • AnguaMarten May 20th, 2012 9:05 PM

    totally using this when i go to europe this summer. also, today i was looking for a cool pair of “walking sandals” which are apparently something that i need, and i found these! http://www.onlineshoes.com/womens-ecco-vibration-ii-toggle-sandal-warm-grey-black-p_id251338 because if you need sensible shoes, they might as well be shiny silver. am i right?

  • innocentsmith May 20th, 2012 9:14 PM

    Fabulous article, and I am totally going to be looking for one of those bags! I think my grandma, who was a travel agent and went EVERYWHERE in the world, had one of those in dark grey.

    One thing, though: I kind of winced at the “why would you need more than one bra?” bits. For some of the extra-busty girls out there, changing bras day-to-day isn’t optional: if I go more than one day in a row wearing the same bra, it messes up my back a LOT because the weight stays distributed the same way and keeps pulling too hard on the same places. I have legitimately thrown out my back by wearing one bra four days in a row. Just, FYI.

    On a lighter note: I have that exact swimsuit! Even the same color. Is it not awesome?

  • unefillecommetoi May 20th, 2012 10:59 PM

    i bookmarked this article. so practical and helpful and you’re awesome :) and i want the magic soap and your bag. thanks!!

  • littlewoot May 20th, 2012 11:26 PM

    OMG. You’re reading Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers?! I absolutely love that book and Mary Roach. How do you like the book so far? It’s one of my sources in my research paper (that I am procrastinating on right now).

  • Emilia May 21st, 2012 8:27 AM

    Could you do a packing list for people going away for a year abroad/college :)?

  • brynntheredonethat May 21st, 2012 4:43 PM

    Rolling clothes is so much easier for me than folding them. Not only do you have more room, but it’s easier to see all your options without completely digging through your bag. When clothes are folded, you have to stack them, so they end up obscuring each other. I’m messy and forgetful, so being able to see all my options without having to make a mess is much less stressful for me on the last day, when my shirts are scattered all over the floor around my bag.

  • Adrianne May 22nd, 2012 12:28 AM

    Shirt Tales! I die! *stepping into the wayback machine*

  • gryffin-dyke May 22nd, 2012 10:21 AM

    krista, i’ve been reading effingdykes forever, but only recognized you (and clicked your author link to double check) because of timothy maxwell thumperton.

    i’m sorry i’m a bad fan. :)

  • chelsear May 23rd, 2012 11:07 PM

    This was extremely helpful! I’m going away for a month and just found out that I can only have one 20 kg suitcase and I’m sort of freaking out. I’m horribly guilty of overpacking! I recently spent a weekend (2 days!) out of town and literally brought my entire wardrobe!

    xo
    http://couturecultureblog.blogspot.com

  • YangHaizi May 24th, 2012 4:09 AM

    Thanks so much for these tips…I have this nightdress that my boyf gave me that can be worn as outside dress as well and it’s perfect for traveling!

  • Emelie July 13th, 2012 11:04 AM

    This post is great. As a small woman who usually travels with a computer and a lot of books, I prefer really small carry-on bags that have wheels. So much easier to roll when trekking through long terminals or train stations.

  • BristolianBetty August 3rd, 2012 5:46 PM

    This is so, so, so good. Thank you. You’ve just saved me a load of money now that I don’t need to pay for extra cases… Money which I will put to good use on Etsy getting that bag!

  • VivaViviana September 4th, 2012 12:13 PM

    Where was this article when I went to Puerto Rico last summer?! *crying*

  • Vero September 10th, 2012 6:12 AM

    I clicked on the link & see a bunch of samonite bags, but none are as amazing as yours… Mind telling me the exact type of bag it is? I need it!